First Steps

21 05 2008

There are several fundamental principles that must be kept in mind if one hopes to understand the Bible properly. The first is to realize that every person comes “pre-programmed” with certain beliefs. These beliefs (preconceptions) may be anything from simple generalizations to ingeniously complex theological systems. Either way, what one believes beforehand will influence how one interprets and understands the Bible.

Consider for a moment how different your understanding of the Bible would be if you believed that God did not exist. Every reference to “God” would be interpreted as some type of myth, metaphor, or mistake. On the other hand, think how different your views would be if you assumed that the Bible was a cryptic puzzle that required some obscure interpretational scheme or complex formula to be understood. Then again, what if you believed the Bible was something more to be “felt” or “experienced” emotionally rather than understood and applied sensibly?

So, become aware of the basic ideas (preconceptions) you bring to the study of the Bible and consider how they influence your understanding of it.

In one helpful passage the Apostle Paul tells his protégé, Timothy, to remember the scriptures he has learned from his youth (the Old Testament) because they would help lead him to faith in Jesus. Then Paul proclaims that, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works” (2 Timothy 3:16-17).

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One response

21 05 2008
theepiphany

This is so true. In my new testament class (a really great one, considering I went to a public school,) we tackled presuppositions at the very beginning. I had never considered the effect they have on your learning and growth as a believer, but it’s very important to let God give you discernment between the truths and lies you are raised with.

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