THE GOLDEN RULE OF INTERPRETATION  


 

THE GOLDEN RULE OF INTERPRETATION

When the plain sense of scripture
makes common sense, seek no other sense;
therefore, take every word
at its primary, ordinary, usual, literal meaning
unless the facts of the immediate context,
studied in the light of related passages
and axiomatic and fundamental truths,
indicate clearly otherwise.

COURTESY OF D. L. COOPER

1. DEFINITION: THE LITERAL METHOD OF INTERPRETATION

The literal method of interpretation is that method that gives to each word the same exact basic meaning it would have in normal, ordinary, customary usage, whether employed in writing, speaking or thinking.


2. If the words are employed in their natural and primitive signification, the sense which they express is the proper literal sense; whereas, if they are used with a figurative and derived meaning, the sense, though still literal, is usually called the metaphorical or figurative sense. Examples through comparing John 1:6 and 1:29.

3. Application of isagogics: This considers the historical and cultural
context of the passage of scripture. Recognizing that customs differ from culture to culture and from time to time, a word or concept may not mean today, what it meant in the time and place recorded in the bible.

A secondary application in this area is to realize that the King James
Version of the bible uses the English language of AD 1611. Many words and phrases have no meaning to us today or have entirely different meanings than what they had 380 years ago. This has led to serious misunderstandings of the bible and many erroneous practices and false doctrines.

4. Application of categories: This considers the individual topics of the bible by properly evaluating every reference where that particular topic is mentioned, and understanding the dispensational differences and ramifications of that topic as it relates to the church age.

5. Application of exegesis: This considers the grammatical structure of the bible through a detailed analysis of that structure as it occurs in the original languages of the bible; Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek.

6. COMMENTS ON TRANSLATIONS
There are many different translations of the Bible of various quality and reliability. Everyone has there favorite. Probably most of us have been brought up on the King James Version and might show prejudice toward it for sentimental reasons. However, the translations are made from the original languages of the Bible and carry no inspired authority in and of themselves. Some are more accurate and more literal than others. Some try to communicate in a more modern English. Some are in foreign languages and have no connection whatever to our English translations including the King James Version. Recourse back to the original languages should always have precedent when trying to arrive at an accurate understanding of any text. The issue will always be the Greek and the Hebrew and not the merits of any particular translation. The biggest problem in evaluating these translations is whether to use the traditional or majority text of the Greek for the New Testament (which the King James is based on), or to use the critical text (which the NASB and NIV are based on). When differences between the majority and critical text occur, it is appropriate to simply point out the difference and include it as a factor to be considered. To elevate any one translation above another, as having more spiritual value or reliability is not consistent with proper interpretation.

7. Comments on the transmission of the text:  The Inerrancy of the Bible
A In practicality, there are MANY transmission errors within the many manuscripts that we possess.
1. In the Old Testament, the Hebrew and Aramaic, these are very minor, but do exist.
2. It is in the New Testament manuscripts where we find a great many errors of transmission, divided into two types; unintentional and intentional.
3. Of the unintentional types we have, errors of sight, writing, hearing, memory and judgment.
4. Of the intentional types we have grammatical, liturgical, harmonization, doctrinal, attempts to correct, and attempts to compromise or conflate.

B. Although these errors are numerous, they are of a relatively minor nature and considered within the scope of the entire New Testament, NEVER affect any major doctrinal issue.
1. The vast majority of these errors can be easily recognized and eliminated through the science of textual criticism.
2. However, in reality, errors between the manuscripts do exist, and one cannot say that we have a PERFECT copy of Godís word.
3. On the other hand, from the perspective of SIMILARITY of manuscripts, most of them are identical in over three-fourths of their text, and we have a uniform and accurate transmission.
4. This, together with the CORRECTIONS of the OBVIOUS errors in transmission through the application of textual criticism, based on point B above, we have a reliable copy of Godís word, which must be believed to be by Divine design.

DETAILED ANALYSIS OF BIBLE INTERPRETATION
By J. Dwight Pentecost, from Things to Come.

Chapter 1: The Methods of Interpretation

Chapter 2: The History of Interpretation

Chapter 3: General Considerations in Interpretation

Chapter 4: The Interpretation of Prophecy

 

Figures of Speech In General

METAPHORS in the Bible

Comments on Granville Sharp Rule

 
 

Comments and questions are always welcome!

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©Ron Wallace, http://www.biblefragrances.com. Anyone is free to reproduce this material and distribute it,
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