There are two extremes when it comes to who should interprete Scriptures and how one should go about it. The first set say anyone and everyone can easily do that without any human agent. They say that the scriptures indeed say “we have an unction and we know all things and need no man to teach us quoting 1 John 2:20,27. They therefore teach that you need no human being to help in understanding the Bible.
The other set say that they are not capable and feel they will only be on a journey of self destruction if they attempt to study the Scriptures themselves and so have placed into the hands of the chosen few that responsibility. These quote 2 Pet 3:15,16 to buttress their point. They are content to have the pulpit do the work of searching the Scriptures, they do not believe that work is for them, thus allowing dogmas and even superstitions to be imposed on them. They are far from the noble christians that were at Barea Acts 17:11.
The history of the Church has been tied up in this debacle to some it has now become a debate between 1 John 2:20,27 versus Acts 8:26-37. If you get the right balance and apply yourself to the practice of it, you will grow in leaps and by bounds. The funny thing I have noticed about the first set who say you need no man to teach you is this, they have set up ministries to teach people that they need no man to teach them. Blinded by their sheer hypocrisy.
There is a strong Scriptural balance to proper interpretation that fully involves the activities of the Spirit of truth within the human heart as well as the role of those raised by God to teach His word. The christian on his part cannot be docile. There is a prayer he offers that secures that assistance of the Spirit within him as he exposes his heart to the teaching of the word of God.
Ground rules for Interpreting Scriptures:
The Scriptures must interprete themselves. If you have any difficulty with a scripture there are other scriptures that will shed further light on that particular thought making God’s intent plain. If you also have arrived at a concept you believe to be biblical and you find scriptures that make you uncomfortable with your present position, pause, pray and study further until by the word you arrive at a place where your understanding can be found and explained in every reference to that subject in the Bible. Do not do violence to God’s word in your heart where you silence the inward witness, that small still voice saying “there are some scriptures that don’t sit right with this position you have taken”. In ministry, don’t fight for your pride but pursue the Truth.
2 Peter 1:20
Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.
I have heard people say things about certain letters written in the New Testament down playing the essence of those letters and this simply because a “favorite” minister of theirs said something about that particular book which the thought expressed wasn’t strictly based on scripture but was an opinion he passed in order to promote a doctrine he was emphasizing. The Scriptures tell us the role every scripture in the word plays, opinions of great men of God cannot be equated to the written Word. If you want to pass an opinion on spiritual matters, that’s fine but at least like Paul pause and say the next statement is my opinion and not a commandment from God.
1 Corinthians 7:25
Now concerning virgins I have no commandment of the Lord: yet I give my judgment, as one that hath obtained mercy of the Lord to be faithful.
What is the purpose of the Scriptures
1 Timothy 3:16
All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
The origin of all scripture is the same, divinely breathed into existence but they exist with different purposes. For doctrines, systems of truth to live by. Reproof and correction i.e when you read, you may get corrected in your belief system, thoughts or a attitudes. You also receive instructions on what to do in particular situations of your life i.e a lamp to your feet and light to your path.
Before setting forth rules to be employed in the interpretation of Scripture, its important to highlight some things that must be found in the student of the scripture himself. Good instruments are indispensable in the hands of every navigator but even the best of instruments are of little purpose in the hands of one who is unqualified to use them. Methods for Bible study are of great importance but the spirit in which you study is all important. It is with meekness you receive the engrafted word. The attitude of your heart determines how the Spirit will move within you. If you study with a know it all mindset then no matter the instruments given to you, the knowledge received will increase pride and not the fruits of righteousness in your life.