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Principles of Interpretation II

But they could not shew the interpretation of the thing, Daniel 5:15.

Why couldn't the wise men of Babylon show the interpretation?, because they did not have the word of God. The first and foremost principle of interpretation is that without the word of God there can be no certainty. I am not saying that all King James Bible believers have identical interpretations of all major passages of the bible. What we have in harmony is that we know that the truth is contained within the pages of our King James Bible. The truth is in the actual text itself, and that any person with average intelligence who can read English, and has a relationship with the Holy Ghost can be given an understanding as good as any person who ever read the original manuscripts.

In fact, we have an advantage over any person with the original manuscripts. The people at Thessalonica who received Paul's two letters had those and copies of some other letters as well as access to the Old Testament. In our King James Bible we have the complete infallible scriptures in a readable and accessible format, all in one language. What follows will be three principles of interpretation that can guide the bible believer.

How do we know when a psalm is messianic? In other words, just as the Ethiopian Eunuch asked Phillip, of whom speaketh the prophet this? of himself, or of some other man?, Acts 8:34. How do we know when we read a psalm whether the writer is speaking of himself or he is speaking of the coming Messiah? We follow Peter's lead in Acts 2.

When Peter addressed the crowd who gathered on the Day of Pentecost, he had their attention, but the crowd came out of curiosity not out of a sense that he had apostolic insight. When he quoted Psalm 16 he stated that David was speaking of Jesus Christ. Today we accept that because we know that he spoke as given understanding from God. The crowd before him needed to be convinced.

Acts 2:25: For David speaketh concerning him, I foresaw the Lord always before my face, for he is on my right hand, that I should not be moved:

Acts 2:26: Therefore did my heart rejoice, and my tongue was glad; moreover also my flesh shall rest in hope:

Acts 2:27: Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.

Acts 2:28: Thou hast made known to me the ways of life; thou shalt make me full of joy with thy countenance.

What Peter did was to reason with them.

Acts 2:29: Men and brethren, let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulchre is with us unto this day.

Acts 2:30: Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne;

Act 2:31 He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption.

What he reasoned was that Psalm 16 could not possibly apply to David the author of the psalm because the psalm stated, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption. It was obvious to all who listened to Peter that day that King David did see corruption. He was in a tomb in Jerusalem. Peter left them no choice. If a psalm says something in the first person such as saying "I" or "me", and it was not possible for that psalm to be speaking of the author himself, the psalm is a messianic psalm. It speaks of Jesus Christ.

Using that reasoning, look at Psalm 22: 16, they pierced my hands and my feet. Ask yourself the question, in all of the passages describing the life of David, is there a time when his hands and feet were pierced? No, there was not. Therefore the Messiah will have his hands and his feet pierced. It really is that simple. As you go through the psalms, there will be places where the psalms disrupt certain theologies when that rule is applied, but either Peter's reasoning was right or it was wrong. If a psalm states something as if it is happening to the author, and yet it cannot be the author, then the psalm is messianic.

Having an exact bible means that you can trust whether a word is plural or singular. That may seem like a very small matter but the Apostle Paul found meaning in passages such as Genesis 22:17 wherein Moses wrote, and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies. Earlier, when Moses wrote of Abraham's seed he made it plural. Know of a surety that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, Genesis 15:13.

Even though the Book of Genesis was written 1400 years earlier, the apostle trusted whether a word was plural or singular. He didn't say, " By revelation I know that Christ is the seed of Abraham". He merely trusted that those who read his letter would trust a 1400 year old text. He didn't need any divine revelation beyond the word of God itself as it sat in front of him after 1400 years.

The next thing that the Bible believer can use to properly interpret a passage is to look at the tense of a verb. When the Sadducees tempted Jesus Christ about the doctrine of the resurrection from the dead, they made up a scenario in which after a man had died without his wife ever giving birth, the man's brother married him. In turn, that brother died only to be replaced by another brother. Then the Sadducees played their trump card; Therefore in the resurrection whose wife shall she be of the seven? for they all had her, Matthew 22:28.

Jesus Christ quoted Moses to answer them and in doing so he trusted the tense of the verb in a verse that on the surface had nothing to do with the resurrection.

Mat 22:31: But as touching the resurrection of the dead, have ye not read that which was spoken unto you by God, saying,

Mat 22:32: I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living.

God did not say "I was the God of Abraham", he said, I am the God of Abraham. As the Lord spoke to Moses, it was understood that Abraham was with God at that moment. Their relationship was not ended by his death. The absolute only thing that God used to prove that was the tense of the verb from a 1400 year old text.

When you are reading the words of a King James Bible, there is no need to run to commentaries, lexicons or other devices to understand what a passage is saying. Trust it as it is. One of the truly great things that I learned from Dr. Peter Ruckman was that if a man changes any word in a text, it is because what he is teaching is not what the text actually says. Look at what the text says. If you can not understand it, bow your head and pray.

I have had passages allude me for decades only to come to life at a far distant time when I was better prepared to understand. I am so glad that I did not run to some man's writings to get the understanding. By trusting the verse just as they were written, and by patiently waiting, the Lord was eventually able to give me an understanding such as I never would have had if I had had a man teach me.

The first rule of bible interpretation is to trust the word of God as it is written. That is a King James Bible.

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