During his travels, the Apostle Paul met with Jews in the town of Berea, in northern Greece. In Acts 17:11, these Berean Jews are described as being open-minded and willing to hear what Paul had to share about the good news of the Gospel. But they didn’t just take his word for things. They took what Paul taught about Christ and compared them to the Scriptures, checking to make sure that what Paul was teaching was Biblically accurate and true. Paul himself teaches us in 1 Thessalonians 5:21 to “test all things and hold fast to what is good”.
Being a Berean is about holding the Bible as the only standard of Truth, and assuming responsibility for learning it well. We are charged with comparing all Christian doctrine to what the Apostles taught. Unfortunately, modern Christianity take significant liberties with doctrine, teaching things as Truth that are not consistent with the Apostolic Doctrine, as it was delivered to the first century Christians.
But since we are neither first century Jewish converts with a deep understanding of the Old Testament, nor are we first century Gentiles familiar with historically relevant customs and cultures, we have to stretch ourselves to see things from a first century perspective and not a modern one, which is the tendency, and mistake, of most Christians.
One of the main tasks in effective Bible study is to place your self in the position of a first century Believer, asking “What did this mean to them?” Only then can we effectively answer the question, “What does this mean to me?” and that sequence should never be reversed. This is Principle #3, and there are 7 other guiding principles that are equally important, and which must be learned and practiced.
Bible study is a choice and a skill, not a gift or talent.
Read on below for a basic description of each Principle, but the best way to get a sense of how critical these principles are, watch a few sermon videos to see them in use. The best place to see them in action is throughout the entire Bereans Bible Institute’s 12-module, seminary level series. It’s free!
About Our Berean’s Process
8 Core Principles of Bible Interpretation
The original Scriptures are infallible in the original languages.
Hebrew and Greek grammar cannot be violated or ignored, but must guide interpretation.
Interpret within the historical situation, culture, and literary context.
Interpret the text literally unless compelling evidence demands non-literal interpretation.
Interpret progressively, with newer revelation always complimenting older revelation.
Reject as “illogical” all doctrines that require holding mutually exclusive ideas.
All accepted doctrines must be consistent with God’s character and with all other true doctrines.
Trace modern doctrines back to the source to see when, where, and why they originated.
Credit Where Credit is Due
I have been blessed to have an amazing friend and mentor in Christ - Tim Warner. Tim is my Pastor and ministry partner in the 4Winds Fellowship, and he is the original "formulator" of the 8 principles we use to interpret Scripture. None of these principles are unique to either me, or Tim, as he would readily state.Visit the 4 Winds FellowshipS Main site
The Berean's Bible Institute
Tim is also the main driving force behind our Berean's Bible Institute curriculum. This is a free, online, seminary level educational series spanning 12 modules, beginning with big picture questions like "What is the Nature of God and Man?" all the way to an in-depth study of the Book of Revelation, and a Bible-based timeline from Creation to the Day of the Lord. This entire series is rooted in the 8 principles we espouse and if you will engage it, will change your understanding of the Father, His Son, and so much more.Visit the Berean's Bible Institute