Understanding Bible Interpretation! Getting God’s Definitions!
(Ver 1.2) This is Part 6 in the study series of Correct Bible Interpretation Rules. If you have not read from the beginning I would recommend that you go back and start reading with “Part 1” first. The last time I taught on this subject of Bible interpretation rules we talked about a very specific type of erroneous interpretation called the private interpretation. We of course now realize that a private interpretation simiply is one that is dominated by our opinions and they contain our personal subjectivity in determining the meaning of what we have read in the Bible. If you are smart you will realize that your opinion is not what is important to God or to me. Just as my opiniion should not be important to you. God is not going to ever ask our opinion on what we think the Bible means. You do realize that, don’t you? So as a result we discovered that we should let the Bible interpret itself. What we think has no determination on the final outcome of what truth is. God is so smarter than all of us combined and He wrote down very specific words that mean very specific things and we should find out what He said and what He thinks and then we should go by that as being the truth only.
So here is a related topic to no private interpretations allowed. Let God define the Words in the Bible and not you or even Daniel Webster. I look up words all the time in dictionaries to learn what they mean, but I have found that God’s definitions of these words are many, many times not in the dictionary. Let me give you a couple of quick examples. We have been studying the 1st chapter of Genesis and it refers to the 6 days of creation and then the 7th day when God rested. But if you have been following the lesson, the term “day” is defined a little bit differently in the Bible. When the Bible says “A Day is…” that indicates a direct definition is about to occur. It is about to tells us what God thinks a day is equivalent to.
2Pe 3:8 But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.
So if God says a day is as a 1000 years and that a 1000 years is as 1 day we can attempt to apply this definition to the scriptures we find “day” mentioned. I know this doesn’t work everywhere all the time but it does help us in many places, especially Genesis the 1st chapter. The difficulty comes when we realize that words have multiple definitions and this is the same with Bible words. We are going to have to use the word in context to see if it fits. I know this defintion fits nicely with Genesis 1 based upon what else the Bible says on the subject. You can read about a coming 1000 year day of rest in Revelation chpater 20, for example. This day of rest is described as a coming event in Hebrews chapter 4. Therefore the clarification of a day being as 1000 years directly applies to Genesis 1 with ease.
Let me give you another example of when God’s definition is better than a man’s definition. In the 9th chapter of John, Jesus comes upon a blind man and his disciples start asking him questions of why. I’m not going to get into the details of this story just one comment that Jesus makes in answering the question. Jesus says “I must work the works of him that sent me…” in John 9:4. In reading this verse I automatically assumed like many others that healing the man was the work that Jesus was talking about because we can see that this is what Jesus did at least at first. If we look up the word “work” in the dictionary it would refer us to a manual labor task or a place of employment or occupation among other related meanings. Of course none of these definitions would help us to understand what Jesus did and why. What is work to God? What is God’s definition of work? Did you realize Jesus tells us the definition, if we only look for it. If we back up in the book of John to the 6th chapter and the 29th verse we can see God’s definition for what work is:
John 6:29 “This is the work of God, that we believe on him whom he has sent.”
That definition changes everything so dramatically about what we read in John 9 that it is almost ridiculous and it shows us why we should be looking for God’s definitions in the Bible and leaving our opinions and our definitions out of the mix. You can now go back to chapter 9 of John and reread the entire story based upon this new definition and you will see that God did accomplish this work. Jesus met up with the former blind man and asked do you believe in the Son of God (John 9:35)? The man asks who is that to Jesus and Jesus says it is who you are speaking to now. The man then says “Lord I believe”. This was the defined work of God demonstrated. Getting people to believe in Jesus in still our primary work today.
Let me give you one more example on getting God’s definitions to help you see that this is a very important subject to learn. We are all told in the Bible to expect eternal life as our reward. However, every spiritual being in the world saved or unsaved will live forever somewhere. Those that are saved will live with Christ and those that are not will be in hell. So what is the Bible defintion for eternal life? Let’s read God’s definition of eternal life for the believer:
Joh 17:3 And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.
There is a direct explicit definition for eternal life in this verse and there is also an indirect definition for eternal death in this verse. Since every truth has an opposite truth associated with it, we can learn both definitions from a single verse. Eternal Life is us knowing the True God forever. We can conclude that Eternal Death is the opposite of not knowing the True God forever but knowing the false God Satan forever. These are very important definition of eternal ife and death. Because they came from God’s word and not the dictionary they contain truth that is unrefutable by human reasoning.
I just gave you three quick examples of letting God define the words we read in the Bible but there are so many others to be found in the Bible. It will help you so much in understanding what God wrote if you let God show you what those things mean. The Bible is one Book by one Author and He is smarter than I am. God Bless!
Posted on October 16, 2009, in Bible Interpretation, Rules and tagged Bible, Christianity, God, Interpretation, Prophecy, Religion, Rules, Truth, understanding. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.