On Knowing the Bible, by Witness Lee


No single verse can represent the whole truth. However, every verse of the Bible contains all the truths. On the one hand, no single verse can include the whole truth, and to understand a truth, one cannot rely on one verse alone, but has to consider many other verses. On the other hand, in determining any truth, one has to consider every verse. Each verse in the Bible contains all the truths.

One brother once said that any single verse in the Bible requires the whole Bible to explain it. This is very true. If one wants to understand Genesis 1:1, he has to understand the whole Bible. On the one hand, Genesis 1:1 cannot contain the whole truth. On the other hand, Genesis 1:1 includes all the truths of the Bible.

Therefore, in determining any truth, we cannot rely on one portion of the Bible alone. Instead, we have to depend on all the words of the Bible. In a similar way, the exposition of any single verse cannot be based on its own context; instead it must be based on the whole Bible. Second Peter 1:20 says that no prophecy of the Scripture is of one’s own interpretation. The original meaning of this verse is that the prophecy of the Bible should not be interpreted according to its own context. This means to interpret any prophecy, one has to study all the prophecies in the Bible, and has to make decisions based on all the prophecies of the Bible. Only then will the interpretation be complete.


In determining a truth, sometimes many related verses indicate a certain meaning, but two or three among them cannot be explained in that kind of way. One cannot say that because there were only one or two verses that could not be explained that way, one can therefore sacrifice them and base the exposition on the majority of the verses. If one does that, he is sacrificing a small number of verses. We cannot do this. As long as one or two verses do not allow a certain interpretation, we have to give up that interpretation. We have to respect every portion of the Bible. Only when an interpretation harmonizes with the whole Bible can this interpretation be considered reliable. Any verse that forbids a certain interpretation of the truth must not be sacrificed. Instead, that certain interpretation must be abandoned, and we must wait for God’s further revelation. If we study the Bible this way, we will not fall easily into error.


There are many expressions in the Bible that are in apposition one to another. All these appositional expressions are equal and are not different. For example, Matthew 5 speaks of nine blessings. It says, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of the heavens,” and “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” These are matching expressions, with the first expression matching the second one. In this case, with every blessing, there is first the condition for blessing and then the blessing itself. All matching expressions are equal. If the first part of one expression specifies a condition, then all first parts of matching expressions specify conditions also. If the second part of one expression specifies a blessing, then the second parts of all expressions specify blessings also. This is another principle or rule.

(On Knowing the Bible, Chapter 4, by Witness Lee)