Biblical Hermeneutics
Section Three
Section One
Section Two
Section Three
Section Four

Covenant Community School of Biblical Studies 
SBS 1024
Advanced Studies Course 

 The FOUNDATIONAL PRINCIPALS of Biblical interpretation


The Quality of Gods Word

2 Timothy 3:16-17

16 All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness;

17 that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.

The Bible is inspired by God Himself . Because it is inspired by God alone, it is perfect in every aspect. Therefore, Gods word has many benefits such as teaching (doctrine), reproof, correction and for becoming stronger spiritually and more like Jesus Christ. It also prepares us to advance the Kingdom of God and perpetuate the gospel of Jesus Christ.

The Nature of Gods Word

John 1:1-14

1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

2 He was in the beginning with God.

3 All things came into being by Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being.

4 In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.

5 And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.

6 There came a man, sent from God, whose name was John.

7 He came for a witness, that he might bear witness of the light, that all might believe through him.

8 He was not the light, but {came} that he might bear witness of the light.

9 There was the true light which, coming into the world, enlightens every man.

10 He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him.

11 He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him.

12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, {even} to those who believe in His name,

13 who were born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

14 And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.

Jesus Christ is eternally the Word of God brought into the human format for the express purpose of rendering and making available salvation for all of fallen man. Thus, all scripture is focused on the person of Jesus Christ and His redemptive act provided for mans sinful state.


Rights of Interpreting Gods Word

2 Peter 1:17-21

17 For when He received honor and glory from God the Father, such an utterance as this was made to Him by the Majestic Glory, "This is My beloved Son with whom I am well-pleased"--

18 and we ourselves heard this utterance made from heaven when we were with Him on the holy mountain.

19 And {so} we have the prophetic word {made} more sure, to which you do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star arises in your hearts.

20 But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is {a matter} of one's own interpretation,

21 for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.

The absolute truth of scripture cannot be interpreted to benefit ones personal self. What is truth for one is truth for all. Because scripture is directly from God it has authority which supercedes our ability to manipulate it or its potential meanings (personal interpretations) for our personal gain or comfort.


The Biblical Filters of Interpretation

  • The Christological Filter

1 Timothy 6:3-5

If anyone advocates a different doctrine, and does not agree with sound words, those of our Lord Jesus Christ, and with the doctrine conforming to godliness, he is conceited {and} understands nothing; but he has a morbid interest in controversial questions and disputes about words, out of which arise envy, strife, abusive language, evil suspicions, and constant friction between men of depraved mind and deprived of the truth, who suppose that godliness is a means of gain.


The Christological filter States that if Jesus spoke of anything in recorded canonized Scripture it is the truth and His words to be adhered to and upheld in all areas of theological and doctrinal debate. The words and ministry of Jesus Christ represent ultimate authority on any given subject.


  • The Discerning Filter

Hebrews 4:12-13

12 For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

13 And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do.

The Discerning filter utilizes the Bible to see accurately what God is communicating to us. The Word of God clearly distinguishes between that which is of the flesh or ones intellectual ability, from that which of a spiritual nature. This means that the Bible is validated because of the powerful and positive results it produces in those who read it and allow the Holy Spirit to illuminate it and apply it to their lives.


  • The Pattern of Operation Filter

1 Corinthians 15:46-49

46 However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural; then the spiritual.

47 The first man is from the earth, earthy; the second man is from heaven.

48 As is the earthy, so also are those who are earthy; and as is the heavenly, so also are those who are heavenly.

49 And just as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.


The Pattern of Operation filter shows us the Biblical representation of how God has always interacted with mankind through the entirety of creation to obtain spiritual results that produce direct relationship with God. God has always spoken or illustrated His will or intentions for our spiritual development and life through the physical, tangible and/or natural elements of His creation.


  • The Plural Witness Filter

2 Corinthians 13:1

1 This is the third time I am coming to you. Every fact is to be confirmed by the testimony of two or three witnesses.

2 Timothy 2:2

2 And the things which you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, these entrust to faithful men, who will be able to teach others also.

Revelation 11:3

3 "And I will grant {authority} to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy for twelve hundred and sixty days, clothed in sackcloth."

The Plural (two or more) Witness filter places value on certain texts and principals communicated to us through the Bible. If the same or identifiably similar fact, instruction, illustration or principal is communicated clearly more than one time in scripture it holds a notable value to our lives, faith or spiritual experience. Pauls emphasis in 2 Corinthians 13:1 is a statement based clearly from Old Testament foundational law that is found in the Pentateuch.


Basing our interpretive abilities on these filters when we examine a scriptural text we must ask the following questions;

  • Are the words of Jesus Christ that we have recorded in the New Testament in agreement with your accepted interpretation of the subject being examined in this text ? Christological Filter
  • Is there a potential to receive powerful and positive results because of the understanding of the scriptures under scrutiny ? Discerning Filter
  • Does your understanding of the passage of scripture harmonize with the pattern in which God communicates an interacts with mankind? Pattern of Operation
  • Is the meaning or emphasis of the scriptures you are studying clearly defined and or identified in more than one text in the Bible? Plural Witness Filter


Ultimately, always allow the Scripture to interpret itself first.

This may require more study and research of the Bible.

Covenant Community School of Biblical Studies
P.O. Box 750491 
Dayton, Ohio   45475-0491