In Part one of Explaining Divine History, one must realize there was one way of salvation. That way of salvation was understood according to what God revealed to man at his point in history. To Adam and Eve, God revealed the first gospel message in Genesis 3:15. The seed of the woman would crush the seed of Satan and all rebellion would be paid for satisfying the righteousness of God. Later, Abraham believed God would provide through His promise that a seed (child) would be born that would remove the penalty for sin. Salvation by faith is the consistent requirement and is found only in God’s provision through Jesus Christ. It was fully revealed and explained in the completed canon of Scripture.
So how do you interpret that canon of Scripture to get one clear interpretation? There is one interpretation and many applications. In order to understand that one clear interpretation, the student of Scripture must follow a “Literal Historico-grammatical” approach to interpreting. That means he looks at the literal or natural view of what the passage is saying. Secondly, he looks at the history surrounding the Scripture as it was written in that culture by that author to that audience. And thirdly, he looks at the words and the arrangement of the words to get the correct interpretation. A correct interpretation must be done from the Hebrew and Chaldean in the Old Testament and Greek from the New Testament. Another word used to describe interpretation is “hermeneutics.”
Why is this important? Please note the following principles. The divinely inspired Bible must be interpreted based on a “literal historico-grammatical” approach (2 Tim. 3:16-17)
· God means what He says and says what He means. Any apparent problem merely needs careful study to understand God’s unity of truth so that there are no contradictions.
· God speaks through different authors using their education, personality and background. You can tell by their letters that many different personalities, educational training and backgrounds were used in the writings.
· God speaks through different forms of literature that must be interpreted based on that type of literature.
o Narrative literature must have consistency in historical accounts.
o Poetry must consider rules of symmetry, parallelism, creativity and contrast.
o Epistles must be considered regarding the audience and application.
o Eschatology must be considered related to other eschatological passages.
· The literal interpretation is made unless the context dictates that the words or phrases are used as a metaphor or another figure of speech Dan. 9:26; Zech 6:12.
· The Bible must be interpreted as a united whole, because it has one divine author 2 Pet. 1:20-21
· Scripture must be interpreted to include both the Sovereign purposes of God and the free will of Man John 3:16
Because God is the author of Scripture, there can be no contradictions in the original manuscripts recorded by the human authors. Those human authors were “carried along” (2 Peter. 1:20-21), so that God’s complete thought toward man was recorded for man without destroying the literary style, vocabulary or background of the human authors in the original manuscripts. Where there seems to be a contradiction, it is necessary to compare Scripture with Scripture. Where difficult passages are found, the natural reading of Scripture is used in that genre of literature. Too many theological systems impose their theology on the Scripture rather than taking the natural or normal reading of the Scripture.
The next installment will describe that God’s promises to Israel were not nice words, but literal promises to the nation of Israel and have yet to be fulfilled.