C. Translation – The third pillar (island) in our communication bridge is “Translation.” Now, are you aware of the fact that for years the Bible was only in the chosen language of the then Universal (Catholic) Church: Latin? They didn’t want ANYONE reading it in their common tongue for themselves. They wanted exclusive control. In fact, the earliest English translators of the Bible were put to death. Men like Wycliffe, Tyndale, Coverdale, etc., put their lives on the line by translating the Bible into English (as well as speaking out against many Catholic traditions). Martin Luther translated the Latin Vulgate version into German. These brave believers did this because they wanted the common man to be able to read Scripture for themselves. Well, as you can imaging, the Catholic hierarchy didn’t like this. One statement by them was: “A people’s Bible is the mother and origin of heretics, and if we put the Bible in the language of the people, they will destroy it.” Today, their are more than 500 English translations of the Bible. There is no book in all of the world with that kind of attention.
To close this Island, we find our Scriptural support at Mat. 28:19(a) and 20(a), where our Lord and Savior instructs disciples, “Go ye therefore and teach all nations . . . teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you…”; in this He is passing on the torch for all believers to teach (which includes translational instruction). Finally, I recommend a pretty good book that supports our translations of the NT today. “The New Testament Documents: Are They Reliable,” By F. F. Bruce.
D. Interpretation – We are now on our 4th pillar (island) of God’s Communication Bridge: that of “Interpretation.”
In general, interpretation is hermeneutics, which ultimately determines the foundation of all our doctrines. It is “The Principles and Processes of Interpretation.” Not everyone follows the exact same system of hermeneutics, and this is why there are differing doctrines in various camps. Then, there are those who choose not to follow ANY principles; they just go with the flow, taking in whatever FEELS GOOD to them. But, if we are honest with ourselves, and we agree on the principles, I think you will be pleasantly surprised to discover that there will be less and less different interpretations of Scripture when we are finished.
So, out of the hermeneutical principles we develope doctrine. And then out of our doctrine follows experience. But, in order to have good experience, that grows out of sound doctrine, which is based upon proper principles of interpretation, we need to be aware of PREPATORY STEPS for interpretation, and that’s what we will cover in three parts here: 1) Regeneration is Imperative; 2) Filling of the Holy Spirit; and 3) Patient and Diligent Study. Let’s begin:
1) “Regeneration is Imperative” – Here we will first take a look at 1Cor.2:14, “But the natural man receiveth (the Greek term “dechomai,” #1209, is in the 2nd part, the idea of one “appropriating a teaching to their heart and lives, after they have learned it)not the things of the Spirit of Yahweh, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, for they are Spiritually discerned” (KJV). This gives us our first prerequisite, by way of preparation for interpretation. There is a necessary, personal experience of regeneration if one is going to properly interpret Scripture.
Paul conveys, in essence, that the “…natural man…” is as he comes from birth (physical and dead); and the “…Spiritual man…” — by way of contrast — is the man of the second birth (Spiritually alive). Thus, in order to grasp Spiritual truths, there is a pre-requisite of Spiritual receptiveness. Is not this a logical premise? In order to grasp Spiritual truths, one has to HAVE a Spiritual receptor. But, by nature, man in his present state, does not have this capacity. Our authority for this is v.14, which we quoted above. Here Paul makes two statements as to the reasons why the natural man is not receptive:
a) his attitude is contrary to it; and
b) his aptitude is nil; he cannot
comprehend it, much less apply.
You see? The natural man, apart from Yashua Messiah, tends to perceive the Scriptures as “…foolishness…”. We read earlier, at 1Cor.1:18, “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of Yahweh…”. Thus, the Bible is saying REGENERATION IS IMPERATIVE; a NEW HEART IS IMPERATIVE! We also note Titus 3:5(b), which reads: “…by the washing of regeneration, and renewing (quickening) of the Holy Spirit.”
2. Filling of The Holy Spirit – Secondly, just being born again isn’t enough. A lot of new converts get the (false) idea that being born again is all that’s necessary. Ya know? “Don’t bother me with studying…I have the Holy Ghost, and because I have the Holy Spirit, I don’t need to study!” Well, here’s some news for those who say that. The Holy Spirit isn’t given to make Bible study needless; and, neither is a man , as a believer, able to truly comprehend Scripture without dependence upon prayer, the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit:
— At 1Thes. 5:17, Paul encouraged the Thessalonians to “…pray without ceasing”; and
— At Mat. 18:3, Our Lord conveys that “…except ye be converted, and become as little children (trusting in the Father), ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven”; and
— At Jn. 15:5, our Lord expressly states: “…without Me ye can do nothing”; and
— At 1Cor.1:4-16, Paul stresses that without the Holy Spirit we cannot know God, or effectuate things.
So, the Holy Spirit is given to make Bible study effective. And this “…being filled with the Spirit” (Eph. 5:18) is absolutely mandatory. Without such Paul conveys we are in serious trouble. Read what he writes at 1 Cor. 3:1-3, and meditate on it.
Categories: Mark Blain