This comes from the Greek word for interpretation, the method of explaining the Bible.
Various systems are used to interpret the Bible, each with their own governing principles to understand and apply its content. The literal method, taking the Scriptures at face value, is the most practical and valuable for us to live by. This approach is not complicated and even “the simple will not stray from it” (Isa 35:8). Do not try to explain away what is clearly intended – outwork it by “Whatever He says to you, do” (Jn 2:5). Don’t debate, just get on with it. While there is a vital need to pray and seek guidance, once the path is known this must be walked in humble, ongoing submission, with the receiving of knowledge resulting in action.
The Bible is God’s written communication to us. As it will be our judge, it makes good sense to accurately understand and live by its directives (Jn 12:48; 2 Tim 2:15). It is imperative we don’t just absorb but also put into practice its teaching, otherwise its message will profit us nothing and the conclusion will be devastating (Mt 7:21-27; Jas 1:22-25). Its message is not to be viewed as suggestions or options, rather as commands to be obeyed, guiding us how to live lives pleasing to God and resulting in our blessing (Col 1:10).
Although we take the Bible literally, there are figures of speech, such as “If your hand offend you, cut it off” (Mt 5:30). This is indicating the seriousness of sin and the drastic ‘measures’ we need to take.
Live out the Bible’s message by obedience to it
uprightly, be protected and guided to make wise choices, this is contrasted with the path of the wicked (Ps 1:1-6; Prov 2:6-8). Let your life be a living interpretation of God’s written ‘How to’ message to man.
Scripture will back up Scripture – don’t try and formulate a belief based on a single Bible verse (2 Pet 1:20, 3:3). On earth, we won’t know the full counsel of God, however He does expect us to apply the knowledge, insight and understanding we do have. Inaccurate and unbalanced interpretation has resulted in heresies and the formation of cults and sects.
All Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable to us as it is worked out in the various situations of life, with the good responses being developed further while dealing ruthlessly with the bad (Isa 55:11; Col 3:5-10; 2 Tim 3:16,17; Heb 4:12,13). There is a solemn responsibility for Bible teachers to faithfully impart the knowledge of the Scriptures and not explain away its message (Rev 22:18,19).
Other systems of interpreting the Bible, (which do little to transform the life as God desires) include: allegorical – seeing a hidden spiritual meaning beyond the normal sense (Paul uses such an analogy in Gal 4:24); liberal – interpreting the Bible as a historical document, with little relevance for today; and existentially – whatever it means to the individual as they read it.