A Fellowship In Christ Jesus

A Fellowship in the World, but not of the World

A Ministry of D. Paul Walker

Confirming Defending Bearing the Gospel of Christ Jesus

Seven Precepts to Understanding the Bible

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Introduction

For God is not the author of confusion,
but of peace,...

1 Corinthians 14:33

Knowing this first,
that no prophecy of the scripture
is of any private interpretation.

2 Peter 1:20

God is the author of order, out of order comes peace. Order in life, as in all things, necessitates borders, boundaries, and rules all built upon a base set of principles. These principles are the general truths, the accepted conventions, that all else is founded upon. In the course of my studies, I have found seven biblical precepts which together constitute a framework for biblical understanding.

As in life and creation, so it is when it comes to the study of God’s word, there must be order, rules to govern a proper understanding and comprehension of its teachings and doctrines. These rules are in opposition to private interpretations which give no regard to any such guiding limitations. The biblical precepts are simply God’s stated principles or the general truths on how he has determined and established all things. No doctrine or teaching can be correct if it attempts to evade or fails to conform to any one of them.

These seven precepts if understood and adhered to will bring order and discernment to aid in correctly interpreting the precepts, teachings, and doctrines of Scripture. These principles are not a new discovery on my part, whole books have been written on several. However, I have never seen them listed together or taught as a complete cognitive list, a single unit. They act as a guide to meditation and, more importantly, limits to the imagination in studying the Scriptures. This study merely sets them in order that they may be recognized as such a unit, a set of rules to study and judge by.

I firmly believe that an understanding of these seven precepts and faithfully keeping them as a guide is the secret to unlocking the meaning and wonder of the Bible. It has been many years, many hundreds of conversations and debates, since I first began, in 1993, to teach these precepts as a list. With the passing of each, I am ever more convinced of their worth. To study the Scriptures without an understanding of these principles is to travel a highway haphazardly marked with partial or no signposts, a highway such as I hope none of my readers desire to travel.

These precepts are not esoteric, not difficult to grasp in and of themselves, and it is quite comforting to have such guides. They are divided into two parts. The first three deal with the human heart, they address the attitudes and desire toward the word of God. The last four deal with the construction of the Scriptures, how the Bible is written and to be correctly interpreted. I hope that you will find them as useful as I have.

And it is the English Bible we are thinking about, the Bible in the vernacular, the tongue most of us best understand. One is grateful to have studied Hebrew and Greek, just to be able to tell others who have not that they do not require either to hearken to our Heavenly Father's voice. He has an advantage as a scholar who can utilize the original tongues; but the Bible was not given to scholars, but to the people, and "hear we every man in our own tongue wherein we were born" (Acts 2:8)

"How to Master the English Bible”,
Rev. James M. Gray, D.D.
The Winona Publishing Co.
Chicago 1904

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