What Does ‘Meaning’ Mean?


In this lab, John Piper talks about one of the most crucial aspects of effective Bible reading as he corrects one of the most dangerous mistakes we tend to make.

Some questions to ask as you read and study:

  1. How do you find meaning in the Bible? Can a text mean many different things depending on who reads it?

  2. Is there a right and wrong interpretation of a text? What can we learn about how Paul thinks about meaning in 1 Corinthians 5:9–11?

  3. Have you ever been in a Bible study that began with the question, What does this text mean to you? How would you reword that question after watching this lab?


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Principle for Bible Reading

Defining Terms in Context

Often, we come with our definitions of words before we understand what a verse or passage means. This can work at times, but we must let the passage itself define what certain words mean. Words help us understand verses, and verses help us understand words.

So, as you read, take time to ask, “What can I learn about what this word means from the passage?” Set aside a couple of days to read through a whole book several times before walking through it in a slower, more in-depth way.