Daily Devotion: Let Scripture Interpret Scripture

2 Peter 1:20, [Know] this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation.

Every Christian can read the Word of God, yes, but not every Christian can interpret without proper hermeneutical training. The prophecies of God are not free to be interpreted to every special meaning the human mind can surmise. When God spoke, He spoke to a particular people in a particular historical setting with a particular purpose. The only way to interpret prophecy—and the rest of God’s Word—is to let Scripture interpret Scripture. Thus, Jesus calming the storm is not about calming your stress and anxiety; it’s about Jesus calming the storm and thereby displaying His divine authority as Creator. Jeremiah 29:11 is not God speaking to you; it is God speaking to Jeremiah.

The Word interprets itself; it does not need our help. The preacher merely studies the Word’s interpretation of itself and has the task of conveying that information to his hearers in their contemporary setting in a way that is understandable that shows them how they fit into God’s Story.

When proper interpretation is not done—when basic hermeneutics are ignored—we get all sorts of heresies and false doctrines with their respective heretics and false prophets, such as Joel Osteen and his wife with the prosperity gospel, Calvinists with their double predestination and limited atonement, Arminians with their free will, evangelicals with their women ordination, and so on. When we let Scripture interpret itself, interpretation becomes simple. It is when we attempt to fathom Scripture with human logic and reasoning and the presuppositions we bring to the texts that we muck it up.

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