The Scripture Interprets Itself: In the Verse—Right Where It Is Written

The Scripture Interprets Itself:
In the Verse—Right Where It Is Written

     In The Way Ministry we frequently hear this thought-provoking but reassuring statement: “The greatest key to being a workman of the Word is to learn to enjoy reading the Bible.” To learn to enjoy reading the Bible, we must learn to understand it. God in His wisdom tells us very clearly what we need to know first when it comes to reading and understanding His Word.
II Peter 1:20:
Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.

     This verse is very clear. We are not to offer our own interpretation of the Scriptures. Since God is telling us that this is what we need to know first when we come to His Word, this merits our utmost attention and diligent application.
     Logically, since private interpretation is not the proper approach, we are left with two alternatives in interpreting God’s Word: (1) God gave us a Word that has no interpretation possible, or (2) the Word must interpret itself. Thankfully, the Word of God itself sets forth simple, foundational verses that enable us to eliminate the alternative that there is no interpretation possible. In Ephesians the Apostle Paul explains how he acquired his knowledge of the great mystery and how we too may understand.
Ephesians 3:3 and 4:
How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words,
Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of
[pertaining to] Christ).
     When we read the Word, God wants us to be able to understand it. Look at these verses from Psalm 119 which further testify that God wants us to be able to understand His Word.
Psalms 119:33,34,129:
Teach me, O Lord, the way of thy statutes; and I shall keep it
unto the end.
Give me understanding, and I shall keep thy law; yea, I shall observe it with
my whole heart.
Thy testimonies
are wonderful: therefore doth my soul keep them.
     If we are to keep God’s testimonies set forth in His Word, we must first understand them. These verses and others make it clear that God desires us to have this understanding so that we can keep His Word and live abundantly.
Psalms 119:129 and 144:
Thy testimonies
are wonderful: therefore doth my soul keep them.
The righteousness of thy testimonies
is everlasting: give me understanding, and I shall live.
     What dynamic truths! “Teach me.…” “Give me understanding.…” “Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand.…” Yes, we can eliminate the alternative that there is no interpretation possible and focus on how the Word of God interprets itself! In fact Dr. Victor Paul Wierwille, our Founding President, taught that it was a remarkable revelation to him to discover in his Biblical research that the vast majority of the Word of God does interpret itself right where it is written. He estimated that from Genesis to Revelation 85 to 90 percent of the Word of God interprets itself in the verse. That is a very clear majority!
     In the foundational class on The Way of Abundance and Power we are presented with three main ways that the Scripture interprets itself. These are (1) In the verse, (2) In the context, and (3) Used before. In this article we will be focusing on how the Scripture interprets itself in the verse. In our teaching ministry, we also learn that “In the verse” has four specific aspects:

a.   Right where it is written.

b.   A word or words must be interpreted according to Biblical usage.

c.   The words must be in harmony with the verse as well as with all the scriptures relating to the subject.

d.   Scripture build-up; narrative development.

     For this article we’ll focus on just the first aspect, “a.” Future articles will present the other keys.
     Looking at “In the verse—right where it is written” takes me back to the first few weeks of first grade at Brown Township Elementary School in Fletcher, Ohio. It’s time for reading! Our teacher, Mrs. Rike, is putting the new words for the day on the blackboard. These words are the ones that we need to know today so that we can read the next fun story in our reading book about Dick and Jane and their friends. Mrs. Rike is patiently teaching us how to sound out the new words, how to pronounce them, and how to spell them. I raise my hand to be called on to read the exciting adventure for the day. Here’s an excerpt from one of our first stories from Scott Foresman and Company’s We Come and Go:

     Dick said, “Come, Jane.
     Come and play.
     Come and play ball.”

     Short, simple sentences. I could understand each one right where it was written. Our class enjoyed those stories so much because our teacher showed us that we could not only read them for ourselves, we could also understand what we were reading. We could answer her questions about those stories, demonstrating our understanding—and learning to read was helping our minds to grow.
     This is what we want to do when it comes to reading the Bible! “Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand.…” We learn to enjoy reading the Word for ourselves, and we learn to understand what we’re reading. How is this possible? We can read God’s Word with understanding because we are taught the keys to how the Word of God interprets itself. That makes for some mighty enjoyable time spent reading the literature of eternity and receiving its benefits….

This is an excerpt from the January/February 2005 issue of The Way Magazine.
Copyright© 2005 by The Way International. All rights reserved.
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