The Berean Expositor
Volume 43 - Page 104 of 243
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"And I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter, that He may
abide with you for ever."
The Holy Spirit can be grieved by the believer (Eph. 4: 30), but there is no statement
in the church epistles that He is ever taken away from the children of God. Such praying,
Sunday by Sunday, is needless and quite ineffective. The first thing to do with any
passage of Scripture is to settle the interpretation, or its basic meaning, and not until then
are we in a position to make any application.
Todd, in his Principles of Interpretation writes :
"Only after the meaning or interpretation of a passage has been learned is one in a
position to apply it to the life of an individual or of a company. The application is quite a
distinct thing from the interpretation. Much has been lost in the study of the Bible by
using it almost entirely by way of application, without enquiring into its literal meaning.
Specially is this true of devotional study. Sometimes lessons are drawn from Scripture
which are, to say the least, very far fetched, and not really warranted by the passage."
We can therefore state as a guiding principle that there is one interpretation of God's
Word, but there may be several applications. It is most important to keep these two
things distinct and in this order, and in so doing it becomes another check on human ideas
and peculiarities. The correct interpretation of the Bible takes note of the people to
whom it is addressed, and the background or need that called for its writing. It is like the
address on the envelope of a letter. The contents of the letter belong solely to the one to
whom it is addressed (this is interpretation), but it may contain statements that are not
only true of the owner, but of people in general (this is application). The failure to
distinguish between these two things has been the cause of wrong doctrine and confusion,
and everyone who wishes to handle the Word of God aright and to receive its riches will
take care to avoid doing this.