Check out yesterday’s blog post on the preacher’s library.
The questions, “What is the place of Scripture in interpretation” and “What about the leading of the Holy Spirit leading the pastor” arise when talking about using preaching resources. To put it simply, the preacher must hold the Holy Spirit as the great teacher of the Holy Spirit. Without either our preaching is nothing more than religious and moral talks.
The old saying in bible study is to “let Scripture interpret Scripture.” There are a couple of different things this statement implies. First, each verse and passage find itself in the context of all scripture. When we read a verse, we must also pay attention to the verses immediately before and after. Moving from there we look at the entire passage that is connected and later on the whole chapter. Neighboring sections and the remainder of the book that the scripture finds itself in also play a significant role in interpreting scripture.
This leads to the second implication, that what ever interpretation we raise on a particular scripture must be in harmony with the larger teaching of scripture. Scripture will validate itself and never contradict itself. So, when we begin to interpret what scripture is teaching it will not oppose instruction in another portion of scripture. What will happen is that we will find the lessons of the scripture only become fuller in meaning and application as Scripture is “rightfully divided” (2 Tim. 2:15) and harmonized.
The last implication for the high place of scripture interpreting scripture is that while viewing context, we can learn the meaning of words and what their particular use is. While it is a valuable tool to know the original languages, we must also trust that God was heavily involved in the translation process. We must believe that God oversaw the process where we received the Scriptures in our own language and that it is possible in knowing what is meant by a plain reading of Scripture.
This is due to giving a high place to leading of the Holy Spirit when it comes to the Word of God. Second Peter 1:21-22 reads, “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.” The Holy Scriptures did not come by man but by the leading of the Spirit. Moses could not have written about creation unless the Spirit showed it to Him. John could not write about future events in such detail without the Holy Spirit leading him. If the Scriptures could not be written down without the leading of the Holy Spirit, then it is impossible to think that interpretation of them can come without Him.
In so many passages of Scripture, the Word of God is united with Spirit and His work in making Scripture alive. It is the Holy Spirit that truly teaches the minister and any student of the Scripture its real meaning. The Holy Spirit reveals the truth and illuminates it in our mind. It is the Holy Spirit that drives those truths into our heart, convicting us and setting us free by God’s truth. It is the Holy Spirit that likens our own personal experiences to the truths found in God’s Word, and it is the Holy Spirit that makes preaching fruitful and full.
I believe that it is important for preachers to use every tool available in presenting the Gospel. We must strive to preach with integrity, clarity, and conviction. We can accomplish that only by utilizing all that God has given.
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