If you have been following these posts, you will see that there are many tools, tips and techniques one can use to make reading the Bible more understandable and enjoyable. Today, we will briefly discuss the use of letting the Bible interpret itself.
Let the Bible interpret itself!
It is often said that the Bible is open to a variety of interpretations. It is true that anyone can provide his/her own interpretation of a passage of the Bible. However, as we have already seen, the Bible claims that it has a correct interpretation and is not meant to have a host if meanings according to a person’s own desire, “…knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation” (2 Peter 1:20, ESV).
The key to easier understanding of the Bible is found within its own pages. Our tendency is to not look far enough for answers within the book when we encounter something we do not understand. A basic principle in reading the Bible more effectively lies in this simple fact:
Your questions about what the Bible teaches are answered in the Bible itself.
Explanations to difficult passages may be found within the same chapter or book, as in the following example:
Jesus’ Parable of the Sower – Matthew 13
And he told them many things in parables, saying: “A sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seeds fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured them. Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where they did not have much soil, and immediately they sprang up, since they had no depth of soil, but when the sun rose they were scorched. And since they had no root, they withered away. Other seeds fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them. Other seeds fell on good soil and produced grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.
Hear then the parable of the sower: When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart. This is what was sown along the path. As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is the one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy, yet he has no root in himself, but endures for a while, and when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately he falls away. As for what was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and it proves unfruitful. As for what was sown on good soil, this Is the one who hears the word and understands it. He indeed bears fruit and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty.
Explanations may also be found in other books of the Bible, such as the following:
How long was Moses in Midian after fleeing from Egypt?
Recorded Event (Exodus 2):
When Pharaoh heard of it, he sought to kill Moses. But Moses fled from Pharaoh and stayed in the land of Midian. And he sat down by a well. Now Moses was keeping the flock of his father-in-law, Jethro, the priest of Midian, and he led his flock to the west side of the wilderness and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. And the angel of the LORD appeared to him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush. He looked, and behold, the bush was burning, yet it was not consumed. And Moses said, “I will turn aside to see this great sight, why the bush is not burned.” When the LORD saw that he turned aside to see, God called to him out of the bush, “Moses, Moses!” And he said, “Here I am.”
Additional Detail (Acts 7:29-31):
At this retort Moses fled and became an exile in the land of Midian, where he became the father of two sons. “Now when forty years had passed, an angel appeared to him in the wilderness of Mount Sinai, in a flame of fire in a bush. When Moses saw it, he was amazed at the sight, and as he drew near to look, there came the voice of the Lord:
Finding information or an answer to a Bible question may take time and effort. It is important to let God speak to us through His word the Bible and let Him provide the interpretation or explanation. When you are looking for answers to Bible questions, the following are some “Do’s” and “Don’ts”:
Look first to the Bible for answers to questions.
Read all of the Bible, or section of scripture, to find answers to your questions.
Write down your question (it may be a while before you get an answer).
Expect quick answers.
Look at isolated passages and draw conclusions
I hope that this brief consideration of “letting the Bible intrepret itself has shed some light on the importance of referring to other places in the Bible that provide valuable information to assist in your understanding and enjoyment of reading God’s world.