To Understand, Interpret and Apply the Bible, Pay Attention to the Following:

By Ifeanyi A. C. Eze.

(1). Look at the chapter contextually.

Don’t pick a verse from a chapter and twist it to suit the point you want to make. It is called eisegesis. Understanding the context will help you to apply a verse or verses appropriately.

Before you interpret and apply any verse of verses:

check the writers audience
their tradition
culture
what happened when the writer penned that book or chapter.

Most illustrations in the Bible are borrowed from either Jewish or Greek culture. Most of the people God inspired (2 Timothy 3:16) to write His Word are Jewish. They used the culture they were familiar with to flesh out stories and allegories. Jesus’ parables are good examples.

While writing to the church at Corinth, Paul used istimean games to illustrate 1 Corinthians 9:24-27.

Failing to do this is why people say Deuteronomy 22:5 is talking about design of cloth (trousers).

It is also the reason why people say this verse…

“But bring here those enemies of mine, who did not want me to reign over them, and slay them before me.’ ” Luke 19:27.

…is a license to kill enemies with prayer in the New Testament. They forgot it was a parable shared by Jesus that delineates what will happen to unbelievers on the day of judgement.

Stop twisting scriptures to suit your narrative. Interpret it contextually.

(2). Scriptures should interpret scriptures.

What we call revelation sometimes is imposing our opinion on the Bible.

Every student of the Bible should know this. Every subject can be located in several books and chapters of the Bible. Let the Bible speak by itself.

(3). Consider the dispensation

Before you apply the Old Testament (especially when you’re teaching Bible Doctrine), understand that your audience are believers (unless otherwise). You may pick a verse from it and condemn a believer who is already saved by grace.

Brother Paul said,

“7 But if the ministry of death, written and engraved on stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not look steadily at the face of Moses because of the glory of his countenance, which glory was passing away, 8 how will the ministry of the Spirit not be more glorious? 9 For if the ministry of condemnation had glory, the ministry of righteousness exceeds much more in glory. 10 For even what was made glorious had no glory in this respect, because of the glory that excels. 11 For if what is passing away was glorious, what remains is much more glorious.

12 Therefore, since we have such hope, we use great boldness of speech— 13 unlike Moses, who put a veil over his face so that the children of Israel could not look steadily at the end of what was passing away. 14 But their minds were blinded. For until this day the same veil remains unlifted in the reading of the Old Testament, because the veil is taken away in Christ. 15 But even to this day, when Moses is read, a veil lies on their heart.” 2 Corinthians 3:7-15.

When you pick a verse from the Old Testament, look for similar stories, verse or verses from the Gospels and Epistles. That way, it can be applied appropriately.

To be continued.

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