“From childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work. (II Timothy 3:15-17)
THE LORD LOVES TO UNLOCK His Word for us as we seek His heart through the Scripture, and He has written it in a way that draws us to use our head and our heart in balance to reveal His deepest truths. Here is a quick reference checklist to get you started…
Interpret in light of…
1 Bible infallibility (II Timothy 3:16) The Bible is God’s word about man, not vice versa.
2 Spirit illumination (I Corinthians 2:14) “Natural man” cannot interpret Bible.
3 Chapter context (multiple texts) Israel: People? United K.? Northern K.? Spiritual?
4 Biblical context (Eph. 2:8; James 2:21) Salvation by faith (Paul) or works (James)?
5 Genre analysis (Gen.; Psa.; Dan.; Rom. Rev.) History? Poetry? Prophecy? Didactic? Apocalyptic?
6 Figures of speech (If eye causes you to sin…) Hyperbole; Simile; Metaphor; Literal vs. “letteral”
7 Biblical typology (Colossians 2:17) OT illustrative “foreshadowing” of NT realities/truth
8 Author & setting (multiple texts) Heart of the author, needs of recipients, culture…
9 Grammar/tense (Isaiah 6:3; Rom. 7:14-25) Hebrew superlative: Holy, Holy, Holy; Historical Present tense to express past event with present tense verbs to make the account more vivid.
10 Scripture vs. Experience (Tongues; Sp. Gifts) Scripture interprets experience, not vice versa.
11 Propositional vs. Mystical/Existential Bible truth trumps “God told me” (rhema)
12 Parables vs. Allegory One main truth vs. symbols for everything
13 Interpretation, then Application (see E) Truth discovered, then truth applied to life.
14 Laws vs. Principles (10 Commandments vs. Proverbs) Rigid commands vs. general guidelines
15 Universal vs. Particular Timeless truths vs. truths for a particular time/place
16 Explicit vs. Implicit (Hebrews 6:4) Let clear (explicit) texts interpret fuzzy (imp.) texts.
17 Prescriptive vs. Descriptive (I Cor. 12; Acts) Instructive texts (Paul) trump narrative texts.
18 Progressive revelation vs. OT/NT unity NT progressive light/truth Interprets OT “shadows.”
19 Exegesis vs. Eisogesis (Matthew 4:5-6) Drawing out of the text vs. reading into the text
20 Antinomies and Caveats (Eph. 1; Matt. 4:7) Beyond a paradox; “On the other hand…”
21 Memorize the Word. “With all my heart I have sought Thee; Do not let me wander from Thy commandments. Thy word I have treasured in my heart, That I may not sin against Thee.” (Psalm 119:10-11)
22 Meditate on Scripture. “I rise before dawn and cry for help; I wait for Your words. My eyes anticipate the night watches, That I may meditate on Your word.” (Psalm 119:147-148)
23 Personalize the Word. “Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me.” (Psalm 51:10)
24 Proclaim/Confess the Word. “What we have seen and heard we proclaim to you also, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ.” (1 John 1:3)
25 Apply/Do it! “Everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not act on them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand.” (Matthew 7:26)
May you treasure the truths the Lord gives you through His infallible, reliable, and totally sufficient Word … the sword of the Spirit… and His love letters to your very heart. 
— Dr. Mark Gonzales * firstname.lastname@example.org * Ft. Myers, FL