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Basic Bible Interpretation: Foreword

Author's Bias: Unknown

The scholarly and devout B. B. Warfield once said, "The Bible is the Word of God in such a way that when the Bible speaks, God speaks."

Christians in every century have held the Bible in high esteem and have accepted it as the Word of God written. But few have made the rash claim that it is easy to understand. Yet, since the Bible was given to reveal truth and not obscure it, God surely intends that we understand it. Further, understanding the Bible is vital because our doctrines of God, of man, of salvation, and of future things rest on a correct interpretation of the Scriptures.

It sometimes seems almost anything can be proved by the Bible, for there is scarcely a religion, sect, or cult in Christendom that does not use Scripture texts to "prove" its doctrine. In that respect the Bible may well be the most abused book in the world. The solution to this problem is not to be found alone in a correct view of inspiration, important as that is. Origen (A. D. 185-254), for example, held a high view of the inspiration of Scripture and yet was guilty of mishandling the Bible by minimizing its literal meaning and treating it as a "one vast allegory" with many hidden meanings. The solution to this problem of widely differing interpretations is to employ the correct method of biblical interpretation. We believe that to be the literal method which approaches the Scripture in the normal, customary way in which we talk, write, and think. It means taking the Scripture at face value in an attempt to know what God meant by what He said. And this is the method well defended and expounded in this book.

Along with a sound doctrine of inspiration, and a commitment to literal interpretation, Bible scholars have found it is important to have certain criteria of interpretation. Are there not principles to help the serious student of the Bible understand and apply Scripture, principles based on the Bible itself? What helps can be found for interpreting special features such as figures of speech, types, parables, and prophetic literature?

Dr. Zuck has accomplished the difficult task of providing us with a text that covers the entire field of hermeneutics. As a teacher and continuing student of this field, Dr. Zuck is acquainted with the literature bearing on his subject. The work he has produced is up to date; it deals with various current issues in hermeneutics.

Dr. Zuck has provided special help in the long neglected area of the application of Scripture. To minister to peoples’ spiritual needs, the Bible must not only be rightly interpreted; it must also be properly applied. Important and much needed guidance is also provided in the important matter of interpreting prophecy. Too often other works on hermeneutics give an "uncertain sound" in this area, leaving readers confused about how to approach prophetic Scripture.

All in all, Dr. Zuck has produced a text that is thorough, biblical, readable, and enlightening. May it prove of great help to all students who love God’s Word and seek to interpret and apply it correctly.

Donald K. Campbell, President, Dallas Theological Seminary

"Basic Bible Interpretation lives up to its title. It deals with the basics and doesn’t confuse the reader with extraneous material. It focuses on the Bible as the Word of God and handles that Word with "reverence and godly fear." It tells us how to interpret this marvelous Book, and even gives the reader opportunity to put the principles into practice. In every way, this book is a practical tool for the serious student who wants to study the Bible and apply its truths." Warren W. Wiersbe, Author, Conference Speaker

"Having taught and written in the area of hermeneutics for almost thirty years, I am convinced that there is no more important course in the seminary curriculum for training in the Scriptures. As Roy Zuck has so ably demonstrated, we cannot know the message of the Bible for today until we know its meaning. Dr. Zuck’s work is intensely biblical and comprehensive but at the same time is simple and uncomplicated. This is a book we have needed for many years and I praise the Lord that it is now available." Earl D. Radmacher, Chancellor, Professor of Systematic Theology, Western Seminary

"At last! A book on hermeneutics you can understand. Dr. Zuck has drawn heavily on his many years of teaching in the seminary classroom to present an excellent treatise on biblical interpretation. While this book will be well received in the classroom, it is one that I will be wholeheartedly recommending to my congregation. While the scholarship is clearly present, it is nevertheless most readable and understandable by the average layperson. This book will make a valuable contribution to your ability to comprehend the Scriptures." Louis A. Barbieri, Senior Pastor, Des Plaines Bible Church, Des Plaines, Illinois

©1991 Cook Communications Ministries. Basic Bible Interpretation by Roy Zuck. Used with permission. May not be further reproduced. All rights reserved. (www.cookministries.com)


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