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Effective Bible Study - Interpretation

Effective Bible Study   •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Aim: If Effective Bible study, biblical interpretation is important. Let's talk some tools to help.

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What do you think the difference is between a translator and interpreter?
A translator is textual; translates from one language to another.
An interpreter; is verbal
(N) - the action of explaining the meaning of something; an explanation or way of explaining; a stylistic representation of a creative work or dramatic role (oxford dictionary)
Biblical interpretation definition
Hermeneutics, the science of interpreting what an author has written.
A branch of theology that deals with the principles and methodology of exegesis (what a text says).
Do you think we need interpreters when travelling to a foreign Country?
In the bible we have to “wrestle” with the scripture, with the Word to gain God’s interpretation of it (expand; only one true interpretation of scripture)
Part of understanding, interpreting scripture is beyond our comprehension. But interpretation is important for us to be able to convey the truth of the scripture for our own faith, believe and to share it with others.
In working to gain understanding we should be warned that our meaning, our understanding may not be God’s
There are cultural, technical limitations to our knowledge
Such things as words can have different meanings depending on context, can you think of a word like that?
Not everything in the bible is literal
Can you think of something that is not literal?
Somethings are figurative; have someone look up definition
departing from a literal use of words; metaphorical.
Somethings are symbolic; have someone look up definition
Serving as a symbol.
Somethings are prophetic
accurately describing or predicting what will happen in the future.
Here are some tools to help when it comes to interpretation
Relying on your own understanding
Study the bible, the text, the chapters (learning proper hermeneutics); check out the cross-references yourself.
There is a draw back to this method. You may not be well educated in first-century Eastern culture, or in ancient literature. Could be you are not well versed in Koine Greek, Aramaic or Hebrew.
The solution, well, do wrestle with the text, pray the text, search other scriptures and then you are ready to form your first interpretation before turning to other tools.
Study bibles
Any one have a study bible?
It is one that has notes, commentary that will give you some historical, cultural, social content as well as oftentimes parallel passages, word studies as well as interpretation of a text
OK, like with relying on own understanding there is a possible downfall to this. You are reading man’s interpretations and they could be very opinionated and not always factual
So, if you are looking for a study bible, be sure you look for one that is textual, for there are others, archeological or apologetic one’s too.
So, always start with the scripture first, please turn to Act1:8 if you would
act1:8 “8 but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.””
Our first step in this process was “observation.” So, what do you observe about this text?
If you have a study bible you may have some cross-references, but here is what one Study bible says (life Application Study Bible)
“Jesus had instructed his disciples to witness to people of all nations about Him (Mt28:19-20). But they were told to wait first for the Holy Spirit (Lk24:49). God has important work for you to do for Him, but you must do it by the power of the Holy Spirit. We often like to get on with the job, even if it means running ahead of God. . .”
(Transition) now this brings us to another tool, Commentary.
Commentary looks beyond the verse or the passage itself but looks at the context as a whole.
A good commentary comes from people who normally have spent years in study prior to writing and they will give you knowledge of what a passage might mean, and help you sort out to determine what it does mean, and why it means that.
Can you think of a drawback to commentaries?
The drawback, the downfall, just as with study bibles, they can be very opinionated. I would suggest, again, start with the scripture, look at the context before turning to any commentary. I then would recommend look at several commentaries so you can get a better understanding yourself.
(Transition) - this leads to another, or several other tools that maybe helpful.
Integrated Bible Software
E-sword, Logos
On line ones such as Blue Letter Bible, Bible Gateway, Bible hub. all have some great resources to tap into.
Again, start with the bible first. you can download E-sword Nick likes that one, but you also as a member here have access to much of the logos stuff through our group link and one day will have access to all of my library, resources.
(Transition) - OK, to keep things moving, here
There are Concordances and also Word study books.
(N) - An alphabetical list of the words (especially the important ones) present in a text usually with citations of the passages concerned
Word studies are more than just looking up a word in the concordance and all the times a word is used, it is looking at the different context that comes with different meanings in the context.
Let’s turn to Col1:15 as our text for a minute now.
col1:15 “15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.”
Observation: What do you see?
Now, interpretation we better look at this verse a little closer, notice “firstborn of all creation?”
This term is used some 30 times in scripture and most of the time it means exactly that “first born.” But when you research the context of this out.
Col1:13-14 “13 For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.”
col1:15-16 “15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. 16 For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him.”
Does that change anything for you in context, is the scripture speaking of Jesus being the first born of all creation?
If you were to look in Strong’s bible concordance, word study you would see that in this passage it has a different meaning in the original language
First-born is the Greek word “prototokos” and that means “pertaining to having the special status associated with a firstborn, even if one is not literally the firstborn. It means pre-eminence, position
(transition) - Interpretation can be challenging, it can be discouraging or it can even be exciting. You get to chose which it is and what you are going to do with it.
Don’t give up, don’t get discouraged, keep reading, keep studying, keep digging, keep praying and remember you can’t interpret without going to the scripture first, making observations and then looking hermeneutically at it to draw some interpretation.
Build your faith through effective bible study, next week we will return with another tool to doing an effective bible study.
(Prayer) (Close)
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