When studying scripture, it is important to follow guidelines which retain the spirit of the text. Following are several rules of interpretation to aid in Biblical study.
- Discover the Author, the People Addressed and the Life and Times of the People involved in a give case.
- Discover the Facts and Truths presented in a given passage and note the exact wording of the text.
- The Golden Rule of Interpretation: When the plain sense of scripture makes common sense, seek no other sense. Take every word at its primary, ordinary, usual, literal meaning unless the facts of the immediate context, studied in the light of related passages, indicate clearly otherwise.
- The Law of First Mention: Examine where a doctrine is mentioned for the first time, and study the first occurrence in order to get the fundamental inherent meaning of that doctrine.
- The Law of Double Reference: Associates similar or related ideas which are usually separated from one another by long periods of time, and which are blended into a single picture. This law is based upon one of the fundamental laws of psychology; The principle of the association of similar or related ideas. Since similarities often suggest comparisons, prophets regularly depicted that which was a rule in the immediate future or present. Often, prophets would speak in present tense, and begin describing future events as though they were in the present.
- The Law of Recurrence: The recording of an event and the repetition of the account which gives added details. Various authors of the same account, for example, can collectively provide a clearer context and understanding than simply reading one account alone.