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Foundations of the Seventh-day Adventist Message and Mission - Contents
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    Appendix I - Miller’s Rules of Bible Interpretation

    In studying the Bible, I have found the following rules to be of great service to myself, and now give them to the public by special request. Every rule should be well studied, in connection with the Scripture references, if the Bible student would be at all benefited by them.FSDA 299.1

    I. All Scripture is necessary, and may be understood by diligent application and study. 2 Timothy 3:15, 16, 17.FSDA 299.2

    II. Every word must have its proper bearing on the subject presented in the Bible. Matthew 5:18.FSDA 299.3

    III. Scripture must be its own expositor, since it is a rule of itself. If I depend on a teacher to expound it to me, and he should guess at its meaning, or desire to have it so on account of his sectarian creed, or to be thought wise, then his guessing, desire, creed, or wisdom, is my rule, not the Bible. Psalm 19:7-11; 119:97-105. Matthew 23:8-10. 1 Corinthians 2:12-16. Ezekiel 34:18, 19. Luke 11:52. Malachi 2:7, 8.FSDA 299.4

    IV. To understand doctrine, bring all the Scriptures together on the subject you wish to know; then let every word have its proper influence, and if you can form your theory without a contradiction, you cannot be in an error. Isaiah 28:7-29; 35:8. Proverbs 19:27. Luke 24:27, 44, 45. Romans 16:26. James 5:19. 2 Peter 1:19, 20.FSDA 299.5

    V. God has revealed things to come, by visions, in figures and parables; and in this way the same things are oftentimes revealed again and again, by different visions, or in different figures and parables. If you wish to understand them, you must combine them all in one. Psalm 89:19. Hosea 12:10. Habakkuk 2:2. Acts 2:17. 1 Corinthians 10:6. Hebrews 9:9, 24. Psalm 78:2. Matthew 13:13, 34. Genesis 41:1-32. Daniel 2, 7 and 8 Acts 10:9-16.FSDA 299.6

    VI. Visions are always mentioned as such. 2 Corinthians 12:1.FSDA 299.7

    VII. How to know when a word is used figuratively. If it makes good sense as it stands, and does no violence to the simple laws of nature, then it must be understood literally; if not, figuratively. Revelation 12:1, 2; 17:3-7.FSDA 299.8

    VIII. Figures always have a figurative meaning, and are used much in prophecy to represent future things, times, and events; such as mountains, meaning governments; beasts, meaning kingdoms.FSDA 299.9

    Waters, meaning people.
    Lamp, meaning Word of God.
    Day, meaning year.

    Daniel 2:35, 44; 7:8, 17. Revelation 17:1, 15. Psalm 119:105. Ezekiel 4:6.FSDA 299.10

    IX. To learn the true meaning of figures, trace your figurative word through your Bible, and, where you find it explained, put it on your figure, and if it makes good sense, you need look no further; if not, look again.FSDA 299.11

    X. Figures sometimes have two or more different significations; as day is used in a figurative sense to represent three different periods of time.FSDA 300.1

    1. Indefinite.
    2. Definite, a day for a year.
    3. Day for a thousand years.

    Eccles. 7:14. Ezek. 4:6. 2 Peter 3:8.FSDA 300.2

    XI. Parables are used as comparisons to illustrate subjects, and must be explained in the same way as figures, by the subject and Bible. Mark 4:13.FSDA 300.3

    XII. To know whether we have the true historical event for the fulfillment of a prophecy. If you find every word of the prophecy (after the figures are understood) is literally fulfilled, then you may know that your history is the true event. But if one word lacks a fulfilment, then you must look for another event, or wait its future development. For God takes care that history and prophecy doth agree, so that the true, believing children of God may never be ashamed. Psalm 21:5. Isaiah 14:17-19. 1 Peter 2:6. Revelation 17:17. Acts 3:18.FSDA 300.4

    XIII. The most important rule of all is, that you must have faith. It must be a faith that requires a sacrifice, and, if tried, would give up the dearest object on earth, the world and all its desires, character, living, occupation, friends, home, comforts, and worldly honors. If any of these should hinder our believing any part of God’s word, it would show our faith to be vain. Nor can we ever believe, so long as one of these motives lies lurking in our hearts. We must believe that God will never forfeit his word. And we can have confidence that He that takes notice of the sparrow, and numbers the hairs of our head, will guard the translation of his own word, and throw a barrier around it, and prevent those who sincerely trust in God, and put implicit confidence in his word, from erring far from the truth, though they may not understand Hebrew or Greek.FSDA 300.5

    Hale, SAM, pp. 103-6.

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