Daily Post #113

Principles for Biblical Interpretation: I have spent a few moments in the last few days perusing various websites for good articles about how to wisely and faithfully interpret Scripture. Protestants focusing on the priesthood of believers can be guilty of being sloppy and uninformed when approaching the Bible. While you do not need advanced degrees (although they can help) to read the Bible and learn about God, yourself, others, and the world, there are responsible and irresponsible ways to interpret it. To simply pick it up, read a passage, and interpret it without any concern for the author’s original intent, the historical setting, and other important factors can result in us doing nothing more than reading what we already believe into the text (what theologians refer to as “eisegesis” as opposed to “exegesis”). We should not confront Scripture as much as it should confront us. In a sense, using proper biblical principles can draw boundaries around a passage so that one does not go too far to the right or left in trying to make it say what they want it to say. One article on Bible.org proved helpful and informative. Here are a few principles:

  1. Interpretation must be based on the author’s intention of meaning and not the reader.
  2. Interpretations must be done in the context of the passage. 
  3. Interpret the Bible literally (or normally) allowing for normal use of figurative language.
  4. Use the Bible to help interpret itself. 
  5. Be sensitive to distinctions between Israel and the church and Old Covenant and New Covenant eras/requirements.
  6. Be sensitive to the type of literature you are in. The Bible contains many different types of literature: law, narrative, wisdom, poetry, gospel, parable, epistle, and apocalyptic. Each of these types of literature has specific features that must be considered when interpreting a text. 

So, when you pick up the Bible, ask the Holy Spirit to guide you. However, proper interpretation doesn’t stop there. You can’t avoid everything else that is important and simply trust that the Holy Spirit will fill in the blanks. We are to faithfully study and interpret and ask the Holy Spirit to guide us, speak to us, and shape us in that process. The Holy Spirit’s ability and willingness to illuminate the Scripture is not an excuse for Christians to be lazy.

May we be hungry for God’s truth as revealed in propositional form (i.e., Bible).


Published by B.J. Condrey, PhD

Dr. Condrey holds a Bachelor of Arts in both Philosophy and Psychology from the University of Missouri-KC, a Master of Arts in Philosophy from the University of Southern Mississippi, and a Ph.D. in Ethics & Practical Theology from the University of Edinburgh. He is ACSI certified. Dr. Condrey writes courses and teaches Psychology, Bible, and C.S. Lewis at Enlightium Academy, where he began working in 2016. He has served as a youth, young adult, and small group pastor in the local church, and currently teaches Ethics at the University of Southern Mississippi. He has a book published by Wipf & Stock (Breaking Ground) along with other publications. In his spare time, he enjoys reading and writing, spending time with his family, traveling, trout fishing, family hikes, and drinking coffee! He is passionate about helping young people construct a biblical worldview so that their faith involves both the mind and heart. He has been married since 2009 and has two children.

One thought on “Daily Post #113

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: