TWO PRIMARY RULES FOR RIGHTLY UNDERSTANDING THE BIBLE.
This is the most important chapter of this book. To learn the two primary rules here presented is absolutely necessary in order for one to be able to understand the Bible, and be able to teach it without shame.
The late Ben M. Bogard said:
“Perhaps the most misleading idea people have is to think that when they open the Bible, no matter what passage they may read, that the passage applies to them, for they think all the Bible applies to them, but it is not true . . . The student may be startled to learn that much of what we know as the Bible does not apply to us in this age” (The Golden Key, p. 5).
The writer’s personal experiences verify the truths stated in the above quitation. When either a saved or unsaved person reads the Bible with the idea in mind that God does all the talking, everything in the Bible is to be practiced by the reader, the Bible seems to be a confused, nonsensical, out-dated book.
I.TWO PRIMARY RULES
There are two primary rules by which one may learn to arrive at the particular meaning of any passage in the Bible. These rules are both scriptural and scientific. The two rules are
1.the five point question rule, and
2.the proper application rule.
1.The Five Point Question Rule
This rule must be applied by anyone reading the Bible in order to interpret any passage intelligently. One does not have to study this book or this system of study in order to do this. But a study of this rule, as illustrated, will help one to be able to learn the particular teachings of the Bible much more rapidly. One may apply some ponts of the following rule, without knowing such a rule exists. But one who knows the five point rule is enabled to learn the actual meaning of a passage much more quickly than one who does not know such a scientific, scriptural system or rule for analysis of written or spoken matter exists. In reading the Bible one should find out the following five things about every passage:
1.Who is speaking or writing?
2.To whom or about whom is he speaking or writing?
3.“About what subject is he speaking or writing?
4.When or about what time is he speaking or writing?
5.What is the occasion for the speaking or writing?
2.The Proper Application Rule.
This rule is designed to teach one how to apply a given Bible truth, after the truth is determined. This concerns the “how” of applying known Bible truths. Since it has been pointed out that the New Testament and the Psalms are God’s rule and guide for man’s faith in practice today, this proper application rule enables one to know how to determine what doctrinal teachings of the Psalms and new Testament he is to practice today. This proper application rule for understanding the Scriptures has two parts:
1.The general application of a truth or deed to every person.
2.The particular application of a truth or deed to an individual or particular group.
For instance, some Scriptures are written describing the condition of all the unsaved. Other Scroptures describe the condition of particular unsaved individuals or groups. That men who are lost, wicked, shall all be cast into hell is a general application of the Bible’s teaching on the future punishment of the wicked – Psalm 9:17. That some lost people shall suffer more in hell than others is a particular truth, requires a particular application of some passages of Scriptures that tell how and to what extent some shall suffer in hell – Matt. 10:15; 11:24; 23:14-15; Luke 10:12′
II.FIVE POINT RULE ILLUSTRATED
A. One should always, upon reading any passage in the Bible, first ask himself, “Who is doing this speaking or writing?” There are at least seven classes of speakers in the Bible.
1. Sometimes God is speaking.
a. God spike to Adam and Eve, Gen. 3:9.
b. God spike to Noah, Gen. 9:8
c. God spoke to Abraham, Gen. 12:7; 22:1,3.
d. God spoke to Moses, Exodus 3:4, 14.
e. God spoke to all present, Matt. 3:17, 17:5.
f. God spoke to Saul, Acts 9:5
2.Sometimes angels are speaking.
a. An angel spoke to Hagar, Gen. 16:7-11.
b. An angel spoke to Abraham, Gen. 22:11.
c. An angel of the lord spoke to Balaam, num. 22:31.
d. An angel of the Lord spoke to Manoah, Judges 13:13-14.
e. An angel spoke to Elijah, I Kings 19:5; II Kings 1:3.
f. An angel of the Lord spike to Haggai, hag. 1:9, 12.
g. An angel spoke to Joseph, Matt. 1:20; to Zacharias, Luke 1:11-20; to Mary, Luke 1:26-37; to the Marys, Matt. 28:2-8; to the shepherds, Luke 2:9-14; to the apostles, Acts 5:9-10; to Paul, Acts 27;23-34
3.Sometimes the Devil is speaking.
It is true that both God and good angels are sometimes speaking as one reads portions of the Bible. But it is also true that sometimes the Devil is speaking. Whatever truth the Devil might relate, that is put in the Bible, was spoken by the Devil as a means of ensnaring men. The Defvil never told the truth or any truth for any good or holy purpose. The first conversation in which Satan ever engaged with man was hel to deceive man. And before he finished he lied to Eve, saying, “Thou shalt not surely die.” One should not use the Devil’s language and apply it to the Lord. In the following passages of the Bible the Devil spoke in person:
a. To Eve, Gen. 3:1-4.
b. To God, Job 1:7, 9-11; Job 2:2, 4-5.
c. To Jesus, Luke 4:3, 6, 7, 9, 10.
d. Devils (demon spirits) spoke, Luke 4:41.
4.Sometimes prophets are speaking.
From Aaron and Moses (Ex. 3:10; 7:1; Deut. 18:14) to Malachi (Mal. 1:1), every prophet of God sought to reveal God’s will. They were true prophets.
But there were also false prophets, whose words are recorded in the Old Testament. Should their words be taken for practice? (See Jer. 14:13, 14; 23:21-32; 27:8-15; Luke 6:26; Matt. 24:24-26; Acts 13:6-10.)
5.Sometimes wicked men are speaking.
Should one accept what a wicked man says at face value, as a matter to be practiced? And when the Bible quotes what wicked men have said, one should not take the words of some wicked man for his personal practice. Wicked men, or unsaved men, spoke in the following recorded passages:
a. The fool, psalm 14:1; Luke 12:16-20.
b. The harlot, prov. 7:13-20; John 4:19, 20.
c. Pilate, Matt. 27:24.
d. Man born blind, unsaved, John 9:31, 35, 36. Some use the words of this unsaved man to try to prove that God will not hear a sinner pray. Such is an abuse of intelligent interpretation of the Bible.
e. Examples in Acts 3:5-7; 6:11; 18:12-16; 24:1-9.