The scholarly and devout B. B. Warfield once said, "The Bible is the Word of God in such a way
that when the Bible speaks, God speaks."
Christians in every century have held the Bible in high esteem and have accepted it as
the Word of God written. But few have made the rash claim that it is easy to understand. Yet, since the
Bible was given to reveal truth and not obscure it, God surely intends that we understand it. Further,
understanding the Bible is vital because our doctrines of God, of man, of salvation, and of future things
rest on a correct interpretation of the Scriptures.
It sometimes seems almost anything can be proved by the Bible, for there is scarcely a
religion, sect, or cult in Christendom that does not use Scripture texts to "prove" its doctrine.
In that respect the Bible may well be the most abused book in the world. The solution to this problem
is not to be found alone in a correct view of inspiration, important as that is. Origen (A. D. 185-254),
for example, held a high view of the inspiration of Scripture and yet was guilty of mishandling the Bible
by minimizing its literal meaning and treating it as a "one vast allegory" with many hidden
meanings. The solution to this problem of widely differing interpretations is to employ the correct method
of biblical interpretation. We believe that to be the literal method which approaches the Scripture in
the normal, customary way in which we talk, write, and think. It means taking the Scripture at face value
in an attempt to know what God meant by what He said. And this is the method well defended and expounded
in this book.
Along with a sound doctrine of inspiration, and a commitment to literal interpretation,
Bible scholars have found it is important to have certain criteria of interpretation. Are there not
principles to help the serious student of the Bible understand and apply Scripture, principles based on
the Bible itself? What helps can be found for interpreting special features such as figures of speech,
types, parables, and prophetic literature?
Dr. Zuck has accomplished the difficult task of providing us with a text that covers
the entire field of hermeneutics. As a teacher and continuing student of this field, Dr. Zuck is acquainted
with the literature bearing on his subject. The work he has produced is up to date; it deals with various
current issues in hermeneutics.
Dr. Zuck has provided special help in the long neglected area of the application of
Scripture. To minister to peoples’ spiritual needs, the Bible must not only be rightly interpreted; it
must also be properly applied. Important and much needed guidance is also provided in the important
matter of interpreting prophecy. Too often other works on hermeneutics give an "uncertain sound"
in this area, leaving readers confused about how to approach prophetic Scripture.
All in all, Dr. Zuck has produced a text that is thorough, biblical, readable, and enlightening.
May it prove of great help to all students who love God’s Word and seek to interpret and apply it correctly.
Donald K. Campbell, President, Dallas Theological Seminary
©1991 Cook Communications Ministries. Basic Bible Interpretation by Roy Zuck.
Used with permission. May not be further reproduced. All rights reserved.