February 7, 2024

Interpreting The Bible 8: Basic Principles for Interpreting Scripture Part 2

Preacher: Brian Henson Series: Interpreting The Bible Topic: Hermeneutics

Lesson Handout

1. Be Aware of The Genre You Are Reading

Genre has to do with the style or form of the biblical content. For example, Revelation does not read like Judges, and Song of Solomon does not read like Romans. A lot of interpretive mistakes are made in not being aware of the genre we are reading.

There are always clues in the text that tell you what kind of genre you’re dealing with. For example, if it reads like history, then it’s historical narrative. If it has a poetic form with lots of parallel ideas then it’s poetry.




Historical Narrative

Genesis, Mark


Isaiah; Malachi


Joel; Amos (also prophecy)

Proverbs/Wisdom Literature

Proverbs, Job

Psalms and Songs

Exodus 15:1–18; Psalms


1 Corinthians, 2 Peter


Daniel, Revelation[1]


  1. Be Aware of Original Context & Authorial Intent

To rightly interpret Scripture we have to ask these basic questions:

  • * Who was this originally written to? (original context)
  • * When was this written? (original context)
  • * Who wrote it? (authorial intent)
  • * Why did he write it? (authorial intent)

The David Jeremiah method:

  • * What the text says (original context)
  • * What the text means (original context + authorial intent)
  • * What the text means for me (original context + authorial intent + personal application)


  1. Read Scripture In Context

In order to rightly interpret Scripture then each portion of Scripture (a single sentence or verse, a paragraph, chapter, etc.) has to be read in the larger context in which it sits.

Examples of verses taken out of context:

  • * Psalm 33:12 _________________________________________________________


  • * Philippians 4:13 _________________________________________________________


  • * Jeremiah 29:11 _________________________________________________________


  • * Revelation 3:20 _________________________________________________________






[1] Robert L. Plummer, 40 Questions about Interpreting the Bible, ed. Benjamin L. Merkle, 40 Questions Series (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Academic & Professional, 2010), 187.

other sermons in this series