9. Seek spiritual understanding, not just intellectual argument. Accept what the Scripture says, never using God’s Word to reinforce a preconceived point of view. 10. Recognize that there can be only one accurate interpretation (what God says), but many applications. What God has said is unchangeable (logos); how His Spirit enables us to apply what He has said is unique to each individual (rhema).
The Inspiration of the Holy Spirit
■ by James E. Cossey
As Evangelicals, we believe the Bible is the very Word of God. The writers of the 66 canonical books did not merely record their impressions, but they wrote as they
RIGHTLY DIVIDING THE WORD
HE FIRST PRINCIPLE adopted by the Church of God is, “We believe the whole Bible, right- ly divided, and the New Testa- ment is our only rule for government and discipline.” Rightly divided is a scriptural term meaning to “handle accurately”: “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15 NKJV). The Bible is more than a personal letter for each reader to interpret privately (see 2 Peter 1:20). Rather, it is God’s unchangeable Word and must be properly understood. Hermeneutics is defined as “the art of finding the meaning of an author’s words and phrases, and of explaining it to oth- ers.” While not every believer will take a formal hermeneutics class, each of us as children of God needs to understand and develop certain hermeneutical principles when studying the Bible.
How to Study and Understand the Bible
1. Study the passage in light of its con-
text (its relationship to surrounding verses and chapters), and in consideration of the
22 EVANGEL • AUG 2010
broader theme of the entire book of the Bible you are reading.
2. Look up the meaning of key words using an exhaustive concordance, Bible dictionary, or word studies manual. 3. Run references on the verse and on the words of the verse, cross-referencing to see how these same words are used in other locations in Scripture. Consult repu- table Bible commentaries.
4. Pay particular attention to punc- tuation so as to properly enunciate each phrase as you read.
5. Learn the cultural setting of the passage you are studying.
6. Search for and find answers to three key questions: a. How did this passage apply to those to whom it was first written?
b. How did this passage apply to the Church down through history?
c. How does this passage apply to the Church [and to me] today? 7. Confirm your interpretation by reviewing two or three similar passages of Scripture. Consult various Scripture trans- lations and/or paraphrases. 8. Confirm your interpretation by talking with a fellow believer.
were “carried along by the Holy Spirit” (2 Peter 1:21 NIV). The Spirit who inspired the written Word is the same Spirit who raised Jesus from the dead, and who indwells and empowers us as believ- ers (see Romans 8:11).
How encouraging it is to realize that the One who inspired the Word of God now dwells in us. If we immerse our stud- ies in prayer and reliance upon Him, God will give us “the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that [we] may know him better” (Ephesians 1:17 NIV). It is the work of the Spirit to enlighten the eyes of our hearts (v. 18). The finest systems of interpretation will cause one to come away empty without the Holy Spirit’s guidance. Learning God’s Word through the Spirit produces joy (1 Thessalonians 1:6), but the law of God without the Spirit produces dead legalism (see 2 Cor- inthians 3:5-6).
The Bible is the revelation of God to humanity. Those who read and under- stand it are blessed of the Lord (see Rev- elation 1:3). We must always be certain that our interpretation is in complete har- mony with what God spoke, and is speak- ing, through His inspired Word.
| Page 2
| Page 3
| Page 4
| Page 5
| Page 6
| Page 7
| Page 8
| Page 9
| Page 10
| Page 11
| Page 12
| Page 13
| Page 14
| Page 15
| Page 16
| Page 17
| Page 18
| Page 19
| Page 20
| Page 21
| Page 22
| Page 23
| Page 24
| Page 25
| Page 26
| Page 27
| Page 28
| Page 29
| Page 30
| Page 31
| Page 32