Of The Holy Scriptures
Chapter 1, Paragraph 9.
“The infallible rule of interpretation of Scripture is the Scripture itself: And therefore when there is a question about the true and full sense of any Scripture (which is not manifold but one), it must be searched by other places that speak more clearly.”
2 Peter 1:20, 21.
Acts 15: 15,16.
There is a story told of blind men who want to know what an elephant is like. They finally get to touch an elephant, but since they are at different parts of the large animal, their impression of what an elephant is like varies greatly. One thinks an elephant is like a fan, one insists it is a tree; yet another claims it is like a snake. The moral is that while the blind men differ in their views, they are all still right.
Scripture is not like the proverbial elephant the blind men are touching. (Unsurprisingly, that tale comes from eastern religions.) Christians know that truth is not relative. Yet you wouldn’t know it if you’ve ever heard in a Bible study,”What does this passage mean to you?” While it may be a popular question to ask, it is nonetheless the wrong question. Instead, one should ask, “What does this passage mean in light of Scripture?”
There are not many meanings of a passage, but one. Scripture determines that one meaning. This is commonly known as “Scripture interprets Scripture.” When attempting to understand a passage, one must look at the context of the passage, and then compare the text to the rest of Scripture, especially to those parts that are clearer. The wholly inspired commentary on the Old Testament is the New Testament. This rule of interpretation supports the belief that Scripture is the only sufficient, certain, and infallible rule of all saving knowledge, faith and obedience. If we believe that, then may our actions when we study the Bible match that belief.
Question to Consider
- Do you let Scripture to be the final interpreter of Scripture, or your own interpretation?