Holy Spirit Interactive
Friday, December 15, 2017
Inside Holy Spirit Interactive

Direct Bible Discovery

Chapter 6 - Order of the Elements

Bible study serves as the link between the Bible and the use of the Bible (application and service), as illustrated below. Not only are all twelve elements important, their order is also important.

The Holy Spirit and the Production of the Bible

The Holy spirit inspired each book of the Bible as it was originally written so its contents would be completely reliable. In general, the Old Testament books were originally written in Hebrew, and the New Testament books were written in Greek.

The Holy Spirit also preserved these writings (the word "Scriptures" simply means writings). He guided the believers both before and after Christ in their recognition of the inspired writings and in their rejection of other uninspired writings, so that only inspired writings were included in the canon (the list of inspired books). Although we do not have any of the original manuscripts today, many ancient copies of those originals have been preserved for us. Those copies are not identical, so specialists in textual criticism must analyze and compare them to determine which wordings most accurately represent the originals. (Textual criticism is also called lower criticism and should not be confused with higher criticism.) The Hebrew Old Testament and the Greek New Testament that result are thus nearly identical to the wording of the originals. The textual critics tell us that the variations between manuscripts do not affect any teaching of the Bible.

The Holy Spirit further guides men as they translate the Hebrew and Greek to give us our present English Bible. (We say more about translation in chapter 16.)


Inspiration

Each book as originally written

Preservation
Recognition of the Canon
Textual Criticism

Hebrew OT & Greek NT

Guidance & Illumination
Translation work

Our English Bible
Observation
Interpretation (Exegesis)

Empowering
Personal Application
Service (Evangelism & Edification

The Holy Spirit and our Use of the Bible

The Holy Spirit continues to work as we study, apply, and share the Bible.

When a person practices Bible study, he will follow a certain procedure, either consciously or unconsciously, based on a set of principles and rules (hermeneutics). This set of principles and rules is derived initially from one's common way of reading any piece of literature, and then is modified as he observes what the Bible itself says about how it should be interpreted. (We discuss these principles of interpretation in chapters 10 through 13.)

The theory of Bible study then becomes Bible study in actual practice as the person first observes what the biblical text says, then interprets it, and then integrates his interpretations into a systematic statement of the Bible's teachings known as theology. The Holy Spirit's ministry of illumination applies to each of these elements of Bible study.

Then the Holy Spirit empowers the person to apply those teachings in his life and to share and exemplify those teachings with both non-Christians (evangelism) and Christians (edification).

Observation and Interpretation Must Precede Application

There are three elements in the practice of Bible study that are often taken out of order: observation, interpretation, and application. Personal application should come only after you are certain that your interpretation is sound. An incorrect interpretation applied to one's life can have tragic results. Thus, any so-called devotional approach to the Bible that stresses application to the neglect of sound interpretation is quite dangerous.

Also, one's interpretation must be based on thoughtful, thorough, and intense observation. You need to know precisely what the text says (and what it does not say) before you try to decide what the text means.

Thus, the logical order of these three elements should always be: first observation, then interpretation, then application.

In a nutshell: Go directly to the biblical text and carefully observe what it says. Then interpret its meaning, apply it in your life, and share it with someone else.

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