“RULES OF INTERPRETATION.” By William Miller
Posted by adventbiblestudy on September 14, 2008
“1. Every word must have its proper bearing on the subject presented in the Bible. Proof, Matt. 5:18.
KJV Matthew 5:18
18. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.
“2. All Scripture is necessary, and may be understood by a diligent application and study. Proof, 2 Tim. 3:15-17
KJV 2 Timothy 3:15. And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. 16. All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 17. That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.
“3. Nothing revealed in Scripture can or will be hid from those who ask in faith, not wavering. Proof, Deut. 29:29; Matt. 10:26, 27; 1 Cor. 2:10; Phil. 3:15; Isa. 45:11; Matt. 21:22; John 14:13, 14; 15; James 1:5, 6; 1 John 5:13-15.
KJV Deuteronomy 29:29. The secret things belong unto the Lord our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law.
KJV Matthew 10:26. Fear them not therefore: for there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; and hid, that shall not be known. 27. What I tell you in darkness, that speak ye in light: and what ye hear in the ear, that preach ye upon the housetops.
KJV 1 Corinthians 2:10. But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.
KJV Philippians 3:15. Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you.
KJV Isaiah 45:11. Thus saith the Lord, the Holy One of Israel, and his Maker, Ask me of things to come concerning my sons, and concerning the work of my hands command ye me.
KJV Matthew 21:22. And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.
KJV John 14:13. And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14. If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it. 15. If ye love me, keep my commandments.
KJV James 1:5. If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. 6. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.
KJV 1 John 5:13. These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God. 14. And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: 15. And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.
“4. To understand doctrine, bring all the Scriptures together on the subject you wish to know; then let every word have its proper influence; and, if you can form your theory without a contradiction, you cannot be in error. Proof, Isa. 28:7-29; 35:8; Prov. 19:27; Luke 24:27, 44, 45; Rom. 16:26; James 5:19; 2 Pet. 1:19, 20.
KJV Isaiah 28:7. But they also have erred through wine, and through strong drink are out of the way; the priest and the prophet have erred through strong drink, they are swallowed up of wine, they are out of the way through strong drink; they err in vision, they stumble in judgment. 8. For all tables are full of vomit and filthiness, so that there is no place clean. 9. Whom shall he teach knowledge? and whom shall he make to understand doctrine? them that are weaned from the milk, and drawn from the breasts. 10. For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little: 11. For with stammering lips and another tongue will he speak to this people. 12. To whom he said, This is the rest wherewith ye may cause the weary to rest; and this is the refreshing: yet they would not hear. 13. But the word of the Lord was unto them precept upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little; that they might go, and fall backward, and be broken, and snared, and taken. 14. Wherefore hear the word of the Lord, ye scornful men, that rule this people which is in Jerusalem. 15. Because ye have said, We have made a covenant with death, and with hell are we at agreement; when the overflowing scourge shall pass through, it shall not come unto us: for we have made lies our refuge, and under falsehood have we hid ourselves: 16. Therefore thus saith the Lord God, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation: he that believeth shall not make haste. 17. Judgment also will I lay to the line, and righteousness to the plummet: and the hail shall sweep away the refuge of lies, and the waters shall overflow the hiding place. 18. And your covenant with death shall be disannulled, and your agreement with hell shall not stand; when the overflowing scourge shall pass through, then ye shall be trodden down by it. 19. From the time that it goeth forth it shall take you: for morning by morning shall it pass over, by day and by night: and it shall be a vexation only to understand the report. 20. For the bed is shorter than that a man can stretch himself on it: and the covering narrower than that he can wrap himself in it. 21. For the Lord shall rise up as in mount Perazim, he shall be wroth as in the valley of Gibeon, that he may do his work, his strange work; and bring to pass his act, his strange act. 22. Now therefore be ye not mockers, lest your bands be made strong: for I have heard from the Lord God of hosts a consumption, even determined upon the whole earth. 23. Give ye ear, and hear my voice; hearken, and hear my speech. 24. Doth the plowman plow all day to sow? doth he open and break the clods of his ground? 25. When he hath made plain the face thereof, doth he not cast abroad the fitches, and scatter the cummin, and cast in the principal wheat and the appointed barley and the rie in their place? 26. For his God doth instruct him to discretion, and doth teach him. 27. For the fitches are not threshed with a threshing instrument, neither is a cart wheel turned about upon the cummin; but the fitches are beaten out with a staff, and the cummin with a rod. 28. Bread corn is bruised; because he will not ever be threshing it, nor break it with the wheel of his cart, nor bruise it with his horsemen. 29. This also cometh forth from the Lord of hosts, which is wonderful in counsel, and excellent in working.
KJV Isaiah 35:8. And an highway shall be there, and a way, and it shall be called the way of holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it; but it shall be for those: the wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err therein.
KJV Proverbs 19:27. Cease, my son, to hear the instruction that causeth to err from the words of knowledge.
KJV Luke 24:27. And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.
KJV Luke 24: 44. And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me. 45. Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures,
KJV Romans 16:26. But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith:
KJV James 5:19. Brethren, if any of you do err from the truth, and one convert him;
KJV 2 Peter 1:19. We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts: 20. Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. 21. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.
“5. Scripture must be its own expositor, since it is a rule of itself. If I depend on a teacher to expound to me, and he should guess at its meaning, or desire to have it so on account of his sectarian creed, or to be thought wise, then his guessing, desire, creed, or wisdom, is my rule, and not the Bible. Proof, Ps. 19:7-11; 119:97-105: Matt. 23:8-10; 1 Cor. 2:12-16; Eze. 34:18, 19; Luke 11:52; Matt. 2:7,8.
KJV Psalms 19:7. The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple. 8. The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes. 9. The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether. 10. More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. 11. Moreover by them is thy servant warned: and in keeping of them there is great reward.
KJV Psalms 119:97. O how love I thy law! it is my meditation all the day. 98. Thou through thy commandments hast made me wiser than mine enemies: for they are ever with me. 99. I have more understanding than all my teachers: for thy testimonies are my meditation. 100. I understand more than the ancients, because I keep thy precepts.
101. I have refrained my feet from every evil way, that I might keep thy word. 102. I have not departed from thy judgments: for thou hast taught me. 103. How sweet are thy words unto my taste! yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth! 104. Through thy precepts I get understanding: therefore I hate every false way. 105. Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.
KJV Matthew 23:8. But be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your Master, even Christ; and all ye are brethren. 9. And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven. 10. Neither be ye called masters: for one is your Master, even Christ.
KJV 1 Corinthians 2:12. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. 13. Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. 14. But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. 15. But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man. 16. For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.
KJV Ezekiel 34:18. Seemeth it a small thing unto you to have eaten up the good pasture, but ye must tread down with your feet the residue of your pastures? and to have drunk of the deep waters, but ye must foul the residue with your feet?19. And as for my flock, they eat that which ye have trodden with your feet; and they drink that which ye have fouled with your feet.
KJV Luke 11:52. Woe unto you, lawyers! for ye have taken away the key of knowledge: ye entered not in yourselves, and them that were entering in ye hindered.
KJV Matthew 2:7. Then Herod, when he had privily called the wise men, inquired of them diligently what time the star appeared. 8. And he sent them to Bethlehem, and said, Go and search diligently for the young child; and when ye have found him, bring me word again, that I may come and worship him also.
“6. God has revealed things to come, by visions, in figures and parables; and in this way the same things are oftentimes revealed again and again, by different visions, or in different figures and parables. If you wish to understand them, you must combine them all in one. Proof, Ps. 89:19; Hos. 12:10; Hab. 2:2; Acts 2:17; 1 Cor. 10:6; Heb. 9:9, 24; Ps. 78:2; Matt. 13:13, 34; Gen. 41:1-32; Dan. 2d, 7th & 8th; Acts 10:9-16.
KJV Psalms 89:19. Then thou spakest in vision to thy holy one, and saidst, I have laid help upon one that is mighty; I have exalted one chosen out of the people.
KJV Hosea 12:10. I have also spoken by the prophets, and I have multiplied visions, and used similitudes, by the ministry of the prophets.
KJV Habakkuk 2:2. And the Lord answered me, and said, Write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it.
KJV Acts 2:17. And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams:
KJV 1 Corinthians 10:6. Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted.
KJV Hebrews 9:9. Which was a figure for the time then present, in which were offered both gifts and sacrifices, that could not make him that did the service perfect, as pertaining to the conscience;
KJV Hebrews 9:24. For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us:
KJV Psalms 78:2. I will open my mouth in a parable: I will utter dark sayings of old:
KJV Matthew 13:13. Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand.
KJV Matthew 13:34. All these things spake Jesus unto the multitude in parables; and without a parable spake he not unto them:35. That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, I will open my mouth in parables; I will utter things which have been kept secret from the foundation of the world.
KJV Genesis 41:1. And it came to pass at the end of two full years, that Pharaoh dreamed: and, behold, he stood by the river.
KJV Acts 10:9. On the morrow, as they went on their journey, and drew nigh unto the city, Peter went up upon the housetop to pray about the sixth hour: 10. And he became very hungry, and would have eaten: but while they made ready, he fell into a trance, 11. And saw heaven opened, and a certain vessel descending unto him, as it had been a great sheet knit at the four corners, and let down to the earth: 12. Wherein were all manner of fourfooted beasts of the earth, and wild beasts, and creeping things, and fowls of the air. 13. And there came a voice to him, Rise, Peter; kill, and eat. 14. But Peter said, Not so, Lord; for I have never eaten any thing that is common or unclean. 15. And the voice spake unto him again the second time, What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common. 16. This was done thrice: and the vessel was received up again into heaven.
“7. Visions are always mentioned as such. 2 Cor. 12:1.
KJV 2 Corinthians 12:1. It is not expedient for me doubtless to glory. I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord.
“8. Figures always have a figurative meaning, and are used much in prophecy to represent future things, times and events–such as mountains, meaning governments; Dan. 2:35, 44; beasts, meaning kingdoms; Dan. 7:8, 17; waters, meaning people; Rev. 17:1, 15; day, meaning year, &c. Eze. 4:6.
KJV Daniel 2:35. Then was the iron, the clay, the brass, the silver, and the gold, broken to pieces together, and became like the chaff of the summer threshingfloors; and the wind carried them away, that no place was found for them: and the stone that smote the image became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth.
KJV Daniel 2:44. And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever.
KJV Daniel 7:8. I considered the horns, and, behold, there came up among them another little horn, before whom there were three of the first horns plucked up by the roots: and, behold, in this horn were eyes like the eyes of man, and a mouth speaking great things.
KJV Daniel 7:17. These great beasts, which are four, are four kings, which shall arise out of the earth.
KJV Revelation 7:1. And after these things I saw four angels standing on the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind should not blow on the earth, nor on the sea, nor on any tree.
KJV Revelation 7:15. Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them.
KJV Ezekiel 4:6. And when thou hast accomplished them, lie again on thy right side, and thou shalt bear the iniquity of the house of Judah forty days: I have appointed thee each day for a year.
“9. Parables are used as comparisons to illustrate subjects, and must be explained in the same way as figures, by the subject and Bible. Mark 4:13.
KJV Mark 4:13. And he said unto them, Know ye not this parable? and how then will ye know all parables?
“10. Figures sometimes have two or more different significations, as day is used in a figurative sense to represent three different periods of time, namely, first, indefinite; Eccl. 7:14; second, definite, a day for a year; Eze. 4:6; and third, a day for a thousand years. 2 Pet. 3:8. The right construction will harmonize with the Bible, and make good sense; other constructions will not.
KJV Ecclesiastes 7:14. In the day of prosperity be joyful, but in the day of adversity consider: God also hath set the one over against the other, to the end that man should find nothing after him.
KJV Ezekiel 4:5. For I have laid upon thee the years of their iniquity, according to the number of the days, three hundred and ninety days: so shalt thou bear the iniquity of the house of Israel.
KJV 2 Peter 3:8. But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.
“11. If a word makes good sense as it stands, and does no violence to the simple laws of nature, it is to be understood literally; if not, figuratively. Rev. 12:1, 2; 17:3-7.
KJV Revelation 2:1. Unto the angel of the church of Ephesus write; These things saith he that holdeth the seven stars in his right hand, who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks; 2. I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars:
KJV Revelation 17:3. So he carried me away in the spirit into the wilderness: and I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet coloured beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns. 4. And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication: 5. And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH. 6. And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus: and when I saw her, I wondered with great admiration. 7. And the angel said unto me, Wherefore didst thou marvel? I will tell thee the mystery of the woman, and of the beast that carrieth her, which hath the seven heads and ten horns.
“12. To learn the meaning of a figure, trace the word through your Bible, and when you find it explained, substitute the explanation for the word used; and, if it make good sense, you need not look further; if not, look again.
“13. To know whether we have the true historical event for the fulfillment of a prophecy: If you find every word of the prophecy (after the figures are understood) is literally fulfilled, then you may know that your history is the true event; but if one word lacks a fulfillment, then you must look for another event, or wait its future development; for God takes care that history and prophecy shall agree, so that the true believing children of God may never be ashamed. Ps. 22:5; Isa. 45:17-19; 1 Pet. 2:6; Rev. 17:17; Acts 3:18.
KJV Psalms 22:5. They cried unto thee, and were delivered: they trusted in thee, and were not confounded.
KJV Isaiah 45:17. But Israel shall be saved in the Lord with an everlasting salvation: ye shall not be ashamed nor confounded world without end. 18. For thus saith the Lord that created the heavens; God himself that formed the earth and made it; he hath established it, he created it not in vain, he formed it to be inhabited: I am the Lord; and there is none else. 19. I have not spoken in secret, in a dark place of the earth: I said not unto the seed of Jacob, Seek ye me in vain: I the Lord speak righteousness, I declare things that are right.
KJV 1 Peter 2:6. Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded.
KJV Revelation 17:17. For God hath put in their hearts to fulfil his will, and to agree, and give their kingdom unto the beast, until the words of God shall be fulfilled.
KJV Acts 3:18. But those things, which God before had shewed by the mouth of all his prophets, that Christ should suffer, he hath so fulfilled.
“14. The most important rule of all is, that you must have faith. It must be a faith that requires a sacrifice, and, if tried, would give up the dearest object on earth, the world and all its desires–character, living, occupation, friends, home, comforts and worldly honors. If any of these should hinder our believing any part of God’s word, it would show our faith to be vain. Nor can we ever believe so long as one of these motives lies lurking in our hearts. We must believe that God will never forfeit his word; and we can have confidence that He who takes notice of the sparrow’s fall, and numbers the hairs of our head, will guard the translation of his own word, and throw a barrier around it, and prevent those who sincerely trust in God, and put implicit confidence in his word, from erring far from the truth.