The Importance of Knowing & Interpreting God’s Word Correctly
August 9, 2014
I cannot stress enough the importance of reading God’s Word for ourselves, doing so daily and unhurried, and doing so with a pure heart in submission to the Holy Spirit and His instruction. God’s Word, spoken by the Spirit, is all-powerful. (Ps. 33:9 // Jer. 23:29 // Heb. 4:12) It is alive because the Spirit is in the Word –and Jesus is the Word (John 1:1) and the Spirit (2 Cor. 3:17)– who is active in us to bring us to obedience, holiness, and salvation. (Rom. 1:5,16 & 6:17,22 // 2 Tim. 3:15 // Heb. 4:12 // Ja. 1:18,21,22 // 1 Peter 1:22-25) Without eating and digesting the Word, and putting it into practice, we do not have Life. (Mt. 4:4 & 7:24-27 with John 6:53-63)
Because the Word of God is our Life, we must know what it is saying as we read it. If we are humble and if we ask “the Spirit of Truth to guide us into all Truth” (see John 16:13), we will grow in the knowledge of God (and of His ways / His Gospel / His Truth), grow in wisdom, and grow in Christ-likeness. (Rom. 8:29 // 1 Cor. ch. 2 // Eph. 4:13 // Col. 1:28)
There is an abundance of teachers out in the world who are preaching their doctrines through books, blogs, and from behind the pulpit. Knowing if their doctrines are in accord with the True Doctrine found in the Word of God is our responsibility, and this responsibility we uphold as we not only diligently study Scripture (Acts 17:11) and rightly handle it (2 Tim. 2:15), but also as we walk in close, submissive fellowship with the Teacher Himself.
Though the Holy Spirit is our Teacher, He expects us to be mature and to build on what we’ve learned so that we are able to train ourselves in godliness and discernment. (1 Tim. 4:7 // Heb. 5:12-14) Moreover, He expects us, as we study His Word, to believe what it says. This means we study the message of the Scriptures just as we would study any other piece of writing, taking it literally while also making room, depending upon the context, for analogies and such, and for how the whole of Scripture would interpret a passage for us.
Prophecy in Scripture is one area where many teachers are using unreasonable hermeneutics. For example they want to spiritualize all the promises God made to the Israelites. This they are doing even though we know that the prophecies surrounding the first advent of Christ were fulfilled literally. Thus prophecies about His second coming must be taken literally as well. Furthermore, when God gives specific warnings and promises concerning the future, even naming countries, towns, rivers, gates, and people, and specifying borders, we are to accept God at His Word. To not do so is to disbelieve Him.
It is important how we interpret what God’s Word is saying. If we get off course in one area, other areas will follow. This is dangerous for our own soul as well as for those we teach.
Our Lord gave us His Word to read, to study, and to understand. It is a message from Him to us and He expects us to understand what He is communicating. The message is objective, not subjective (subject to our own interpretation). Yes, because it is alive, every bit of it has potential to speak directly to our own situation, for the Spirit in it remarkably does this for those of us who call out to the Lord for comfort, guidance, wisdom, etc. However, this does not mean that the plain wording is not to be taken just as the human author, under the inspiration of the Spirit, intended for it to be taken.
The Word of God is vital to our walk in the Truth and the Life. It shows us the Way of Truth. We are to believe its every word and not make up our own interpretations.
Again I say: It is extremely important to know God’s Word for ourselves, to listen to THE Teacher and not men’s doctrines, to remain humble at all times, to reach out for Wisdom and Christ-likeness every moment, and to sit quietly at the Lord’s feet daily, listening and learning with utmost diligence. (Luke 6:40 & 10:39) For it is only the True Doctrine –the Truth– through which we will be saved. (Gal. 1:6-9 // 1 Tim. 4:16)