Monday, April 18, 2011 7:40 AM

The Fourth Biblical Rule of Interpretation

Monday, April 18, 2011 7:40 AM
Monday, April 18, 2011 7:40 AM

The fourth law is The Law of the Context, which states: A text apart from its context is a pretext. A verse can only mean what it means in its context and must not be taken out of its context. When it is taken out of its context, it is often presented as meaning something that it cannot mean within the context. A good example of this is Zechariah 13:6. This verse is often used as a prophecy of the Messiah. Pulled out of its context, it does indeed sound like it refers to Jesus. But the context (Zech. 13:2–6) is speaking of false prophets. Verse six cannot refer to Jesus unless Jesus is taken to be a false prophet. This is the danger of studying a verse by itself rather than in its context. The common saying, “You can prove anything by the Bible,” is only true when this law is violated.

These are the four basic rules which, if followed, will help in the study of the Scriptures in general and prophecy in particular. In these four principles lies the understanding of the prophetic word as well as the whole Bible. While most expositors apply these laws to non-prophetic passages of the Bible, they often fail to apply them to prophetic portions. This has led to some gross error. The principles of interpretation should be applied consistently to the whole Bible.[1]



[1] Fruchtenbaum, A. G. (2003). The footsteps of the Messiah : A study of the sequence of prophetic events (Rev. ed.) (6–7). Tustin, CA: Ariel Ministries.

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