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WHI-1186 | Top Ten Rules of Interpretation (Part 2)

Posted by on in 2013 Show Archive
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Many of us have memorized Bible verses, but we often remain ignorant of the larger context from which these verses originate. We often lose the forest for the trees. We've all heard interpretations of Scripture that reduce the meaning of a text to a kind of spiritual allegory. What are the problems with these ways of interacting with Scripture? We will address these issues and more as we conclude our discussion of the top ten rules of proper biblical interpretation.Top Ten Rules of Interpretation (Part 2)

Many of us have memorized Bible verses, but we often remain ignorant of the larger context from which these verses originate. We often lose the forest for the trees. We've all heard interpretations of Scripture that reduce the meaning of a text to a kind of spiritual allegory. What are the problems with these ways of interacting with Scripture? We will address these issues and more as we conclude our discussion of the top ten rules of proper biblical interpretation.




Zac Hicks

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How to Read a Book
Mortimer Adler


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  • Guest - Jeff Gateley

    To WHI and any WHI listener:

    This entire series on How to Read Your Bible and Interpretation/Hermeneutics has been awesome! What's exciting is hearing all this and then seeing it come to life. I want to share one instance as a thank you to all at WHI and as a word of warning/admonition to listeners.

    I happened to stumble upon a April 2013 edition of the magazine "In Touch" by Dr. Charles Stanley. In the front of the magazine the "letter from the editor" section is basically a section titled "a word from Dr. Stanley". What I read there greatly distressed and troubled me. I hope that one could maybe pull up the page of this magazine themselves. I could retype/reprint it here to read for yourself, but that may be a copyright issue. Anyway, in summary, Dr. Stanley one day many years ago read 2 Sam. 7:18 and the phrase "then David the king went and sat before the Lord". The rest of the letter is about how Dr. Stanley (and I quote) "needed to change my approach to talking with Him [God]." So, Dr. Stanley planned a day to "spend time alone in the beauty of the great outdoors-just me in a peaceful place, longing to hear the voice of God." So, Dr. Stanley set up camp and sat down before the Lord. Dr. Stanley spoke to God saying "I want You to show me as much as You're willing to reveal about my future." Dr. Stanley listened for a time. Then,(and I quote) "God began to impress His thoughts upon my mind." He instructs us that that day was a turning point for him and that if the Lord would speak to him that way then he would us too because "he is no one special." What amazed me was that even though Dr. Stanley claimed he was not one special, he was saying truly saying that he was someone special. Just as special as David, in fact. David had a special time and place in redemptive history. If God gave His special revelation (His Word) to David then apparently this is true for Dr. Stanley. This has nothing to do with Dr. Stanley, but everything to do with Anyway, I had to share because it brings to the fore so many of the things you teach us on the WHI. It brings to the fore what I see so many times in evangelicalism today. Even I was subject to this and I know I have done things like this before. Yes, we need to sit before God. But sitting before him should not be a time of separation from God's Word but quite the opposite: a deluge in it. When we take a phrase out of the Bible and bypass it's context and it's place ni redemptive history we get all sorts of wacky stuff.

    This is all too common in evangelicalism. In what is many times an honest effort to apply God's word to their life they open up the Bible and jump to quickly to "what does this mean for me?" and totally obscure, nay, pervert God's Word, and it's authority.

    It just literally amazed me. Two, three, four years ago I would have never caught it. I've watched Dr. Stanley on TV and been greatly encouraged by him. I never listened much but it just amazed me and almost let me down to see a well known "Bible" teacher say something like this. Please know that I use his name here so as not to denigrate him, but to just try to let others know of unscriptural teaching and just who it is that it is coming from. I know a lot of people listen to him, watch him, and admire his teaching but if Dr. Stanley "changed his approach" on how he would hear from God many years ago, I have grave doubts on what God "has spoke to him" since. If I turn on the TV, am I hearing from Dr. Stanley's direct revelation from God or from God's special revelation give one-time for all and attested to by signs, wonders, and miracles? As you all (Mike, Kim, Ken, and Rod) so poignantly state: "one of the greatest theological errors is to separate Word and Spirit. To have the Word apart from the Spirit is to have a dead letter; to have the Spirit apart from the Word is to have Gnosticism." Well my brothers and sisters, I smell a revival of Gnosticism. I wrote "In Touch Ministries" because I was so concerned and just wanted to honestly and truly help and correct others in the name of Christ. I was limited to a 2000 character maximum, so I tried to be concise. Here is what I wrote:

    I read the section "a word from Dr. Stanley" in the April 2013 edition of "In Touch" magazine. I was greatly distressed to see what Dr. Stanley said there. It grieved me for a couple reasons. 1)It undermines the authority of Scripture. Dr. Stanley's "listened to his thoughts". Does he not know that our hearts are sick and desperately wicked as Jeremiah 17:9 and Scripture so clearly attest to. I cannot trust my heart and inner thoughts. I need to examine them against Scripture. So no wonder Dr. Stanley had to "change his approach to talking to God". Instead of sitting before the Lord with his Bible open (how God speaks to us). We can sit before Him with it closed and listen to our inner man. He went to the great outdoors as if God's omnipresence was limited to his office walls. No, the outdoors only authenticated the already confused medium of revelation of direct revelation with Scriptural revelation. 2) Finally, I was grieved that one of the most Christo-centric passages, that is, God's covenant with David in 2 Samuel 7 was interpreted to mean God's speaks directly. 2 Samuel has nothing to do with Dr. Stanley needing deep prayer time devoid of God's written Word. It has everything to do with God in time, space, and history speaking gospel to a patriarch whom he had appointed to be a key figure in the messianic line. Christ would be not only a Prophet and Priest, but a King. Not just any King but a King in many ways like David, but so much greater. This King is whom David called Lord (see Psalm 110). Jesus questioned the Pharisees regarding the Kingly office of Christ in Matthew 11:41-45). In conclusion, Dr. Stanley does critical damage to the authority of Scripture and words of gospel and promise. In short, he is reviving with Protestanism the heresies of Roman Catholocism. I will not touch with a 10 foot pole Dr. Stanley's teaching and I will warn others of his false prophet's "visions". Thank you for your time and hearing my concerns.

    Thanks again for all that you do for Christ's body and the WHI. I've learned so much and still have so much to learn. It is always exciting when you can have all this stuff we learn "come to life".

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  • Guest - Jeff Gateley

    To maybe state what I was saying in an alternative way: “the Word of God is a lamp and a light, not my heart”. The trouble with “getting quiet” is we get quiet and have a motley of thoughts and emotions, and then we get caught up contemplating our inner reactions to our thoughts. It’s really an Eastern mysticism where we go inward and try to reach this transcendent state. The biblical notion of truth and light is that it is God’s concrete, spoken word that is extra nos (Latin for “outside of us”). That’s why the notion of the Word of God is so crucial. God’s Word always proceeds from Him. It is concrete, given tangibly in His written Word. It comes with power. It’s the power of God unto salvation (Rom 1:16) and it brings the universe into existence. In the Genesis creation story we see that apart from the work of the Holy Spirit (Gen 1:2) earth lies void, dark, and lifeless. Apart from God’s spoken, tangible, powerful Word there will not arise life. It is when the Spirit broods over the deep, dark, empty waters (Gen 1:2) and then God speaks that life and a new creation spring (Gen 1:3-31). The Word and Spirit are inextricably linked.

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  • [&] Top Ten Rules of Interpretation (Part 2) [&]

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  • [&] (Adapted from White Horse Inn broadcasts WHI-1185, Top Ten Rules of Interpretation (Part 1) and WHI-1186, Top Ten Rules of Interpretation (Part 2)) [&]

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