This week I am preaching on Hebrews 6:1-8. Verses 4-6 are some of the most difficult verses in all of Scripture to understand. I thought it was important to review the rules and principles for interpreting Scripture as I waded into the passage.
I believe that Scripture should be interpreted using a literal (also called normal or plain), grammatical, historical hermeneutic. This approach incorporates the following principles:
1) Interpret the passage literally. Accept the plain sense unless it doesn’t make sense.
2) Examine the grammar of the text. Study the parts of speech and verb tenses. This allows for figures of speech and the language of appearance.
3) Study the circles of context. Each verse must be interpreted in its various contexts (immediate context, context of the book, other books written by the same writer, whole of Scripture). What comes before/after the verse? Does the author use the same word/concept in other parts of the book? If so, it should be interpreted consistently throughout.
4) Examine the historical context. What can you learn from the culture and history of the time in which the book was written? How does this help you understand what is presented in the verse or book?
5) Compare Scripture with Scripture, allowing it to interpret itself. Don’t build a doctrine on an isolated verse. Find out what the whole of Scripture says on the issue.
6) Recognize the progressiveness of revelation. God added more and more detail as time went on.