One does not to look far or wide to see that there is mass confusion over the interpretation of the bible, not to mention the wholesale misunderstanding of the majority of particular passages. The multiplicity of denominations and the proliferation of incorrect doctrinal interpretation of passages permeate the church.
It is not very difficult nor surprising to see the unconverted, non-Christian segment of society holding varying and incorrect interpretations of Scripture. The un-believer, the unconverted, or the natural man cannot understand nor welcomes the things of the Holy Spirit including the Bible.
It is a tragic shame and disgrace that believers, who claim to know God through Christ and who have been indwelt by the Holy Spirit, cannot properly interpret a passage of Scripture. I believe that:
- Bible study is a spiritual exercise - not a carnal, natural, or human process. To understand a biblical passage, one must first be born of the Spirit by an act of God through faith in the atoning work of Jesus Christ. Second, one must be filled, or controlled, under the influence of the Holy Spirit. Third, one who wishes to understand a biblical passage must be free of sin by confession of sin (1 John 1:9) ensuring that one is free from any hinderance that will prevent the Holy Spirit from "opening your spiritual eyes" (Ps 119:18) to the passage at hand. Fourth, one must enter into bible study, permeate bible study, and conclude the study of the bible with effectual, fervent prayer.
- Bible Study is communication with God via his word. God no longer speaks through prophets, angels, visions, dreams, or various exstatic experiences or expressions. God speaks through His word - he communicates his will, his way, and his word through the canon of scripture. Ensure that there is open communication between you and God through the Holy Spirit. Be sure to confess any and all sin.
- The Holy Spirit inspired the scriptures and intended them to be understood. There are many passages that are very difficult to understand. There may be a few that we as students of the bible might never come to fully understand. But the bible is not a closed or mysterious book that cannot be understood with prayer and great effort. Paul told Timothy to study the word of God, to cut it right or straight, in order to know how to use the right portion of the word of God at the right time and place. (2 Timothy 2:15)
- The student of Scripture who wishes to dig deep into the rich and fertile soil of God's word must acknowledge absolute dependence upon God. Studying, interpreting, and applying the Scripture depends on the assistance of God.
- The Student of Scripture must be willing to commit to the practice and obedience of what was learned or determined. The study of Scripture is not merely academic nor to increase knowledge. Remember, knowledge can "puff one up." One studies to learn in order to obey. One studies to understand the majestic character and nature of God in order to praise God and to make his glorious character and nature more clear for the unbeliever that by God's grace they might desire him and his salvation.