Monday, June 7, 2010

Martin Lloyd-Jones on Interpreting Scripture

The written sermons of Dr. Jones have continually blessed me over the last several years, and I have been particularly delighted with his sermon series on 1 John. They have been an indispensable aid as I preach my way through this important biblical text.  On his exposition on 1 John 4:12, in a momentary distraction from the text, he gives us a window into the way he approached God's Word:
I feel that oftentimes we fail to expound correctly and we misinterpret Scripture because we do not talk to it and ask it questions. It is a very good and rewarding thing to do with Scripture. Let me put it as simply as this: You get a verse like this, and you say to it, 'Well, why do you say that? Why do you say it in this way, and why do you say it just here?' In other words, no statement in Scripture is made in a haphazard manner, and we must never allow ourselves just to pass over a statement which seems to us to be suddenly interpolated without any connection or sense or meaning. That is never true in Scripture; if we can but arrive at its meaning, there is always some reason for what is being said, there is some link, there was some process in the mind of the writer, under the influence of the Holy Spirit, that led him at that particular point to say that particular thing. So I am suggesting that the way to arrive at that is to ask these questions--to put up possibilities and to consider them and to reject them one by one until you are left with an explanation which seems to you to be satisfactory, or the most satisfactory in the given situation.

Life in Christ: Studies in 1 John (Crossway, 2002 reprint), p 451-452.

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