Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Are All Bible Interpretations Equal?

“First of all, you should know this: No prophecy of Scripture comes from one’s own interpretation, because no prophecy ever came by the will of man; instead, men spoke from God as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.” -2 Peter 1:20-21

It happened again. I was in a heated bible discussion with someone, and this individual got pinned down that their view was not in keeping with the rest of Scripture. When they realized they could not defend their position, boom they played what they viewed as the ultimate trump card: “Well there are many interpretations of the Bible.” In their mind they had won the debate, but in my mind I was concerned for their soul.

One reason why so many people seem to have trouble understanding the Bible is that they try to “interpret” it to fit their private opinions. The key passage above warns us against any exposition of Scripture which is based on an individual's pet doctrinal or behavioral prejudices. A reader or hearer of the Word of God whose “heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing” will be unable to “understand” (Matthew 13:15 because such a person comes with his or her mind and heart already bound to his or her own opinions.

When we are seeking after the meaning of a passage, we must seek after the meaning the author of the passage intended. For example if I gave you directions to my former residence in Indiana, you must decide if you will follow what you think I wrote or what you want it says to you. If you don’t seek after what I was intending to say, you could end up in Canada. 

My point is simple this, we cannot superimpose our own views on what was written 2,000 plus years ago. We must let scripture stand. In every other New Testament reference to “interpretation,” except the one in our text which means “explanation” or “exposition." Most of the time the word interpretation  is simply means “translation.” The Bible does need correct translation into English and other national languages, but that is all God needs to communicate His will to mankind.

So in conclusion, NO, not all Bible interpretations are equal. Sure some passages are tricky, but Mark Twain said it best when he wrote, 

"It's not what I don't understand about the Bible that bothers me; it's what i do understand!" 

I struggle most with what is plain and clear in the word, because my flesh and sin nature constantly desire rebellion.

No comments:

Post a Comment