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8 Tips to Avoid Wrong Interpretation of The Bible

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Seeing the amount of misinterpreted bible verses, I can’t help but share a few wisdom that will help you not falling victim of wrong interpretation of the bible like the young man in the video did.

1. Don’t take everything literally.

As much as the bible is plain and direct, simple enough for the plain minds to understand, like any other literature, figurative expressions are used sometimes to communicate what the author intended, a good instance can be found in Matthew 5:30 when Jesus said

And if your right hand causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell.

Jesus did not imply literal amputation of your body member, but a forceful separation from anything and anyone that make you fall into sin, in your instance, the hand can be your laptop, movies, a friend, a group…anything.

So when interpreting the bible, know when the author is merely using figures of speech like metaphor and the likes, and this will prevent you from calling your dad dung like the guy in the video.

2. Read in context.

Reading the bible in context means not isolating a verse or a statement and drawing a conclusion solely based on that portion of the book, but rather looking at that verse in light of the entire book and the bible as a whole.

Think of it like reading a letter from a friend, you don’t start from the middle of the letter, or just read a paragraph and draw your conclusion. No, you read the entire letter to understand what is being communicated.

Though this might seem as a more laborious way of studying the bible, as you will have to read from the beginning to the end of that book or chapter before drawing out a meaning, but it will save you from a lot of error.

3. Check Multiple translations.

The reason we have tons of bible translation is to aid studying and understanding of the bible. When you don’t seem to understand a text literally, before you come to a conclusion, check how other translations interpreted that verse.

Let’s see how checking one or two other translations could have saved that naive believer in the video.

MSG  Yes, all the things I once thought were so important are gone from my life. Compared to the high privilege of knowing Christ Jesus as my Master, firsthand, everything I once thought I had going for me is insignificant—dog dung. I’ve dumped it all in the trash so that I could embrace Christ

GWIt’s far more than that! I consider everything else worthless because I’m much better off knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. It’s because of him that I think of everything as worthless. I threw it all away in order to gain Christ

There is no way he could have seen these translations and still conclude that his father, academics and relationship are dung.

4. Is your interpretation consistent all through the bible?

The bible cannot contradict itself. If your understand and interpretation of a portion of the bible posses a contradiction to another portion of the bible, it is wise to study further and be sure the interpretation holds true throughout the bible.

We know how much value the bible placed on different aspects of life, family, work, relationship, wife/husband…

5. Don’t study the bible in isolation

As much as we must esteem our personal relationship with God above every other thing, we must also hold the place of fellowship and sharpening one another up in the faith, have friends you study the bible together, or at least that you share your bible study with, that way, you can always keep each other in check.

6. Do no innovate

People often go into the bible like an explorer, looking for some hidden signs or meaning. The bible was written in human languages with the intent of being understood, a literal language understanding should help you know the writer’s thought.
Think of the letters of Paul, for instance, they were written with the intention that they will be read publicly in their congregation, so he wrote expecting them to understand as they read.

7. The Old Testament is in the New Testament Revealed

A bunch of the Old Testament books look mysterious, most. But we see a lot of the Old Testament passages explained in the New Testament.
 
Let the New Testament be the lens through which you interpret the old.

8. Make Christ The Center

When you see that the central theme of the Bible is God’s salvation plan for mankind through Christ, reading and understanding the bible will become easy.
From the beginning to the end, you’ll see the need for salvation, God’s promise of salvation, the prophecies about the Messiah, the fulfilment of the salvation plan, and the announcement of the fulfilled promise in Christ.

I’ll rest my case on these 8 points, yeah I know there are lots more, but I believe these are basic and can keep you away from error when interpreting the bible.

Yours,

Relate article; BIBLE INTERPRETATION: THE RIGHT WAY AND THE WRONG WAY

HOW NOT TO INTERPRET THE BIBLE Pt 1 – Emmanuel Iren

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1 Comment

  1. So many of us fall prey of this. God help us all. Thanks lifegiva for the wisdom shared.

    1. Amen! Thank God He has given us His spirit, the Spirit of truth, to lead us into all truth. I pray we heed to His leading.

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