1. "Bible" means a scroll or roll or book (Luke
2. "Scripture" speaks of sacred books of the O. T.
(II Tim 3:16) of the N. T. (II Pet 3:16).
3. "Word of God"
(Matt 15:6 and John 10:35 and Heb 4:12) used in both the OT and
B. Views towards the Scripture and sources of authority
1. Rationalism -- denies Divine revelation (man becomes the
2. Roman Catholic -- teaches that the Bible
came from the Church and that the Catholic Church is the final
authority over the Bible. They also add the traditions of the
church; the Pope is the final and ultimate authority.
Mysticism -- teaches experiences are as authoritative as the
4. Neo-orthodoxy -- teaches that the
Bible is a fallible (not totally reliable) witness to the revelation of
God to the Word (Christ). Therefore the Bible can at times reveal
God's Word to us but so can other things.
Cults -- teach that the Bible may be authoritative but they add
to the Bible the writings of their cult leader.
Orthodoxy -- teaches that the Bible alone is authoritative. This
a. The Bible is the infallible and inerrant Word of God.
The Bible is the only rule of faith and practice (rules out
c. Human reason and knowledge must be subject to
d. No Divine revelation beyond
C. Uniqueness of the Bible
1. Its continuity -- 66 books written by 40 authors over a
period of 1500 years, yet it is one book without one contradiction. Its
theme throughout is that man is sinful and in need of a Savior. God has
therefore provided the means of redemption.
survival -- the Bible has been attacked in every possible way,
yet it stands. Voltaire who died in 1778 said that the Bible would be
obsolete within 100 years; obviously he was wrong.
influence -- the Bible has had more influence on culture and
literature than any other book.
4. Its similarity to the
Living Word -- (1)"They are both supernatural as to their origin,
presenting as an inscrutable and impeccable blending of that which is
Divine and that which is human. (2) They both exercise a transforming
power over those who believe. The unstained, undiminished Divine
perfection are embodied in each. (3) The revelations which they disclose
are at once as simple as the demands of a child, as complex as the
infinite treasures of Divine wisdom and knowledge, and as enduring as
the God whom they reveal." -- Chafer
D. Comparison of terms
1. Revelation (God communicating to man what man otherwise
would not know).
2. Inspiration (the accurate recording of
3. Illumination (the ministry of the Holy
Spirit making the truth of the Scriptures clear to men).
Interpretation (the individual's
A. Definition of revelation :
disclosed to others what was before unknown to them. Simply means
"unveiling." -- Ryrie
B. Divisions of revelation
1. General revelation
-- includes all means apart from Christ and the Bible. Some things
God has made known to men and all they have to do is look to see it.
a. Nature (Rom 1:20; Ps 19:1,2)
c. Providence (Gen 50:20; I Sam 2:6-10;
Acts 15:7 -- God's dealing in history -- He is in control of
d. Preservation of the universe (Col
e. Moral nature of mankind (Gen 1:26; Acts
2. Special revelation
-- things God has made known to man which man would have never known
through his own capacity.
a. Nation of Israel (God's people -- the Jews)
Christ (the Living Word) --
A personal revelation from God (Heb
Christ gave a revelation of God (John 1:14)
Church (God's people -- Jews & Gentiles in one body) (Eph.
d. Bible (the Written Word of God) -- (Rom
We learn of the above three in this one
-- "General revelation is sufficient to alert a man to his need
of God and to condemn him if he rejects what he can learn through nature
but only faith in Christ is sufficient to save (Acts 4:12)." --
A. Definition of inspiration
1. "God's superintendence of the human authors so that, using their
own individual personalities, they composed and recorded without error
His revelation to man in the words of the original autographs." --
2. Note some special features of this definition:
a. God superintended but did not dictate the material.
God used human authors and their own individual styles.
Nevertheless, the product was, in its original manuscripts, without
error [Hélio crê que o Texto Massorético e o Textus Receptus,
especificamente ao TMas e o TRec que embasam a KJV-1611, são
absolutamente sem erro, perfeitamente idênticos aos manuscritos
B. Extent of inspiration
1. To the very words of Scripture.
2. To every
part of the Scripture (Mt. 5:18).
3. To the original
autographs primarily. [Hélio crê que o Texto Massorético e o Textus
Receptus que embasam a KJV-1611, são absolutamente sem erro,
perfeitamente idênticos aos manuscritos originais].
of inerrancy: no error in the original. [idem]
not imply the infallibility in all they did and said but it
guarantees the accuracy of their recorded message (cp Job
C. Nature of inspiration
1. A dual authorship -- God and human authors both
2. The divine element must be in complete
control. Yet the divine element must be unconscious to the human author,
or human authorship would be violated.
3. Portions of the
Scriptures, however, are obviously dictated by God ( e.g. the
D. Scriptural Evidence for verbal, plenary (complete) inspiration
1. Source of inspiration -- God (II Tim
"Inspired" means "God breathed."
2. Method of
inspiration -- (II Pet 1:20-21).
Men were bore along by the Holy
Spirit but men spoke.
God could have used a different means but did
3. Specific commands to write the Word of the
(Ex 17:14; 34:27; Jer 30:2; 36:2, 28; I Cor 14:37; Rev
4. Formula of quotation -- (Acts 28:25)
Spirit says something through the prophets:
(Acts 1:16; 4:25; Matt
1:22; I Cor 2:13; Deut 18:18)
5. Uses of Scripture by Jesus
a. Matt 5:17, 18 -- Even the letters of the Hebrew text are
b. Matt 24:35 -- Christ believed in the O.T. canon
c. Luke 24:27, 44 -- Christ places His stamp of
approval on the three sections of the Hebrew canon.
4:4, 7, 10 -- Christ uses O.T. to rebuke Satan.
e. John 10:35
-- Scripture cannot be broken.
6. Writers of Scripture recognized other men's writings as
a. Dan 9:2, 11, 13 -- speaks of Jeremiah's works.
7:12 -- former prophets.
c. Matt 2:15 -- the Lord speaking
through a prophet.
d. I Tim 5:18 -- Luke's writing
e. II Pet 3:15, 16 -- Paul's writings.
7. The writers were conscious that they were writing God's Word (I
1. Difference between infallible and inerrant
a. Infallible includes the idea of trustworthiness.
Inerrant means truthfulness -- What is recorded in Scripture is true
2. The proof of the doctrine
a. It involves the witness of the Scripture to its own
1) Verses of the Scripture that affirm the truthfulness of God
(Jn 3:33; 17:3,8,17; Rom 3:4; I Thess 1:9).
2) Verses that
emphasize the abiding character of Scripture (Matt 5:17-19; Jn
3) Verses of the Scripture in which the argument
of the text is based upon a word or form of a word (Matt 22:32;
22:43-45; Jn 8:58; Gal 3).
b. It involves faith.
3. Attitude toward difficulties in the text
a. From the very nature (size, time frame, number of authors) of
the Bible we should expect problems.
b. A difficulty in a
doctrine does not in any way prove that the doctrine is
c. There are more problems in a strictly human
authorship than a dual authorship of the Bible (e.g.
d. Because you or I cannot solve a problem does not
mean it cannot be solved.
e. The seeming defects of the Bible
are insignificant compared to the excellencies of the Bible.
The difficulties have far more weight with superficial readers than
with profound students.
g. The difficulties rapidly disappear
upon careful and prayerful study. (Difficulties in the Bible by
F. Inadequate Theories of inspiration
1. NATURAL inspiration -- there is no supernatural element in
the text. The Scriptures are the product of human authorship (I Cor
2. DYNAMIC or mystical -- writers of Scripture were
just spirit-filled like Christians are today. This denies that
inspiration is a special work of God.
3. DICTATION or
4. PARTIAL -- Certain parts of the Bible are
supernaturally inspired, namely, portions which would otherwise have
been unknowable (accounts of creation, prophecy, etc.).
CONCEPTUAL -- God gave concepts but not words. Allows for a
measure of authority without the necessity of the words being completely
6. DEGREES of inspiration -- extension of
partial. The Bible was inspired in degrees, i.e. Jesus' words more
inspired than Paul's.
7. NEO-ORTHODOX -- human writers
could only produce a record that has errors in it. But it can
become the Word of God when it inspires me (confuses
inspiration with illumination).
8. ENDORSEMENT --
busy executive theory. Men wrote Scripture but God put His stamp of
approval on it.
9. INSPIRED purpose -- The Bible is
infallible and inerrant in areas of faith and practice but not in
historical facts. (But who can separate history from
A proper understanding of the Bible depends on two things:
1. The illuminating work of the Holy Spirit, and
interpreting work of the reader (more on this
-- the ministry of the Holy Spirit promised to men which:
1. Enables the unregenerated man to see the truth of the Gospel
2. Enables those believers who are in a right relationship
with God to understand spiritual truth (Eph. 1:18,19 and Col.
-- the Holy Spirit (I Cor 3:16 and Rom 8:9)
C. Need for illumination
-- man is unable to understand the things of God because of:
1. Depraved nature (I Cor 2:14 and Jn 1:5)
blindness (II Cor 4:3,4)
3. Fleshly blindness (I Cor
1. The unsaved cannot experience the illuminating ministry of
the Holy Spirit because they are blinded to the truth (I Cor
2:14). This does not mean they cannot learn anything of the facts of the
Bible, but they consider what they do know about God's truth as
foolishness. However, the Holy Spirit can open the unsaved person's
heart (Jn 16:7-11).
2. The Christian has been promised this
illumination (I Cor 2:6-3:2 and Jn 16:12-15). Taking these two passages
together, several facts emerge:
a. The most obvious is that the Holy Spirit Himself is the
b. The content of His teaching encompasses all the
truth, including prophecy.
c. The purpose of the Holy Spirit's
illumination is to glorify Christ, not Himself.
in the believer can hinder and even nullify the work of the Holy
Spirit (I Cor 3:1-2)
E. Avenues of Illumination
1. Personal Bible study (Prov 2:3-5; I Cor 2:9-14)
Instruction by human teachers (I Cor 12:28 ; II Tim 2:2; Eph 4:11, 12
and I Pet. 2:2)
A. Primary Considerations
1. Both a science (because it follows rules) and an art (application
of the rules).
2. Things to remember:
a) Purpose of the Bible as a whole -- to bring God glory.
Distinctive character and message of each book.
22:11, 14:20 and 15:1 -- are they always true -- no, they are
proverbs, generally true but we want to make Prov 22:6 a
c) To whom is a given Scripture addressed (e.g. Josh
B. Principles of Interpretation
1. Interpret plainly (or normally). To do so one must understand what
each word means in its normal grammatical historical sense.
Allow for use of figures of speech to give word pictures, etc.
Read in context like any other book.
4. "Recognize the progress
of revelation. Remember that the Bible was not handed down all at once
as a complete book, but that it came from God through many different
writers over a period of about 1600 years. This means that in the
progress of revealing His message to man, God may add or even change in
one era what He had given in another. The New Testament adds much that
was not revealed in the Old Testament. Furthermore, what God revealed as
binding in one period may be rescinded in another (as the prohibition of
eating pork, once binding on God's people has been lifted today, I Tim
4:3). This is most important, otherwise, the Bible will contain
apparently unresolvable contradictions (as Matt 10:5-7 compared with
28:18-20)." -- Ryrie
5. "Expect the Bible to use what is
technically called phenomenal language. This simply means that it often
describes things as they appear to be rather than in precise scientific
terms." -- Ryrie (Ex: sun rising)
6. Recognize the important
divisions of the Bible when interpreting it. We will discuss
1. Canon means "rule" or "measuring rod" or standard by which the
books were measured and found to be authentic and
2. The Bible is self-authenticating.
guided the councils. The books were already God's Word, men just
recognized them as such.
4. Faith must be
B. The Canon of the Old Testament
1. Some believe that all the O. T. books were gathered by Ezra in the
5th century B.C.
2. Christ attested to the O. T. canon (Lk
11:51). II Chronicles was the last book in the Hebrew Bible so it was as
if Christ was saying from Genesis to Malachi.
3. Neither the Jews
nor Jesus accepted the Apocrypha. The Apocryphal books were accepted by
the Roman Catholic Church in 1548 A.D. at the Council of
C. The Principles for Canonicity of the New Testament
1. Writer's authority -- It had to be written or backed by an apostle
in order to be recognized. Peter was the backer of Mark, and Paul of
2. Content -- It had to contain some internal evidence that
the book was unique in character, inspired and authoritative.
Acceptance by the churches -- "There was a surprising unanimity among
the early churches as to which books belonged in the inspired number.
Although it is true that a few books were temporarily doubted by a
minority. No book whose authenticity was doubted by any large number of
churches was later accepted." -- Ryrie
D. The Formation of the New Testament Canon
"The first church council to list all 27 books of the New Testament
was the Council of Carthage in A.D. 397. Individual books of the New
Testament were acknowledged as Scripture before this time (II Pet 3:16;
I Tim 5:18) and most were accepted in the era just after the apostles
(Hebrews, James, II Peter II and III John and Jude were debated for
sometime). The selection of the canon was a process that went on until
each book proved its own worth by passing the tests for canonicity." --
E. Reliability of present text (taken from Ryrie)
1. The original copies of the O.T. were written on leather or papyrus
from the time of Moses (1450 B.C.) to the time of Malachi (400 B.C.).
Until the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls in 1947 we did not possess
copies of the O.T. earlier than A.D. 895.
2. When the Dead Sea
Scrolls were discovered, they gave us a Hebrew text from the second to
first century B.C. of all but one of the books (Esther) of the O.T. This
proved the accuracy of the previous texts.
3. Other means of
checking word accuracy have been translations such as the Septuagint
(complete Greek O.T. translation dated 200 B.C.) Also include the
Aramaic Targums (paraphrases and quotes of the O.T.), quotations in
early Christian writers, and the Latin Vulgate by Jerome (A.D. 400). All
of these give us the data for being assured of having an accurate text
of the O.T.
4. More than 5000 manuscripts of the New Testament
exist today, which makes it the best attested document in all ancient
5. Many of these copies are early. Approximately 75
papyri fragments date from A. D. 135 to the 8th century.
Sinaiticus (4th century)
Codex Vaticanus (4th century)
Alexandrius (5th century)
A. Definition of animation:
1. The idea of giving life.
2. Theological animation: the
vitality of life that is found in the Bible.
B. Scriptural Proof
1. Heb 4:12
2. Ps 119
I Pet 1:23-25
B. Theological Presuppositions
1. Since God has delivered to us an inerrant word it only makes sense
that this word has to be preserved, to have any meaning to us.
God sets forth the truth so that it always tests a man's
A. Definition of a covenant:
an arrangement or agreement
B. Two Classifications
1. Conditional covenants
"One in which God's action is made to be contingent upon some action
on the part of those to whom the covenant is addressed." --
2. Unconditional covenants
"A declaration on the part of God as to what He is going to do and is
made without reference to human action, purpose, or merit."--
C. Major Covenants in Scripture
1. ADAMIC covenant (Gen 1:26-31; 2:16,17) --
This was a
conditional covenant "with Adam in which life and blessing or death and
cursing were made to depend on the faithfulness of Adam. Human failure
followed and the terms of the covenant were executed in righteousness."
2. Covenant with FALLEN MAN (Gen 3:16-19)
"This is an unconditional covenant in which God declares to man
what his lot in life will be because of his sin." -- Chafer
NOAHIC covenant (Gen 9:1-18 -- esp. v. 9-11) --
unconditional covenant that promised mankind that the world would never
again be destroyed by water.
4. ABRAHAMIC covenant (Gen
12:1-3; 13:14-17; 15:1-7; 17:1-8) --
1) Individual promise made to Abraham that he would become a
great nation. Emphasis is on his seed
2) National promise to
Abraham's seed. Emphasis is on the land.
3) Universal promise
-- blessing for all nations.
It is an unconditional, eternal covenant (Gen
5. MOSAIC covenant (Ex 20:1-31:18) --
covenant where God is basically saying to Israel that if they keep His
commandments He would bless them, if they do not keep His commandments,
He would curse them (see Deut 28:1-62, esp. 63-68).
6. PALESTINIAN covenant (Deut 28-30; esp. 30:1-10) --
1) Reaffirms to Israel the title deed to Palestine. (Israel had
been out of the land for over 400 years.)
2) It pointed to
the Mosaic covenant. This covenant did not set aside God's promises
3) It confirms and enlarges upon the provisions
of the Abrahamic covenant.
b. Provisions of this covenant (Deut 30:1-10):
1) The nation will be removed from the land for unfaithfulness
2) There will be a repentance of the nation
3) Israel will be restored to the land (Deut
4) Israel will be converted as a nation (30:6,
5) Enemies of Israel will be judged (30:7).
Israel will receive her full blessing
c. Character of this covenant:
1) Unconditional (Ezek 16:60)
2) Eternal (Ezek
3) Conditional blessings (Deut 30:10)
Amplification of Abrahamic covenant
7. DAVIDIC covenant (II Sam 7:4-17) --
Guarantees to Israel a King and a Kingdom.
1) David is promised an unending royal lineage, a throne, and a
kingdom -- all of which are to endure forever.
reserved the right to interrupt the actual reign of David's sons if
chastisement is required (II Sam 7:14,15; Ps 89:20-37).
But the perpetuity of the covenant cannot be broken.
Christ will yet sit on this Throne (Lk 1:31-33).
5) This is
an eternal, unconditional covenant (Ps 89; Isa 55:3; Ezek 37:25; Lk
8. NEW covenant --
a. Guarantees Israel that God is going to yet work with them. God
is going to give them a new heart -- based on blood -- anticipates the
death of Christ (Jeremiah 30-33).
b. Provisions (Jeremiah
1) God is going to give Israel a new mind and a new heart
2) Restoration to the favor and blessings of God
3) Forgiveness of sin (31:34).
Indwelling of the Holy Spirit (31:33 see II Cor 3:3,6).
Material blessing from the land (32:41).
6) Sanctuary will be
rebuilt in Jerusalem (Ezek 37:26,28).
7) War will cease,
peace will reign (Isa 2:4).
1) Eternal (Jer 31:36
2) Depends on God -- not man (Jer
a distinguishable economy in the outworking of God's
B. Distinctions of each economy:
1. A different governing relationship with God.
3. Man's failure.
"Each dispensation, therefore, begins with man divinely
placed in a new position of privilege and responsibility, and closes
with the failure of man resulting in righteous judgments from God." --
1. Keep Israel and the church separate (see the chart in the appendix
of this booklet).
2. Normal hermeneutics.
purpose: glorify Himself.
4. Grace, not the Law, is our rule of
D. Seven Dispensations:
1. INNOCENCE (Gen 1:28 - 3:22) --
a. Responsibility: to abstain from the fruit of the tree of the
knowledge of good and evil, and to tend the garden.
c. Judgment: God drove them out of the garden and
they died spiritually and began to die physically.
2. CONSCIENCE (Gen 3:22 - 7:23) --
a. Responsibility: to respond to God through the promptings of his
conscience and bring blood sacrifices to God (Gen 4:4).
Failure: widespread evil desire (Gen 6:5).
c. Judgment: the
3. CIVIL or HUMAN GOVERNMENT (Gen 8:20 - 11:9) --
a. Responsibility: to scatter and fill the earth (9:6,7).
Failure: stayed together and built the Tower of Babel to show their
independence of God.
c. Judgment: confusion of languages at the
Tower of Babel.
4. PROMISE (Gen 12:1 - Ex 19:8) --
a. Responsibility: to believe and serve God "The promised land was
theirs and blessing was theirs as long they remained in the
b. Failure: Jacob led the people to Egypt and they
c. Judgment: slavery.
5. LAW (Ex 19:8 - Acts 1:26) --
a. Responsibility: to obey the Law.
b. Failure: did not obey
(Rom 10: 1-3).
c. Judgment: captivity and later dispersion (70
A.D.) and also the tribulation period.
6. GRACE (Acts 2:1 -- Present) --
a. Responsibility: to accept the gift of righteousness which God
freely offers to all (Rom 5:15-18).
b. Failure: the vast
majority will reject Him.
c. Judgment: church removed;
rejectors of Christ will go into the tribulation.
7. KINGDOM (Rev 20: 4,5) --
a. Responsibility: to obey the King and His laws.
Failure: rebellion against Christ (Rev 20:7-9).
rebels cast into everlasting punishment (Rev 20:14,15).
Salvation has always been and will always be by grace alone through
faith alone. In the O.T., men were saved by faith on the basis of the
work of Christ which was still in the future. Today we are saved by
faith on the basis of the work of Christ which took place 1900 years
-- A system of theology which unites all the dispensations as phases of
the covenant of grace; unites all the saved of all the ages as the one
people of God (the church). This view states that all of scripture is
covered by two or three covenants. These covenants are not directly
revealed in Scripture, but are implied:
1. The Covenant of Works: An agreement between God and
Adam promising life to Adam for perfect obedience and including death as
the penalty for failure. Adam sinned and thus man failed to meet the
requirements of the covenant of works. Therefore a second covenant, the
covenant of grace, was brought into operation.
Covenant of Grace: The gracious agreement between the offended
God and the offending but elect sinner, in which God promises salvation
through faith in Christ and the sinner accepts this believingly,
promising a life of faith and obedience.
3. The Covenant of
Redemption (this is held by some Reformed theologians): Made in
eternity past and became the basis for the covenant of grace. This
covenant of redemption is supposed to be the agreement between the
Father giving the Son as Head and Redeemer of the elect, and the Son,
voluntarily taking the place of those whom the Father had given Him (see
1. Covenant theology is not based upon direct revelation but upon
reason and logic. The existence of the covenants is not found by an
inductive examination of passages; it is a conclusion deduced from
certain Scriptural evidences. Nowhere does Scripture speak of these
2. Covenant theologians see little distinction between
biblical living in the OT and NT, or between Israel and the church. They
do not use literal measures in areas of prophecy.
theologians spiritualize the prophetic Scriptures in order to fit them
into their view. The covenant theologian views most prophecies as
already fulfilled allegorically or symbolically. They believe that the
church, not literal Israel, is the recipient of the covenant promises.
Thus, the church is spiritual Israel.
4. Under covenant theology
the distinction between Law and grace as a rule of life is
(For more on this, please see our study paper on
Dominion Theology, located in the appendix of this
PRINCIPLES OF SCRIPTURAL
General Principles of Interpretation
1. Work from the assumption that the Bible is authoritative.
2. The Bible interprets itself; Scripture best explains
3. Saving faith and the Holy Spirit are necessary for us to
understand and properly interpret the Scriptures.
4. Interpret personal experience in the light of Scripture and not
Scripture in light of personal experience.
5. Biblical examples are authoritative only when supported by a
6. The primary purpose of the Bible is to change our lives, not
increase our knowledge.
7. Each Christian has the right and responsibility to investigate and
interpret the Word of God himself.
8. Church history is important but not decisive in the interpretation
9. The promises of God throughout the Bible are available to the Holy
Spirit for the believers of every generation.
Grammatical Principles of Interpretation
1. Scripture has only one meaning and should be taken literally.
2. Interpret words in harmony with their meaning in the times of the
3. Interpret a word in relation to its sentence and context.
4. Interpret a passage in harmony with its context.
5. When an inanimate object is used to describe a living being, the
statement may be considered figurative.
6. When an expression is out of character with the thing described,
the statement may be considered figurative.
7. The principal parts and figures of a parable represent certain
realities. Consider only these principal parts and figures when drawing
8. Interpret the words of the prophets in their usual, literal and
historical sense, unless the context or manner in which they are
fulfilled clearly indicates that they have a symbolic meaning. Their
fulfillment may be in installments, each fulfillment being a pledge of
that which is to follow.
Historical Principles of Interpretation
1. Since Scripture originated in a historical context, it can be
understood only in light of Biblical history.
2. Though God's revelation in the Scriptures is progressive, both Old
and New Testaments are essential parts of this revelation and form a
3. Historical facts or events become symbols of spiritual truths only
if the Scriptures so designate them.
Theological Principles of Interpretation
1. You must understand the Bible grammatically before you can
understand it theologically.
2. A doctrine cannot be considered biblical unless it sums up and
includes all that the Scriptures say about it.
3. When two doctrines taught in the Bible appear to be contradictory,
accept both as Scriptural in the confident belief they will resolve
themselves into a higher unity.
4. A teaching merely implied in Scripture may be considered biblical
when a comparison of related passages supports it.
Taken from "Studying, Interpreting, and Applying the Bible," by
Walter Henrichsen and Gayle Jackson, published by Lamplighter
Books, Grand Rapids, Michigan - Zondervan Publishing House.