I.B. Grubbs’ Six Rules of Biblical Hermeneutics

I.B. Grubbs, rejecting legalism

When it comes to studying the Bible, it is common for people to come away with their own understanding of the word of God. Many see nothing wrong with this, despite the varied and sometimes conflicting interpretations people have of the Scriptures. However, when Paul wrote to the brethren in Ephesus, he said, “By referring to this, when you read you can understand my insight into the mystery of Christ” (Ephesians 3:4). He did not expect each of them to have their interpretation of the epistle he wrote by inspiration. Instead, he expected them to have the same understanding as he did. The only way this could happen is for each one to follow a common set of principles as they try to determine the meaning of a particular passage under consideration.

Isaiah Boone Grubbs (1833-1912) was a preacher and also a professor at the College of the Bible in Lexington, KY at the end of the nineteenth century and into the early part of the twentieth century. In the introduction to his material on the epistles of First and Second Corinthians and Galatians,* he outlined six hermeneutical rules that would allow students of the Bible to properly interpret the text. (Hermeneutics simply means “the study of the methodological principles of interpretation (as of the Bible).”**) These principles are not unique to Bible study; rather, they are the same principles that can be used to correctly identify the meaning behind any body of instruction or teaching.

So let us briefly consider these six rules for Biblical hermeneutics.Continue Reading

The Entitlement Mentality

Minimum Wage

Our society has developed what is often called an “entitlement mentality” – particularly among the young, but it is still widespread through all ages. Those with this attitude believe that because they exist, they are entitled to certain things (standard of living, happiness, interpretation of truth, etc.).

The Israelites adopted this mindset while they were in Egypt. Despite their sufferings, they became accustomed to what they enjoyed there. While they were enslaved, they “cried out” to God “for help because of their bondage” (Exodus 2:23). After a series of plagues, God delivered them from bondage (Exodus 13:3). However, even with their newly acquired freedom, they complained about what they lacked:
Continue Reading

Conservative vs. Liberal

Conservative vs. Liberal

These two terms are used a lot in discussions about religion and politics. For this study, we want to focus on the use of these terms in the area of religion, particularly as they relate to our approach to God’s word. Should we have a conservative or a liberal approach to the Scriptures? Does it matter? While the Bible does not use these terms, it does address the concepts. One of them describes the mindset we must have when studying and seeking to apply the word of God.

First, we must be clear about these terms. What do we mean by conservative and liberal? One who is conservative favors traditional views and values and tends to oppose change. As it relates to Bible study, this means a strict adherence to the word of God and opposing changes to the gospel. One who is liberal does not view themselves as being limited to established or traditional attitudes or views. Regarding Bible interpretation, a liberal approach favors a loose or approximate view of the Scriptures rather than a strict, literal interpretation. Basically, one with a liberal approach to the Bible believes there are a number of ways in which one may acceptably interpret God’s word, while a conservative approach seeks to find the one way that God intended us to receive His word.
Continue Reading