Editor's Note: Pastor Roger Barrier's "Ask Roger" column regularly appears at Preach It, Teach It. Every week at Crosswalk, Dr. Barrier puts nearly 40 years of experience in the pastorate to work answering questions of doctrine or practice for laypeople, or giving advice on church leadership issues. Email him your questions at roger@preachitteachit.org.

Warren Wiersbe, the long-time pastor of the Moody Bible Church in Chicago, once preached a sermon entitled: How “To Get More Out Of Your Bible.” I transcribed it (as fast as I could) while he spoke. He was giving a simple lesson in Biblical hermeneutics (Biblical interpretation) that was designed to be helpful to Christians of any age. I took the sermon and added some touches and principles of my own and have given this Bible lessons to Christians all over the world.

We’ve all heard someone say:  "You can interpret every verse in Bible many different ways!" Not so! There is only one correct interpretation for every verse—and that is, “What did the Bible writer have in mind when he wrote what he wrote.”

Before I share the principles of interpretation, let me remind you that our attitude in approaching the Bible is critically important.

We must be Christians.

Paul wrote that an unsaved cannot understand spiritual things (1 Corinthians 2:14). The Bible was basically written for the heart. The Bible was written not just to make us smart; it was written to make us like Jesus.

We need humble hearts.

It's when we're humble that God speaks to us (James 4:6). After all, He calls us lambs--not giraffes, elephants or lions. Much of the Bible was written out of deep suffering. We dare not approach it with a proud and arrogant heart. We can't come to Bible to learn and then obey just what we want (John 7:17)!

Our Bible study must be consistent (Psalm 119:97 and Acts 17:11).

A high I.Q. is no guarantee to understanding the Bible; this is a spiritual matter.

The Holy Spirit is God's provision for comprehending God's Word.

He is our spiritual teacher. After all, He is the one who wrote the Book (John 14:26 and 2 Timothy 3:16).

We need to be on close, intimate terms with the Holy Spirit.

One of greatest problems with Christians today is that we are too busy. “It's in quietness that we find strength,” says Isaiah.

“It’s better to come apart and rest awhile before you come apart.”

The “ABC” Principles Help Us to Interpret the Bible Properly


A lady said: "I can't believe that the Bible is true because it’s impossible to carry Noah's Ark around in wilderness for forty years." She had the wrong ark!

Be careful about identifying people and places. There are ten different Simons in New Testament; four men named John; and three named James. In Acts 12 James has his head cut off. Days later Peter is miraculously released from prison. He says, “Now go tell James I'm out of prison.” Hadn’t James had his head cut off? The first James is the Apostle. The second is James the half-brother of Christ.