1. The Holy Spirit is the key in understanding and in applying Scripture to one’s life. Therefore, seek the Holy Spirit’s guidance: ask for spiritual discernment.
2. The Bible not a magic book that spells out meaning automatically. We love and meditate upon Scripture because, through God’s Word, He reveals Himself to us.
3. The meaning of Scripture is capable of being understood because Scripture conforms to the laws of logic.
4. Man is imperfect and the Holy Spirit is perfect, incapable of making a single mistake. Therefore, it is imperative that we discover what the Holy Spirit is saying in a given passage in order to receive the meaning and the benefit that God desires to give us.
5. The Bible was written within various cultural situations and is therefore trans-cultural. Therefore, we should analyze a passage from within its cultural setting.
6. The Bible is a accurate record of redemptive history. Therefore, we must analyze a passage from within its historic setting.
7. The Bible is a collection of beautiful literature. Therefore, we must analyze a passage within its literary context. We must consider the:
- literature (poetic? didactic? narrative? prophetic? song?)
- immediate context (verses preceeding and following)
- chapter and book context
- passage in light of the canon of Scripture
8. Bible words must be studied in their context, for words can have different meanings. For example, the Bible tells us we are to “Fear God” ( I Peter 2:17): Does this mean we are to be afraid of God? Bible lexicons, word studies and dictionaries are helpful tools in arriving at specific meanings of words within a given context.
9. It is helpful to outline and paraphrase a given passage, noting its main ideas, supporting ideas and illustrations.
10. We should interpret a passage literally unless there is a good reason not to, e.g., figurative language. For example in Psalm 91:4, we have the statement that God “covers us with His feathers.”
11. Recognize “figures of speech” and interpret them as such, not literally. Take note of metaphors, anthropomorphism, simile, parables, imagery, metonymy. personifications, irony, hyperbole, euphemisms, etc.
12. Only interpret types and typology when it is absolutely clear that a person, thing or event is a type. (e.g., Melchizedek in Genesis, Psalms and Hebrews)
13. Scripture is its own best interpreter. Allow Scripture to interpret Scripture. Because there is unity and continuity in Scripture, we can compare a given passage with the rest of Scripture. We can study parallel passages of the same topic in other places within the Bible.
14. Ultimately, Scripture is interpreted and applied by faith. By a step of faith, you take the written Word (external) and receive it into your spirit (internal) and apply it.