Baruch Korman, Ph.D.
Used with Permission 2016
There are two important words when the subject of Biblical interpretation is raised. These two words are exegesis and hermeneutics. Exegesis is an analysis of a Biblical passage utilizing defined methods for the purpose of ascertaining the meaning of the Biblical text. One who exegetes a passage of Scripture desires to bring out the nuances contained in the given text in order to learn the intent of the passage. There is a conscious effort not to allow one’s personal beliefs, experiences, or culture to influence one’s interpretation. Hermeneutics can be defined as the science of Biblical interpretation. Hermeneutics focuses on the methodology and principles of Biblical interpretation. Obviously there is a strong connection between exegesis and hermeneutics. The purpose of this article is to succinctly outline the methods and principles for interpreting a Biblical text.
Let’s begin with a common error that many individuals who teach the Bible make. One of the primary responsibilities that pastors have is to bring a weekly sermon. Often times they begin their preparation with a question. “What do I want to teach this week?” Frequently, the basis for this question is what they believe their congregation needs to hear. If the pastor believes, for example, the people need to hear a message on repentance, then he seeks a passage of Scripture that he assumes deals with repentance. What commonly takes place is that the teacher comes up with three points related to his views and understanding of repentance and then seeks three passages that he believes support these points. The error is that he has pre-determined what the passages that he chooses reveal. This is not exegesis (bringing the meaning out of the text), but “eisegesis”, which is placing one’s views, understandings, and personal experiences into the text.
The following is a step-by-step methodology which can be applied to any passage of Scripture which will assist the student of the Bible in arriving at the intrinsic meaning of the text. This methodology offers different approaches to the various steps, based upon one’s theological education.
Step One: Arrive at the Biblical Text.
This may seem too elementary to some, but this step holds great significance. Sometimes, the passage is assigned to the teacher. In those cases, a preliminary step has been completed. What I cannot over emphasize is how vital this step is if the teaching is going to be anointed and blessed by the Holy Spirit. I frequently teach through books of the Bible. It is so important for me to seek the L-rd’s direction in selecting the book upon which the next series of messages will be based. How does one seek the L-rd’s direction in selecting a Biblical passage? The answer is prayer. When the teacher has discretion to choose the text from which he will be speaking, prayer is vital. I can attest that frequently I spend more time in prayer in order to arrive at the passage, than I do in the actual preparation of the passage.
When the teacher is confident that he has heard from G-d and has selected the general passage, he must then examine the text for the parameters of the passage. For example, let’s say that the teacher feels led to share from Romans chapter 6. How much of Romans chapter 6 will he teach? The whole chapter or only a portion of it? Usually there is a recognized amount of time given to the speaker. The parameters can be greatly influenced by the time allotted for the teaching. How the speaker is led concerning the passage can also affect the parameters. In other words, a larger portion of Scripture may be selected depending on how the Holy Spirit leads the teacher in utilizing the text. It is incumbent upon the teacher to make sure that the passage he has selected has a clear beginning and ending, based upon the content of the text and how he is utilizing the text in question.
When the passage has be prayerfully selected or arrived at by external factors (chosen by others) the teacher is now ready to move to the next step.
Step Two: Engage with the Text.
If one has the ability to read the text from the original language, he should do so at this time. If not, one should read the text from a literal translation, such as the King James Version, New American Standard, or Young’s Literal Translation. Stay away from those translations which are closer to paraphrases, such as the New International Version. It is desirable to read the passage in numerous translations if one is not competent in the Biblical languages.
When I say that the teacher should engage with the text, I mean that he should read the passage prayerfully, several times. This involves praying for five or so minutes, asking G-d to reveal His truth from the text. When reading the text, have a pad of paper to jot down thoughts which come to mind. This process must be repeated over and over. If the teacher does not spend at least an hour praying and reading the text, then he has not properly engaged the text! I have found those notes written down while reading the text to be an invaluable part of the preparation.
Step Three: Understand the Larger Context.
The teacher must know the general message and content for the book from which his passage is taken. A Biblical Dictionary offers a good summary of every book in the Bible. Every teacher should have one in his library. Today, such information is readily available on the internet. When the teacher understands the general message of the book from which his passage is selected, and the content for the chapter preceding and following his text, he should ask, “How is my passage related to the book and how does it function within the greater portion of Scripture?” For example, if I had selected Romans 6:1-13 as my Biblical text, then I would want to have a good understanding of Romans chapter 5, the rest of chapter 6 and chapter 7. One should never teach a Biblical passage in a vacuum. The larger section from which one’s passage is taken can offer valuable insights in interpreting one’s text.
Step Four: Discern the Significant Words and their Grammatical Constructions.
When one is reading and rereading the Biblical text, a conscious effort should be made to discover what the key words in the text are. A list of key words should be made. Each of these key words needs to be researched. An invaluable tool is a concordance. This will allow one to see how the word in question is used in other Biblical passages. If the teacher is not utilizing the original language, then he must be sure that this word is the same word in other passages. Frequently, different English words are used to translate a Greek or Hebrew (or Aramaic) word. The Strong Concordance utilizes a number system so one can be assured that he is researching the same Biblical word throughout the Scripture.
When it comes down to it, the Scriptures are words; therefore it is of the utmost importance for one to understand the meaning of the words in a given text. Perhaps an example at this time will provide assistance in demonstrating this. A passage with great theological significance is John 6:44:
“No one is able to come to Me except the Father, the One Who sent Me, should draw him. And I will raise him up on the last day.”
Theologians have argued the significance of the phrase, “should draw him”. Some have demanded that the proper understanding of this phrase is that this drawing is irresistible. This means, if Yeshua should draw a person, then this one will absolutely come to the Father. One theologian remarks concerning this verse, “Jesus leaves no room for doubt that those whom the Father draws are sealed for the day of redemption. This drawing is decisive impulse that will bring one to Christ.”* However, when one properly investigates this word in other places in which it is found, such a conclusion is not substantiated. The same word is found later on in the book of John.
“And I, if I be lifted up from the earth (land), all I will draw to Myself." John 12:32
This verse is a clear reference to the Cross; hence, the manner in which Yeshua died and the significance of His death, will be the source of individuals coming to faith and receiving salvation. There is a major difference between one saying that the drawing is decisive and irresistible and will bring all who are drawn to salvation, and the assertion that the drawing is a necessary aspect of the salvation. The latter allows the individual the possibility of rejecting this drawing. Careful attention to John 12:32 strongly supports the second view. Yeshua is saying that one can only come to Him by means of the Cross. Obviously, the proper interpretation of the text is NOT that all people will be drawn to Yeshua because of the Cross. Those theologians who assert that the drawing is decisive and irresistible are forced to say that the word “all” here must be understood in a limited manner and only referring to the elect and in addition to this, the word “all” appears in the text to teach that the elect consists of “all” types of people.
The proper understanding of this text is that the Cross is the basis / foundation for all people being drawn to a salvation experience with Yeshua. There is no textual reason to limit the word “all” to any sub-group. Although most English translations place the word “all” towards the end of the second phrase, in the original language it is the first word. In fact, “all” is used emphatically in the verse. In my literal translation: “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth (land), all I will draw to Myself. “
One can perceive the emphasis of this word. Grammatically, the location of the word “all” and the fact that it is in the accusative case, actually strengthens the interpretation that “all” refers to all people and this has significant implications. Since all are being drawn to Yeshua and the fact that not all people will be saved, then one cannot conclude that this drawing is decisive and irresistible. Rather, it is necessary and available to all people.
The studying and researching of Biblical words is critical in ascertaining the proper interpretation of a passage. Not only is arriving at the correct meaning of words a necessity, but so too is a recognition of the grammatical constructions in which the words appear. Let’s take another example to illustrate the importance of grammar in discerning the intent of a passage of Scripture. In the Gospel of John, a difficult verse appears at the end of chapter 8.
“Then took they up stones to cast at Him: but Jesus hid Himself, and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them, and so passed by.” John 8:59 KJV
This verse is difficult because it simply does not make sense when one reads it. If Yeshua hid Himself, how is it that He went through the midst of the people?
The difficulty is removed when one does not fail to pay attention to the grammatical construction of one of the verbs found in this verse. The phrase in question was translated by the KJV as “but Jesus hid Himself”. The KJV renders the verb in the active voice. This means that it was Yeshua Who went and hid Himself. The problem is that this verb is actually in the passive voice. The implication of this grammatical construction is that Yeshua did not go and hide, but He was hidden from the crowd. In other words, someone or something caused Yeshua to be hidden. The proper understanding of the verse is that as the crowd picked up stones in order to kill Yeshua, G-d caused Yeshua to be hidden from them and He was able to pass through them.
The failure to render the verb correctly causes the reader to conclude that Yeshua ran and hid Himself in fear; rather than understanding the submissiveness of Yeshua to trust His heavenly Father Who acted in His behalf. When examining the KJV translation, one encounters the word “Himself” as in “but Jesus hid “Himself.” However, when reading the text in Greek, the word “Himself” is not found in the text. This should have caused the translators to rethink their rendering of the verb. This is a good example of how the failure to be committed to a literal rendering of the Bible text causes one to err in his understanding of the passage. Not only is the meaning of words and their grammatical constructions highly important for the interpreter of the Bible, but so too is how the words are linked to one another.
Step Five: Perceive How the Words are Related to One Another.
In order to properly arrive at the meaning of a Biblical text, careful attention must be given to how the words are related to one another. Parts of speech will play a large role in discerning the grammatical aspects, but there are additional factors as well. For example, in Galatians chapter two, Paul informs the reader that Messiah loved him and gave Himself for Paul. Because the words “love” and “gave” are next to one another, the reader can conclude that it was because of Yeshua’s love for humanity that He gave Himself in our behalf. This verse demonstrates that the Biblical concept of love is much more than a feeling, but should be better understood as a mindset that leads to self -sacrificing action. Comprehending how words work together in a Biblical text is learned over time through much practice.
Step Six: List the Major Subjects Contained in the Passage.
It has already been stated that proper Biblical interpretation requires reading the text numerous times. While doing so, one should not only jot down his thoughts and key words, but while examining the text, he should also make a list of the major subjects found in the passage. After completing this list, locate other Biblical passages where each subject is found and compare what these passages state concerning these subjects. The best source of interpretation of the Bible is the Bible itself. Some of these subjects may be connected to theological issues. Related to the major subjects contained in a Biblical text, one must also discern if there are specific question(s) which the author is addressing? Knowing the motivation behind why the author was inspired to write a given section can assist one in understanding what this author is writing. Hence, the interpreter of a passage needs to know not only the subjects addressed in the text, but the objective the author is trying to achieve.
Step Seven: Ask if there are Significant Theological Doctrines Found in the Text.
Some Biblical passages contain greater theological matter than others. It is incumbent on one who teaches the Scriptures to purchase a sound textbook(s) on Systematic Theology and to learn the basic tenets of the major theological doctrines. Becoming familiar with proper theology will greatly assist one in interpreting the Bible. Realize great minds over nearly 2,000 years have already wrestled with these issues and offer insights for the various major theological doctrines. Often, the first thought a person has on a theological issue is not the correct one. Serious attention must be given to what theologians have said on these subjects.
Let’s look briefly at one passage which has significant theological implications. Acts 13:48 is a great illustration of why someone who has the responsibility of teaching a passage of Scripture needs to know if the Biblical text he is studying has theological significance. The KJV renders this text in the following manner, “And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord: and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed.”
When one reads the latter part of the verse, the manner in which most English translations render the text leads the reader to conclude that it is G-d Who ordains people to eternal life and it is this ordination that results in one believing. Because of this interpretation, this verse has become a favorite one of those embracing Reform Theology. Any verse that is a proof text for a certain theological perspective should be given special consideration; regardless of one’s theological perspective. When a person does so with this verse, one learns that many of the English translators altered the word order to justify a preconceived theological viewpoint. The latter part of the text actually reads: καὶ ἐπίστευσαν ὅσοι ἦσαν τεταγμένοι εἰς ζωὴν αἰώνιον
Let’s take this Greek sentence apart slowly and put into practice many of the steps we have already mentioned. The first word is καὶ which is simply a conjunction which means “and”. The next word is ἐπίστευσαν and is in the Greek aorist tense and is in the third person plural. The proper way to translate this word is “They believed”. A question which poses itself is “Who are they which believed?” To answer this question one must find the part of speech which is in the nominative case (the case which denotes the subject of the sentence). The answer is found in the two words ὅσοι τεταγμένοι which are both in the nominative. How should these words be rendered? The word ὅσοι usually is translated “as many as”. Greek scholars point out that this word serves to modify the word or phrase it qualifies. The second word is τεταγμένοι. Although this word is in the nominative, it is vital that one recognizes that it is a perfect passive participle. Most define a participle as a verbal adjective. This means that it describes an action or a state of being. The root that this word is derived from appears eight times in the New Testament: Matthew 28:16, Luke 7:8, Acts 13:48, 15:2, 22:10, 28:23, Romans 13:1 and 1 Corinthians 16:15 (some manuscripts have this word in Matthew 8:9).
It is necessary that we briefly examine these occurrences.
In Matthew 28:16, the word is used in reference to the mountain in the Galilee where Yeshua appointed for the disciples to meet Him after the resurrection.
In Luke 7:8, the word was said by the centurion who speaks of himself as one who is set under authority. In Acts 15:2, the word appears in a statement where it was determined by a group of people that Paul and Barnabas should go up to the apostles and elders in Jerusalem. In Acts 22:10, the word is used in reference to the things which were determined for Paul to do. In Acts 28:23, the word is for a day which was appointed by individuals to come and hear Paul speak. In Romans 13:1, the word is used for the governments which were ordained by G-d. And finally in First Corinthians 16:15, the word is used to describe those who committed themselves to the ministry of the saints.
Now with a fuller understanding of the use of the word in question, we are ready to tackle this word in Acts 13:48. The fact that the word is in the perfect passive informs the reader of the following. The action / state of being (the verbal aspect) is an event that had its origin in the past, and the outcome of this is true in the present and will extend into the future.
In regard to the meaning of this participle, many theologians want to understand this word as referring to some rich theological implication. Based on the uses of this word in the eight aforementioned occurrences, how should one translate it? The fact that there are three (additional) occurrences in the book of Acts from which our text is taken, means that the interpreter should give greater weight to how the author of Acts used this word. It would seem that in the book of Acts this word has to do with an outcome or a type of determination. What was this determination or outcome? The phrase concludes with the words, εἰς ζωὴν αἰώνιον, “for eternal life”. So now we know that there was a group that believed and that there was a determination or outcome in regard to this group which involved eternal life.
So what is incorrect about rendering that those who were determined for eternal life believed? There are two factors that we have not yet discussed. The first factor is that the particle is a perfect passive. This is of high significance! The passive voice means that something effected this group to be determined for eternal life. What could this be? Some would want the reader to conclude it was G-d Who chose or elected this group in some irresistible manner (irresistible from the perspective of those who are chosen by G-d). Although there is a command mentioned in the previous verse, this command has to do with G-d’s choice of Israel to be a light to the Gentiles. It was when the Gentiles heard this that they rejoiced and glorified the word of the L-rd and as the text states, they believed! Grammatically, it is wrong to understand a passive participle as the cause for the aorist verb. The opposite would be the proper conclusion.
There is one last word which until now we have not discussed. This word is ἦσαν, and it is the third person plural and in the imperfect tense. The basic meaning of the root from which this word is derived is “to be”. Because it is found in the third person plural imperfect tense, the proper translation would be “they were”. The imperfect tense signifies an action or state of being that began in the past, continues, but ends either also in the past or in the present. The imperfect does not extend into the future. This is different from the perfect tense which does extend into the future. In this construction, with the close proximity to the perfect passive participle, the word serves as a helping verb, much in the same way as Acts 12:12 οὗ ἦσαν ἱκανοὶ συνηθροισμένοι καὶ προσευχόμενοι (where many were gathered together and praying).
The literal translation of Acts 13:48 is: “And the Gentiles hearing, were rejoicing and were glorifying the Word of the L-rd and they believed, as many as were determined for eternal life.”
The point is that it was the fact they believed (aorist tense) in the promise of G-d, which was written in the Word of the L-rd, that they were determined for eternal life. The promise which the Word of the L-rd reveals is what was written in the previous verse, namely, that the Jewish people would be used by G-d to be a light unto the Gentiles which would bring salvation to the ends of the earth (see verse 47). It is grammatically incorrect to understand this verse to teach that those Gentiles believed because of some pre-ordaining by G-d for eternal life. This violates the passive aspect of the participle translated “determined”. Jewish thought also plays a role in arriving at the proper understanding of the verse. Western Christianity sees the term “eternal life” having solely implications connected with an eternity—time without end. Although this understanding is correct, it alone ignores how the Jewish culture would have understood this phrase. The concept of eternal life in Judaism is associated with the Kingdom. The emphasis is not solely being in the Kingdom, but rather living according to the Kingdom character and standards. Hence, the true implication of the phrase “as many as were determined for eternal life” is those who believed were the very ones who were committed to the Kingdom lifestyle. This corresponds to the use of the word in First Corinthians 16:15.
The KJV renders this verse: “I beseech you, brethren, (you know the house of Stephanas, that is the first-fruits of Achaia, and that they have addicted themselves to the ministry of the saints,)”
The same root word translated “ordained” in Acts 13:48 is rendered here as “addicted” in this verse. Certainly no one is asserting that the house of Stephanas was pre-ordained in some elected manner by G-d to the ministry of the saints. The intent of the verse is to emphasize and to reveal how this family demonstrated a commitment to ministry in a praiseworthy manner. In returning to the Acts 13:48 passage, the author is simply stating that true belief in the Word of the L-rd concerning the means of salvation as an outcome in people. What is this outcome? Those who believe, are the very ones who are committed to the Kingdom lifestyle. This is why one who is saved is not immediately taken into the Kingdom of heaven, so that he may demonstrate the Kingdom character and standards in this present age. G-d of course knew these individuals from before the foundation of the earth, and He is faithful to bring the Word of the L-rd to them. However, to interpret this text that the only ones who are able to believe are the ones that G-d has ordained in an irresistible manner for eternal life, fails to appreciate the nuances of the grammatical construction and cultural factors which can often times weigh heavily on reaching the proper interpretation.
Step Eight: Recognize How Cultural Factors can Impact the Text.
In order to rightly interpret a passage of Scripture, one must discern whether there are cultural factors contained in the text, which can influence the proper understanding of the passage. Let’s look at two passages which are greatly influenced by a proper understanding of cultural factors. The first passage is found in Mark chapter 7. This section is frequently used by Christianity to support the position that Yeshua has abolished Kashrut, i.e. the dietary laws (Kosher laws). In fact, to justify such a position, many of the modern translations augment Mark 7:19, adding words and twisting the ones which are present. For example, the New International version states: “For it does not go into their heart but into their stomach, and then out of the body.” (In saying this, Jesus declared all foods clean.) The sentence that is within the parentheses is based on the Greek words, καθαριζον παντα τα βρωματα. The literal rendering of this sentence is “cleansing all the foods.”
The NIV, wanting to justify a preconceived theological perspective, brazenly and without a Scriptural basis, adds the phrase “In saying this, Jesus declared”. Not only does such an addition demonstrate a contempt for the Word of G-d, but it stems out of a failure to even understand the issue of which the text speaks. The dietary laws are not at all the subject of the passage.
The passage in question opens up with a question by the Pharisees to Yeshua concerning why His disciples do not wash their hands before eating bread according to the traditions of the elders. This Jewish tradition has nothing whatsoever to do with which foods (meats) are Kosher and which are not. Christianity misses the cultural significance of the issue to which this section speaks. The issue is impurity that comes from coming in contact with those things that are contaminated. This impurity affects kosher food. The purpose of this discussion is not to interpret this passage, but simply to point out that unless one is understanding the cultural issue which may be contained in the Biblical text, there is a strong likelihood that the individual will misunderstand the passage.
The second example is from John chapter 7. The first part of this chapter concerns the Biblical Feast of Tabernacles. It is only when one understands that the primary teaching of the Feast of Tabernacles is dependence upon G-d that one will properly be able to interpret the content of this section. Failure to grasp the significant role the concept of dependence upon G-d plays in interpreting the passage will render any teaching on this text insufficient.
Step Nine: Identify Idioms Unique to the Biblical Languages.
Every language has sayings which are unique to it and whose meanings are different than what the simple meaning of the words suggest. Therefore, one who interprets must recognized these idioms and understand their intent. In this section a few of such saying will be provided as examples.
Several times the Bible states that one will find G-d’s care under His wings; for example: “I will dwell in Your Tent forever, I will take refuge in the hidden place of your wings. Selah” Psalm 61:5 (Verse 4 English) Then again, “The L-rd will recompense your action, and a complete reward will be from the L-rd G-d of Israel, Whom you have come to take shelter under His wings.” Ruth 2:12 “For You have become my help and in the shadow of Your wings will rejoice.” Psalm 63:8 (Verse 7 English)
These texts and many more like them is not implying that G-d has wings. Some interpreters understand this to simply mean the skirt or hem of a robe. Such views fail to grasp the intent of the idiom. Numbers 15:37-41 reveals an inherent relationship between the Hebrew word כנף “wing” or “corner” to the commandments of G-d. The idiom, “under His wings” speaks of finding G-d’s provision by obeying His commandments. Very few Christian interpreters of the Bible recognize this idiom and therefore fail to accurately relate the intent of the text.
In the New Testament, Paul uses the expression “Under the Law” several times (Romans 2:12, 6:15, Galatians 3:23, 4:21, and 5:18). Usually the context for this statement is that believers in Messiah Yeshua are no longer “under the Law.” What does the phrase, “Under the Law” mean? The vast majority of Christian commentators understand this phrase to mean that the Law is no longer relevant for believers in Yeshua. This view fails to comprehend the Jewish understanding of this phrase. The concept “to be under” relates to authority in the sense of the authority to punish. If one is no longer under the Law this means that the believer is no longer under the authority of the Law in regard to judgment. Through the blood of Messiah Yeshua, all condemnation that one rightly deserved was placed on Yeshua on the Cross. In no way does this idiom imply that the Law has no longer relevance for the believer.
The final idiom that will be presented in this section is “And you shall be His people and He will be your G-d.” This idiom appears numerous times throughout the Bible, both in the Old and New Covenants. Judaism recognizes this phrase as an idiom referring to redemption. In other words, every place one encounters this phrase, the reader should understand that intent of the author is to convey to the reader the concept of redemption. Let’s look at a few such occurrences. In Exodus chapter 6, Moses is commanded to instruct the people concerning the exodus from Egypt. The exodus, of course, is related to Passover, the festival of redemption. In verse 7, G-d states: “I will take you to Me for a people, and I will be for you G-d…” Exodus 6:7 In the book of Leviticus one reads: “I will walk in your midst, and I will be for you G-d, and you will be for Me, My people.” Leviticus 26:12
The first part of this verse speaks of intimacy between G-d and His people. The question the reader should ask is, “What brings about G-d’s presence among His people?” The answer is redemption and this answer is the intent of the idiom “and I will be for you G-d, and you will be for Me My people.”
Finally, in the prophecy of Jeremiah, one encounters a wonderful passage of Scripture. It begins however, in a not so wonderful manner. It speaks of the Babylonian Exile. What is the solution to exile? The answer is redemption. Hence, in this passage, Jeremiah is using the Babylonian Exile in connection to the final exile. The prophet writes: “Behold I am gathering them from all the countries which I have driven them there in My anger and in My hot anger and in My great wrath, and I will return them to this place and I will cause them to dwell safely. And they will be for Me a people, and I will for them G-d. And I will give to them one heart and one way to fear Me all the days for good to them and their children after them. And I will cut with them an eternal (Kingdom) covenant which I will not turn away from them to do good to them, And My fear I will put in their heart that they cannot turn from Me.” Jeremiah 32:37-40
This passage is full of covenantal promises which G-d made to Israel which seemed to be lost because of Israel’s disobedience. However, one must always remember that through the redemptive work of G-d, the covenantal promised of G-d to His people will be fulfilled.
The Bible is full of sayings and idioms with which one who interprets the Scripture must become familiar in order to arrive at the proper message contained within a given Biblical text.
Step Ten: Review Major Commentaries.
Most books on exegetical methodology list this step in the early portions of a person’s preparation. Learning how scholars have viewed and interpreted the text, before doing one’s own study of the text, assists the person in being on the direction. Knowing what to expect when beginning to examine the text can be valuable. I, however, prefer to save this step to the end. I do not want to be biased by others’ views and what their personal experiences may bring to the text. I find reviewing major commentaries to serve as a confirmation of my work with the text and sometimes the basis for correction of my interpretation. Although I try to not allow my personal experiences to influence my conclusions, sometimes I fail in this and when my interpretation is different, it leads me to reexamine my work with the text. Commentaries are tools, but one needs to be careful, because there is a tendency at times for commentaries to simply repeat the primary interpretation of a passage, which at times are not correct.
Interpreting the Bible should not be viewed primarily as a pursuit of knowledge, but of G-d Himself. What is learned is not material, but it is truth! It is a serious responsibility to be given the privilege of sharing a Biblical passage with others. Those who do so will be judge more severely than those who are in the audience. Do not be casual about this endeavor, when rightly understood, one realizes it is a calling from G-d.
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