PROPER APPROACH TO GOD'S WORD

I) THE PROPER METHOD OF INTERPRETATION

A) INTRODUCTION:

1) THE BIBLE IS TO BE INTERPRETED MUCH IN THE SAME WAY ONE READS THE NEWSPAPER

There are many opinions and interpretations of what the Bible says - most do not reflect any truth at all. The proper method is summarized as follows:

a) THROUGH INDUCTIVE REASONING

b) AS LED BY THE HOLY SPIRIT

c) WITHIN THE FRAMEWORK OF NORMATIVE RULES OF LANGUAGE AND CONTEXT

d) REQUIRING STUDY

e) AND INSTRUCTION FROM OTHERS

It is interesting to note that many people will read an article in the newspaper from beginning to end and interpret it on the basis of the normative meanings of the words, within the context, keeping in mind the who, what, why, where, when and how of it so as to discover what the writer is actually saying. But give that person a Bible and he will most likely trash this proven method of interpretation and deliberately violate God's intended message, imposing on each passage whatever he compels himself to believe. For upon careful examination of the Bible it is evident that the authors whom God inspired to write every word utilized normative rules of language, context and logic. In the absence of evidence anywhere that God's Word is to be interpreted with a specialized set of rules outside of what man would normatively expect and in view of the evidence that a strict adherence to normative rules of language, context and logic produces an inerrant and absolutely consistent interpretation, we must thereupon follow God's plan of how to interpret His Word which He holds in such high esteem - on a par with His holiness. So if God's truth is to be arrived at, then His sovereignly established method must be used, not one's own.

It does not take a theologian to read and properly interpret the bible. For just as a brick layer needs only to select one brick at a time by color, size and strength and lay it on the mortar to build one wall at a time of a magnificent structure designed by an architect and built by the general contractor without needing to have an expertise in architectural design or be a general contractor of all the trades; so in order for an individual to properly build an interpretation of the magnificent building of words, the bible; he needs only to determine the meaning of one verse at a time by selecting the 'color,' in the sense of the proper context of that passage; the 'size' in the sense of the proper application of the rules of language to that passage; and the 'strength,' in the sense of the proper application of logic which supports that interpretation. Hence he does not have to be the Architect, God the Author Himself, Who designed the Word of God; nor the contractor, the human author, who was inspired to write each word to 'build' the particular book in which the verse is located; nor does he even have to be a scholar. In essence this is simply a matter of applying ones reading skills in an honest and objective manner.

On the other hand, it takes time and discipline to dig into the text including repeated efforts. Most people read into the text by going elsewhere in the bible or adding personal thoughts and conclusions that the text at hand just doesn't warrant instead of working hard to limit themselves to only what the text is saying - to what God is saying. That's why we have so many differing points of view about God's Word and so many denominations. Actually God's Word is very clear if you take the time to read it thoroughly one passage at a time - simply "listening" to what the author is saying and not adding your own thoughts to it. For example, if John did not see fit to address a certain point you feel is important, you must put that thought aside and listen to John because he was the one that was inspired by God to pen those words and he hasn't told you or I to go anyplace else in the Bible or outside the bible to add those thoughts to his. Yes, you might argue that there are other passages that say more about it, but God did not tell you or I to be editors, we are to be honest listeners only. On the other hand, once one has done a thorough job of "listening" to what God is saying in a particular text, then it is of course ok to go to another text and thoroughly listen to it and compare with other passages. But to jump around from one passage to another is like cooking 10 meals at the same time, without ever thoroughly cooking or preparing any meal. This creates indigestion, stomach pain and you miss the point of the meal as you do what God is saying in the passage.

The places to go in order to find out what words in the bible can mean are dictionaries and books on grammer and logic which set the rules of how words in the translated language may be used. The reason for this is that the bible, which is a translation / interpretation by others of the original writings, is neither a dictionary, nor a grammar book nor a source of the rules of logic. It does not provide all the available meanings for a word which has been translated, nor rules of grammar and logic so that the reader can decide whether his translation and/or his interpretation of that translation is accurate. If you use the bible translation as if it were a dictionary / grammar or logic book, you are in effect relying on the translators and/or on your interpretation of their translation which may not be correct.

2) TRUTHS THAT ARE RELAYED IN EACH PASSAGE ARE INCONTROVERTIBLE, ABSOLUTELY TRUSTWORTHY - IRREFUTABLE. THEY ARE THEREFORE NOT EVER CONTRADICTED, CHANGED OR MODIFIED INTO SOMETHING DIFFERENT BY INFORMATION ELSEWHERE IN SCRIPTURE OR OUTSIDE OF SCRIPTURE

Objectors to this principle state that one cannot just take a particular passage to teach some Biblical truth such as the one which is contained in Ephesians 2:8-10 or John 3:16, both of which teach faith alone in Christ alone unto eternal life. Objectors state that there are other passages throughout the Bible that teach on salvation and add to what Paul and John say a man must do to be saved, (creating the inference that the passages in Ephesians and John are contradictory or incomplete with error of omission). But this is an approach to Scripture which would make the understanding of any passage in the Bible unreachable until one had completely mastered every passage and allowed for passages to be changed or modified into their 'final' meaning. And this would take more than a lifetime of careful consideration and study to arrive at any kind of determination, something which is beyond the capacity of any individual. Furthermore, what could the saints of old do before there was a completed Bible with the 27 books of the New Testament? Have Abraham, Isaac and Jacob perished into Hades since they were not provided with New Testament revelation? If this approach is valid, then Ephesians and the Gospel of John are wrong by leaving important information out - God is wrong by allowing His Word to be so indeterminate and contradictory, the Bible is untrustworthy and no one can truly know what Scripture teaches on any subject.

The context of a verse/sentence within a passage cannot be made to depend upon or changed by other verses/sentences in other passages, especially other verses/sentences from books by other authors written years, decades or centuries earlier/later. This demands that everyone throughout the ages have access to every book of the bible and be totally familiar with every verse in the bible and how it relates to every other verse in the bible, something that is not possible. For how can one master every verse in the bible when one cannot master the first verse to begin with which would depend upon a mastery of every verse in the bible beforehand!! Furthermore, to master the whole bible even in the proper manner is a task with man which would take more than one lifetime in any age given the availability to everyone of every book of the bible in ones native language.

The normative rules of language, context and logic with which the bible was penned limit the interpretation of a verse/sentence to its own context which lies within it's own book relative to what has been previously stipulated in that book and most specifically the passage of that book it is located in. That's how the normative rules of language, context and logic work - even in the Word of God. Otherwise, how is an individual going to know what a verse means and be held accountable by God for what it says? If the rules to interpret the bible have changed beyond the normative rules of language, context and logic without a clear declaration anywhere in Scripture as to what those changes are and to what each verse's meaning is dependent upon, then this puts the bible out of reach of mankind.

The truth of the matter is that just as a cook can follow the directions of a recipe in order to produce the stated result of, for example, an angel food cake, without having to go to another recipe like one for roast beef; so an individual can follow the direction of faith alone in Christ alone as enunciated in Ephesians 2:8-9 and John 3:16 in order to produce the stated result of eternal life without having to go to other passages which add corrections and/or directions, (even if there were any in the Bible, and there are not). Furthermore, just as adding roast beef will ruin an angel food cake; so adding anything that an individual must do to faith alone in Christ alone unto eternal life will utterly destroy one's chances for going to heaven. The truth of the matter is that one can quickly and easily discern the teachings and build an understanding of God's Word by studying one passage at a time, following the built-in rules of interpretation and without years of agonizing examination of the entire Bible and thereby determine what God is saying in His Word. Most passages in the Bible declare a clear message of what they mean by themselves or at times with the use of a few parallel passages. Further investigation of parallel passages often provides the same message without additional information to be gleaned for the understanding of the original passage; or those parallel passages may provide more information on the same or related subjects, but that information came from those parallel passages and offers no further help in the interpretation of the original passage. Furthermore, when properly analyzed in detail in accordance with the 'normative' method, there simply are no contradictory passages anywhere in God's Word, especially verses which contradict what is taught in Ephesians chapters one & two and John chapter 3.

3) THE WORD OF GOD IS TO BE INTERPRETED BY ITS DIVINELY INSPIRED MESSAGE AND NOT BY HOW IT IS APPLIED

God's Word is to be interpreted by the message as designed & inspired by God. This interpretation is to be a direct result of how the original words exegetically, grammatically and contextually fit together in a normative sense = the original and normatively expected word meanings, figures of speech, background of the times, etc. all contributing to what that exclusive interpretation is as opposed to how it may or may not be applied.

Furthermore, in the same way that a tool can be applied to any number of uses - some effective, some not and some a patent misuse of the tool

so when one applies truths from the Word of God to one's life, one verifies what that truth can and cannot do without changing the basic truth itself, i.e, its basic interpretation.

This is contrary to objectors who claim that there is no end to what a particular passage in the Bible teaches because each individual applies such truths to himself in a unique way, thus drawing the false conclusion that such unique applications add to the meaning of that truth in the Bible. However, when the passage is carefully examined one finds that this is not the case: any scriptural application simply verifies what the passage already teaches; and any unscriptural application contradicts what that passage teaches and must be rejected and not applied at all!

B) INDUCTIVE RATHER THAN DEDUCTIVE REASONING IS REQUIRED

Furthermore in order for Scripture to be properly interpreted and understood, inductive rather than deductive reasoning must prevail. Another way to express the point that inductive reasoning must prevail is to say 'Let the words say what they mean'. Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary, G. & C. Merriam Co, Springfield, Ma, 1980, pp. 583 & 293 defines inductive and deductive as follows:

1) Deductive Reasoning Defined:

'capable of being deduced from [preconceived, external] premises...'

'deduce...to infer from a [preconceived] general principle..'

'inference...the act of passing from one proposition, statement, or judgment considered as true to another whose truth is believed to follow from that of the former.'

In other words, to employ a deductive procedure on Scripture is to approach a passage from an external point of view - with a preconceived notion as to what it should say and then to find evidence in that passage which verifies one's preconception.

2) Inductive Reasoning Defined:

'of, relating to, or employing mathematical or logical induction... reasoning...'

'induction..the act, process, or result or an instance of reasoning from a part to a whole, from particulars to generals or from the individual to the universal'

In other words, to employ an inductive procedure on Scripture is to use an internal approach and study what the words and grammar of the sentences actually add up to say, regardless of what one might understand beforehand.

3) A Deductive Approach to God's Word Means Presupposition & Often Bad Interpretation.

To approach God's Word from the first mentioned standpoint of deductive reasoning is to maintain that what you already believe is true and then to look for support in the passage one is examining. This often results in selecting some parts of the passage to support one's presupposition, skipping over other parts that contradict it, redefining terms that conflict with the way Scripture defines them, and ignoring the context.

Critics often maintain that what the Bible says cannot truly be ascertained by finite fallible men. They point to supposed centuries of universal disagreement. And they further support their position by emphasizing the imprecision and ever changing nature of languages, especially over thousands of years. This is a classic example of deductive reasoning: deciding ahead of time that nothing absolutely true can be ascertained from Scripture in the light of ages of falsely presupposed universal controversy supported by the equally false presupposition that the meaning of what people wrote in the past cannot ever be accurately determined, even if God had something to do with it.

In defense of the Bible, one might ask if any of these critics bothered to faithfully and inductively follow the Bible's own built-in rules of interpretation. And then one might ask the critics if they are not presumptuous in concluding that no one has yet ascertained what the Bible teaches when facts indicate otherwise.

4) On The Other Hand, Approaching God's Word Inductively Means Taking A Risk.

On the other hand it is often frightening for one to approach God's Word using the inductive way, i.e., putting all of one's understanding of what the Bible says 'on the back burner' and simply trusting in what the words actually say in each passage that is examined. Therefore, every time one studies God's Word, one is putting one's entire belief system to the test, letting the individual words, phrases and passages condemn or verify that belief system.

C) AND THE HOLY SPIRIT IS OUR TEACHER

1) The Holy Spirit Is The Teacher For The Believer.

Of course, it must be understood that God the Holy Spirit is our Teacher:

a) [1 Jn 2:27]:

"And as for you [believers, (v. 18)], the anointing which you received from Him abides in you, and you have no need for anyone to teach you; but as His anointing teaches you about all things, and is true and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you abide in Him."

b) [Compare 1 Cor 2:12]:

"We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit Who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us."

Today one can learn all things through the communication of God's Word via the teaching ministries of God's appointed teachers through the overriding teaching ministry of the Holy Spirit Who teaches the believer all things.

2) And He Is The Teacher Of The Unbeliever:

a) [Jn 16:7-8]:

(v. 7) "But I [Jesus, (v. 14:23) tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper [the Holy Spirit, (v. 13)] shall not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you.

(v. 8) And He, when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin, and righteousness, and judgment."

D) AND WHAT IS REQUIRED IS A SOURCE OUTSIDE OF THE INFLUENCE OF THE SIN NATURE, THE DEVIL AND THE WORLD:

THE NORMATIVELY INTERPRETED BIBLE.

1) Introduction

Just as God's sovereignty prevailed over man's penship of the 66 books of the Bible and produced an inerrant work by the hand of man, so He sovereignly prevailed over the languages of men which they used so that what man established as normative use is what is reflected in His Word so that all men could understand God's revelation to man.

Recall anytime man has an input into something, there is the inevitable contamination by the intrinsic sin nature which results in conflict and untruth:

a) [Ro 7:21-25]:

(v. 21) "So I [the Apostle Paul and all believers from the contextual purpose of the book of Romans] find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me.

(v. 22) For in my inner being I delight in God's law;

[So Paul here must be born again having an inner man, (Eph 3:16)]

(v. 23) but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members.

(v. 24) Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death?

(v. 25) Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, on the one hand I myself with my mind am serving the law of God, but on the other, with my flesh the law of sin."

And this sin nature is easily influenced by the Devil and the world:

b) [Eph 2:1-2]:

(v. 1) "And you were dead in your trespasses and sins,

(v. 2) in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, [the Devil, (Eph 6:12)] of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience."

c) [Compare Ro 12:2]:

"And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect."

d) [Compare 1 Jn 2:15]:

"Do not love the world, nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him."

So the interpretation of Scripture outside of the structure of normative language which God has established through His inspired writers is no exception to being manipulated by the sin nature, the Devil and the world. Such subjective methods inevitably lead to error and the consequent misleading of others. Unsubstantiated symbollism, spiritualizing where literal is intended, arriving at multiple contradictory interpretations for the same passage, (even when the normative meaning on the same subject is clearly stated in more than one passage), are prime examples of approaches which produce error and sin.

In general, misinterpretation occurs because the sin nature creates in man an unwillingness to be structured into truths from the Bible. Even truths about God which He made evident from creation are purposely suppressed:

e) [Ro 1:18-20]:

(v. 18) "For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness,

(v. 19) because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them.

(v. 20) For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse."

Objectors to being restricted to normative language principles of interpretation suppress the leading of the Holy Spirit, violate the normative rule, and impose their own viewpoint on God's Word instead. They even attribute their own false opinions to God Himself. But if it violates the normative rule which evidences itself as God's only established method, then it cannot be of God. So Scripture must be approached in much the same way as a newspaper article - from beginning to end, using normative word meanings, context, who, what, why, where, when and how, etc., so as to determine what the author is actually saying under the inspiration of God the Holy Spirit, (2 Tim 3:16).

2) The Normative Rule Defined Relative To Scripture: The Normally Expected Meaning Using The Established Rules Of The Language Of The Time.

Just as individuals who communicate successfully today in American English by following rules of language and utilizing meanings which have been established by the very people of today who use that language, so the successful and accurate communication of each Book of the Bible is done in much the same way: by following the rules of language and utilizing meanings established for that original language by the very people using that language at the time the particular book of the Bible was written. These rules of language and word meanings have been carefully documented through the efforts of innumerable individuals in countless hours of study and research of thousands of documents written in the original languages at the various times that each particular book of the Bible was written.

So normative is herein defined relative to Scripture as the normally expected meaning of the original language as it was established by usage of the people of the time when each book of the Bible was written. Since God is sovereign, consider that His system by which His Word is to be interpreted has been sovereignly established by Him and will be maintained by Him, especially in view of how highly regarded God holds His Word:

a) [Ps 138:2]:

"I will worship toward Your holy temple, and praise Your name for Your loving-kindness and for Your truth and faithfulness; for You have exalted above all else Your name and Your word, and You have magnified Your word above all Your name!"

Since the normative meaning of the authors' words have been frozen in time, the Bible cannot be influenced to communicate error by the sin nature, the devil or the world when it is normatively interpreted.

3) A Perspective Of The Normative Rule As The Method By Which Men Are To Understand The Bible:

The Holy Spirit instructs us within the framework of the normative meanings and rules of language which one finds in Scripture.

a) Following the normative rule is to follow the example of our Lord when He explained what the Scriptures meant. That is the method that He used.

i) [Mt 24:29-31]:

In Matthew chapter 24, our Lord is explaining in detail the scene of His Second Coming. He draws upon Scripture and interprets it literally according to the normative meanings of the words. Here are several examples:

(v. 29) " [Jesus says]: 'But immediately after the tribulation of those days - the Sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from the sky, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken,

[Note that this is a literal interpretation of a number of passages, some of which follow:

[Isa 13:9a, 10, 13]:

(v. 9a) "Behold, the day of the LORD is coming,

[i.e., His Second Coming, the subject of our Lord's discourse in Mt 24]

(v. 10) For the stars of heaven and their constellations will not flash forth their light; The sun will be dark when it rises, And the moon will not shed its light."

(v. 13) "Therefore I shall make the heavens tremble, And the earth will be shaken from its place at the fury of the LORD of hosts in the day of His burning anger."

[Compare Ez 32:7]:

(v. 7) " 'And when I extingtuish you, I will cover the heavens, and darken their stars; I will cover the sun with a cloud, And the moon shall not give its light.

(v. 8) All the shining lights in the heavens. I will darken over you. And will set darkness on your land, Declares the Lord God.' "

[Compare Joel 2:10]:

"Before them the earth quakes, The heavens tremble, The sun and the moon grow dark, And the stars lose their brightness."

i cont.) [Mt 24:29-31 cont.]:

(v. 30) [Jesus said] and the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky with power and great glory.

[Compare Zech 12:11a]:

"In that day there will be great mourning in Jerusalem..."

[Compare Dan 7:13b]:

"And behold, with the clouds of heaven, One like a Son of Man was coming..."

The following passage refers to Isaiah chapter 53 which has been subjected to innumerable false interpretations. Our Lord Himself, however, interprets it as referring to the only one about Whom it can be interpreted: Himself.

ii) [Lk 22:37]:

(v. 37) "[Jesus said] For I tell you, that this which is written must be fulfilled in Me,'And He was numbered with transgressors' for that which refers to Me has its fulfillment.' "

[Compare Is 53:12]:

"Therefore, I will allot Him a portion with the great, And He will divide the booty with the strong; Because He poured out Himself to death, And was numbered with the transgressors; Yet He Himself bore the sin of many, And interceded for the transgressors."

In the next passage, our Lord takes the commandments in Scripture in a literal and absolute way, disallowing the tradition of men to impose itself upon and vary the meaning of Moses' commandments to suit the situation. In other words, He takes the Word of God in the absolute and literal sense of the language as author Moses intended - the normative way:

iii) [Mk 7:6-13]:

(v. 6) ''' "And He [Jesus] said to them, 'Rightly did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written, 'This people honors Me with their lips, but their heart is far away from Me.'

(v. 7) But in vain do they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the precepts of men.'

(v. 8) Neglecting the commandment of God, you hold to the tradition of men."

(v. 9) He was also saying to them, "You nicely set aside the commandment of God in order to keep your tradition.

(v. 10) For Moses said, 'Honor your father and your mother'; and 'He who speaks evil of father or mother, let him be put to death';

(v. 11) but you say, 'If a man says to his father or his mother, anything of mine you might have been helped by is Corban" (that is to say, given to God),' (v. 12) "you no longer permit him to do anything for his father or his mother;

(v. 13) thus invalidating the Word of God by your tradition which you have handed down; and you do many things such as that." '''

b) Following The Normative Rule Results In A Single, Perfect, Non-contradictory Interpretation.

And God has indeed communicated His Word in a perfect manner utilizing normative rules of language. For whenever the normative rule is strictly adhered to, what results is a 'single line' of interpretation with no contradiction, no confusion and perfect consistency throughout every book of the bible! This is especially evident in the area of prophecy relative to prediction of future events. Therefore, all men are without excuse. Every man is provided by God with the capability to understand the Bible through the normative use of their native language. It is a matter of their will when they do not. It cannot be a lack of opportunity - even for those without the indwelling Holy Spirit. For all men are given the opportunity to be led unto salvation by God the Holy Spirit, (Jn 16:7-11; Ro 1:19), and thereafter be led into the ever increasing knowledge of God's Word, (Jn 14:26; 1 Jn 2:27; Eph 4:11-13)

The fact is that the Bible can be clearly understood. As a matter of fact, in order to determine the meaning of God's Word, one does not have to be an expert in the ancient languages of the Bible because there are many resources available from the teaching of pastors, teachers and fellow believers to very accurate and reliable translations to dictionaries, commentaries, grammar books, concordances, study lessons, etc., etc.; all of which will enable the diligent student of God's Word to discern the full meaning of the Bible in his daily walk with God.

So, rather than imposing one's own predetermined meaning on a particular word or phrase in Scripture; instead, one merely has to use the inductive approach and let God's Word tell you what it means - by using the built-in rules of interpretation with the aid of all of the sovereignly provided study helps.

So we are to use the normative meanings established by the people and the author who used that original language at the time the words were written - which by and large is a literal meaning or a figure of speech which has a predetermined literal meaning. Furthermore, when the built-in rules of interpretation are faithfully followed, what results is an interpretation which never finds contradiction, error or omission - no conflict, no error, no omission. This testifies to the authenticity and absolute reliability of the normative interpretative method. The many many prophecies that have been perfectly fulfilled to the last literal detail testify to this rule of taking the Bible literally.

So there is no mystery as to the meaning of God's Word, except in the minds of those who do not wish to accept what God is really saying. They often impose their own version of rules and meanings by which the Bible is to be interpreted in order to establish their own particular agenda, rather than to abide by the rules of those who actually used the language thousands of years ago. Keep in mind that it was God's sovereign choice to select particular fallible individuals using particular languages during particular times in order to communicate His Word to everyone - such languages carrying with them rules of interpretation and established meanings as a result of the people who used them at that time. And in spite of fallible authors, imperfect languages and the passing of ages of time, His Word comes shining through to the mind of the believer time after time. One would ask the inevitable question: If God had something to do with the Bible could He not have seen to it that its meaning would be attainable to the average individual?

c) Otherwise Men Could Plead Ignorance At Judgment - But With The Normative Rule They Are Without Excuse.

If God's Word is not to be interpreted utilizing normative rules of language then men could plead ignorance at God's Judgment Throne because they would not have been able to understand God's Word from some unexplained, unknown framework.

d) Otherwise God Would Have Conspired To Restrict The Knowledge Of His Word To Only A Chosen Few.

For if God's Word is not to be interpreted utilizing normative rules of language which are reflected in their language instruction, common, ordinary, man-produced dictionaries, grammar books, etc., then it must be concluded that God has conspired to restrict the knowledge of salvation and the rest of His written revelation to a chosen few enlightened ones.

But God's Word would not contradict itself and provide some with the one true meaning and permit the rest of mankind to be deceived by a contradictory meaning because they only knew the normative way. This would therefore condemn the great majority of humanity to the Lake of Fire without a chance. For if normative language cannot be relied upon to communicate what God has to say in His Word, especially relative to eternal life, then the great mass of humanity which would not have a special revelation has no chance to accept or reject the truth. This would speak ill of a God of love, justice and righteousness Who is not willing that any should perish:

i) [2 Pet 3:9]:

"The Lord is not slow in keeping His promise [of His Second Coming, (v. 2)], as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance."

So there is no mystical set of rules or supernatural communications from heaven needed to understand God's Word. The words are plain and clear in their normative sense as God intended them to be to every individual who will ever be born.

e) Otherwise God Would Have Deliberately Confused Mankind By Permitting Multiple False Interpretations.

Without a universally known, consistent and sovereignly structured system of interpretation, the result would be what happens today when the normative rule is not adhered to:

multiple contradictory interpretations reflecting untruth which create a lack of confidence in the validity of God's Word when individuals trust in such subjective methods of interpretation.

Furthermore, in answer to objectors who insist upon imposing their own rules and word meanings on the Bible or promoting multiple interpretations on God's Word even to the extent of creating a maze of contradiction and confusion or imposing 'today's' viewpoint on the Bible because viewpoints of the past are supposed to be obsolete, (and individuals of every age maintain this false concept); ...in view of all of the aforementioned objector viewpoints... consider that if any of this were true, then there would exist the impossiblity for billions of people throughout history of truly understanding what God intended to communicate in the Bible because the words would then not convey their normative meanings as everyday people understood them. If the Bible is supposed to be interpreted in such ways as objectors maintain then the average individual of any historical period would not know for sure what the Bible had to say. What would be the purpose or value of such a communication? What kind of God would communicate His Word to mankind in such an indeterminate way - not giving all individuals a chance to fully understand it?

f) Otherwise God's Word Is Made Subject To Whatever Rules Of Interpretation Mankind Can Dream Up With The Aid Of The Devil, The World, And The Sin Nature.

People tend to make up their own rules, not willing to be structured into God's established and sovereign order of communication of His Word. Keep in mind that it is His Word after all! So it is not surprising to find so many denominations and other religious organizations maintaining that their particular interpretation is the one true one. Nor is it surprising to find millions upon millions of individuals who insist that their own personal speculations or interpretations are just as valid as anyone else's. Some even maintain that their personal interpretation is the only acceptable one.

i) [But compare Ro 1:21-22]:

(v. 21) "For even though they [mankind who is inherently unrighteous, (v. 18-19; Ro 3:23)] knew God, they did not honor Him as God, or give thanks; but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened.

(v. 22) Professing to be wise, they became fools..."

g) A Violation Of The Normative Rule Indicates That The Holy Spirit Is Not Involved In The Interpretation. Any Violation Of The 'Normative' Rule Is Therefore Not Communication From God.

Furthermore one could not be led by the Holy Spirit and at the same time violate the grammatical construction, context or normative word meanings of God's Word.

God is a God of order and consistency, not of confusion and contradiction:

i) [1 Cor 14:33a]:

"For God is not a God of confusion but of peace..."

So any confusion, contradictory interpretations included, could not be of God. Subjective methods of interpretation will inevitably differ from and add private interpretations to the objective normative method and thereby contradict it, causing error and confusion - a result which violates God's clear command in His Word:

ii) [Rev 22:18-21]:

(v. 18) "I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God shall add to him the plagues which are written in this book;

(v. 19) and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the tree of life and from the holy city, which are written in this book."

[Cp. 2 Pet 1:20-21]:

(v. 20) "But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one's own interpretation,

(v. 21) for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God."

So any interpretation of the Bible which violates the normative rule could not be what God intended to communicate.

h) Proof Of The Validity Of The Normative Rule Is That It Results In An Inerrant Interpretation Absolutely Without Contradiction.

Following the normative rule results in a perfect interpretation of God's Word every time reflecting the inerrancy of God's inspired Word. This is especially evident with 100% accuracy in prophecy passages and 100% absence of contradictions. A feat no other method or book can claim. So it is self-evident that it is the one and only true method of interpretation.

So the Bible is a work of 66 books extending over a period of hundreds of years by approximately 40 fallible men, utilizing normative fallible languages, providing an absolutely reliable, inerrant, perfectly harmonious communication from God Himself, something only God could accomplish.

i) And We Can Have Confidence In Versions Which Have Been Normatively Translated Into The World's Languages

And we can have confidence in the reliable translations that we have today because the words portray an accurate reflection of what the original authors intended in the original languages.

And in order to perfect and refine the meaning gleaned from these reliable translations we can frequently refer to the various study helps such as commentaries, lexicons, concordances, footnotes, cross references, dictionaries, etc. As one earnestly studies the Bible it becomes quickly evident that God communicated His Word in specific languages in specific times so that those meanings could be frozen in time and then translated accordingly into the languages of the world. Otherwise one could impose what he wished upon God's Word due to the ever changing nature of languages. So a particular word used in a particular time in God's Word in a particular context will only have one meaning and not be subject to change as languages change. Furthermore, the reliable translations are accurate. They reflect what the original authors wrote down in the original language. But one must keep an eye on the original languages since translations are not perfect because none of the translated languages perfectly coincides with any of the original languages. A good English translation, for example, is by and large all that is required to determine what a passage is saying. But it must be done by internal evidence from the passage itself within its own context and not by any kind evidence from a corroborating passage - which is external. External evidence only serves to corroborate what has already been determined by internal evidence of the passage at hand. I said a good English translation by and large because there are some passages where one must go back to the original language to determine what it is specifically saying internally. This is so because the passage has been incorrectly or inadequately translated and offers more than one or no clear possibility of interpretation.

The solution to these difficult passages is as follows:

1) Offer no interpretation if one has no resources to go back to the original language. This is not disastrous because the bible repeats itself all the time relative to the doctrines of the faith. So missing a doctrinal message in one passage, one can be assured will be clearly available elsewhere.

2) Offer a possibility or possibilities of interpretation and refer to other passages that corroborate each possibility based on internal observation of the corroborating passage. This is dangerous at best because it relies on external evidence from elsewhere rather than internal evidence from the original passage itself and its own context. Hence one must clearly stipulate that the passage at hand is not fully understood but here is a possibility from another passage which appears to be telling the same message. This kind of honesty and proper exegesis is rarely done. It is further dangerous because it teaches one to go elsewhere to determine what a passage says and assumes that the ‘elsewhere’ passage is interpreted correctly, i.e., internally via the normative rules of language, context and logic. This is rarely the case. Most interpreters use the external snippet out of context method to corroborate falsely arrived at human imposed points of view on passages that are located elsewhere.

E) AND CONSTANT STUDY IS REQUIRED FOR GOD TO INSTRUCT US

So we are required to constantly study the Bible so that we can be instructed and led by God through what we have learned:

1) [2 Tim 2:15]:

"Study to show yourself approved unto God, a workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of truth."

2) [Compare Jos 1:8]:

"Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful."

2) [Ps 1:1]:

(v. 1) "Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers.

(v. 2) But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night."

Considering the gravity of the subject matter in the Bible and the potential of overwhelming and evil influence by the Devil, the world and one's own sin nature: constant and detailed study of what God has to say is no small matter for each and every individual to contemplate.

For without a knowledge of God's Word through hours of careful study, the Holy Spirit has little to work with in order to direct the individual's walk with God. Just like in school, the believer-student must do his homework in order to pass the course of life with Jesus Christ.

F) AND SUBMITTING TO THE TEACHING OF OTHER BELIEVERS IS REQUIRED

Furthermore, Christians are to submit to the instruction of other believers which takes place largely when "church" is in session: And God's Word is clear on this matter:

1) [Heb 10:25]:

"Let us [believers, (vv. 19-21)] not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing"

2) [Compare Eph 4:11-12]:

(v. 11) "And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers,

(v. 12) [to be] face to face ["pros", (Gk) = face to face - with believers with a view to the] perfecting of the saints; resulting in [= "eis", (Gk)] the work of service, resulting in ["eis"] the building up of the body of Christ."

As it teaches in the passage just quoted, God designed the body of Christ, the Church, to work together, serving one another and bringing up one another in the knowledge and obedience to God's Word.

II) GOD'S WORD TAKES PRECEDENCE OVER FEELINGS, EXPERIENCES AND MAN'S REASONING

A) MAN'S REASONING AND MENTAL CAPACITY ARE CONTAMINATED BY SIN AND ARE THEREBY FLAWED AND UNACCEPTABLE TO GOD

God's Word, it will be learned, takes precedence over feelings, experiences and man's reasoning:

1) [Compare Pr 3:5-6]:

(v. 5) "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And do not lean on your own understanding.

(v. 6) In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight."

2) [Compare Is 55:8-9]:

(v. 8) " 'For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Neither are your ways My ways,' declares the LORD.

(v. 9) For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts.' "

An individual's interpretation of feelings and experiences cannot override or even modify truth from God's Word. Experiences and feelings may be real, but it is the interpretation of them which is frequently wrong. How often have our feelings about an individual or a belief been in error? How often have we misjudged people and situations based on our own personal interpretation of past experiences. People often wrongfully condemn others, denounce certain activities or deny that specific occurrences even happened without any supporting evidence to justify their position. They react this way simply because the individuals, activities or occurrences are different. Deep within each individual is a propensity to think, say and do evil which effects our interpretation of what is true and righteous, (cp Ro 7:21-25).

There are many who maintain that their conscience will inevitably be guided by what is true and what is not - regardless of what the words of Scripture specifically convey in an historical, grammatical sense. Some even contend that their conscience is infallibly led by God - no mistakes! The rational process of all men, believers and nonbelievers alike, however, is contaminated by sin and cannot accurately reflect or recall truth or reality all the time, (1 Cor 2:6-16); even faithful believers:

3) [Compare Ro 7:21-23]:

(v. 21) "So I [the Apostle Paul and all believers from the contextual purpose of the book of Romans] find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. (v. 22) For in my inner being I delight in God's law;

(v. 23) but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members."

a) [Compare Jeremiah 17:9]:

"The heart is more deceitful than all else

And is desperately sick;'

Who can understand it?"

Martin & Deidre Bobgan state, (Psychoheresy Awareness Letter, Mar-Apr 1993 issue, Santa Barbara, Ca, Vol 1, p.5):

"Some people would have us think that the memory is like a tape recorder that records every event accurately and keeps it intact. But, research on memory has debunked that myth.....Memories are created out of images, overheard conversations, dreams, suggestions, and imagination as well as out of actual events. And they change over time. Even as we remember we tend to fill in the gaps. Therefore, each time a memory is recalled it is also recreated with the emotions accompanying the recall and with the imagination which fills in the gaps.....

...Even immediate recall may be inaccurate simply because of an initial failure to perceive accurately. That is why those who testify about a particular event may give completely different stories. Memories are also very malleable. They change even as we recall past events.....Even under the best circumstances, our memory is incomplete. We creatively fill in details with probabilities."

So it is true what Scripture says about the thoughts and ways of God as compared to man:

4) [Isa 55:8-9]:

(v. 8) " 'For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways,' declares the Lord

(v. 9) As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts.' "

B) BUT GOD'S WORD IS ALWAYS TRUE AND PERFECT, OVERRIDING MAN'S EXPERIENCES, THOUGHTS AND EMOTIONS

And it is God's thoughts which are exclusively presented in the Bible and which are always true, (2 Tim 3:16). Consider Job when he was subjected to God's test of losing all of his wealth and all seven children, (Job 1:6-19). So what did Job do? He did not rely on his emotions, nor on the opinions of others, nor on his own understanding of what he was going through. Instead:

1) [Job 1:20-22]:

(v. 20) ".... Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head, and he fell to the ground and worshipped. [God]

(v. 21) And he said, 'Naked I came from my mother's womb, And naked I shall return there. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.' (v. 22) Through all this Job did not sin nor did he blame God."

a) [Compare Job 23:12 which indicates Job's attitude toward God's Word]:

" [Job says] 'I have not departed from the command of His lips; I have treasured the words of His mouth more than my necessary food."

Although Satan was directly responsible for all of Job's trouble, God sovereignly permitted it as a test of Job's faith - in order to provide spiritual maturity in him, (Job 1:6-12). This God does to all of His children in varying degrees when they are ready, (Jas 1:12; 1 Pet 1:6-7) - most never are. And then Job lost his health. Job's wife told him to curse God and kill himself because she felt....

(notice: a reliance on emotions which is contrary to Pr 3:5-6)

.....Job's wife told him to curse God and kill himself because she felt that her husband had done so much evil as to offend God and bring so much tragedy to their lives, (v. 9). But Scripture tells us: not so!! However, she thought she knew better, so she told Job to kill himself - which is also contrary to God's viewpoint. Unlike his wife and friends, Job looked to God and not to his own understanding of what was going on:

1 cont.) [Job 1:20-22 cont.]:

(v. 20) ".... Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head, and he fell to the ground and worshipped. [God]

(v. 21) And he said, 'Naked I came from my mother's womb, And naked I shall return there. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.'

(v. 22) Through all this Job did not sin nor did he blame God."

Then Satan was permitted by God to afflict Job with round two of misery:

2) [Job 42:7-10]:

(v. 7) "Then Satan went out from the presence of the Lord, and smote Job with sore boils from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head."

Note that Satan has the power to make a man ill and then to relieve him of that illness - in effect miraculously curing him. So miracle cures can be of the demonic world:

a) [Compare Rev 13:13-14]:

(v. 13) "And he [the false prophet] performs great signs, so that he even makes fire come down out of heaven to the earth in the presence of men.

(v. 14) And he deceives those who dwell on the earth because of the [miraculous] signs which it was given him [by Satan] to perform in the presence of the beast [the Antichrist], telling those who dwell on the earth to make an image to the beast who had the [fatal] wound of the sword and has come to life."[by the miraculous power of Satan]

b) [Compare 2 Thes 2:9]:

"The coming of the lawless one [the Antichrist] will be in accordance with the work of Satan displayed in all kinds of counterfeit miracles, signs and wonders.."

So signs and wonders which include miraculous healings can be performed by Satan and the demonic world, (cp Ex 7:10-12), and they are done to deceive people into following the viewpoint that is produced by demons and Satan himself. These signs and wonders appear to be good works. They often are good with respect that material gain or being cured in and of itself is not evil. But the deception which they are tied to is evil. Many healings by individuals claiming healing powers such as devotees of false religions, (Hinduism, Western Indian, Haitian and other tribal witch doctors, etc), deceive those who follow such Satanic religions and further encourage people to worship idols. The good that is done by the miracle is therefore used to deceive the individual into following a demonic religion. Uninformed Christians are often led to believe that miracles produced by the demonic world are from God. These miracles and healings are often instrumental in sidetracking the Christian from God's purpose in his life. Yet the Bible says that many of the deeds and miracles, some of which are performed in the Lord's name, will be rejected as "iniquity":

b) [Mt 7:22-23]:

(v. 22 ) '''Many will say to Me on that day, "Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?

(v. 23 ) "And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from me, you who practice iniquity' " '''

"on that day" = The day, the time, of the Lord's Second Coming when He will judge men living on the earth at that time, cp Mt 25:31-46.

Notice that the prophesying, casting out of demons, and many miracles which were performed in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ were miraculous and yet were officially called by God the Son as evil.

2 cont.) [Job 42:7-10 cont.]:

(v. 7) "Then Satan went out from the presence of the Lord, and smote Job with sore boils from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head."

(v. 8) And he [Job, who is covered with cancerous festering sores] took a potsherd to scrape himself while he was sitting among the ashes.

(v. 9) Then his wife said to him, 'Do you still hold fast your integrity? Curse God and die!'

(v. 10) But he said to her, 'You speak as one of the foolish women speaks. Shall we indeed accept good from God and not accept adversity?' In all this Job did not sin with his lips."

[While his wife and closest friends continually berated him without compassion and accused him of sin, Job looked to God and not to the human viewpoint reasoning of his wife and friends. For example, Job's friend Eliphaz interprets Job's situation by his own faulty human viewpoint and says]:

c) [Job 4:8-9, 12-19]:

(v. 8) "According to what I have seen, those who plow iniquity And those who sow trouble harvest it.

(v. 9) By the breath of God they perish, And by the blast of His anger they come to an end.

[Eliphaz 'comforts Job' by telling him that God is angry with him for evil doing that God is killing him. Job continues to respond to his friends' and wife's brutal accusations with true divine viewpoint. Yet even as Job sits on the heap of ashes covered with cancerous sores, Eliphaz continues his cruel retorts such as follows]:

i) [Compare Job 15:2-6]:

(v. 2) "Should a wise man answer with windy knowledge, And fill himself with the east wind?

(v. 3) Should he argue with useless talk, Or with words which are not profitable?

[Actually, Job's answers were not full of wind nor useless. They were true. God Himself verifies this, (Job 42:7-8). But Eliphaz goes on berating Job]:

(v. 4) Indeed, you do away with reverence, And hinder meditation before God.

(v. 5) For your guilt teaches your mouth, And you choose the language of the crafty.

(v. 6) Your own mouth condemns you, and not I;

And your own lips testify against you."

[Eliphaz answers from his emotions and makes it a personal attack on Job instead of focusing on what God says. He then promotes his own viewpoint as God's own and continues to accuse Job of evil because Eliphaz believes that only the evil come to suffering. Then each of Job's friends, Zophar, Bildad and Elihu take their turn attacking the poor miserable Job with the same false viewpoint. Job answers each time pointing out truths which we now read in God's Word. So Eliphaz continually accuses his friend Job of evil and of God's judgment on him for being evil. That, he says, is the reason for Job's tragic situation. And then Eliphaz says that he had a vision from God which supports his accusations of Job's evil doing]:

c cont.) [Job 4:8-9, 12-19 cont.]:

(v. 12 N.I.V.) "A word was secretly brought to me, my ears caught a whisper of it.

(v. 13) Amid disquieting dreams in the night, When deep sleep falls on men,

(v. 14) fear and trembling seized me and made all my bones shake.

(v. 15) A spirit glided past my face, and the hair on my body stood on end.

i) Visions Are Not Always Of God

[Keep in mind that Satan can produce what Eliphaz is describing even with an apparently righteous message - just good enough to be used to destroy Job. For that was Satan's purpose in the first place: to get Job to curse God and sin, (cp Job 1:6-11; 2:1-5). This vision could not be of God even though its message is not a false one because God condemned Elphhaz' behavior, (Job 42:7-8). The vision came to Eliphaz via Satan so that it could be used to falsely accuse Job and get him to admit he must be doing evil. Recall that all of the visions that God provides are clearly understood without a lot of mysticism and are certainly purposed to do good - not evil as in the case of Eliphaz. Eliphaz, however, interprets his vision as from God rather than from the demonic world because he feels that the message is correct. Yet later on God condemns Eliphaz' behavior which must necessarily include Eliphaz' use of his vision with which to accuse Job of evil, (cp Job 42:7-8). Here is Eliphaz's account of his vision]:

c cont.) [Job 4:8-9, 12-19 cont.]:

(v. 16) It stopped, but I could not tell what it was. A form stood before my eyes, and I heard a hushed voice;

(v. 17) 'Can a mortal be more righteous than God? Can a man be more pure than his Maker?

(v. 18) If God places no trust in his servants, if he charges his angels with error,

(v. 19) how much more those who live in houses of clay, whose foundations are in the dust, who are crushed more readily than a moth!

(v. 20) Between dawn and dusk they are broken to pieces, unnoticed, they perish forever.

(v. 21) Are not the cords of their tent pulled up, so that they die without wisdom?' "

[Compare Job 5:8 & 17 for more of Eliphaz's cruel beratement. Then compare chapter 6 for Job's reply which reflects his trust in God's sovereign purpose in all of this which is beyond his understanding. As the Book of Job moves on, each of Job's closest friends adds his version of human viewpoint criticism and accusation of evil by Job. Job responds with what he knows from God's viewpoint until God finally steps in and affirms Job's stance and rebukes the friends]:

d) [Job 42:7-8]:

(v. 7) "And it came about after the Lord had spoken these words to Job, then the Lord said to Epiphaz the Temanite, 'My wrath is kindled against you and against your two friends, because you have not spoken of Me what is right as My servant Job has.

(v. 8) Now therefore, take for yourselves seven bulls and seven rams, and go to My servant Job, and offer up a burnt offering for yourselves, and My servant Job will pray for you. For I will acccept him so that I may not do with you according to your folly, because you have not spoken of Me what is right, as My servant Job has.' "

So Job's 'friends' were told by God of the errors in their behavior toward Job. And they were commanded by God to repent of those errors and perform the appropriate acts which demonstrated in those days their change of heart. On the other hand, Job relied for the most part on what he understood about God and not on human viewpoint interpretations provided for him of his experiences. Where Job went wrong was when his emotions - his feelings - about his situation took control and he developed such self-pity to the extent of wishing he had never been born, (Job 3:1-5). So even Job succombed to the error of trusting in his emotions instead of what he knew about God.

C) SO ONE MUST TRUST EXCLUSIVELY IN WHAT GOD SAYS IN HIS WORD

The first step to finding out what is really true is to set aside the reliance on feelings and on the interpretation of one's experiences to guide them and to decide instead to totally trust in what God has to say in His Word:

1) [Pr 3:1-6]:

(v. 1) My son, do not forget my teaching,

[which is from God's Word]

But let your heart keep my commandments;

(v. 2) For length of days and years of life,

And peace they will add to you.

(v. 3) do not let kindness and truth leave you;

Bind them around your neck,

Write them on the tablet of your heart.

(v. 4) So you will find favor and good repute

In the sight of God and man.

(v. 5) Trust in the Lord with all your heart,

[This especially includes trusting with all your heart - i.e., all your mentality - in what God has said in His Word, as it says at the beginning of this passage, (vv. 1-3)]

(v. 5 cont.) And do not lean on your own understanding.

[And do not RELY on your feelings or what you think apart from God's Word. Instead trust with all your heart in what God has said in His Word]

(v. 6) In all your ways acknowledge Him,

And He will direct your path."

By studying and obeying God's Word, one can acknowledge God in all one's ways, thereby enabling God to direct one's path.

Compare a passage from First John:

2) [ Compare 1 Jn 5:13]:

"I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life."

Author John is stating that you may know that you are going to heaven on the basis of reading and accepting what he has written about how to have eternal life. So, if the Bible is herein established as the final authority as to one's eternal destiny, (and it is); then how much the more is it established as authoritative on innumerable other matters of life and creation, taking precedence over one's experiences, feelings and belief systems. For example, one may sincerely believe that one is doing the right thing or even that one is sure that one is going to heaven but unless those beliefs line up with God's Word, one is sincerely mistaken.

D) OR GOD'S WORD IS TRUSTWORTHY

God's revelation of His Word to mankind did not all come at once. Rather, it came in parts over thousands of years - progressively, including the New Testament books. As the years passed by, God's revelation was imperfectly preserved via manuscript copies, translations and word of mouth, with no two manuscripts discovered to be exactly alike and many manuscripts totally and deliberately destroyed - unavailable to all men of the world in all languages. But considering the sovereignty of God, whatever mankind has had available of God's revelation is whatever God has sovereignly provided for us. So such issues as the unavailability of certain sections, verses and words and even whole endings of books, (Mark), in the light of God's sovereignty throughout the centuries, it is to be concluded that God sovereignly saw to it that they were not made available and were thus not part of what He intended for mankind at the time to be exposed to.

Furthermore, the writings of Scripture, (i.e., the original writings of the authors of the 66 books of the Bible which were written in ancient Hebrew, Aramaic & Greek), do not have any contradictions or errors. Scripture itself maintains that this is true:

1) [Ps 19:7-9]:

(v. 7) "The law of the Lord is perfect, restoring the soul; The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple.

(v. 8) The precepts of the Lord are right, giving joy to the heart. The commands of the Lord are radiant, giving light to the eyes.

(v. 9) The fear of the Lord is pure, enduring forever. The ordinances of the Lord are sure and altogether righteous."

(Cf Ps 12:6; 119:89-96)

2) [Cp 2 Tim 3:16]:

"All Scripture is inspired by God [and therefore inerrant] and [therefore in all respects without exception] profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness;"

3) [Cp Jn 10:35b]:

[Jesus said] "...the Scripture cannot be broken),"

[i.e., there is nothing in God's Word which has a hint of error or contradiction which would enable it therefore to be broken - i.e., no portion of Scripture can be considered suspect of not telling truth, (Cf Mt 5:17-18; 24:35)]:

(v. 17) "Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish, but to fulfill."

(v. 18) For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass away from the Law. until all is accomplished."

4) [Mt 24:35]:

"Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words [i.e., Scripture] shall not pass away."

[Even the nuances and grammatical forms of the words chosen by God in the original languages were selected to convey precisely what God chose to say without error and in perfect truth]

5) [2 Pet 1:20-21]:

(v. 20) "But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one's own interpretation,

[That is to say that no verse is to be interpreted apart from, i.e., in contradiction to, any other passage in the Bible]

(v. 21) for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God."

So the Bible testifies to its own inerrancy: to its own absolute perfection. It is the product of a sovereign, perfect and Holy God Who chose to work through imperfect man in order to produce a miraculously perfect Bible. As a matter of fact, throughout history, there has never been an archaeological or scientific discovery which has ever disproved a single verse of the Bible, all have indeed proved out the truths in God's Word. The result of God's endeavor is so awesome and perfect that God states in His Word through the praises of David:

6) [Ps 138:1-2 AMPLIFIED]:

(v. 1) "I will confess and praise You O God, with my whole heart; before the gods [angels, cp Ps 8:5] will I sing praises to You.

(v. 2) I will worship toward Your Holy temple, and praise Your name for Your loving-kindness and for Your truth and faithfulness; for You have exalted above all else Your name and Your Word, and You have magnified Your Word above all Your name!"

Notice that God has magnified His Word above His name.

And the unique message of the Bible: God's redemption of mankind through His own sacrifice which is available as a free grace gift could only come from God Himself. Mankind's solutions do not even approach such an awesome and wondrous message:

7) [Ro 3:24 N.I.V.]:

(v. 23) "This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference,

(v. 24) and are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus."

[Dr Kenneth S. Wuest states, ('Ephesians and Colossians in the Greek New Testament', Wm B. Eerdmans Publishing Co. Grand Rapids, Mich, 1963, p21-23)]:

"...God's action at the Cross in dying for lost humanity is an action beyond the ordinary course of what might be expected and is therefore commendable. Here is one of the strongest proofs of the divine source of the Bible. The substitutionary atonement never came from the philosophies of man but from the heart of God."

The original writings, which are no longer extant, have been copied, translated, quoted and written about many times throughout the centuries. With the availability of thousands of manuscript copies, innumerable letters quoting what the original writers wrote down and the incredibly meticulous work of dedicated scholars, errors in copying have been purged to the extent that what we have is almost all of what God inspired the authors of the Bible to write down. And year by year the few remaining unsettled variants amongst manuscript copies are being resolved. Incidentally, the variants in manuscript copies never effected a single major Bible doctrine. And we have a number of very reliable translations to work with so long as we constantly refer to the original language behind the translation as a double check of the translators. So copies and translations, such as the various King James Versions, the New International and the New American Standard versions are to be tested against the original words in the original languages which the human authors of God's Word actually wrote down. Changes in the meaning of words, expressions and figures of speech which are peculiar to particular cultures and times and outright translation errors demand this constant comparison to the original text. So Scripture is to be interpreted from the original language on the basis of what those original words meant to the people to whom those words were written, just like any other ancient writing. Translations are sometimes awkward and even misleading because of the differences in languages and cultures, but with a little study using commentaries, reference materials, dictionaries and the teaching of fellow believers one can determine the meaning of what God has said in His Word. Most of the teachings of the Bible are clear in any of the legitimate translations, (legitimate translation = translation which reflects the correct literal, grammatical and contextual content of the original language). Problems and controversies arise when individuals refuse to take what God clearly teaches in His Word and impose on Scripture what they want to believe instead.

By faithfully and exclusively following the rules of interpretation which are inherant and often explicitly stated in Scripture, the fact of the inerrancy of God's Word will be proved out every single time. An important point to understand relative to the interpretation of Scripture is that there is only one interpretation for each passage in God's Word which can be arrived at correctly according to the proper interpretive principles inherent in God's Word. Other interpretations such as ones with a so called deeper spiritual meaning will inevitably fail the test of God's sovereign interpretive principles which are explicit or inherent in His Word and thus will be ruled out as incorrect. Since there are no contradictions in God's Word, then if there were a deeper second spiritual meaning or another interpretation for any passage in Scripture in addition to the meaning as attained by proper Biblical interpretive rules, (and there is not)......then these other interpretations could not contradict or add to the teachings from Scripture arrived at by utilizing proper Biblical rules of interpretation. Yet they inevitably do. God's Word refutes the idea of a second interpretation:

8) [2 Pet 1:20-21]:

(v. 20) "But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture [i.e., no teaching in God's Word] is a matter of one's own interpretation, (v. 21) for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God."

9) [Pr 30:5-6]:

(. 5) "Every word of God is tested;

He is a shield to those who take refuge in Him.

(v. 6) Do not add to His words

Lest He reprove you, and you be proved a liar."

10) [Rev 22:18-19]:

(v. 18) "I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God shall add to him the plagues which are written in this book;

(v. 19) and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the tree of life and from the holy city, which are written in this book."

E) AND GOD'S REVELATION TO MANKIND IS COMPLETE FOR THIS AGE, FULLY CONTAINED IN THE BIBLE

The canon of Scripture is closed for this age, (1 Cor 13:10 []). So no new revelation is of God until the age is past, not even via spiritual gifts. Early in the church age, believers were used by God via spiritual gifts of signs and wonders to reveal to the body of Christ and to the unbelieving world information which later was written down in epistles and then organized into the 27 books of the New Testament Bible.

1) [Compare Heb 1:3-4, 2:4]:

(v. 3) "How shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation? After it [the message of salvation] was at the first spoken through the Lord, it was confirmed to us by those who heard,

(v. 4) God also bearing witness with them, both by signs and wonders and by various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit according to His own will."

(v. 2:4 AMPLIFIED) "Besides this evidence it [the message of salvation] was also established and plainly endorsed by God, Who showed His approval of it by signs and wonders and various miracle manifestations of His power and by imparting the gifts of the holy Spirit to the believers according to His own will."

2) [Compare Acts 14:3]:

"So Paul and Barnabas spent considerable time there, speaking boldly for the Lord, Who confirmed the message of His grace by enabling them to do miraculous signs and wonders."

3) [Compare Rom 15:18-19a]:

(v. 18) "I will not venture to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me [Paul] in leading the Gentiles to obey God

(v. 19a) by what I have said and done by the power of signs and miracles through the power of the Spirit."

But these signs and wonders were only temporary, (1 Cor 13:8). God's special revelation to man has ceased until our Lord comes again, (Joel 2:28-29). So the need for authenticating signs and wonders ceased with the completed New Testament Bible until the beginning of the Millennial Age. It is evident from Scripture that the Apostle Paul lost his gift of healing when he did not heal Epaphroditus, (Phil 2:25-31), or Trophimus, (2 Tim 4:20), and when he advised Timothy to take a little wine for his ailing stomach instead of healing him, (1 Tim 5:23). Church history up until the present time has not seen a renewing of the authentic sign and wonder - miracle type gifts as specifically defined and detailed in Scripture. A detailed study of the purpose for and the godly operation of spiritual gifts beginning with 1 Corinthians chapters 12-14 will verify that whatever is going on today is in direct violation of Scripture and therefore neither from God nor a sign of revelation from Him.

[ on the temporary spiritual gifts]

F) AND ALL BELIEVERS HAVE THE MIND OF CHRIST WITH WHICH TO STUDY, FULLY UNDERSTAND AND OBEY GOD'S WORD

Finally, Scripture states that understanding of the deep things of God's Word are open to all believers to understand, thus ruling out a second deeper meaning for a select few believers who are uniquely baptized a second time or uniquely informed by God.

Truths from God's word are often hard to follow and contrary to 'normal' reasoning. 'Normal' reasoning is in actuality abnormal being contaminated by man's sin nature that he is born with, (Ro 5:12; Ps 5:5). This so called 'normal reasoning' cannot understand truths from God's Word and instead chooses to believe untruths. Truths from Scripture are only understood when God the Holy Spirit intervenes in the mind of an individual and enables that individual to understand and believe. Many truths from Scripture can only be understood and accepted when God the Holy Spirit has regenerated the human spirit and indwelt the individual thus providing that individual with the capacity to understand and believe and obey what God has said in His Word. Once one has become a believer, then all of Scripture is open for that believer to understand for that is precisely when the individual receives the Holy Spirit who will teach him God's Word:

1) [1 Cor 2:12-16]:

(v. 12) "Now we [believers, v.1:1-2; 2:1] have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit Who is from God, (1 Cor 12:13) that we might know the things freely given to us by God,

a) ALL CHURCH AGE BELIEVERS RECEIVE THE BAPTISM OF THE HOLY SPIRIT AT THE POINT OF TRUSTING ALONE IN CHRIST ALONE

So, verse 12 of 1 Cor chapter 2 states that "we" meaning the people to whom the letter is addressed - the saints, the believers at the Corinth - and all believers....

"we [believers] ...have received...the Spirit Who is from God." = So all church age believers receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit at the point of trusting alone in Christ alone as Personal Savior, (Eph 1:13-14; Gal 3:2, 1 Cor 12:13).

Note that during the transitional period of that 'first' Pentecost there were some who had already believed before the Holy Spirit 'came' and a number of Samaritans whom God chose to be baptized in the Spirit later. Those having already been believers before Pentecost were converted through John the Baptist, (Acts 2:4; 19:1-7). The Samaritans were hostile neighbors with the Jews, so God had Peter and John officiate at their Spirit baptism in order to bring home the concept of the unity in Christ of all believers, (Acts 8:12-18). So this period of transition is in the past and all believers afterward are baptized with the Spirit at the point of being saved. Compare 1 Cor 12:13; Eph 1:13-14; Gal 3:2]

1 cont.) [1 Cor 2:12-16 cont.]:

(v. 12 cont.) "Now we [believers, 1 Cor 2:1-2; 2:1] have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit Who is from God, [1 Cor 12:13] that we might know the things freely given to us by God,

(v. 13) which things we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, combining spiritual thoughts with spiritual words.

b) THE HOLY SPIRIT PROVIDES GOD'S VIEWPOINT TO THE BELIEVER VIA SPIRITUAL THOUGHTS AND WORDS, BUT THE BELIEVER MUST STUDY THE BIBLE

This does not say that we are not to study God's Word because God teaches us exclusively through the Spirit without our effort. What this verse is saying is that the words of Scripture that believers are commanded to study, (2 Ti 2:15), are made understandable not by virtue of what we use as human wisdom to teach us but we understand the meaning of words from Scripture by virtue of God the Holy Spirit's teaching us what they mean as we earnestly study them. It takes God the Holy Spirit, verse 13 says, to teach us what the words of Scripture mean. But first, believers must do their part by properly studying Scripture in accordance with the way God has sovereignly set His Word up to be studied, (Eph 4:11-13 & 2 Tim 2:15).

The phrase from verse 13: "combining spiritual thoughts with spiritual words" is a key to understanding the roles that God and the believer play in the believer's understanding of Scripture: God's Word is "taught...by the Spirit" by "combining...thoughts" which are provided by God the Holy Spirit "with" the "words" which a believer has studied and learned by the sweat of his brow from God's Word:

i) [2 Tim 2:15]:

"Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, handling accurately the word of truth."

1 cont.) [1 Cor 2:12-16 cont]:

(v. 14) But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God; for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised.

(v. 15) But he who is spiritual appraises all things, yet he himself is appraised by no man."

c) THE NATURAL (NON-SPIRITUAL) MAN CANNOT UNDERSTAND SPIRITUAL THING BUT THE SPIRITUAL MAN CAN

A "natural man" - an unbeliever or a carnal believer does not have the capacity - is not equipped - to understand spiritual things. His mentality is so completely contaminated with his inbred sin nature, (Ro 8:6-8), that he can only reason with human viewpoint which is diametrically opposed to the divine viewpoint which is necessary to understand God's Word. On the other hand, believers are permanently indwelt with the Conveyor of divine viewpoint: the Holy Spirit, (Eph 1:13-14; 5:18-30). But the believer who is spiritual, i.e., any believer who permits himself to be filled, that is to say, controlled, by the permanently indwelling Spirit, (Eph 1:13-14; 5:18-20), appraises, i.e., evaluates all matters with the divine viewpoint that God the Holy Spirit provides in him through his study of God's Word. So it is not true as some suggest that some believers have available to them a special, deeper understanding of Scripture over other believers. While any believer does not grieve & quench the Holy Spirit, (Eph 4:30; 1 Thes 5:19-22) with disobedience and unconfessed sin: while he is maintaining fellowship with Almighty God, (1 John 1:2-9), i.e., while he is filled with, (controlled by), the Spirit, (Eph 5:18-20), then God the Holy Spirit makes available for those moments to His faithful child a full understanding of God's Word. Whether or not the child of God then pursues what is available to him through the earnest study of God's Word is up to him]

1 cont.) [1 Cor 2:12-16 cont.]:

(v. 16) For Who has known the mind of the Lord, that he should instruct Him? But we [believers - all believers] have the mind of Christ."

["But we have the mind of Christ" = 'But we - all - believers, not just a few so called 'anointed' ones - have the perfect mind of Christ with which to understand the deepest things of the Spirit. If all believers have the mind of Christ then all are given the capacity - without exception - of understanding and making judgments about all things including God's Word, (v. 15). This verse again refutes the idea that some believers have a special understanding of Scripture on a deeper spiritual level. An individual who does not have the mind of Christ, who is not a believer would not have a clear understanding of what God's Word teaches. An individual is not a believer, i.e., regenerated or saved, who has not trusted alone in Christ alone for salvation, (Titus 3:4-7; Eph 2:8-9; Ro 11:6; John 3:16). Many religious organizations do not teach regeneration by faith alone in Christ alone. So teaching which comes from unsaved individuals who represent certain unbelieving organizations is not trustworthy.

An individual who is regenerated may still choose to short circuit God's teachings and believe the lies rather than understand, believe and obey the truth. Even Christians can espouse untruths. God's Word is to be taught by one believer to another. If a believer forsakes the gathering of the "elect" or does not permit himself to become teachable by others, which is God's sovereign order of how a believer is to grow spiritually, (Eph 4:11-13), then he will indeed not be well instructed in God's word. The result will be that doctrines like that of the Trinity will not be clearly understood. The unteachable Christian will then fall back to human viewpoint reasoning which is influenced by his sin nature. Having quenched the teaching of God the Holy Spirit by going negative to instruction from God's word, (1 Thes 5:19-22), a believer can fall back into spiritual ignorance and be in the same willful ignorance as unbelievers are in, (2 Thes 2:10-12).

a) [Compare Ps 81:11-12]:

(v. 11) "But My people would not listen to Me; Israel would not submit to Me.

(v. 12) So I gave them over to their stubborn hearts to follow their own devices."

Although it is obviously possible for God to teach an individual spiritual truths without that individual making an effort this is not God's sovereign way during the church age. Man must do his part in order for the Holy Spirit to do His. This is in part the purpose of God's use of spiritual gifts, (Eph 4:11-13:

b) [Eph 4:11-13]:

(v. 11) "And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors/teachers,

(v. 12) for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ;

(v. 13) until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fulness of Christ."

If the believer does not do his part by studying God's Word under the teaching ministry of a pastor/teacher in order to show himself approved, (2 Tim 2:15), by presenting himself at the gathering of the elect in order to be taught by those with the sovereign gift of teacher, (Heb 10:25), so that he may be ready with an answer, (1 Pet 3:15), so that he may be able to contend for his faith against those who teach false doctrine, (Jude 3, Phil 1:29) - then the Holy Spirit has little material in that believer's mentality to work with and the believer will lack spiritual growth and discernment.

Many objectors to having only one meaning in each passage claim that they have their own particular meaning of a passage which applies to a particular individual - often themselves - and thus to no one else. They often lay claim that these meanings are God's special revelation to them. However, this would violate the rules of no private interpretations, (2 Pet 1:20-21), and no new revelations, (Pr 30:5-6; Rev 22:18-19). Revelation from God has certain characteristics which deny this false doctrine of a special revelation. God's revelation to man in Scripture is complete, categorical and dispensational.

In other words, Scripture shows that God has revealed different sets of information to mankind, each set of which applies to particular periods of time. Each set of information is then broken down into categories which are applicable to groups of individuals such as believers, unbelievers, those who are for the moment in sin, Jews, Gentiles, men, women, children, etc., etc. This body of information you will notice by a careful examination of Scripture is never of a private interpretation, (2 Pet 1:20-21). All people in a particular category in a particular age are under the authority of applicable Scriptures. What many are confused with is the application of general principles of Scripture to their lives - which is not a private interpretation, nor a special new revelation from God, but a specific application to them of a general scriptural principle. When God directs one's path in accordance with principles of Scripture, this is application not new revelation. Proverbs 3:5-6 describes this process:

c) [Pro 3:5-6]:

(v. 5) "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And do not lean on your own understanding.

(v. 6) In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight."

By trusting completely in the Lord - leaning not on what you understand but on what is said in Scripture and then acknowledging Him in all your ways - which is accomplished through earnest study and obedience to God's Word - one's steps are directed by God in a specific application just for that individual. So there is no additional 'spiritual meaning' to be gleaned from Scripture which can only be discerned by special revelation from God to particularly 'spiritual' believers who have been endowed with special discernment or word of knowledge gifts. It is just a matter of studying God's Word in earnest - accepting what it has to say and obeying it.

SPECIFIC RULES OF INTEPRETATION IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE NORMATIVE RULES OF LANGUAGE, CONTEXT AND LOGIC