How to interpret bible verses

How to interpret bible verses

There were two strategies that I used for many years, and I realized neither one of them is 100% reliable.

The first strategy I used to understand bible symbols through functional and impressionistic scoping. I assumed that goats symbolized authority because of their horns, that sheep symbolized meekness because they were afraid of everything when their master was not around, that lions represented courage because they feared nothing and were the aggressors, but then I realized, it does not work for everything.

Things like trees serve multiple functions such as ecosystem maintenance, fruit bearing, shade protection, age measurements, and wood provision, so reducing them down to a single obvious function is more difficult. Also things like grapes could represent either desire or appreciation since they vary in taste from bitterness to osweet so it’s hard to say what they represented.

I also tried a logical semantic process of elimination by making a list of all the possible functions and uses for things like salt and than reducing them one by one from the list of possibilities by looking at ways in which they do not agree with one theory based on the use of symbols. Salt did not work because there are dozens of possible words that could substitute for all know uses of the word salt in scripture so the uses are so rare.

So I came up with a new integrated plan, where you look at how the symbolic word could correspond with areas of your spiritual life. For example, fear might match all the known usages of salt in scripture from a semantic perspective, but would it make logical sense to imply that only Christians have fear in their hearts? Or does it differentiate between godly fear and ungodly fears?

So to me, the salt must represent something that can make sense from a spiritual point of view. While riches and richening might match the uses of salt from a semantic perspective, it does not make sense morally, because the bible says riches interfere with religious faith etc…

So my strategy is simply to look at the symbol and assess how this symbol might mirror a known part of the Christian walk and if it does not pass the test of moral logic, it’s a faulty conclusion on what the scriptures mean.

And it’s okay to make mistakes. Thomas Edison went through one thousand inventions before he discovered the light bulb. Christians have no business mocking or judging those who make errors because when you try something new, you never do it perfectly the first time.

How to interpret bible verses
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Most Helpful Guy

  • Tabasco25
    I used context, time, science, culture...
    Like 1 Person
    Is this still revelant?

Most Helpful Girl

  • loves2learn
    Symbolism in the Bible is huge.
    Like 1 Person
    Is this still revelant?

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What Girls & Guys Said

  • horsenrhinounicorn
    Reliability requires the truth; the truth is what sets us free to interpret the text. Sin separates us from the truth, repentance and faith separates us from sin. The Holy Spirit reveals to those at the Lord’s timing. When we seek him and ask him with all our heart, he provides us with wisdom and understanding through many ways and it doesn’t all come at once. God plants seeds in our lives and he knows the timing of when what is planted will mature. He is the vine, and we are the branches of that vine; whatever grows in our lives through the vine will continue to produce fruit. If one is separated from the vine, the branch will no longer bear good fruit or continue to grow. Sometimes one must ask the Lord to reveal their motives, pray over those motives laying it before the Lord to departing the motives of the flesh and submitting to the motives of the spirit. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak. I would encourage anyone who reads this to pray over these scriptures and let God fill you in his fullness.

    John 15:26 - 26 But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me:

    Romans 8:5-9 - 5 Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires;(A) but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires.(B) 6 The mind governed by the flesh is death,(C) but the mind governed by the Spirit is life (D) and peace. 7 The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God;(E) it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. 8 Those who are in the realm of the flesh (F) cannot please God.

    Galations 5:17 17 For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh.(A) They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever[a] you want.(B)

    1 Corinthians 2:10-13 10 these are the things God has revealed (A) to us by his Spirit.(B) The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. 11 For who knows a person’s thoughts (C) except their own spirit (D) within them? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God.12 What we have received is not the spirit (E) of the world,(F) but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may understand what God has freely given us. 13 This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom (G) but in words taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual realities with Spirit-taught words.[a]

    2 Timothy 3:16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.

    Psalm 25:4 Make me to know thy ways, O Lord; teach me your paths.

    Psalm 25:9 He guides (A) the humble in what is right and teaches them (B) his way.

    Psalm 11:2 When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with the humble is wisdom.

    Ephesians 1:18 - I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened (A) in order that you may know the hope to which he has called (B) you, the riches (C) of his glorious inheritance (D) in his holy people,(E)

    Luke 24:45 - 45 Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures.

    Jeremiah 17:9 - 10 The heart (A) is deceitful above all things and desperately sick; Who can understand it? I the LORD search the heart and test the mind, to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his deeds.

    Proverbs 16:9 A man’s heart plans his way, (B) But the Lord directs his steps.
    • The more we know from his word, the more we have to apply to our daily lives. Man is imperfect, but God is our perfection. Even Jesus disciples did not have a full understanding of what he was saying at times, but over time he revealed himself to them. We can read John 14 and other parts that show how Jesus continued to teach them, it was not immediate, but his disciples had teachable hearts that soaked in the words that Jesus revealed to them. God loves us so much that he made a way for us to seek him and find him in the midst of our storms. He is the one who calms the storms in our lives. Often times the desires of our flesh or the enemy will create chaos. The Lord has an open door for us to seek him and know him and open arms that love us.

      Lamentations 3:22-23 The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.

      Isaiah 40:13 - but those who hope in the Lord
      will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles;
      they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

    • God speaks to us through many different ways:
      Through his word, through our prayers, through worship, through repentance, through other believers, and through the circumstances we go through in life.

  • collie22
    i usually try to understand the the subject in the a verse first. that helps me
    Like 1 Person
    Perhaps a reason why protestantism became into I don't know how many thousands of denominations was because of differences of interpretation. If you ask me the smartest way to interpret something is to trace it back to the time period and situation and the like. One person can interpret someone calling Jesus the son of God as simply meaning a prophet or a messenger and someone else will take it literal, I mean look at all the sects in early Christian history and how long it would take to have a canon. It wouldn't be until Constantine was like "ok, I've had enough fighting, just, agree on something" that we would find a consensus and even then things were still shaky. Perhaps the only way you can interpret these kinds of books is by learning from someone who knows the history, the languages and their history and a history of Judaism of course as well and knowledge in many other fields. Or learn form many who specialize in one each.
  • Hulk30
    even though im not religious my self what i think we can actually agree on is that the quote on quote right way to interpret bible verses as your article implies is as they are and that's it's and alotta conflict and controversy get's stirred up behind this gospel truth because some people that won't accept the truth as it is just won't like it but that's their problem not mine the easiest version of the holy bible to understand is the new living translation if religious people actually read that version of the holy bible most of em would see the holy bible and God differently than what they actually do in reality
    • I view a lot of the bible as metaphor and symbol and Jesus himself said he uses symbol and metaphor when he speaks