Joseph's Key to Understanding Scripture "what is the rule of interpretation? Just no interpretation at all. understood precisely as it read." (JS, Jan 29, 1843)
2) Inquire what was the question which drew out the answer
I have Key by which I understand the scripture--I enquire what was the question which drew out the answer.-- ¶ National. Abraham. &c as some suppose 1st place dig up the root--what drew out the saying out of Jesus? Pharisees & scribes murmurred! this man receives sinners & eateth with them this is the key word.--to answer the murmuring & questioning of [that] Sadducees & Pharisees had is it this man as great as he pretends to be. & eat with publicans & sinners.--Jesus not put to it so but he could have found something of the kind discerned it for nations.--Men in an individual capacity. all straining on this point is a bubble.--Boy Boys say [I] ought to be hanged can tell it to you. (Sermon delivered at Nauvoo temple grounds on Sunday January 29, 1843) (here)
3)Liken All Scriptures to Us
And I did read many things unto them which were written in the books of Moses; but that I might more fully persuade them to believe in the Lord their Redeemer I did read unto them that which was written by the prophet Isaiah; for I did liken all scriptures unto us, that it might be for our profit and learning. (1 Nephi 19:23 )
Visions: Must have certainty in the matter
"When you see a vision pray for the interpretation if you get not this, shut it up.--There must be certainty in this matter. An open vision will manifest that which is more important." (WJS p. 22)My Experience:
Another thing that has helped me understand scripture is to read it precisely as it says than figure out what each term means according to the Lord. Find other references to those phrases and determine what and how the Lord uses the word’s in the scriptures.
Each time I read I set aside everything I think I know what I have been taught about a certain subject and temporary put it on hold and then be taught truth. After I learn something from the scriptures I see how it fits with what I know. If its truth than something I know must be wrong if it doesn’t entirely fit. If it contradicts something it does not mean it’s not truth just that you have not learned enough about it to know how to fit it all together. Sometimes it is necessary to set it aside and wait for further light and knowledge until more is revealed to see how all the pieces fit together.
The worst thing we can do is put preconceived notions onto the scriptures. How can we ever cast off false traditions if we are not willing to believe that perhaps what we know is not truth at all even if everyone else around me believes it?
25 And I would that all men might be saved. But we read that in the great and last day there are some who shall be cast out, yea, who shall be cast off from the presence of the Lord;
26 Yea, who shall be consigned to a state of endless misery, fulfilling the words which say: They that have done good shall have everlasting life; and they that have done evil shall have everlasting damnation. And thus it is. Amen. (Helamen 12:25)
I took one that the Lord himself has expounded on.
Taken literally it could come off in a few different ways. For generations people have believed this meant “everlasting damnation” meaning forever and never ending, and “everlasting life” life without end. Yet we know this is not the case. Our understanding is wrong if we take that as the truth. Literally reading it we could also say, “everlasting” damnation which is a type of damnation or “everlasting” life is a type of life being lived.
So determine what the literal interpretation is we must understand the word “everlasting”.
6 Nevertheless, it is not written that there shall be no end to this torment, but it is written endless torment.So he says we must understand this mystery so that WE may know even as His apostles knew. The scriptures are full of words like this. If it was meet for them to know, than shouldn’t it be for us to understand precisely what the Lord is trying to say?
7 Again, it is written eternal damnation; wherefore it is more express than other scriptures, that it might work upon the hearts of the children of men, altogether for my name’s glory.
8 Wherefore, I will explain unto you this mystery, for it is meet unto you to know even as mine apostles. (D&C 19:6-8)
Lets see what he Says.
9 I speak unto you that are chosen in this thing, even as one, that you may enter into my rest.
10 For, behold, the mystery of godliness, how great is it! For, behold, I am endless, and the punishment which is given from my hand is endless punishment, for Endless is my name. Wherefore—
11 Eternal punishment is God’s punishment.
12 Endless punishment is God’s punishment. (D&C 19:9-12)
So if we take this literal view “everlasting punishment” is Gods punishment, “everlasting life” is Gods life (being like he is). “It is not written that there shall be no end to this torment” (vs 6).
It seems only plausible that our beliefs are full of these “false tradtions” in our mind. It is no wonder why the Lord says repeatedly the following phrases related to unbelief.
Ye do not understand them:
And this I do that I may establish my gospel, that there may not be so much contention; yea, Satan doth stir up the hearts of the people to contention concerning the points of my doctrine; and in these things they do err, for they do wrest the scriptures and do not understand them. (D&C 10:63)
Or as 3 nephi 26:8 the lord says “And these things have I written, which are a lesser part of the things which he taught the people” and why is more not given?
And in that day that they shall exercise faith in me, saith the Lord, even as the brother of Jared did, that they may become sanctified in me, then will I manifest unto them the things which the brother of Jared saw, even to the unfolding unto them all my revelations, saith Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Father of the heavens and of the earth, and all things that in them are. (Ether 4:7)
The doctrine of Chris tells us why more is not given!
4 Wherefore, now after I have spoken these words, if ye cannot understand them it will be because ye ask not, neither do ye knock; wherefore, ye are not brought into the light, but must perish in the dark.Are we holding light the things taught in the book of Mormon by not searching for the CORRECT understanding of words and putting off great knowledge because we think we have the correct understanding but may not?
7And now I, Nephi, cannot say more; the Spirit stoppeth mine utterance, and I am left to mourn because of the unbelief, and the wickedness, and the ignorance, and the stiffneckedness of men; for they will not search knowledge, nor understand great knowledge, when it is given unto them in plainness, even as plain as word can be. (2 Nephi 32:4,7)
“I say to all those who are disposed to set up stakes for the Almighty, You will come short of the glory of God. To become a joint heir of the heirship of the Son, one must put away all his false traditions.”(TPJS, Chapter 22)
It is no wonder why revelation is needed to be saved. Ask, knock, and be believing willing to change any false tradition you have (even ones you think are true). The Lord can reveal the truth of ALL things unto you if you remain humble.