November 4 I Monday
“Never take Your word of truth from my mouth, for I have put my hope in Your laws. I will always obey Your law, for ever and ever.”
— Psalm 119:43-44
From words to sentences to paragraphs, the third unit of truth to interpret Scripture is the subject being dealt with at the time. For example, the parable of the Good Samaritan tells a story of a man who was on a journey from Jerusalem to Jericho. He was going along the road but some thieves robbed, stripped, beat and left him half dead. Lying on the road, a priest and a Levite came down the road but they passed to the other side, ignoring the man. Then a Samaritan, the despised race to the Jew, came by. He got off his donkey, bandaged up the wounds of this man, took him to the local inn and gave the innkeeper two silver coins saying, “Look after him…when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have” (Luke 10:35).
A preacher once interpreted this parable as follows: The man on the journey, going from Jerusalem to Jericho, is the human race. The journey began in the Garden of Eden but as we set out, thieves robbed, stripped and beat the person; this represents the Fall, where the devil attacked and destroyed man’s relationship with God. Then God sent the law, which is the Levite but that could not help the man. The priest also could not help and eventually a despised Samaritan came down the road. Why despised? Because Isaiah 53:3, that speaks of Christ, tells us, “He was despised...” In other words, Jesus was the Samaritan who bandaged the man’s wounds, put him on His donkey and took him to the inn. The inn represents the church, where the man was placed in a community of believers. Jesus left two silver coins, which signifies the Holy Spirit to enable us to have our needs met within the church. When these two coins have been spent, Jesus will return and reimburse the rest, alluding to His second coming.
While the preacher gave a good message on the fact that the human race is on a road to redemption, it was all rubbish as far as interpreting the parable. In context, the subject Jesus was teaching through the parable is, “Love your neighbour as yourself,” because a man asked, “And who is my neighbour?” (Luke 10:29). Jesus tells the parable to illustrate who our neighbour is with a purpose for us to understand that we should treat our neighbour as the Samaritan did to the man.
When we interpret Scripture, we must keep in mind the subject being discussed in the context: by doing so, we allow the text to explain itself.
Prayer: Dear Jesus, when I read the Bible may I remember to keep the subject of Your Word in mind so I do not stray from correctly interpreting Scripture. Thank You, Lord.