If you spend much time around Bible scholars, it won’t be long until you hear, “let Scripture interpret Scripture.” Though I’d heard it many times myself, I spent a long time wondering what it meant until a college professor explained it in terms that I understood.
Recently, pastor Mark Driscoll wrote a great explanation on the Resurgence blog about what exactly that admonition means:
The Bible is a collection of divinely inspired writings written by a number of authors, living in different geographical areas in some cases, and written over a long span of history, yet it retains an amazing unity. Because the many voices of Scripture make up God’s unified revelation, we want to let Scripture interpret Scripture. This involves examining what the Bible has to say on a topic as a whole rather than just picking stray verses here and there and coming to a conclusion.
Scripture often interprets itself. For example in John 1:1, we read, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” If we keep reading, the rest of the passage helps us interpret this verse as we read, “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us . . .” (John 1:14), showing us that the Word is Christ.
Another example is the parable of the sower in Luke 8. After Jesus shares the parable, we read, “And when his disciples asked him what this parable meant, he [Jesus] said . . .” (Luke 8:9). In the verses that follow (Luke 8:10–14), Scripture interprets itself by telling us what Jesus meant.
The Faithlife Study Bible links Scripture passages that address the same topic, so you can make connections with just a click. Download the Faithlife Study Bible for free from your favorite app store, and start letting Scripture interpret Scripture now.