A Problem Passage Interpretation Plan


Gary DeLashmutt and Dennis McCallum

  1. Identify the problem(s) in the passage and show the opposing verses which make it a problem
  2. List realistic alternative interpretations (omit obviously unrealistic interpretations). Add additional alternatives if you discover any later
  3. Write out the thought development of the entire book if the book is short. With long books, trace the thought development from two chapters before the problem passage to two chapters after it
  4. Check the historical background of the book for any information which may shed light on the passage
  5. Identify key words and perform word studies if necessary
    • Find the definition of the word in Vine's Expository Dictionary or Colin Brown's A Dictionary of New Testament Theology
    • Using an analytical concordance:
      • Check the uses of the word in the same book
      • Check the uses of the word in the same author's other books (if any)
      • Check the uses of the word in the rest of the New Testament
      • Using the following sources, identify and examine helpful parallel passages:
        • Margin of the NASB Bible
        • Analytical Concordances &/or Bible Dictionaries
        • Special cross-referencing aids (Nave's Topical Bible, Treasury of Bible Knowledge, chain-reference Bibles)
  6. List the pro and con evidence for each interpretation
  7. Evaluate the relative weight and value of each piece of evidence
  8. Spell out the application for the original audience
  9. Spell out the application for universal audience
  10. Spell out the application for your personal life and ministry