Guidelines for Interpreting Scripture
How should we respond when someone asks, “Do you interpret the Bible literally?” This can be a little confusing at first, since the Bible isn’t a single book, but a collection of many different kinds of books written in a variety of styles such as poetry, historical narrative, and prophecy, each with its own unique interpretive rules. We should also be on the lookout for important motifs of Scripture, such as the difference between law and gospel.
On this program the hosts are wrapping up their two-part series on “hermeneutics,” or the science of biblical interpretation. Join us as we grow in our understanding of Scripture and its interpretation on the White Horse Inn.
“The New Testament either presupposes, quotes from, or the passages in it echo the Old Testament. So, it’s very clear the New Testament grows right out of the Old Testament, from promise to fulfillment. It is a do-over as some would say. We can’t use the allegorical method because the biblical writers themselves saw the New Testament as fulfilling what was promised or left incomplete in the Old Testament. There is a hand and glove relation. There’s an organic relation that we can’t pull apart.”– Kim Riddlebarger
Term to Learn:
“The Covenants of Grace in the Old and New Testaments”
- 34 How was the covenant of grace administered under the Old Testament? A. The covenant of grace was administered under the Old Testament by promises, prophecies, sacrifices, circumcision, the Passover, and other types and ordinances, which did all foresignify Christ then to come, and were for that time sufficient to build up the elect in faith in the promised Messiah, by whom they then had full remission of sin, and eternal salvation.
- 35 How is the covenant of grace administered under the New Testament? A. Under the New Testament, when Christ the substance was exhibited, the same covenant of grace was and still is to be administered in the preaching of the Word, and the administration of the sacraments of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper; in which grace and salvation are held forth in more fullness, evidence, and efficacy, to all nations.
- 36 Who is the Mediator of the covenant of grace? A. The only Mediator of the covenant of grace is the Lord Jesus Christ, who, being the eternal Son of God, of one substance and equal with the Father, in the fullness of time became man, and so was and continues to be God and man, in two entire distinct natures, and one person, forever. (The Westminster Larger Catechism, Questions 34–36)
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