Have you ever wondered why it is that some people come up with completely different interpretations of the same verses? In fact, isn’t that how sects start. Have you ever wondered what is the correct way to understand the meaning of the bible and how to come to that understanding?
Well, there is a way to do that. In avoiding some common mistakes you can come to a clearer understanding of the Bible. In understanding these mistakes you will also recognize when and how they are being used to build another gospel to create an unorthodox doctrine by many liberal theologians today.
Theologian Norman Geisler, in his Systematic Theology, Volume One has some helpful advice for us:
The objective meaning of a text is the one given to it by the author, not the one attributed to it by the reader. Readers should ask what was meant by the author, not what it means to the reader. Once a reader discovers what the author meant by the text, he has obtained its objective meaning. Thus, asking, “What does it mean to me?” is the wrong question, and it will almost certainly lead to a subjective interpretation. Asking of the author, “What did he mean?” will almost certainly lead the reader in the right direction, that is, toward the objective meaning.
If you go HERE you will find 17 common mistakes that people make when interpreting scripture. This site (Bill Pratt’s Tough Questions Answered) has a six part series on “How Not To Read The Bible”. The author of this six part series has researched a book by theologian Norman Geisler and Tomas Howe called, The Big Book of Bible Difficulties and has written several posts outlining 17 common mistakes. Bill Pratt has given us a quick synopsis of each of the 17 which I have found to be very useful in my own study.
I will quickly outline the 17 common mistakes that lead people away from a doctrinally sound interpretation of scripture:
Mistake #1: Assuming that the Unexplained Is Not Explainable.
Mistake #2: Presuming the Bible Guilty Until Proven Innocent
Mistake #3: Confusing Our Fallible Interpretations with God’s Infallible Revelation.
Mistake #4: Failing to Understand the Context of the Passage.
Mistake #5: Neglecting to Interpret Difficult Passages in the Light of Clear Ones.
Mistake #6: Basing a Teaching on an Obscure Passage.
Mistake #7: Forgetting that the Bible Is a Human Book with Human Characteristics.
Mistake #8: Assuming that a Partial Report is a False Report.
Mistake #9: Demanding that NT Citations of the OT Always Be Exact Quotations.
Mistake #10: Assuming that Divergent Accounts Are False Ones.
Mistake #11: Presuming that the Bible Approves of All it Records.
Mistake #12: Forgetting that the Bible Uses Non-technical, Everyday Language.
Mistake #13: Assuming that Round Numbers Are False.
Mistake #14: Neglecting to Note that the Bible Uses Different Literary Devices.
Mistake #15: Forgetting that Only the Original Text, Not Every Copy of Scripture, Is without Error.
Mistake #16: Confusing General Statements with Universal Ones.
Mistake #17: Forgetting that Later Revelation Supersedes Previous Revelation.
Understanding these 17 mistakes has helped me tremendously in my study of the Word. I hope you find them useful too.