The general principles for Bible interpretation are, foremost, the literal interpretation followed by historical, grammatical and contextual interpretation. Another major principle, Scripture-Interprets- Scripture Principle, is to let other relevant Scripture passages interpret the passage under study.
Yet there is one overarching principle concerning the important doctrines and major prophecies which is very important. I will call it the Harmonization Approach Principle. When we say the Bible is infallible, we mean that the Bible is never wrong and is completely trustworthy as God is infallible. 2 Pet 1:19; 2 Tim 3:16-17. So when we are interpreting a particular doctrine or prophecy with all relevant Scripture verses, we must believe all verses, including apparently antinomic verses, are true and without error.
This Principle will lead to either one of the following conclusions regarding paradoxical doctrine and major prophecies in my opinion.
- Acceptance of Apparently Antinomic Beliefs By Faith In One Single Doctrine.
Take the example of the Christology doctrine. We find all relevant verses support both the premise that Jesus is 100% man and 100% God at all times. Although it is paradoxical to our understanding, we accept this doctrine by faith. Same for other paradoxes such as Predestination and Free Will. Take another example in the Holy Trinity doctrine. We find all relevant verses support both the premise that God is One and yet there are 3 distinct Divine Persons who are God individually. The term Holy Trinity is thus given to accept this reality that there are 3 distinct Divine Persons in One Essential God-head.
- The Belief That Can Best Accommodate All Relevant Scripture Passages As True. (Some theologians call it the Harmony Of Scripture Principle.)
Take the argument whether salvation is by faith alone; or salvation is by faith and works together. The belief that salvation is through faith alone by the grace of God and evidenced by works is that one single belief which can accept all relevant and apparently antinomic verses as true.
Take another example in the argument whether the prophecy of the coming of the Messiah or whether the Rapture and the Second Coming of our Lord Jesus is one single event or 2 separate events. The belief of 2 separate events best accommodate all relevant verses pertaining to these 2 subjects.
Have you not noticed that for most paradoxical doctrines or prophecies, we accept the 2-events prophecy and 2- positions stand – even 2 apparently antinomic stand – which best accommodate all the relevant Scripture passages instead of holding on to one extreme position or stand ?
By saying “best accommodate”, I do not mean to come to a compromise or best guess position of all the verses. On the contrary, I believe and accept all verses, even apparently antinomic, to be true since it is God’s Word which is infallible or inerrant. Besides, human finiteness cannot fully explain the infiniteness of God and His ways.