How to Understand the Bible
I Peter 1:10-12; II Peter 1:20
This brings us to an important step, that is, how to understand the Bible?
Peter states and wisely so, that the prophets of old made careful search and inquiry as to the meaning of the prophecies they were given. Wow, what a statement. Since they diligently search the Hebrew Scriptures and prayed for further insight into the prophecies they were given, what should our response be? To pray and search the Scriptures as we seek to understand the prophecies of both the Old and New Testament.
Modern Bible commentators would also say we would be wise to consider the historical and cultural backgrounds looking at the difference that the text meant to its original hearers and what it means for those living today.
Peter provides two important principles that he believes should guide how the Bible is interpreted. Peter states, and may I remind you he writes from the guidance of the Holy Spirit, that all scriptures are not of private interpretation (II Peter 1:20). He further states that all or the whole of Scriptures is a witness to Jesus and of Jesus (I Peter 1:10-12).
For Peter, and for us today Scripture is something that is understood by the whole community of faith. As people come together to study the word of God, their prayer should be that the Holy Spirit will give them wisdom and understanding that is common to all. That the revelations that we study and read will become applicable to all of the community of believers, not for private edification.
Peter continues to drive home the point that Jesus is the heart of the revelation of God. In Jesus, all the promises of God come true, and in Jesus, the hope of all Christians will be realized. Jesus, in fact is both the content and the context to be considered when interpreting Scripture.
So, if Christ is the center of everything we read and study in the scripture and if he becomes the focus of our attention, then through the working of the Holy Spirit in our life, we will reflect the character of Christ. Then others will not see us, but see Christ in us.