10 Tips On How Not To Be Presumptuous With Your Bible Interpretations.

Mag-Glass-Check1. Don’t presume that your English Bible translations are accurate down to the ‘jot & tittle.’

2. Don’t presume that because you have strung bible verses together making an iron clad logical argument, that there haven’t been logical fallacies committed along the way.

3. Don’t presume that another’s GRAMMATICAL-HISTORICAL-CULTURAL lenses from another age are more ‘authoritative’ than the ‘Mind of Christ’ which God has given you in this age. (1 Corinthians 2:16)

4. Don’t presume that ‘Taking the Bible literally,’ is a bad or good thing until you understand what it means to ‘take the bible literally.’

5. Don’t presume that everything is prescriptive (prescribed as in ‘what you should do’), instead of what may have been incidentally descriptive (described as in ‘what was done’).

6. Don’t presume to lump the 66 books of the bible into one ‘book.’ Each genre, literary style, narrative, and ‘section’ have their purpose and message.

7. Don’t presume that it’s not about semantics. It is. Words mean things.  But likewise, don’t presume that over-dissection of words always yields a ‘deeper meaning.’

8. Don’t presume that because the bible mentions a subject, it treats that subject exhaustively.

9. Don’t presume that you can look at biblical text with ‘complete objectivity.’

And finally

10.  Don’t presume that when you’ve translated/interpreted a given verse in such a way that it contradicts the clear teaching of another verse somewhere else in scripture, that your interpretation is correct.


Would you add anything to this list? What?

0 thoughts on “10 Tips On How Not To Be Presumptuous With Your Bible Interpretations.

  1. Marshall says:

    * best not to presume that an apparent contradiction is actually so, nor that every congruety is as such (remain prepared to look further).

    * avoid bringing “Christianese” or trendy/slang definitions to a Bible.

    * avoid dependence upon exegetical speakers (i.e., pulpit philosophers) for Bible interpretation.

    * don’t presume that God commanded these 66 (or, 73) scrolls to be bound together.

    and with these in mind, also adjusting #10…

    10. If you translate any given verse of scripture in such a way that causes it to contradict another passage of scripture, then your interpretation may be amiss (remain prepared to look further).

  2. David Woods says:

    Oh, you know me, I could come up with plenty. Let’s start with:

    Don’t presume that one concrete, absolute answer can be found that applies to everyone, for every question by Scripture study alone.

    Don’t presume that someone else’s hours of study being greater than your own, automatically equals to them having a greater understanding of a particular subject than your own.

    Don’t presume that God’s thoughts pertaining to a subject in your life can be inferred from Scripture. Or that they should be. (Original intent is something that must be inferred from the writings of people from the past [ie: America’s forefathers] because they are currently dead. This is not the case with the Bible, and it should not be treated as such)

    Don’t presume that the “correct” interpretation lies with any man. It lies with the “author” of the book who purposely made some things crystal clear, and left others obscure for a reason.

    Don’t presume that all Hebrew words are necessarily correctly defined by the various popular dictionaries there are to choose from. Hebrew was a completely dead language for a long time.

    Last but not least, simply don’t presume. Ask. And don’t ask me, or some theologian or teacher, or commentarian, or any other human being. Ask Him, the one that wrote the book, what HE thinks it means.

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