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

Jesus Christ: The Interpretive Key to the Scripture


by J.W. Hendryx

With Four Examples of Doctrinal Errors that Arise When this Key is not Used.

“You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; it is these that testify about Me; and you are unwilling to come to Me so that you may have life.” (John 5:39, 40)

“For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus” – (1 Tim 2:5)

“The Scriptures should be read with the aim of finding Christ in them. Whoever turns aside from this object, even though he wears himself out all his life in learning, he will never reach the knowledge of the truth.” – John Calvin

I have recently had the privilege of reading a phenomenal book that I highly recommend to all teachers of the Word. That book was Gospel-Centered Hermeneutics by Graeme Goldsworthy. Its thesis is simple: the Gospel (or, Jesus Christ) is the Key to all Christian Hermeneutics. During the course of reading, his focus got me to thinking about its antithesis which would be that almost all errors and inconsistencies in our understanding of Bible texts occur when our interpretation is less than Christ-centered. This is foundational. Unless our study, however diligent, leads us to see that all Scripture points to Jesus Christ, our study is in vain. The importance of the Bible (OT & NT) is that it testifies about Jesus Christ (John 1:43-45, Acts 3:18, Acts 17:2-3, 2 Tim Continue reading