A CHARACTERISTIC NECESSARY TO CORRECTLY INTERPRET THE BIBLE
There is a vital element necessary to properly interpret the Bible, that should go without saying; a person must not read into the text their own personal bias.
God is the author of the Bible the instruments used in this revelation were men. No book in human has ever been more clear or perfectly written. However, if a reader does not want to hear certain truths that are being set forth, no amount of clarity will keep that reader from misinterpreting the text. The more we complicate a teaching the easier it becomes to avoid the uncomfortable truths we would rather not face.
Selflessness is the characteristic necessary to understand what has been written, which is the alternative to self-centeredness that causes us to read into the text what we want to see. In this way the religious leaders of Jesus’s day had become proficient at getting around the law of Moses by adding to it elements that were just not there.
JESUS’S ANALYSIS OF THOSE WHO CORRUPT SCRIPTURE
As Jesus approached His death on the cross He confronted the religious leaders, and repeatedly called them hypocrites because they twisted the law of Moses for their own benefit. “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier provisions of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness; but these are the things you should have done without neglecting the others. “You blind guides, who strain out a gnat and swallow a camel!” (Matthew 23:23, 24) They became meticulous about tithing their income, but failed to care at all about the weighty matters of justice, mercy, and faithfulness.
In this way they read into the law of Moses things that were not there. They made gigantic issues out of nothing, but missed completely the most important parts. In this way they strained at a tiny gnat, but swallowed a camel whole. If you listen very closely at many arguments in the evangelical community about the meaning of scripture, you will find this to be true.
SELF ANALYSIS IS CRUCIAL
Anyone who wants to interpret God’s Word correctly must analyse themselves spiritually. Even in the Apostle Paul’s day believer’s were not always obedient to this responsibility. For this reason Paul felt it necessary to test them. “Wherefore I urge you to reaffirm your love for him. For to this end also I wrote that I might put you to the test, whether you are obedient in all things.” (2 Corinthians 2:8, 9) Because a person has placed their faith in Jesus Christ alone for their salvation does not mean that obedience is automatic. Obedience is not assumed in the New Testament.
Only truly godly people want to hear what God has to say. People, of course, are made godly by His matchless grace. It is equally true that only godly people make godly decisions. That would include how we interpret scripture. “Therefore, since we have this ministry, as we received mercy, we do not lose heart, but we have renounced the things hidden because of shame, not walking in craftiness or adulterating the word of God…” (2 Corinthians 4:1, 2) The obedient child understands he is the recipient of God’s mercy – this has a humbling effect.
If you want to check yourself and evaluate your own ability to rightly discern the truths of scripture, then you will have to be willing to acknowledge any sin that exists in your life. Sin of such a nature that it will cause you to corrupt the meaning of the Bible. Personal bias is often caused by the desire to give improper homage to a teacher. It could also be because we have adopted a teaching as true. This is not because it is true but simply because we accepted as true maybe when we were young and naive and now it has become part of who we have become or how at least how we see ourselves. The fact is, all truth belongs to God; it’s not ours. Furthermore, only truth can set us free.
May the Lord bless all your efforts of self analysis.
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