How Do YOU Interpret The Bible? (Part 1 of 4)

KJV Bible

I have come to realize that I have been taught how to read the Bible in several different and interesting ways in my lifetime.

In Junior High, my Lutheran school taught me to interpret the Bible according to Luther’s Small Catechism.

A local Calvary Chapel seemed to want to take the Bible literally, unless of course we were speaking about the book of Daniel or Revelation and end times prophecy, which seemed to be interpretation by current events. Later I would find that this could loosely be defined as Dispensationalism.

In college, I was taught a very specific technique: the Historical-Grammatical method.  Here the focus was on the historical background, culture, literary genre, grammar, syntax, and discourse analysis.

In seminary, I continued to develop my historical-grammatical skills, though in many ways I found myself pushing its limits and venturing out into seemingly uncharted territory.  It was here that I began to see that my tried and true hermeneutic didn’t seem to be the all-in-one tool that it was billed to be.

Since then, I have come to realize that there are many ways in which people interpret scripture.  Of course, not all of them can be right.  Just look at all the varied results!  Yet, I believe we must strive to do our best to understand what the Bible meant to the original audience and only then to discover what that means for us today.

In the very near future, I will outline where I am today with regard to interpreting the Bible and expand on the methods by way of investigating some current and popular debates surrounding Christians today.


One thought on “How Do YOU Interpret The Bible? (Part 1 of 4)

  1. It is very refreshing to see someone discuss the various methods/traditions by which one can interpret the Bible. Too often there is an assumption that what’s there is there, and no interpretation is going on – but often there is an unspoken “tradition” by which they are choosing to interpret the Bible. One critique leveled against my own church which I think is quite unfair is that it is invalid for us to rely on Holy Tradition in order to give context to and interpret the Bible. I think we have good reason to rely on it ( But back to your post, since you are interested in the ancient church, this leads me to ask whether you explored Patristic writings as a basis for interpreting scripture during seminary?

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