How to read the bible .. what the bible says about that ..

Michael Collum

How to read the bible .. what the bible says about that ..

Michael Collum, A disciple of Jesus Christ, How to interpret the bible .. According to the bible .. July 12 2010

Hmm well i would say first of all let the text instruct you how to read the text .

quite often i see some formulae or basis based on man's distinctions and classifications of the text ruling over how the interpretation works . but when you read the bible like it's any other book . then that's the kind of interpretation you get . you might as well be reading moby dick, 1984, or the fifth business for that matter . but all that aside let's get down to business how does the bible tell us to read it?

1) John 16:13

13But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.

Since the Spirit of God is supposed to lead us into all truth then we should seek His guidance first .

2) 1 Corinthians 13:1-3

1If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.

Truth without Love (read the rest of this chapter and John 15:13 and that about sums up what love is, if you want more detail go look it up in 1st John and the letter of James it will be edifying) is not Truth at all . Jesus is Love . Jesus is the Truth . God is Love, God is not of love but is love . Love just is . and Jesus as he walked in this world .. is truth . as He said "i am the way, the truth and the life, none come to the Father except through me ." Jesus is Love, and Jesus is the Truth . and truth must be spoken/lived in love or it is not truth at all .

3) James 2:8-13

8If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, "Love your neighbor as yourself,"9But if you show favoritism, you sin and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers. 10For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it. 11For he who said, "Do not commit adultery," also said, "Do not murder." If you do not commit adultery but do commit murder, you have become a lawbreaker. you are doing right.

12Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom, 13because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment!

The point here is when reading the scripture applying the scripture to others as you would apply it to yourself comes first . and with this is not showing any favoritism . you must ask yourself, if this is my interpretation how would this affect those around me if they were to actually follow it . or hear it and have to decide whether it was a good thing to do or not? According to James, who was speaking to Jews who knew the scriptures from birth .. and became Christians, that they are to be merciful before slamming down the figurative gavel . If you show judgment without mercy, the author of this letter seems to indicate that the lake of fire is waiting for you or something . (the parable of the unmerciful servant comes to mind) but who wants to be judged "without" mercy? Just judge as you would like to be judged also . Love others as God has loved you first . remember this premise when reading the scriptures .

4) Galatians 3:1-3

1O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you?
2This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?
3Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?

Since the Holy Spirit leads us into all truth . our application is actually very important in learning from Him . If you get into a culture that tells you that you need to follow the law to get the blessing . Paul has identified this as witchcraft ("who has bewitched you") and "being made complete in the flesh" which is anything but Godly . Anything you discover will come from a wrong premise because God has not taught you this . so take Heed, begin in the Spirit of God, and become mature in the Spirit of God also .

5) John 15:25-27

25But this cometh to pass, that the word might be fulfilled that is written in their law, They hated me without a cause.
26But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me:
27And ye also shall bear witness, because ye have been with me from the beginning.

This passage shows that the psalms are also to be regarded as "law" as Jesus called the Psalms "law" . (They hated me without a cause)

6) John 15:26 indicates that when the Spirit of God interprets the text . It testifies of Jesus Christ . as it is written in the Revelation "the testimony of Jesus is the Spirit of Prophecy"

7) Luke 24:43-45

43and he took it and ate it in their presence.
44He said to them, "This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms."
45Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures.

One of the purposes of the scripture is that what was written about Jesus was in the law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms, so since we are to be like Him in this world . then we too will find what is written of us in these books .

8) In Luke 24:45 we learn that God opens our minds so we can understand the scriptures . Man's methods are not helpful . God's wisdom and our wisdom comes from a different premise . if you are relying on another person's interpretation to teach you how to read the bible . get ready to change your perspective a lot and be frustrated . if you're relying on God to teach you . get ready to change your perspective a lot and actually live the messages He teaches you .

I have not departed from thy judgments: for thou hast taught me. (Psalm 119:102)

9) Psalm 119:99-100

99I have more understanding than all my teachers: for thy testimonies are my meditation.
100I understand more than the ancients, because I keep thy precepts.

So when you live in His most excellent way and meditate on the way day and night . Then you too will be experiencing things that people before you haven't . you will have more understanding because your experience of God exceeds their knowledge of the scripture .

10) Colossians 2:13-23

13When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, 14having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross. 15And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.

So in the act of saving you .. God cancelled the written code and it's regulations and it's power and authority over you . if you have a problem with that concept . talk to God . He did it, not me .

11) Colossians 2:16-19

16Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. 17These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ. 18Do not let anyone who delights in false humility and the worship of angels disqualify you for the prize. Such a person goes into great detail about what he has seen, and his unspiritual mind puffs him up with idle notions. 19He has lost connection with the Head, from whom the whole body, supported and held together by its ligaments and sinews, grows as God causes it to grow.

This passage is warning you to not listen to people who claim to have "had a vision" and the punchline is that you need to follow the the dietary laws, feasts, or even have a "biblical" sabbath . don't listen to them . they are wrong . Paul said . but, if you have a problem with that you can die first . then argue with Paul at the resurrection if you like . ;)

12) Colossians 2:20-23

20Since you died with Christ to the basic principles of this world, why, as though you still belonged to it, do you submit to its rules: 21"Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!"? 22These are all destined to perish with use, because they are based on human commands and teachings. 23Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with their self-imposed worship, their false humility and their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence.

Matthew 19:18

He saith unto them, Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so.

DND (do not do) commandments are actually human commandments even if they're written in the scripture . Paul said . but if this concept is a problem for you, i suppose that is too bad . Pray that God softens your heart so you no longer wish to do things your way . but His . and cut people some slack like He cut you a whole lot of slack when He paid your debt for you on the cross .

13) James 3:13-16

13Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? let him shew out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom.
14But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth.
15This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish.
16For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work.

If someone is pushing an agenda, and is acting out of of bitterness, or envy of someone elses's interpretation proliferating that just happens to be different from theirs ... their interpretation is automatically wrong .. even if it is scriptural . Paul didn't take help from a demon possessed person promoting the gospel . so we are not to let wolves in sheep's clothing rile up the flock with their agendas . James said . but, if that's a problem for you i suppose you could rip the book of James out of your bible .. but i wouldn't .

14) Luke 16:16

The law and the prophets were until John: since that time the kingdom of God is preached, and every man presseth into it. (Luke 16:16)

Hebrews 8:7

For if that first covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second.

Hebrews 8:8-13

8But God found fault with the people and said:
"The time is coming, declares the Lord,
when I will make a new covenant
with the house of Israel
and with the house of Judah.
9It will not be like the covenant
I made with their forefathers
when I took them by the hand
to lead them out of Egypt,
because they did not remain faithful to my covenant,
and I turned away from them, declares the Lord.
10This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel
after that time, declares the Lord.
I will put my laws in their minds
and write them on their hearts.
I will be their God,
and they will be my people.
11No longer will a man teach his neighbor,
or a man his brother, saying, 'Know the Lord,'
because they will all know me,
from the least of them to the greatest.
12For I will forgive their wickedness
and will remember their sins no more."

13By calling this covenant "new," he has made the first one obsolete; and what is obsolete and aging will soon disappear.

Hebrews 9:12-17

12He did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves; but he entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, having obtained eternal redemption. 13The blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkled on those who are ceremonially unclean sanctify them so that they are outwardly clean. 14How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God!
15For this reason Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance—now that he has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant.
16In the case of a will, it is necessary to prove the death of the one who made it, 17because a will is in force only when somebody has died; it never takes effect while the one who made it is living.

The old covenant is over . We do not rely on written words in the same capacity as the old covenant . We rely on what God has written in our hearts .

15) Matthew 19:7-12

7They say unto him, Why did Moses then command to give a writing of divorcement, and to put her away?
8He saith unto them, Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so.
9And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery.
10His disciples say unto him, If the case of the man be so with his wife, it is not good to marry.
11But he said unto them, All men cannot receive this saying, save they to whom it is given.
12For there are some eunuchs, which were so born from their mother's womb: and there are some eunuchs, which were made eunuchs of men: and there be eunuchs, which have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven's sake. He that is able to receive it, let him receive it.

Matthew 12:1-8

1At that time Jesus went on the sabbath day through the corn; and his disciples were an hungred, and began to pluck the ears of corn and to eat.
2But when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto him, Behold, thy disciples do that which is not lawful to do upon the sabbath day.
3But he said unto them, Have ye not read what David did, when he was an hungred, and they that were with him;
4How he entered into the house of God, and did eat the shewbread, which was not lawful for him to eat, neither for them which were with him, but only for the priests?
5Or have ye not read in the law, how that on the sabbath days the priests in the temple profane the sabbath, and are blameless?
6But I say unto you, That in this place is one greater than the temple.
7But if ye had known what this meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice, ye would not have condemned the guiltless.
8For the Son of man is Lord even of the sabbath day.

Not all scripture is to be read as though it has equal value . The beginning order seems to surpass the law . my best guess why is because the law requires the creation to speak its message . Also David though after the law surpassed the law in Jesus' eyes because mercy is more important than sacrifice . And because God is love . God always trumps everything . Jesus was asked a question:

Mark 12:28-34

28One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, "Of all the commandments, which is the most important?"
29"The most important one," answered Jesus, "is this: 'Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.' 31The second is this: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no commandment greater than these."
32"Well said, teacher," the man replied. "You are right in saying that God is one and there is no other but him. 33To love him with all your heart, with all your understanding and with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself is more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices."
34When Jesus saw that he had answered wisely, he said to him, "You are not far from the kingdom of God." And from then on no one dared ask him any more questions.

Today, quite often the answer is "well, what do you mean greatest? all scripture is equally authoritative to each other scripture" yet Jesus didn't teach like that . He also spoke of "weightier matters"

Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone. (Matthew 23:23)

Take heed to this "hierarchy" . Jesus taught about it and Paul also used the same method of putting the weightier matters first and all else second . Colossians chapter 2 is a good passage to look at regarding this also .

16) Jesus did not interpret passages contextually .

This is your exercise . go through the gospels . read what Jesus said . then cross reference with the connected prophetic passage .. or verse from the psalms or law . and tally how many times Jesus quoted in context and how many He didn't . if you're not interested . that's fine . but doing this study will actually reduce your frustration with prooftexting that makes no sense to you . Jesus prooftexted a lot! but go look it up . this is your assignment if you feel up to it .

Also, since this is a thread . feel free to add any verses that have helped you in reading this most precious book .
17) I recall being told in the past to not "milk" parables for every shade of possible meaning . But the bible says something different . You can "milk" parables . the parables are interconnected in meaning and Jesus in giving explanation demonstrates this in the gospel of Mark .

Mark 4:13

13And he said unto them, Know ye not this parable? and how then will ye know all parables?

Go back and read the parables and keep in mind what each thing is defined in the part after the parable where Jesus explains what each part of the parable represents . And keeping all these things in mind add them together with what is said in other parables see what comes up . The kingdom belongs to children as Jesus said . so be creative . as your creator has created . the point of the parables is to explain what the kingdom of God is like so you (the kingdom) will generally understand what the kingdom is like .. and in your life recognize what God is doing in you as you become it .

So yeah, milk to your hearts content . i hear from Paul young believers need lots of milk anyway . and in love i would suggest to remember the above 16 observations when coming to life altering conclusions . it wasn't too long ago .. and i remember some of the conclusions i would come to . remember in picking apart the little parts for shades of meaning .. do not miss the point .

Matthew 23:23-26

23"Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cummin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former. 24You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel.
25"Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. 26Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean.

So take heed . no matter what you may discover from picking apart each part of the scripture and the parables in scripture . The premise of love must still govern what comes out of it . because God is Love . and God's love toward us is what the bible is all about .
18) But the man who has doubts is condemned if he eats, because his eating is not from faith; and everything that does not come from faith is sin. (Romans 14:23)

An interpretation that comes from a premise of doubt, mistrust, or unbelief is already missing the mark because it begins from a wrong premise that Paul identified in Romans as "Sin" .

There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. (1 John 4:18)

The same letter says God is Love . There is therefore, no fear in God . but a mature view of God drives out fear . fear of corruption, fear of being taken advantage of, fear of things going too far, because perfect/mature love trusts God has things under control . Interpretations based on fear of punishment or fear of bad consequences are not yet "perfected" or full to maturity .

Or so the scripture instructs me in this passage .
20) Love always protects .

It may be said .. that .. i don't mind if you do all sorts of evil to me .. but i just cannot stand it when you do that to other people! well, the same thing applies for biblical interpretation . there may come a time, when you need to recognize that "freedom" is not the issue but protecting another . Whether this be going after the one and leaving the ninety-nine or putting your foot down when you know people are being selfish or in ignorance not taking into account the rest of the family of faith .

21) Love believes all things, Love does not rejoice in iniquity but rejoices in the truth .

In God there are many paradoxes and though a lot of them over time can seem to be woven together into a coherent tapestry of ideas according to your way of thinking . you must remember, God created many peoples with many varying ways of thinking . if both things in an "either, or" debate have a root in scripture . then from experience i have noticed there is something both sides are both missing and pointing to at the same time . Keep in mind that logical opposites can be true in parallel . remember that God created the world in six days and rested on the seventh and each day had a particular purpose or purposes and all of them worked together in harmony and was very pleasing in His eyes in harmony at the end of His work . Leave room for the idea that you will not be able to "get" what God is doing in every situation and let Him do what He does best . I would encourage you when you recognize one of these things to pray Jeremiah 33:3 and then wait .

Jeremiah 33:3
3 'Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.'

Jesus said "I am the Truth" so since truth is a body with many parts, rejoice in all truth . and test everything and lay aside all that is not good . and may the God who saved us continue to complete that good work that He began in us and give us eyes of a God who redeems . Amen .