The Staff in Training (SiT) Nav staff in the Rocky Mountain Region are reading the book “Understand“, by Walt Henrichsen over Christmas break.
While it has one of the worst covers I have ever seen, it is a great and simple read when it comes to interpreting the Bible… something lots of people are familiar with yet few actually understand which makes this such an immensely important topic!
In this book Walt Henrichsen sets out 24 principles for interpreting the Bible. If you want a snapshot of all of them, you can see them here, but these are my top four:
Rule 5: Biblical examples are authoritative only when supported by a command
Lots of people read things in the Bible (i.e: Jesus waking up early and praying with God in Mark 1) and think that is a command for all Christians. They don’t realize that while it may be a conviction for them and it was something Jesus did, it’s not a command and they misinterpret the passage.
Rule 6: The primary purpose of the Bible is to change our lives, not increase our knowledge
Wow. Super convicting. Any Christian who takes the Bible seriously and spends time studying it should always remember this. Don’t forget Satan has a masters in biblical theology and quoted it to the Son of God.
Rule 7: Each Christian has the right and responsibility to investigate and interpret the Word of God for himself
“Today there are a multitude of available translations and paraphrases, making access to the Bible easy for anyone who can read. Yet our generation seems to be producing biblically illiterate people.”
People don’t want to put in the time to studying the Bible or they think it is irrelevant to their lives, thus not worth their time. It is sad but a challenge that God’s Word is the milk that grows us up into salvation (1 Peter 2:1,2) and thus necessary for believers!
Rule 10: Scripture has only one meaning and should be taken literally
I’ll just leave that right his for you… “If your conclusion is the result of your trying to get God to behave the way you think He should, then again your whole approach to interpretation is wrong. You are God’s servant. Your task is to understand who He is and what He expects. The objective of your Bible study is not to confirm your ideas of what God is like.”
All of his rules are really good and very simple but those were the ones that stuck out to me as especially important and ones many people forget about or just ignore today.
Understanding the Bible can be hard but it is so important! I hope this is a useful resource to anyone who wants to an introduction into interpreting the Bible.