Here is a system of or guidelines for interpretation and understanding of scripture. If you see me abusing these please call me down.
DEFINITION: What does the word literally mean? Any study of Scripture must begin with a study of words and their meaning and usage in scripture. Define your words and then keep to the words definition. The interpreter should conscientiously abide by the plain meaning of the words.
CONTEXT: The meaning must be gathered from the context. Every word you read must be understood in the light of the words that come before and after it. Many passages will not be understood at all, or understood incorrectly, without the help afforded by the context. There is one exception to this, and it involves a prophetic word buried within a historical context. One example would be the virgin birth. In these cases only our counselor the Holy Spirit can lead in a proper understanding. God is the author and finisher of understanding prophecy. Should you find confusion with the words of this blog’s teaching, please comment so that I can better understand your concerns.
HISTORICAL BACKGROUND: The interpreter must have some awareness of the life and society of the times in which the Scripture was written.
LOGIC: Interpretation needs logical reasoning. When interpreting Scripture, the use of reason is everywhere to be assumed. Does the interpretation make sense? The Bible was given to us in the form of human language and therefore appeals to human reason – it invites investigation. It is to be interpreted as we would any other volume: applying the laws of language and grammatical analysis.
PRECEDENT: We must not violate the known usage of a word and invent another for which there is no precedent. Just as a judge’s chief occupation is the study of previous cases, so must the interpreter use precedents in order to determine whether they really support an alleged doctrine.
UNITY: The parts of Scripture being interpreted must be construed with reference to the significance of the whole. An interpretation must be consistent with the rest of Scripture.
INFERENCE: An inference is a fact reasonably implied from another fact. It is a logical consequence. It derives a conclusion from a given fact or premise. It is the deduction of one proposition from another proposition. Such inferential facts or propositions are sufficiently binding when their truth is established by competent and satisfactory Scriptural and historical evidence.