How do you know you’ve understood the Bible correctly?


Hi there,

I have a question about the different ways people read the Word of God. Overall each one has something right, but I would mainly like to know of a way of reading the Bible and taking it to heart. How is this specific method obtained through the Scripture?

A fellow worker and I had a few good talks about God's word and I got worried for his sake and somewhat for myself. Most points that I believe, he believes, and we agree that we are saved by grace through faith by the blood of Jesus. But this guy has some serious scripture memory and is a priest at his church. I'm just a guy who reads my Bible, prays before reading after reading, and I'm not committed to a certain method of worship or church. I've noticed that most communities think their way is the right way and look down on the people who are not in that community!

Back to my question: A few things that worry me are that this guy tells me that Jesus is not coming again and that there will be no Armageddon. I did point out when Jesus spoke to the disciples before He left earth and left us with the Holy Spirit, and the signs of the end of days, but he tells me that the disasters are in a person's spirit. All the things are pointing to the person without the word of God in him -- hunger, drought, etc. Armageddon is the day you give your heart to Jesus and are reborn. I agree that Jesus gives us the water that quenches forever and He is the bread of life. This fellow worker says the way I should read the Bible is to look at everything in a spiritual way. I do, but only when it is applicable, so I'm worried that maybe I missed something. I'm worried for his sake because I am no match for his spiritual knowledge, and he is trying to get me to see and do things the way his church does!

I don't get it.


Let's start with a basic truth: "But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one's own interpretation, for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God" (II Peter 1:20-21). When your friend claims that everything in the Bible is figurative he opens the door wide for personal assignment of meaning to any and every verse. He does this to remove any objection from his claims because proving the truth becomes impossible.

Imagine writing a letter to a friend where the friend is allowed to personally interpret everything you wrote as figurative language. It would be impossible to communicate with your friend.

The science of understanding what someone communicated is called hermeneutics.

There are times when figurative language is being used, but there are indicators, so we are not left guessing. Nor does the use of figurative language mean that any interpretation can be used. There is only one that is meant by the author and it can be determined.

In regards to whether there will be a second coming: "And inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment, so Christ also, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time for salvation without reference to sin, to those who eagerly await Him" (Hebrews 9:28-29). But in regards to signs of that time, Jesus repeatedly stated that there will be no advance warning. See:

I suspect both of you missed the meaning of Armageddon. See The Battle of Armageddon.

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