HOW TO INTERPRET SYMBOLS
A Book Like No Other Book!
Before we can learn how to Interpret we must learn how to study for interpretation.
- The first step is as always, is to pray for the Holy Spirit’s influence. James 1:5-6; John 16:13
- The Next step is Studying,
- And finally, Interpreting. 1 Corinthians 2:13-14
The Bible was written in a multi-faceted way so that the casual reader could understand it as well as the scholar. The Bible was meant to capture our attention for a lifetime of study. After we read it on the “Story Level” or Verbatim, (the plain reading of the scriptures) there is more under the surface that cannot be understood without deeper study.
Deep Bible study was not only meant for the scholars and theologians, it was meant for the common man like you and I. 2 Timothy 2:15
The Bible was meant to be studied as we would if we were mining for the treasures that it contains, it will provide a lifetime of constant study. When we get to the end of our reading, careful study will reveal more at a deeper level. Deeper and deeper into the mine shaft of the Bible we need to go to find what God wants to reveal to us.
The simple reading of the Bible is a good thing in order to get an overview of what the Bible is saying and to get a general Idea of what God is saying to us. We should do this by repetition in the reading of the Bible, but God doesn’t want us to stop there. God wants us to “Study” the Bible.
Reading the Bible is not Studying the Bible.
The Wisdom of the Bible
A book of this nature is proof of its author. No man can make a book that contains so much wisdom. Doubters and scoffers will reject the Bible and its content because they simply “don’t know, what they don’t know”. They have never studied the bible to know of the wisdom and knowledge that it contains. God in His wisdom has left enough room for doubt so that we may believe by faith in Him. But when the Bible is studied with devotion, the author is revealed and doubt will fade away and faith will grow.
The Bible was also meant to be studied in whole and in part (Isaiah 28:9-13). Meaning that in order to find deeper meaning in the Bible we must read the whole thing and then recall the parts. In order to understand a particular topic or subject, we need to read the whole Bible in order to have a comprehensive knowledge of it and then bring all the parts of the Bible together that explain that topic and let the Bible explain itself.
Golden Rule of Symbolism:
Rule: Let the Bible Explain Itself. Do not try to explain any part of the Bible with the wisdom of man, you will find that God has already explained it in other parts of the Bible.
See Westminster Confession of Faith, Chapter 1 article IX and X
Bring all the Texts Together on that same Subject and Look for the Meaning
- Concordance, or
- Computer Bible, which is a concordance when used in the search mode.
- Topical Index, and cross-reference.
9 Whom shall he teach knowledge? And whom shall he make to understand doctrine? Them that are weaned from the milk, And drawn from the breasts. 10 For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; Line upon line, line upon line; Here a little, and there a little: 11 For with stammering lips and another tongue Will he speak to this people. 12 To whom he said, This is the rest wherewith ye may cause the weary to rest; And this is the refreshing: yet they would not hear. 13 But the word of the Lord was unto them Precept upon precept, precept upon precept; Line upon line, line upon line; Here a little, and there a little; That they might go, and fall backward, and be broken, And snared, and taken.
And an highway shall be there, and a way, And it shall be called The way of holiness; The unclean shall not pass over it; but it shall be for those: The wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err therein.
Using A Concordance:
You use a Concordance much like a Dictionary. The Words in a concordance are placed in alphabetic order and the concordance contains every word in the Bible and gives the location or the Bible reference text where each word is found. When you want to study a topic or subject you simply look up the word that describes your subject (such as “Angels”) in your concordance and then proceed to read the Bible texts the concordance has listed for you.
Rule: Symbols sometimes have more than one definition. Symbols that have more than one definition must be applied as it logical makes sense in the context of the text
See the Illustrations Below: (Click on Image to enlarge)
Study the Illustration above to understand how to Select content out of the concordance. The method is the same, the tool is different.
This is a method to study “Line upon line, line upon line; Here a little, and there a little”.
- Notice how much information you can get out of the listing in the concordance?
- Always remember to read the content in the context of the surrounding scriptures to come to a conclusion. Many mistakes have been made by coming to a conclusion from a single text or a text out of context. Most of the errors in doctrine (teachings) have come by taking Bible texts out of context.
If you are interested in Using a computer to Search the Bible but don’t have a Bible on the computer you can go to WORDsearchBible and get everything you need for FREE, You do not need a powerful computer for this program:
What do you get for Free?
- KJV Bible and other free domain Bible translations. (You can also pay a little for others that are not free domain)
- Search tool
- Strong’s Concordance (Talking)
- Inline Word Processor – for storing study data with hover text lookup.
- many other books and tools all for free.
This is the Computer Bible I used for years (paid version) until I found Logos, but Logos is not free, so that’s why I am not promoting it here. Although they do have a limited free version here: Free Logos Bible Software. Which may be a better alternative if you are willing to pay a few dollars for a bible or Bibles and a concordance. If you can afford, it Logos is the best software out there in my opinion. It is expensive, but it is worth every penny you will pay if you really want to study the Bible.
The Free version of WORDsearch is really all you need. They give so much away for free that it is amazing. But if you find it useful and want to support them the price is really reasonable depending on what you buy. Remember you do not need a big library, you are studying God’s Word, not man’s, the other books contain man’s word about what they think what God’s Word says. You are finding out for yourself what God’s Word says.
Other Free Bible Software:
There are other programs out there, but most of them are really just for reading, or they are more difficult to use.
You can also use your smartphone or tablet, but it is not very easy to use that way for saving the results. A desktop computer or Laptop is by far the better way to go.
When all the Texts are gathered together with a concordance or a computer search, then you can scan through the texts and find instances where the Bible defines the word you are studying, like in Revelation 17:5 where Water(s) is defined as “People, or Multitudes, and Nations and Tongues”. This is where a computer is a better and faster tool. Your search may consist of multiple words like “water” OR “waters”
NEXT: Methods to find Symbolic Definitions OR: Bible Software
Head = Mind
Feet = Actions, Doing.
Arm = God’s Power, Strength.
Heart = Mind, Feelings of Emotion.