The Bible is a treasure box. To open the fullness of the treasure within, Christians must use a certain key — hermeneutics, or the rules of interpretation. The correct interpretation of Scripture is almost as important as the doctrine of verbal inspiration itself. There is little value in being able to say, “These are the words of God,” if we then interpret them in a way God never intended.
Our goal should be to understand the text as God and the human writers of Scripture intended. To understand correctly any passage of Scripture, Christians must first ask, “What kind of passage is this?”
Different Types of Passages
Scripture contains a number of different kinds of literature: historical narrative, poetry, parable, epistles (teaching letters), and prophecy. If a passage of Scripture is clearly historical, then we must remember that its purpose is to describe things that actually happened. If a passage is poetic, then we should expect figurative language. Psalm 104, for example, says that God “makes the clouds his chariot” (v. 3), but in light of other Scriptures about God we know that the psalmist here is using a metaphor rather than stating a literal fact.
[Read the rest of the article at Answers in Genesis.]