christain fundamentals

An approach to interpreting God’s Word

The purpose of this post is to demonstrate an approach to understanding the Bible. Not every verse will need the same effort as I lay out below so you can pick and choose the level of detail you need in order to understand what a specific verse means.

We’ll look at 1 Peter 1:7 which states:

“so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.”

Ask questions

More specific than “what is being said here”, what is the “proof of your faith?” What does “result in praise, glory, and honor” mean? And, what and when is “the revelation of Jesus Christ?”

Read the verse in context

Assuming the reader is a true believer (which is the primary qualification needed to understand the Bible (1 Corinthians 2:14)), the first task is to read the verse in context. Starting with verse 3 and abridging the text somewhat, here is the context of this verse:

3 Blessed be God who has cause us to be born again to a living hope…4 to obtain an inheritance…5 protected through faith and ready to be revealed in the last time. 6 Rejoice, even though you have been grieved by various trials, 7 so that the proof of your faith, more precious than gold, may result in praise, glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.”

Read other Bible versions

Biblehub.com offers a number of free resources and their parallel tab shows verses grouped by Modern, Classic, and Literal translations. Aside from a slightly different take on reading, the various translations are remarkably consistent.

Scanning the various versions will give you a better feel of what versions are clearer and more illuminating to you personally. parallel

Review cross-references

The Bible is internally consistent and will be supported and illuminated by other related verses.

Again, Biblehub has a free tab that offers more of a comprehensive look at all the related verses. Here’s the link for 1 Peter 1:7.

In this tab, you have various versions of the Bible, plus a “context” area, a cross-reference portion, some commentaries, and even an original language interlinear.

Looking at the cross-references, plus the Treasury of Scriptural Knowledge, you’ll see that Psalm 66:10 states “For you, O God, have tested us; You have refined us like silver.” Also, look at Matthew 25:21 “His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful slave. You were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things, enter into the joy of your master.'” These are two good insights into what this verse is stating.

cross reference

Review the original language

Using the same link and scrolling down or clicking the “greek” tab you’ll be brought to an interlinear of the original Greek language. Notice that “proof” is “authenticity” and is defined as a “test or trial of what is genuine.”

lexicon

Review Commentaries

It helps to read a few commentaries after doing the background research above. Again, this is available using the same link here and scrolling down or clicking on the “comment” tab.

commentary

Conclusion

The term “at the revelation of Jesus Christ” refers to the coming of Christ for those “in Christ” at the rapture and is immediately followed by the Bema Judgment where He will judge and reward believers for the “quality” of their works (1 Corinthians 3:9-15).

Understanding this requires recognizing the sequence of end-time events, some of which are overlapping, as follows: the Second Coming, the Rapture, the Bema Judgment and Marriage Feast of the Lamb, the Tribulation, Armageddon, the Millenium, the Judgment of the Unjust or the Sheep and the Goats, and creation of the New Heavens, New Earth, and Lake of Fire.

So what is this verse saying? Succinctly, “your faith, which is authenticated by trials, will result in praise (‘well done good and faithful servant’) at the Bema Judgment and revelation of Jesus Christ.”

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"It wasn't a potential atonement actuated by the sinner, it was an actual atonement initiated by the savior."

John MacArthur

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