Home > Hermeneutics > Several warnings which need to be heeded when interpreting words and phrases

Several warnings which need to be heeded when interpreting words and phrases

Arthur PinkBefore stating several more rules which should direct the expositor, particularly those which relate more directly to the interpretation of words and phrases, let us mention several warnings which need to be heeded.

First, do not assume at the outset that all is plain and intelligible to you, for often the words of Scripture are used in a different and higher sense than they are in common speech. Thus it is not sufficient to be acquainted with their dictionary meaning: rather do we have to ascertain how they are used by the Holy Spirit. For example, “hope” signifies very much more in the Word of God than it does on the lips of men.

Second, do not jump to the conclusion that you have arrived at the meaning of a term because its force is quite obvious in one or two passages, for you are not in a position to frame a definition until you have weighed every occurrence of it. That demands much toil and patience, yet such are necessary if we are to be preserved from erroneous ideas.

Third, do not conclude that any term employed by the Spirit has one uniform signification, for that is far from being the case. The force of these cautions will be made the more apparent in the paragraphs that follow.

Arthur W. Pink-Interpretation of the Scriptures

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