THE INTERPRETATION OF SCRIPTURE
This is a summary of the main points in the book with the above title by A. W. Pink. The main work of making this condensation and adaptation was done by Stephen Abbott and then put into its final form by the Editor.
- 1. The Essential Qualifications of an Interpreter.
- A mind illuminated by the Holy Spirit.
- An honest impartial spirit in approaching the Bible.
- A humble childlike mind.
- A praying heart.
- Holy motives such as-
- a. To become better acquainted with the Author and His
will for me.
- A desire to grow in grace and in the knowledge of the
- A desire to order the details of my life to be more
pleasing and honouring to Him.
- A desire to walk closer with God and enjoy unbroken
communion with Him.
- A desire to be conformed to and transformed by its holy
- 2. The Duties of an Interpreter.
- Study. 2 Tim. 2.15.
- Meditate. 1 Tim. 4.15-16.
- Seek a personal experience of blessing through, faith in, and dependence on the Word.
- The Bible is to be read daily, diligently, continuously and completely.
- The meaning is to be found in the fair and grammatical explanation of its words.
- The Bible is a unique textbook. Help is obtained by a good concordance. Commentaries are a secondary source of help after one’s own study of the Word.
- 3. Principles of Interpretation.
- There is an inter-relation and an inter-dependence between the Old and the New Testaments.
- Notice how Scriptural quotations of the Old Testament are used in the New, e.g. Gal. 4.24; Rom. 4.11-18.
- The interpretation of one part of Scripture must agree with the whole pattern of divinely revealed truth. The Analogy of Faith. There are no contradictions in the Word of God. Types, figurative expressions, parables are illustrations of truth plainly taught elsewhere.
- The context must be observed. Notice the circumstances, occasion of utterance, the main design of the speaker.
- The Scope of a passage. It must be coherent with its context. What is the main purpose of the book in which it is found?
- Interpret Scripture by Scripture. 1 Cor. 2.13. Examine other passages where the same words and subjects are used. One Scripture will amplify another.
- Briefer statements are to be interpreted by the fuller passages on the same subject, e.g. divorce in Mark 10.11-12, and in Matthew 19.3-9.
- Collect and collate all passages dealing with the same subject. One verse of Scripture rarely contains all there is to know about a doctrine.
- Connected truths must not be severed or presented in an unbalanced way, e.g. God’s sovereignty must not crowd out man’s accountability. Messianic prophecies cover both the glory and suffering of Christ not the glory alone.
- Simple negatives often imply a strong positive. Negative promises contain positive assurances. Negative commands enjoin the opposite. Care needs to be exercised because the antithesis may not always be true.
- Statements in question form frequently imply an emphatic negative, e.g. Matt. 6.27.
- The right use of reason. In Matt. 6.30 Jesus is demonstrating the unreasonableness of distrustful anxiety in connection with temporal necessities.
BUT a. The Word is not to be subordinated to our reason.
b. Reason is not to be the measure of faith but the
handmaid of faith.
c. Reason must never draw conclusions contrary to the Analogy of Faith.
- The limitation of general statements e.g. ‘Judge not that ye be not judged’ does not prohibit just judgements and assessments but does prohibit an officious, rash, unmerciful judgement. Certain indefinite words e.g. world, all, every man, sinners, are not to be understood without qualification.
- Notice the comparative force of some positive statements e.g. Matt. 6.19-20. Treasures on earth – treasures in heaven.
- Some language is non-literal, e.g. Parables and hyperbole e.g. Deut. 1.28. Cities walled up to heaven.
- Types. For an Old Testament type to be considered as such
there must be clear and unmistakeable warrant in the New
Testament for such an interpretation.
In tracing the connection between type and anti-type enquire
what was the significance of the original symbol.
Have due regard to the differences between the type and the
Types can be material, temporary and external, anti-types are
spiritual, eternal, and internal.
- Parables. Keep in mind the general scope and leading purpose. Keep in mind the Analogy of faith. Parables must be understood in the light of direct teaching.
- The same word can have different meanings, e.g. faith as the truth believed and faith as the act of believing.
- Notice the Holy Spirit’s use of words. They do not always have the English dictionary meaning e.g. chasten, adoption, inheritance of the saints.
- Distinguish between things that differ, e.g. The secret will of God is always accomplished. The revealed will is in God’s commands and precepts which may be disobeyed and ignored.
- Spiritual meaning? Take care! The plain sense is to be preferred except where one part of scripture throws light on another.
- There may be double references or applications as in the O1d Testament prophecies to the first and second comings of Jesus Christ.
- Notice the principle of order, e.g. Matt. 28.19 [1.] Teach [2.] Baptize [3.] Obey.
- Notice the principle of cause and effect. Trace connections between events in the life of an individual.
- Notice the emphases of scripture, Behold! Verily, verily!
- Notice that comparison and contrast is used for emphasis. e.g. Jew and Gentile, Jacob and Esau.
- Always notice the first mention of any subject or doctrine in scripture, e.g. Gen. 6.5 describes the state of men’s hearts since the fall of Adam.
- There is progressive revelation as one moves on through
the scriptures. The culmination of revelation is Christ and His
This is very important in understanding prophecies referring