Interpretation is understanding the meaning of another person's thoughts as they know them. When it comes to biblical interpretation, the "other person" we seek to understand is the inspired author. Where as observation is turning our insights into questions, interpretation is answering those questions. Below is a list of ways we can turn those insights into questions.
1. CIE – Context is Everything
• Read notes at bottom of page in a good Study Bible
• Read a book on OT or NT Culture (Craig Keener, IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament)
• Read Introductory notes on the biblical Book in a good study Bible
• Refer to the maps in a Study Bible for Geographic context.
• Read the book-as-a-whole. Then, address, “How is the ENTIRE story held together “logically”?
• Gordon Fee, How to Read the Bible: Book by Book
• Check out TheBibleProject.com for videos and material on the content of the Bible.
2. Words have meanings
• Hebrew, Aramaic, Greek words can be found BlueLetterBible.com or BibleStudyTools.com or StudyLight.org
• A Bible Concordance (keyed to various translations).
3. Read with the “Community of Faith”
• Commentaries are the best starting point
• Free are OK. BlueLetterBible.org or BibleStudyTools.com
• Why not move on with a something like this:
• Craig Keener, IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament or John Walton, IVP Bible Background Commentary: Old Testament • Tom Wright: Matthew For Everyone (Every NT Book)
• Tyndale New Testament Commentary Series (Every NT Book)
4. Is this your “Final Answer?”
• Put together the answer to your Text-Driven question.
• How has all your “heavy lifting” in Observation and Interpretation provided insight into the truth laid out in the Bible?