In order to get a true understanding of any passage, or book, the interpretation of the words must be determined by the scope of the context.

Before the meaning of the words can be understood, the scope of the whole book must be first ascertained. And this scope can be gathered best from the Structure. The Structure is designed and calculated to present the scope in the best, clearest, and most convincing manner.

The Scope sometimes can be gathered apart from the Structure. For example, the scope of 2 Peter i. 20, 21 is clearly not what Scripture means, but whence it comes. Not what its interpretation is, but what is its source. Then, its scope furnishes the key to the words "private interpretation," and shows that they must mean its own sending forth or its own unfolding.* And the statement is that no prophecy of the Scripture ever came by itself, or of its own revealment. Why?

Because it never came by the will of man at all.

How then did it come?

The Holy Spirit spake by men of God (i.e., by the prophets).

This example shows us how the scope of a passage enables us to determine the meaning we are to put upon the words employed in it. The opposite course will never help us, but only lead to confusion and error. We cannot hope to get the scope of a passage from the particular words that are used.

To understand the Apocalypse, therefore, we must first regard the book as a whole, or we shall be found wrongly dividing it according to some preconceived plan; or to some mistaken idea of the meaning of certain words or phrases.

But to get the scope of a whole book we must seek for it in the Structure.



from page xv111 / Preface, Commentary on Revelation