SCRIPTURE INTERPRETS SCRIPTURE ITSELF
The best way for us to understand what the Bible says, is to allow the Bible to interpret itself. The Bible is God’s Word. Therefore, it is clear and consistent. It does not contradict itself. Some passages may be more difficult for us to understand, but we should turn to other passages in the Bible to shed light on these passages that we may have trouble understanding. (2 Peter 3:16)
The principle, “Scripture Interprets Scripture” is unique to the Lutheran church. In the Catholic Church, the work of interpreting the Bible is given to the Pope, church councils, and church tradition. The Pope is considered infallible whenever he speaks regarding matters related to the Bible. In the 1500’s, Martin Luther studied the Bible for himself, and discovered that the Pope and the Catholic Church were no longer teaching the truths of the Bible, but rather their own human interpretations and perversions of what the Bible said. (For example: purgatory, penance, praying to the saints, the role of the Virgin Mary, the buying and selling of forgiveness, the role of good works in salvation) These and other false teachings were developed by sinful men who did not allow the Bible to stand by itself as God’s Word.
In the Reformed churches (Baptist, Pentecostal, CMA, Methodist, Evangelical Free, and others) Scripture is subjected to human reason. So Reason must interpret the Bible. This has led the Reformed churches to believe and teach false doctrines in areas such as: double predestination, conversion, baptism, the Lord’s Supper.
在改革宗教会（浸信会，五旬节会， (美国)基督教传教联盟，卫理公会， 福音自由派， 和其他宗派教会)，圣经受制于人的理性。因此，理性必须解释圣经。这必然导致改革宗教会去相信和教导错误教义，比如：双重预定，悔改，洗礼，圣餐。
In the Lutheran Church, we insist that the Bible must interpret itself. This means:
We understand a passage by comparing it with other passages of the Bible which discuss the same subject.
Example: Genesis 3 and Romans 5
举例： 创 3： 和罗 5：
We understand a passage in its context, both immediate and broader. (Hermeneutical circle).
Example: John 15, Romans 3, and James 2
Note again: Romans 3 and James 2, also Matthew 25:31-46.
This unity in the Bible is also true when we compare the Old Testament and the New Testament. The Old Testament was written from 1400 to 400 B.C., and the New Testament from 30 to 100 A.D. There were more than 50 men who wrote parts of the Bible. Yet God is the ultimate author of everything in the Bible, and it is perfectly united in what it teaches.
New Testament authors often quoted the Old Testament in order to: show how a prophecy was fulfilled, prove that a teaching of God’s Word was accepted long ago by Jewish believers, illustrate a point that they are making.
Examples of fulfillment of prophecy:
Psalm 22:1 and Matthew 27:46
诗22：1 和 太27：46
Isaiah 7:14 and Matthew 1:22-23
赛 7：14 和 太 1：22-23
2 Samuel 7:11-16 and Luke 1:32-33
撒下 7：11-16和路 1：32-33
When we read, study, and teach the Bible, it is sometimes necessary for us to make judgments and deductions that are based on the Bible’s teachings. It was not God’s purpose when he inspired the Bible to write it in the form of long, detailed series of doctrinal statements, or as a series of legal codes that would give specific instructions for every conceivable situation a person may face.
In the Old Testament, God gave to the Israelites civil, ceremonial, and moral laws that were intended to impress upon them that they were to be a different, unique people in the world, and this should be demonstrated by every aspect of their lives. However in the New Testament, God has not given for us such an extensive code of laws.
For us there are many matters of ADIAPHORA, where we need to apply the general principles of God’s Word for ourselves. God has not given us specific commands or prohibitions for these matters. (For example: drinking alcohol, dancing, how much money to give to church, how often to worship, what kind of job to hold, etc.)
In the Bible we observe that there are:
(Commands of God that apply to all people of all times and places.)
APPLICATIONS OF PRINCIPLES
(Commands given by God to a particular group of people at a particular time and place.)
How do I know when I read a passage from the Bible whether I am reading a Universal Principle or an Application of a Principle? Examine the immediate and broader context of Scripture to see if the passage is limited in any way. . .
Is the passage intended only for certain people, and not others?
Is the passage intended only for a certain place or time?
When we distinguish between principles and applications, we should be particularly cautious when we are reading historical events/narratives in the Bible. We dare not establish our own principles based on what actions are merely described. Examples. . .
Abraham in Genesis 16:1-4 and 20:1-5
亚伯拉罕在创世纪 16：1-4 和 20：1-5
John the Baptist and Jesus in Matthew 3:6, 13-17
Jesus in Matthew 14:23
A doctrine in which it is very important for us to clearly distinguish between principles and applications is the ROLES OF MEN AND WOMEN. Let us briefly examine the key Bible passages for this doctrine and identify the principles, the applications then, and the applications today.
See: 参考： Genesis 2 创 2：; 1 Corinthians 11:3-16 林前11：3-16 ; 1 Corinthians 14:26-35 林前14：26-35 ; Ephesians 5:22-33 弗 5：22-33 ; 1 Timothy 2:9-15 提前 2：9-15
Consider also: 也考虑：
Jesus’ calling his disciples 耶稣对门徒的呼召
Old Testament prophets, priests 旧约先知们、祭司们
and kings 和诸君王
Applications Then 当时的应用
Applications Now 现在的应用