Hermeneutics: A Quick Biblical Test

QUESTION: What is the best way to (a) understand Scripture, (b) determine Biblical truth, and (c) settle doctrinal controversies/disputes? Is it to:

1. Rely primarily on the confessions, catechisms, and statements of faith drafted by men (especially, men ‘more faithful and learned‘ than you)? -or-

2. Rely primarily upon what ‘feels right,‘ what ‘personally resonates with you,‘ what ‘makes you feel good,‘ and/or upon what “the Spirit taught you directly?” -or-

3. Rely primarily upon inspiring memes and other social media posts (as shared by those who are purportedly ‘more reliant upon the Spirit’ than you, and/or ‘more reliant upon Christ’s righteousness imputed‘ than you)? -or-

4. Rely primarily upon the Spirit of God, as you prayerfully and diligently search the Scriptures (comparing scripture with scripture), to see whether the doctrines put forth are really so?


Acts 17:10-11 “And the brethren immediately sent away Paul and Silas by night unto Berea: who coming [thither] went into the synagogue of the Jews. 11 These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and SEARCHED THE SCRIPTURES DAILY, WHETHER THOSE THINGS WERE SO.

1 Thessalonians 5:19-22 “Quench not the Spirit. 20 Despise not prophesyings. 21 PROVE ALL THINGS; hold fast that which is good. 22 Abstain from all appearance [or forms] of evil.”

[Note: In the first quoted passage, Paul said the Bereans were more noble than the Thessalonians. Why? Because the Bereans did this on their own, i.e., they PROVED ALL THINGS BY SEARCHING THE SCRIPTURES DAILY, whereas the Thessalonians needed to be reminded/exhorted unto such.]

Isaiah 8:20 “To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, [it is] because [there is] no light in them.”

1 Corinthians 2:11-14 “For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. 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.”

[Note: The “…comparing spiritual things with spiritual…” refers to God’s word seeing that the Lord declared to us in John 6:63 “It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, [they] are spirit, and [they] are life” -and- John 14:26 “But the Comforter, [which is] the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, He shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you” -and- “John 16:13 “Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, He will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, [that] shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.”]

2 Peter 1:19-21 – 2:1-3 “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. 2:1 But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. 2 And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of. 3 And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not.”


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