Interpreting Scripture by Scripture


by Mike Ratliff

[16] All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, [17] that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:16-17 ESV)

I have a Bible that was given to my grandfather by all his children as a gift after several life changing events took place in his life (the death of my grandmother, him having to retire from the pastorate for heath reasons, et cetera). He was born in 1877 and I was born in 1951 so my memory of him was always of a very old man. He became a Baptist preacher in the late 1800’s after his wife led him to Christ and taught him to read and write. Here is the note they wrote to him that is pasted to the inside cover.

“Dear Dad,

         We have said we love you many times, but we want to say it again in this way. The knowledge that you have put this Holy Word above all things will stay with us always.” 

Then each of his children and their spouses signed the note. This had to have happened in the early 1950’s when I was very young. My grandmother died when I was 3 years old. My grandfather died in 1963 on Christmas Eve. His funeral was held at the First Baptist Church in Purcell, Oklahoma and it was packed. Before my Dad got Alzheimer’s Disease and died and we could still discuss these things I asked him many times about Granddad’s theology and how he handled scripture and what he would have done with all the nonsense going on in the church visible right now. He wouldn’t say much except to say that people’s own interpretations of things meant nothing to him. God’s Word was authoritative and if you could not back up what you were doing or saying from it then watch out. It did not bother him one bit to confront those in error. Also, celebrity preachers were an anachronism to pastors like my Grandfather. Continue reading