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Interpretation

The Bible is the book of sacred writ­ings for God’s Peo­ple, the Church. It was pro­duced in the Church, by and for the Church, under divine inspi­ra­tion as an essen­tial part of the total real­i­ty of God’s covenant rela­tion­ship with His Peo­ple. It is the authen­tic Word of God for those who belong to God’s cho­sen assem­bly of believ­ers, to the Israel of old and to the Church of Christ today and forever.

The Bible lives in the Church. It comes alive in the Church and has the most pro­found divine mean­ing for those who are mem­bers of the com­mu­ni­ty which God has estab­lished, in which He dwells, and to which, through His Word and His Spir­it, He has giv­en Him­self for par­tic­i­pa­tion, com­mu­nion and life ever­last­ing. Out­side of the total life and expe­ri­ence of the com­mu­ni­ty of faith, which is the Church of Christ, “the pil­lar and bul­wark of the truth” (1 Tim 3:15) no one can tru­ly under­stand and cor­rect­ly inter­pret the Bible.

First of all you must under­stand that no prophe­cy of scrip­ture is a mat­ter of one’s own inter­pre­ta­tion, because no prophe­cy came by the impulse of man, but men moved by the Holy Spir­it spoke from God (2 Pet 1:20).

Schol­ars of the Bible can help men to under­stand its divine con­tents and mean­ing. Through their arche­o­log­i­cal, his­tor­i­cal, and lit­er­ary stud­ies they can offer much light to the words of the scrip­tures. But by them­selves and by their aca­d­e­m­ic work alone, no men can pro­duce the prop­er inter­pre­ta­tion of the Bible. Only Christ, the liv­ing and per­son­al Word of God, Who comes from the Father and lives in His Church through the Holy Spir­it, can make God known and can give the right under­stand­ing of the scrip­tur­al Word of God.

In the begin­ning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God. … And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth. … For the law was giv­en through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God; the only-begot­ten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has made Him known (Jn 1:1–18).

Jesus Christ, the Word of God in human flesh, alone makes God known. And Jesus, besides being Him­self the liv­ing incar­na­tion of God, the liv­ing ful­fill­ment of the law and the prophets (Mt 5:17), is also the One by whom the Bible is right­ly interpreted.

And [being risen from the dead] he said to them, “O fool­ish men and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spo­ken. Was it not nec­es­sary that the Christ should suf­fer these things and enter into his glory?”

And begin­ning with Moses and all the prophets, he inter­pret­ed to them in all the scrip­tures the things con­cern­ing him­self (Lk 24:25–27).

And he said to them, “These are my words which I spoke to you, while I was still with you, that every­thing writ­ten about me in the law of Moses and the prophets and the psalms must be ful­filled.” Then he opened their minds to under­stand the scrip­tures. … (Lk 24:44–45; also Jn 5:45–47).

Jesus Christ remains for­ev­er in His Church by the Holy Spir­it to open men’s minds to under­stand the Bible (Jn 14.26, 16:13). Only with­in Christ’s Church, in the com­mu­ni­ty of faith, of grace, and of truth, can men filled with the Holy Spir­it under­stand the mean­ing and pur­pose of the Bible’s holy words. Thus, speak­ing about those who do not believe in Jesus as the Mes­si­ah, the apos­tle Paul con­tends that when they read the Bible a “veil” hides its true mean­ing from them “because only through Christ is it tak­en away” (2 Cor 3:14).

Yes, to this day when­ev­er Moses is read a veil lies over their minds; but when a man turns to the Lord, the veil is removed. Now the Lord is the Spir­it, and where the Spir­it of the Lord is, there is free­dom. And we all [i.e. believ­ers in Christ] with unveiled face, behold­ing the glo­ry of the Lord, are being changed into his like­ness from one degree of glo­ry to anoth­er; for this comes from the Lord who is the Spir­it. There­fore, … we refuse to prac­tice cun­ning or to tam­per with God’s word, but by the open state­ment of the truth we would com­mend our­selves to every man’s con­science in the sight of God. And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled only to those who are per­ish­ing. In their case the god of this world has blind­ed the minds of the unbe­liev­ers, to keep them from see­ing the light of the glo­ry of Christ, who is the like­ness of God (2 Cor 3:15–4:4).

In the New Tes­ta­ment, Christ not only pro­vides the cor­rect inter­pre­ta­tion of the Bible, He also allows the believ­ers them­selves to be direct­ly enlight­ened by the Holy Spir­it and to be them­selves “the let­ter from Christ. … writ­ten not with ink, but with the Spir­it of the liv­ing God, not on tablets of stone, but on tablets of human hearts” (2 Cor 3:3). Thus is ful­filled the pre­dic­tion of the old covenant that in the time of the Mes­si­ah “they all shall be taught of God” by direct divine inspi­ra­tion and instruc­tion (Jn 6.45, Isa 54:13, Ezek 36:26, Jer 31:31, Joel 2:28, Mic­ah 4:2, et. al.). It is only with­in the liv­ing Tra­di­tion of the Church under the direct inspi­ra­tion of Christ’s Spir­it that the prop­er inter­pre­ta­tion of the Bible can be made.