In his book Christian Scripture, David S. Dockery in a chapter on the use and interpretation of Christian Scripture, provides the following helpful list of helpful guidelines for biblical interpretation.
David S. Dockery, Christian Scripture: An Evangelical Perspective in Inspiration, Authority, and Interpretation (Nashville: Broadman and Holman, 1995), 160-161.
A Model of Contemporary Biblical Interpretation
- Approach the text with right presuppositions which we have previously identified as biblical faith, accepting the Bible as fully truthful and authoritative.
- Recognize that the historical and literal meaning of the Bible is the primary meaning, but not the limit of meaning.
- Acknowledge the possibility of deeper meanings in the prophetic-apostolic witness.
- Affirm the human authorship of the text, as well as its divine origin.
- See the biblical text, rather than the author’s mind, as the place where meaning is concentrated.
- Understand that a text rests in it canonical context, thus Scripture serves as the best commentary on Scripture.
- Expect the enabling help in illumination from the Holy Spirit to assist in interpretation.
- Expect the Bible to speak to the reader’s contemporary concerns.
- Interpret the Bible in light of the centrality of Jesus Christ and for the good of the church.
Thus we read the Bible both christologically and ecclesiologically.