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At the end of His discourse, the Lord asks: "Have ye understood all these things?"
and the favoured disciples were able to answer: "Yea Lord" (verse 51). In the Acts of
the Apostles we find Philip asking the Ethiopian eunuch:
"Understandest thou what thou readest?"
and his reply was: "How can I, except some man should guide me?" (Acts 8: 30, 31).
There is no doubt that Divine understanding is the need of us all, but we are not in a
position to receive this if our method of Biblical interpretation is at fault. We are
prompted to ask the question, "Is there some way of interpreting the Word of God so that
human opinion is ruled out and Divine understanding given?" We believe there is, hence
the supreme importance of this study.
Someone may object and say that anything can be proved from the Bible. We have to
face the fact that the most extraordinary ideas and fantastic notions are backed up by
quotations from the Scriptures. Edward White writes:
"There is no folly, no iniquity, no God-dishonouring theology for which chapter and
verse may not be cited by an enslaved intelligence. Under these circumstance, it is
impossible to express in adequate terms the importance of a correct estimate and
exposition of the Bible" (Inspiration, p. 153).
There is no need to list the many vagaries that the Bible has been used to bolster up,
but in each case these have been due to a distorted exposition and understanding of the
passages concerned. No apology then need be given for a consideration of the science of
correct interpretation of the Scriptures. To begin with we shall need to give attention to
the following points:
(1) There is a need to bridge the gap between our minds today and the minds of the
Biblical writers of over 1900 years ago. People of the same culture, age and location,
understand one another easily, but we are separated culturally, historically and
geographically from Bible times. Language is different; Hebrew, Chaldee and Greek are
far removed from modern language. Habits and manner of living are entirely different.
Abraham' s treatment of Hagar may seem rather shabby unless we know the customs and
laws of his time. The background of the Scriptures is therefore important. Every part of
Scripture had a reason for its being written. Some human need called it into being
through the power of God. It is for us to try to ascertain what this was, and it will greatly
assist us in the correct understanding of the portion under consideration.
(2) No one is in a position to interpret the Word of God (no matter how educated or
scholarly they may be) until they are saved and regenerate. The Lord Jesus said, "Except
a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God (John 3: 3). In other words he is
spiritually blind and is not in a position to understand or interpret the holy Scriptures
whose context is spiritual. One reason why Christ continually gave physical sight to the
blind was because this condition is illustrative of man spiritually, and what the Lord can
do for men in the natural sphere, He can surely do in the spiritual.