• Joseph Durso

The Question of Interpretation

Let us make man in our image after our likeness

The Cultural Christianity Series

Get the Bible right, and you get the truth right. Misunderstand the Bible, and you cannot understand what you only imagine to be true.

In our enlightened "scientific" age, pride has continued to blind the eyes of the unbelieving regardless of so-called breakthroughs. Evolutionists propagate the idea of a big bang, but the concept of nothing creating nothing is nothing more than an over-active imagination. It certainly cannot be explained.

Sir Isaac Newton was a godly man who studied the Bible every day. Intellectually he was at the genius level and also had great reasoning powers. He once wrote, "A man may imagine things that are false, but he can only understand things that are true, for if the things be false, the comprehension of them is not understanding."

A perfect example of Newton's premise of imagining but not explaining something false is Biblical truth. Biblical truth is narrow, but falsehood can be very broad. God's revelation is the Bible correctly understood. There can be a thousand interpretations, but only one that is correct - God's. Christianity in today's world is fractured into a thousand pieces. Why?

To understand why we will look at the time of Israel's Judges, a very dark time in Israel's history. The generation of Moses and Joshua passed, and the faith to enter the land became increasingly replaced with sin and unbelief. The book ends with the story of a Levite whose concubine (a polygamous wife) was raped and killed, which led to the destruction of an entire Israeli tribe. Written in the book's closing words is the tell-tale sign of the times. "In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes." (Judges 21:25)

Only when God is king, and Jesus Christ is Lord can the Bible be read with understanding. Denominational ties must not supersede allegiance to Jesus Christ. Biblical commentators or denominational study books cannot replace the admonition from 2 Timothy 2:16, "Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a worker who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth."

Bible study is much more than reading with feeling. There is no divine revelation apart from God's meaning of His Word. Any interpretation of the Bible that is not God's distorts God's character and attributes. Bible study is unpacking the words to understand their meaning; this revelation enabled the reformers to regain the Gospel message and return it to authentic believers from Roman Catholic mutilation.

Theology proper is the study of God. All teachings from the Bible come under the heading of theology. Whether the law, history, poetry, prophecy, the Gospels, or epistles (letters), it is all theology because it is all the study of God or His plan for man. When the Apostle Paul wrote to Corinth, he said, "And when I came to you, brothers and sisters, I did not come as someone superior in speaking ability or wisdom..." In other words, without human pride. Furthermore, he said, "For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified." (1 Corinthians 2:1, 2) Of this portion, Martin Luther said, "Paul did not mean he would stand on a corner saying Jesus Christ was crucified, but in all doctrines, he would proclaim Christ." That is another way of saying he would only proclaim the truth.

Our present culture quickly becomes indignant with anyone who confidently proclaims scripture as if there is no other way to hear it. It is accepted, and no one can without conflict alter the idea that every man has the right to "his truth" and interpret the Bible as he will. In reality, the truth is very narrow. Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life, no one comes to the Father but through Me." (John 14:6) Poor scholars and non-believers can insist that everyone has a right to their interpretation and even altar their understanding of Jesus Christ and say they believe in Him, but not before God.

Even conviction about what a person believes does not make him right - only the revelation that gives pure and complete comprehension.

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