Faithful Shepherd 7A

Of the annotations and interpretation of the words
After the division of the text must follow an explanation of the simple words or of words joined together, evidently making a sentence. Yet this is not to be done at once throughout the text, but in order, as the words or the sentences come up in the different parts of the division. This will prevent tediousness and tautologies.
What is to be explained and what not
If the words be but two or three together or but one brief sentence then as necessity requireth they may be explained at once, then a paraphrase made thereon, brief and plain. This is not to be done where the words are plain, without any obscurity in them. For every Scripture is either set down plainly and the words are to be taken properly as they lie in the letter (thus is every doctrine of Faith and manners necessary to salvation set down) which needs no explication of words but only enlarging of the matter, or else obscurely, and thus needs exposition.
How Scripture becomes obscure and wherein the obscurity lies
No Scripture is in itself obscure. Rather, we lack eyesight to behold what is contained therein. The sun is ever clear though we through our blindness cannot see that shining or because some dark clouds hinder our sight, which are to be removed that we may look on it.
The clouds obscuring the clear light of the Scripture in the words or sentences are these. If we can expel them, the matter in every text will become manifest.
1. Sometimes variety of reading. In certain Hebrew texts and Greek passages, through ignorance or negligence, copyists have allowed things to creep in. Still, do not consider every example to be a malicious, corrupt Jewish text for impious papists to seize on.
2. Variety of meaning of words. One word can mean many things (homonyms). Many words can mean one thing (synonyms). Also, when words are somewhat alike as if they were synonyms and yet differ.
3. Ignorance of the proper meaning of the word for want of understanding in the original languages. Also, of the phrasing and correctness of that speech.
4. Defects and errors in translations. By adding or omitting, altering, misplacing or mispointing as to comma, colon, parenthesis, period or interrogation mark.
5. Diversity of opinion among interpreters.
6. Examples of contradictory speeches.
7. Want of knowledge of the arts, history, philosophy, antiquities, closely couched in many a text of Scripture.
8. Lastly, ignorance of points of divinity and of such things whereof Scripture speaketh proper to itself, of God, of Christ Jesus, of the Law and the Gospel and of the sacraments.
As many of these as the text is obscured by and justly therefore needeth an exposition must be made plain, both to clear what is dark and to resolve the hearer's thinking with regard to what may be doubtful.
Words may thus be explained:
1. By setting down a more usual word for an unusual one, a proper word for a figurative one.
2. A more plain one for one more obscure by a grammatical synonymy.
3. By a nominal definition.
4. By distinguishing doubtful words from one another and interpreting diversity of meaning according to the subject matter there handled or else, as one saith, if a word does not receive close attention its true sense is lost.
5. By observing our own common use of such words and manner of speaking, how and why we so speak.
For translations, bring them to the original text and by that try them and see the emphasis of the words, the manner of speaking and the grammatical constructions. Reconcile what seems to jar and clear the same from false interpretations.
One true and natural sense in every place and so one right exposition
There is but one true and natural sense of every place, which is the literal sense, that which the Holy Ghost principally intended there and accordingly can can there be given but one true and right interpretation of the words and sentence. A godly meaning (sensus pius) may be made of the same, agreeing with the analogy of faith, tending to God's glory, the suppression of vice and maintenance of virtue and so tolerable. But the proper sense and genuine interpretation is that which makes the place to agree to the chief purpose and scope of the Holy Ghost intended in that same place of Scripture (genuinus sensus).

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