Troublesome Topic: What Are the Two Simple Rules That Will Help Me Understand the Bible?

1.) Do not remove the passage from its context. Much erroneous Bible teaching stems from not considering the context. Just like we do not want our words taken out of context we can be sure God does not want that either. However, there is nothing unique about me holding this as a rule for interpreting Scripture, many other authors do too. It is my second rule that is somewhat unique.

2.) Choose first the most obvious meaning for the original audience. We need to try to put ourselves in the shoes of the original audience. There are times when failing to follow this rule results in missing out on the power of a given passage, and there are times that violating this rule causes us to miss the meaning all together. Many times we read a passage and jump right to the question: “What does this mean to me?” But that is the wrong question to start with. Asking the wrong question will usually lead us in a the wrong direction.

It is this second rule that has been ignored in our modern attempts at interpreting the Song of Solomon, and it is this rule that will make the images used in the Song come alive.

All other aspects of biblical interpretation fit under one of these rules.

The next lesson is Why Write a Translation and a Paraphrase Side by Side?