Aloha From The Pastor’s Desk!
An Important Rule To Follow In Biblical Interpretation
By Pastor Harold J. Harold Kilborn
As a full time pastor for almost forty-one years, I do realize how important it is to know some of the rules of biblical interpretation. It is so easy to read into the text what is not there, or to make a doctrine out of something that was not taught. One of the most important rules in interpreting the Bible is: CONTEXT. What is the context saying?
It is so easy to mis-interpret or read into text what is not there. Besides context, it is so important we take the Bible in a literal sense, unless the context so dictates it is to be taken in figurative sense.
Second, when reading the Bible, ask the Holy Spirit to give you ‘Illumination.” All sixty-six books are known as ‘God’s Revelation,” but we need the Spirit of God, who inspired the Scriptures to give us illumination, or better put, turn on the lights.
Third, pay attention to grammar. This is very important in reading the Bible. Fourth, it is important to study the historical background. We need to understand the Bible is an eastern book, and if you try to interpret the Bible in light of our Western Culture, you are going to get bloodied up.
Here is the last, surround yourself with good solid biblical teachers. There are so many of them and check out their educational background. I have my favorite scholars and I would encourage you to be eclectic, that is, read many good books by many good bible teachers, men of great learning.
Here Is Another Important Rule
At any rate, here is a very important rule, or criteria, that I hope will be a blessing to you as to what teachings should be considered doctrines and should be practiced in the church, versus those teachings that are human in origin.
The first rule is: Was it taught in the gospels? The second rule: Was it practiced in the book of Acts? The third rule: Was it expanded upon or amplified in the epistles? Remember, this is a very important principle to follow. If it’s something that is to be practiced now, it should have been taught by Christ; it should have been practiced in the book of Acts, and it should have been expanded upon or amplified in the doctrinal epistles.
Take for example the ‘Lord’s Supper’. Is the Lord’s Supper for the church today? Yes! Jesus said to his twelve disciples, “…do this in remembrance of me”. In the book of Acts, we see it was practiced by the early church and expanded upon in the epistles in 2 Corinthians the eleventh chapter.
When it comes to ‘Water Baptism’, should that be something we practice now? Yes! Jesus told his disciples in Matthew 28 to go into the world baptizing all that come to Christ. They also did it in the book of Acts and it was written about in the epistles.
How do we find out what teachings are to be considered biblical New Testament doctrines? This is a very important criterion we need to follow. You can apply it to other things as well. Let’s take ‘Foot Washing’. Should we wash each other’s feet and make it a doctrine? No. Some churches do practice foot washing and it doesn’t do any harm, but one cannot make a doctrine out of it. Yes, Jesus washed his disciples’ feet and that was part of the culture back then. But was foot washing practiced in the book of Acts and expanded upon in the epistles? No!
In closing, remember these three important rules and you can apply it to other things. I hope this has been a blessing to you.