Acts 17:11, “These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so”
Luke 24:45, “Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures.”
I don’t know about you, but I love to listen to little children when they sing songs, because they sometimes do the most unusual things to the lyrics of the song. I remember hearing a child singing a verse of the “Battle Hymn of the Republic” like this, “He has trampled on the village where the great giraffe is stored.” And a little boy that I know in our church likes to sing the familiar spiritual, “Joshua Fit the Battle of Jericho,” only he sings it, “Joshua fit the battle of Cherry Coke.” Of course this is quite amusing; however, word twisting stops being funny when adults begin altering the Scriptures to make it say what they want it to say.
They may take a verse out of its context to prove a pet teaching, or they may be reinterpreting Scripture to make it support a belief that isn’t orthodox. Some even alter the wording of John 1; to make it say that Christ is not God. When we study the Bible, we must be careful to get the words right … to let Scripture say what it says, and even more, we must make sure we don’t read into it what isn’t there. I’m reminded of the Bereans in the book of Acts … they knew how important it was to meditate, pray and wrestle with the meaning of the truth. That’s why they diligently searched the Scriptures daily; because they wanted to make sure that what they were hearing was what God had spoken, and that should also be our desire as well.
While writing this devotional I was reminded of the portion of Scripture that speaks about “The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple. The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes. The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever: the judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. Moreover by them is thy servant warned: and in keeping of them there is great reward. Here are some ways to help interpret the Scriptures:
(1) The Holy Spirit has to open your understanding. You need to approach God’s Word with faith believing he will show you what you need to know. Never limit what you believe based on your own understanding. Isaiah 55:8-9 puts it this way, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts”;
(2) Scripture interprets other scripture;
(3) Never use vague or unclear scripture to contradict clear or precise scriptures;
(4) Interpret the Old Testament in light of the New Testament. The Old Testament is the foundation of our faith and is not to be dismissed, as it is the seedbed of all Bible doctrine. The New Testament is the new covenant and completion of scriptures, which reveal the finished work and reveals Old Testament doctrines more completely;
(5) Don’t take scripture out of context. Be sure to read before and after the scripture to get the full picture of what’s being said and also take into consideration to whom the scriptures were written;
(6) Doctrine is not what you think or what someone else thinks … God’s Word is the final authority. 2 Peter 1:20-21 states it this way, “Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the Scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost”; and
(7) Lastly, interpret all scripture in the light of John 19:30 “… It is finished….” … that is it is a finished work, in that you cannot add or take away from the Scriptures.
My friend the Bible sets forth universal truths that will never change. As David said in Psalm 119:89, “Forever, O LORD, Your Word is settled in heaven.” Everything that God wants us to know and how He wants us to conduct ourselves has been clearly and unmistakably spelled out for us in His precious and Eternal Word, and that truth must never be altered, voted on, or banned. In a world that is constantly changing we can always trust God’s unchanging Word.