There exists many denominations, creeds and beliefs within the world of Christianity, and from this has arisen differences of opinion regarding the view of Scriptures. This is due, in great part, to having a faulty system of Biblical interpretation, or not having a system at all. Realizing the fallen nature of man, necessitates the use of hermeneutics in the study of Scripture. Consider the following:
- Sin darkened the understanding of man, and still exercises a pernicious influence on his conscious mental life. Therefore, special efforts must be made to guard against error.
- Men differ from one another in many ways that naturally cause them to drift apart mentally. They differ, for instance: a) in intellectual capacity, aesthetic taste, and moral quality resulting in a lack of spiritual affinity; b) in intellectual attainment, some being educated and others uneducated; and c) in nationality, with a corresponding difference in language, forms of thought, customs and morals.
- The intelligent study of the Bible only will furnish men with the material which they need for the construction of their theology. (Ed. It is crucial that believers first learn how to study the Bible, then form their theology, not learn a theology first.)
- Every teaching ought to rest on a solid exegetical foundation. This is one of the greatest needs of the present day.
- Believers unexpectedly called upon to interpret Scripture require a good understanding of the laws of interpretation.
- It is part of the believer’s duty to defend the truth against assaults of higher criticism, but in order to do this effectively, they must understand and know how to handle the truth.
Taken from “Principles of Biblical Interpretation, L. Berkhof, B.D., President Emeritus, 1950, Baker Book House. Edited by D. Corpus.
The Biblical Rules for Interpreting Scripture:
- The study of the historical, cultural and political background of the setting
- The rule of logic
- The rule of inference
- The rule of definition of terms from Hebrew, Greek, Aramaic
- The rule of the unity of Scripture
- The rule of context
- The rule of word usage
- The rule of precedent
- The parabolic, mystical, prophetic and literal meaning
- The rule of original author, and audience relevance
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