Basic Bible Interpretation has ratings and 24 reviews. Bob said: I will do a full review on my blog, but for now I can say this book is essential for. Develop the skills you need to get the most out of your Bible study! pages, hardcover from Victor. Basic Bible Interpretation () by Roy B. BASIC BIBLE INTERPRETATION Can the Bible really be understood? Dr. Roy Zuck points out that it is essential for understanding and teaching the Bible.

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Skip to main content. Log In Sign Up. Basic Bible Interpretation by Roy B. His focus is proper interpretation because only that results in proper application p. Application, then, is the goal. But incorrect interpretation can lead to misguided application, which has intsrpretation potential to set off course both individual and corporate ministry.

These obstacles must be addressed if proper interpretation, leading to proper application, is to occur.

If application is the goal and correct application comes through correct interpretation, a look at the history of interpretive methods is hy. He follows the trajectory of interpretive methods from the early church when the literal method dominated and then waned as the allegorical method became favored in Roman Catholicism, and waxed again with the Reformation and Post-Reformation. With the Enlightenment came the eventual application of scientific method to all areas of life and doubt about the supernatural works of the God in the Bible, giving way towards rationalistic and subjective methods.


Zuck frames his discovery upon the two essential observations the Christian would make about the Bible: From this, Zuck concludes that a balance between the two extremes is needed. Being a human book, one cannot ignore the elements of human authorship found in the Bible, including rules of grammar, figures of speech, interpretatiln, logic, human authorial intent, and the like.

Zuck makes the case that the spheres of activity present in any culture influenced what the author wrote and are therefore important for the reader to be aware of. He presents these influences in 11 categories: He then investigates whether the applicability of certain teachings in the Bible are limited by ancient cultural influences or are hy relevant to later readers they are, in limited fashion.

Understanding the cultural influence can help the interpreter discern how best to approach the Scriptures for instruction. Human authorship necessarily indicates the use of human language, which, though consistently used in written form for communication in all epochs of history, differs significantly across different people groups and times. There is a gap, then, in written communication that must be carefully taken into account by the interpreter if he hopes to arrive at a valid application.


He breaks down grammatical interpretation into four areas of focus: He also takes care to amplify the importance of context, and outlines how context should be considered in expanding scope, from the immediate placement of the passage to its relevance in the whole body of Scripture.

Throughout this chapter, Zuck gives his readers procedures, examples, and exercises for applying grammatical interpretive principles in their own studies.

If the Bible student is to derive the correct meaning and application, he must be aware of the genres used by biblical authors, the structure in which a body of text is arranged, and the various figures of speech employed to add color to the text p.

He then provides an overview of structural analysis in interpretation, honing in on the various types of patterns found throughout Ryo and the importance they bring to a full understanding of the text. Zuck also provides a few thoughts as to why figures of speech are used and reconciles how the literal interpretive approach to Bible reading can still accommodate the presence of these non-literal elements.

He closes the chapter by basif the reader through the correct interpretive approach to figures of speech. Differing slightly from figures of speech are the types and symbols that appear in the Bible. Whereas the former are deliberate constructions of the human author for enhancing the ideas he has been given to express, the latter are constructions built into the historical narrative on a larger scale by the Divine Author.

If the reader is not careful, however, he may find types interpretatikn there are not intended to be types bbile the risk of reading into Scripture a meaning that is not there. If just one of these is missing, the interpreter may be overstepping his bounds in identifying a type. Zuck also provides a brief summary of properly interpreting types.

Basic Bible Interpretation

Also in Chapter Eight, Zuck covers guidelines for finding and interpreting symbols in the Bible. He then provides guidelines for interpreting the parables that are grounded in the grammatical-historical bg.

He also describes the differences between actual allegories and the errant approach of allegorizing a Scripture passage. With this and the provided interpretive guidelines, Zuck builds a protective fence around this particular literary tool, keeping the reader from reading too much into a given passage and squeezing out hidden meanings. Readers of any text are prone to interpretztion their own presuppositions to influence their interpretations. Such is it with eschatology and the interpretation of prophecy.

Zuck himself falls clearly into the premillennial dispensational camp and addresses some of the arguments for opposing viewpoints.

He obviously considers this set up critical to the rest of the chapter as he devotes more space to it than to the actual methods of interpreting prophecy.

If the reader was left wanting after Chapter 8 for more guidance on how to approach the interpreration symbols in Scripture, though, he will find more satisfaction here. As he is persistent to do throughout the book, Zuck reminds the reader of the importance of the grammatical-historical method in approaching the dizzying world of biblical prophetic literature.


The relationship between the Old and New Testaments has been a source of interpretive difficulty since the Church was born.

The rampant allegorizing of the Old Testament, for example, resulted from early Church fathers not knowing what to do with the those writings in light of the dispensation of grace. First, he shows how tightly the two testaments are intertwined, evidenced by how many of the New Testament books cite Old Testament passages and how much raw content from the Old is reflected in the New. Second, he indirectly makes a defense of biblical inerrancy by addressing those cases where Old Testament citations are not reflected in the New Testament with perfect, textual fidelity.

He next looks at whether the Old Testament writers actually knew what they were writing about, given certain passages were appropriated for different bg by New Testament authors, and whether those cited passages necessarily have more than one meaning.

Lastly, Zuck provides a list of steps the student can use to interpret and apply New Testament quotations of the Old Testament. Zuck rightly acknowledges the healthy balance between interpretation and application, cautioning against leaning too far towards one and away from the other.

While Zuck does set forth guidelines to interpret and apply these easily mishandled passages, more space could have been invested in walking the reader through examples of right and wrong handling. Zuck should have also acknowledged the wide range of attitudes regarding the presence of allegory in Scripture. There are respected pastor-teachers— even in literal interpretive camps—who definitively state there are no allegories in the Bible.

Zuck is helpful in bbible his list of well-acknowledged allegories p.

Basic Bible Interpretation is a solid and balanced resource for those studying Scripture for personal development, small group teaching, or expository preaching. The grammatical-historical approach is woven into just about every chapter, highlighting the holistic value of that system. In his presentation of interpretive guidelines and methods, Zuck is faithful to honoring both human gy divine authorship, discounting neither.

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