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BIBLE INTERPRETATION

 


 

(Session #1)

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(Session #2)

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(Session #3)

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(Session #4)

Lesson 4 - View

 

(Session #5)

Lesson 5 - View

 

(Session #6)

Lesson 6 - View

 

(Session #7)

Lesson 7 - View

 

(Session #8)

Lesson 8 - View

 

 


 

BIBLE INTERPRETATION:  LESSON #1

MY VIEW OF THE BIBLE WILL AFFECT MY INTERPRETATION

 

IS THE BIBLE THE WORD OF GOD?

1.What does "inspired" mean?  Find Scriptures which claim that the Bible is inspired.

 

 

2. What arguments would you use to convince your neighbor to believe that the Bible is the Word of God?

 

 

3.Explain how the question of "Who wrote the Bible?" is connected to the truthfulness and authority of the Bible.  How would a person who believed that God wrote the Bible look at the Bible differently than a person who believed that men wrote the Bible?

 

 

IS THE BIBLE THE ONLY AUTHORITY?  IS IT SUFFICIENT TO MEET MAN'S NEEDS?

1.  Where do Catholics look to for authority?

 

 

2.Where do Protestants look to for authority?

 

 

3.Find Scriptures which point out that a) the  Scriptures are intended to be man's sole authority , b) the Scriptures are sufficient to meet man's spiritual needs,  c) men are not to be looked to as spiritual authorities, d) the traditions and doctrines of men should not be followed.

 

 

 

 

IS THE BIBLE CORRECT?

1.Mormons say that the Bible is God's Word "as far as it has been correctly translated".  They believe the   Bible was changed during the 100's  of years it was copied.  How does this affect their view of the Bible?

 

 

 

2.How would you answer the Mormon's claim that the Bible has been corrupted?

 

 

 

IS THE NEW TESTAMENT GOD'S COMPLETE AND FINAL REVELATION?

1.Mormons, Christian Scientists, Friends, Pentecostals (among others) believe that God is continuing to reveal His word through prophets or in the direct guidance of individual Christians.  How does this influence their view of the Bible?

 

 

 

2.Show from the N.T. that a) the work of apostles and prophets was temporary, b) the plan of God was for men to be guided by Scripture rather than directly by the Holy Spirit,  and c) the N.T. is both complete and final.

 

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BIBLE INTERPRETATION:  LESSON #2

                    MY APPROACH TO THE BIBLE WILL AFFECT MY INTERPRETATION

 

            When God revealed His Word to men, He did so expecting that men would be able to understand it.  (Eph 3:1-5).  Yet, all do not understand the Scriptures the same way.  Why not?  Did God not communicate clearly enough?  No, I suggest that the problem is not with God, but with the readers of the Word.  Many do not approach the Scriptures in the right way.  Too many approach God's Word as Naaman did  (2 Kgs 5).

 

NAAMAN LACKED MEEKNESS (2 KGS 5:11)

1.What is "meekness"?  Comment on how Naaman lacked this quality.

 

 

 

2.Compare James 1:19-21 with Naaman's attitude and actions.

 

 

 

3.In contrast to Naaman, how did Cornelius' household (Acts 10:33) show meekness?

 

 

NAAMAN WAS PREJUDICED; CLOSE MINDED (2  KGS 5:11)

1.How did the instructions from the messenger of Elisha compare to what Naaman thought would be said and done to heal him?  How did this hinder his reception of the Word of God?

 

 

2.How did this problem affect the Jews' reception of Jesus?  Cite some passages.

 

 

3.How hard is it to accept what God says in Scripture on a particular subject if you've already made up your mind as to what His will is?  (Contrast Jews in Thessalonica and Berea, Acts 17:5, 11-12)

 

 

4.Should we come to the Bible to find God's position on a question or to prove our position? Discuss the difference between "inductive" Bible study and "deductive" Bible study.

 

 

 

NAAMAN LACKED A LOVE FOR THE WORD:  SUBSTITUTED HUMAN REASON  (2 KGS 5:12)

1.How should Naaman have responded to the instructions, which if followed, would cure him from the horrible disease of leprosy?

 

2.Discuss the attittude which say, "I know God says...., but I think this way is better" and how it interferes with one's "interpretation" of Scripture.  Find other passages which comment on this.

 

 

3.Why did the Holy Spirit say teachers and students would turn from the truth?  (2 Tim 4:1-4; 2 Thess 2: 9-12)

 

 

4.What would have happened if  Naaman had dipped in the Abanah and Pharpar?  What is the spiritual result of men following their own wisdom?  Be ready to share passages which show this with the class.

 

 

 

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BIBLE INTERPRETATION:  LESSON #3

                                                 UNDERSTANDING THE COVENANTS

 

1.Two major covenants in the Bible:

     a.  Who did God make the covenant with?  What did God promise them?  Was the promise conditional or unconditional?  What was used to formally "ratify" the covenant between God and the people? (Ex 19:1-8; 24:1-11; Lev 26:12)

 

 

 

 

     b.  Who did God make the covenant with?  What did God promise them?  Was the promise conditional or unconditional?  What was used to formally "ratify" the covenant between God and the people? (Eph 2:11-22;  2 Cor 6:16-7:1; Acts 10:34-35; Mt 26:27-28; Heb 9:15-18)

 

 

 

 

2.  Contrast of the two covenants (2 Cor 3:6-18)

     a.  contrast the results,  glory, and the duration of the two covenants  (vs. 6-11)

 

 

 

     b.  explain the point made from the illustration of Moses wearing the veil and taking it off  (vs. 12-18; cp Ex 34:29-35)

 

 

3.  Are men today under the Law of Moses, the conditions of the Old Covenant?  Acts 15:5, 28-29; Rom 7:1-4; 1 Cor 9:20-21; Eph 2:15; Col 2:14

 

    a.  Are Christians under the 10 commandments?

 

    b.  Is it O.K. To steal?  (Why or why not?)

 

    c.  Should Christians keep the sabbath?  (Why or why not?)

 

    d.  Should Christians have special priests?   Tithe?  Use instrumental music in worship?  (Why or why not?)

 

 

4.  Why should I study the Old Covenant?  1 Pet 1:10-12; Jn 5:39, 45-46; Acts 17:1-4; 1 Cor 10:1-12; Rom 15:4; Js 5:16-18; Heb 11:1-12:1?

 

 

 

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BIBLE INTERPRETATION:  LESSON #4

                TWO QUESTIONS NECESSARY IN UNDERSTANDING THE WORD OF GOD

 

Introduction

 

When the lawyer put Jesus to the test, asking what he must do to inherit eternal life, Jesus replied with what two questions?  (Lk 10:25-26)  These are the same two questions which we must answer if we are to properly understand the will of God on any matter, including the most important question of how to inherit eternal life.

  

WHAT IS WRITTEN?:  WHAT DO THE SCRIPTURES SAY?   WHAT ARE THE FACTS?

1.Look the word "written" up in a concordance.  Discuss the use of the phrase "it is written".  In view of what you found, how important is it for us as Bible students to find out what "is written"?

 

2.What Bible study helps should you turn to find out "What is written?"

 

 

HOW DOES IT READ TO YOU?  WHAT DO THE SCRIPTURES MEAN TO YOU?  HOW DO YOU INTERPRET THE FACTS AND APPLY THEM TO YOURSELF? 

1.Jesus expected the lawyer to be able to interpret and apply Scripture and, indeed, he did so correctly.  Jesus' further discussion with him  (Lk 10:29-37) also shows that He expects men to be able to reason from the evidence presented to them  and draw a  conclusion and make application.  Compare this with those who say men need the Holy Spirit's help to understand the Scriptures or that only the "Clergy" can understand them.

 

 

2.When God revealed the great truth that the Gentiles are accepted for salvation, He did so by presenting evidence and letting men draw the conclusion.  He "implied" and let men "infer".  Note the evidence given in each passage below and the conclusion reached and action taken: 

    a.  Evidence (Acts 10:9-22), Conclusion and Action (10:23-29)

 

 

    b.  Evidence (Acts 10:30-33), Conclusion and Action (10:34-43)

 

 

    c.  Evidence (Acts 10:44-46), Conclusion and Action (10:47-48)

  

 

3.When interpreting the Scriptures, when should we draw a conclusion?  When shouldn't we?

 

 

4.The Scriptures warn us to teach and practice only  what we find contained in them.  As we seek to handle the Word of God accurately (2 Tim 2:15), we must try our hardest not to?:   a) Rev 22:18-19,  b) 2 Pet 3:15-16

 

 

5.Read 1 Cor 2:9-13.  How do men know what is on our mind?  How do men know what is on God's mind? How do we feel when men misinterpret what we say?  How must God feel?

 

 

 

 

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BIBLE INTERPRETATION:  LESSON #5

                                         THE IMPORTANCE OF CONTEXT AND HARMONY

Read Matthew 4:5-7

1.What key word or phrase (depending on your translation) did Jesus say  before "it is written" in response to Satan's quotation of Psalms 91:11,12?

 

2.What does Jesus teach us about the proper way to interpret Scripture by the way He replied to Satan?

 

3.Can one Scripture ever be set against another Scripture in a contradictory manner?  Why or why not?

 

4.Explain how Dt 6:16 proves that Ps 91:11,12 does not mean that Jesus could jump from the pinnacle of the temple and the angels would catch Him.

 

5.What had Satan done wrong in his interpretation of Psalms 91:11,12 which made it contradict a passage found in the rest of Scripture (Dt 6:16)?  Read Psalms 91:13 to see his mistake.

 

6.Define the word "context".  Putting Jesus' teaching about context into a formula, it would read:  "immediate" context + "remote" context = "total" context of any passage.  Explain what this means.

 

 

Exercise:  Using the proper method of interpretation as shown by Jesus in Mt 4:5-7 (the rule of context and harmony) , use one Scripture to answer each of the following errors in Bible interpretation:

 

John 3:16:    Man is saved by faith only.  There is nothing we must do to be saved.

 

Jn 10:28:      A believer once he is saved, cannnot be lost.

 

Ps 51:5:        Children are born sinners.

 

1 Cor 1:17    Baptism is not necessary for salvation.

 

Rev 20:4      There will be a 1000 year reign of Christ on the earth with His saints when He returns.

 

Phil 2:12      You can find your own way to salvation.  There is not just one way.

 

1 Cor 11:26  There is no set time to take the Lord's Supper- this is how you do it "as often as you eat and drink".

 

Acts 16:16    Since a "household" was baptized, infant baptism is authorized.

 

Acts 13:14    Paul preached in the synagogue on the Sabbath, so Christians should keep the Sabbath.

 

1 Cor 14:1    Christians today should earnestly desire spiritual gifts.

 

 

 

 

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BIBLE INTERPRETATION:  LESSON #6

                                                             FIGURATIVE LANGUAGE

1.What is meant by  "figurative language"?  Can it cause problems in interpretation?  (see Jn 4:15; 6:52)

 

 

2.Here are some examples of the various kinds of figurative language.  Define them:

     a.  simile-

 

     b.  metaphor-

 

     c.  symbol-

 

     d.  type-

 

3.In what parts of the Bible do we find figurative language used more?  Used less?

 

 

4.We should recognize that a passage is using figurative language when:

      a.  The passage says it is figurative (e.g. Jn 2:18-22- "temple", 7:37-39  "living water out of belly")

 

      b.  A literal interpretation is impossible (when the context does not indicate the miraculous is involved)  (e.g. Jer 1:18; Ps 18:1-2; Isa 11:6-10; Mt 8:22, 26:26-28)

 

 

      c.  A literal interpretation will cause one passage to contradict another  (e.g. Ps 91:11-12 and Dt 6:16- see lesson #5)  Comment on the following:

 

i..Hos 8:13 and 11:5

 

ii..Lk 14:26 and Mt 15:3-6

 

iii..Mt 18:8-9 and Col 2:23

 

      d.  Common sense; obvious that the statement is to be understood in its context as figurative.

 

 

5.How do we know how to interpret figurative language?

 

     a.  The author interprets it  (e.g. Jn 2:18-22; Jn 7:37-39; Mt 16:5-12)

 

     b.  Another inspired author interprets it  (e.g. Mt 11:14 interprets Mal 4:5-6; Acts 2:16ff  inteprets Joel 2:28)

         

     c.  Facts of history  (e.g.  Dan 2:39-45)  What kingdoms arose after the Babylonians?

 

 

     d.  In context:  in a way which does not conflict with literal language elswhere in Scripture  Cp. How some interpret Rev 20:4 as 1000 year reign of saints with Jesus on the earth after His return with 2 Pet 3:10)

 

 

     e.  Using common sense in seeing the natural implication of the language (e.g. Hos 8:13  Meaning of "Egypt"?  ; Ps 18:1-2  Meaning of "rock"; Jer 1:18  meaning of "fortified city", etc.?)

 

 

 

 

 

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BIBLE INTERPRETATION:  LESSON #7

 

  FIGURES OF SPEECH

 

In addition to the simile, metaphor, symbol, and type studied in lesson #6, there are many other figures of speech used by God to communicate His mind to us in human language.  We must understand them in order to properly interpret His message.  In this lesson, we will notice several of these figures of speech.  For each one, give a definition from a dictionary or, if you have access to it, D.R. Dungan's Hermenautics and tell why the passage listed is a good example of this figure of speech:

 

1.parable  (2 Sam 12:1-6)-

 

 

2.fable  (Jdgs 9:6-21)-

 

 

3.similitude (Mt 7:24-27)-

 

 

4.allegory (Gal 4:21-31)-

 

 

5.metonymy (Lk 22:20)-

 

 

6.synechdoche (Acts 19:27)-

 

 

7.proverb (Prov 22:6)-

 

 

8.irony (Amos 4:4-5)-

 

 

9.sarcasm (Jn 9:27)-

 

 

10.hyperbole (Mt 19:24)-

 

 

11.personification (1 Cor 13:4-8)-

 

 

12.interrogation (Rom 8:31-35)-

 

 

13.prolepsis (Mt 22:30)-

 

 

14.parallelism (Ps 49:1-2)-

 

 

15.antithesis (2 Cor 6:8-10)-

 

 

 

BIBLE INTERPRETATION:  LESSON #8

       IS THE THE SILENCE OF GOD PERMISSIVE OR PROHIBITIVE?

 

1.When God has not spoken, what is man to do?

     a.  When Israel was surrounded by the Egyptians and the Red Sea, what did Moses tell them to do?  Ex 14:10-14.  Then God spoke and gave what instruction?  (vs. 15-18)

 

 

     b.   God said that the one who blasphemed His name would be punished (Ex 20:7).  A man blaphemed (Lev 24:10-11).  How did the Israelites handle the situation?  (vs. 12-16)  Why didn't they just assign the man a punishment of their choosing?

 

 

     c.   How did Moses respond to those who were unclean at Passover time who wanted to present their sacrifices anyway?  (Num 9:1-8)  What was God's command?  (vs. 9-14)  In what other ways might have Moses answered the men if he had just used his own judgment?

 

 

     d.  Since the penalty for sabbath breaking had already been revealed (Ex 35:2), why did Israel wait for instruction about what to do with a man who was found gathering wood on the sabbath day?  (Num 15:32-36)  What does this show about their understanding of God and their attitude toward Him?

 

 

2.When men have acted when God has no spoken, how has God reacted?

     a.  Nadab and Abihu (Lev 10:1-3)-  Why was God not "sanctified and glorified" by Nadab and Abihu's offering?

 

 

    b.  David, Uzzah (1 Chron 13:6-14; Background:  Ex 25:14-15, Num 4:15, 7:1-9; 1 Chron 15:11-15)-Why did Uzzah die?  How did David finally realize that God must be sought?

 

 

    c.   Uzziah (2 Chron 26:15-21; cp Heb 7:11-14)- Uzziah was of what tribe?  Did the Law of Moses anywhere say this tribe could not offer incense in the temple?  So, why was Uzziah condemned by the priests and punished by God?  What sinful attitude led to his sin?

 

 

3.If God has not spoken in the N.T. about a matter, how long will we be waiting for Him to speak? (Jude 3)

 

 

4.  What is the spiritual condition of one who does not stay within what God has spoken?  (2 Jn 9)

 

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