Why The Divers Interpretations to a Scripture?

Why The Divers Interpretations to a Scripture?

Why The Divers Interpretations to a Scripture?

Father, help us to be humble and to understand that you want the best for us in Jesus name, Amen.

The scriptures say My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge…” Hosea 4:6. Primarily the proper knowledge of God. Not just any kind of knowledge. Not that the people of God lack power or “anointing” or are prayerless or cannot preach nothing else but the lack of KNOWLEDGE that DESTROYS GOD’S PEOPLE. Not the unbelievers but the people of God, the Almighty. How so? We are too proud and rigidly cast in the mold of SELF confidence to humble ourselves and allow the Holy Spirit impact in us with what He has in store for us.

“With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” Ephesians 4:2-3. This is the height of humility and meekness. We must be broken for God to be able to use us.

Have you ever said or heard Christians make statements like “the Holy Spirit gives different meanings to different individuals on any scripture? A scripture could mean “A” to a brother then mean “B” to another brother. The Spirit of God can present it differently to the two brothers” really?

But I thought scripture says in 1 Corinthians 14:33 “…God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.” If that different meaning statement was true, the Church of God would have been in worse situation by now.

Again scripture says “There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling;  one Lord, one faith, one baptism,  one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.” Ephesians 4:4-6. Everything united in oneness.

I ask, since God is not the author of confusion, why would the Spirit of God give different meanings to different people on one scripture if there is supposed to be ONE UNITED BODY?  “…God is (certainly) not the author of confusion,” 1 Corinthians 14:33

The answer to that question is simple; IT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH THE SPIRIT OF GOD. All errors and confusion are from man, in that not understanding the “language and culture of the scriptures” deprives one of the true meanings of a scripture verse or passage.

Now, according to WordPress.com weblog, the definition of language partly states that…

Language is related to the culture of a society: Every language is related to the culture of the society to which it belongs. The culture of the people naturally influences the language. Every language is the product of society. We cannot separate language from the culture in which that language exists. It has meaning only in relation to that society and culture.

Language is species specific: Only human beings have the gift of language. Of course, the other species do communicate but only human beings can make use of language as defined above”

In other words, you cannot truly understand a people’s language until you can understand at least a bit of the people’s culture. You might want to argue that academics have nothing to do with understanding the scriptures. then quote me a scripture, “for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.” 2 Corinthians 3:6b. (Though quoted out of context) If that were wholly true, why would Timothy be told to Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.?” 2 Timothy 2:15 The Greek word translated “STUDY” there is the word Spoudazo pronounced spoodad’-zo it means to hasten and exert one’s self or give diligence – in this case to the scriptures. If the academics weren’t important why would Timothy receive such a prompting? Another scripture says And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” Romans 12:2 The Greek word translated “Renew” there is the word anakainosis pronounced an-ak-ah’-eeno-sis meaning –to cause to grow up, to make anew or to renovate. How does that come by? It comes by the study of the word like Timothy was advised to do.

The truth is, like a brother rightly put it:

The Nature of language demands one meaning: The nature of language is to communicate, and in order for communication to be possible language must have a singular objective meaning.  If someone is not interested in communicating something they can write poetry in order to inspire emotion. If interpretation is down to emotion then the interpretation is left to the reader. But God gave the Bible in order to communicate a message to mankind, and this message IS NOT found in the emotion of the reader but in the writings of the author.

In order to communicate an author puts words which when viewed together project a meaning. This meaning then can be extracted by all readers who follow normal rules of communication.  The same is true of God; for If God wants to objectively communicate to mankind then all passages of scripture must have one meaning for the reader to uncover. God definitely does want to objectively communicate with mankind, and therefore all scripture has one meaning and that is what the reader must seek to extract.

The location of meaning

An author can write a passage to have multiple meanings no doubt but it is impossible for the interpreter to truly uncover these multiple meanings. The only person that can uncover a multiple meaning of the passage is the author.  For communication to be possible there can only be one meaning. Ultimately the objective meaning of the Bible is in the mind of God, who used human authors to write an objective book. The meaning we want to uncover is not beneath the scripture (in the mystics mind), behind the scripture (in authors unexpressed intention), or beyond the scripture (in God’s mind) but IN the scriptural writings itself. We need to look at the Bible scriptures themselves to find out meanings

The Source of meaning

The source of the meaning is not in the imagination of the reader, for this would mean contradictory interpretations could both be correct. (This is what is insinuated by proponents of the “Spirit gives different meanings”) This would violate the law of non contradiction that the scriptures stand for. Meaning is not determined by the reader’s imagination but rather inherent in the writing of the author.

Meaning needs to be extracted by proper tools, and one of the tools used for extracting meaning from the Bible is known as Biblical hermeneutics. We need to use the proper method in order to find the objective meaning. The proper hermeneutic is the literal grammatical method.  This is the approach of finding what the scripture means at face value.”

Now let’s face it. How can people reading the same Bible and the same scriptural passage come to such diametrically opposed positions on different issues?

For instance: There are people who profess to be Christians who believe in “just war” or standing up for your “rights” and others who believe the Bible teaches pacifism. Some believe in capital punishment while others believe in rehabilitation of prisoners without thinking of incarceration as either a deterrent or extracting hard time to “pay back society” for evils done. Other self-described Christians believe in abortion, while others strongly oppose it.

Like you know they all use scripture passages to posit teachings and perspectives that are quite novel. For example, some read the Bible and somehow believe that Jesus was not a historical figure and the Bible is not an accurate record of his life. Others believe Jesus was a real man, but created by God. Some others believe Jesus is just a consciousness. There are a thousand one examples to site but I believe you’ve caught my drift by now. So, really I ask again:

Why Do People Interpret the Bible Differently?

I will reiterate this scripture: My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge…” Hosea 4:6. Primarily, it’s the proper knowledge of God. Not just any kind of knowledge, but it has a statute for general application. Not that the people of God lack power or “anointing” or do not know how to pray or fast. Nothing else but the lack of the KNOWLEDGE of God, the God we claim to serve, it is lack of that true knowledge of this God that DESTROYS HIS PEOPLE. Not the unbelievers but the people of God, the Almighty.

Like I said before, Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” 2 Timothy 2:15. There is no shortcut to proper Biblical interpretation; we are constrained to study. That is the only way to get the correct interpretation of any scripture. We continue today with number:

  1. Different Exegesis: People also come to different beliefs on ethical/moral/biblical issues because of their “exegetical approach” which is closely related to their hermeneutic, mentioned above. Exegesis is related to the word “educate” but, in this sense, it means “to draw meaning out of.” To educate means “to draw out” or “to lead.” Certainly, when one does proper exegesis, he or she is educating a person in the purest sense of the word.

Exegesis is the process of seeking to understand what a text means or communicates in its undiluted original meaning. In other words, good exegesis seeks to provide the plain sense of what a particular portion of scripture means. Metaphorically, it implies looking closely at the scriptures with spiritual glasses that have exacting and accurate lens that are able to view the accurate meaning of the original author. Exegesis is concerned with telling us what the original author meant as opposed to simply telling us “what it means TO US.” The point of exegesis is that it doesn’t matter what we think of it UNTIL WE FIRST find out what it means originally. Only after we apprehend the original meaning can we properly and accurately apply it to us. So in this way, hermeneutics provide the means for us to exegete scripture. Proper hermeneutics leads to proper exegesis and that can safely lead us to an accurate interpretation and application of God’s Word on all matters of importance in human life. You must believe that “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.” 2 Timothy 3:16-17

 

  1. The indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit helps illuminate our minds to the ‘truth.’
    1 Corinthians 1:18 through chapter 2 in the New Testament talks a lot about this. In short, it simply means that people who profess to be Christians but who do not possess the presence of God within them, through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, may be religionists or socially religious practitioners, but they fail to meet the biblical description of a person who is a biblical or born-again Christian 1 John, chapters 4-5, especially 1 John 4:13-17.When a person has this type of intimate, indwelling reality of “Christ in us,” such a person is given a special type of relationship with God in which truth is more readily realized, perceived, and experienced. Illumination has to do with God guiding you in and toward “truth.” People without this indwelling whether or not they ‘profess’ to be Christians (because profession and possession are two different things), do not have the same capacity to apprehend truth as a person who legitimately enjoys a relationship with God through Christ and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit of God.
  2. Unbelief.The fact is that many who claim to be Christians have never been born again. They wear the label “Christian,” but there has been no true change of heart. Many who do not even believe the Bible to be true presume to teach it. They claim to speak for God yet live in a state of unbelief. Most false interpretations of Scripture come from such sources.It is impossible for an unbeliever to correctly interpret Scripture. Scripture says “… the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” 1 Corinthians 2:14. An unsaved man cannot understand the truth of the Bible. He has no illumination. Further, even being a “pastor” or a theologian does not guarantee one’s salvation.

    An example of the chaos created by unbelief is found in John 12:28-29. Jesus prays to the Father, saying, “Father, glorify thy name.” The Father responds with an audible voice from heaven, which everyone nearby hears. But notice the difference in interpretation: “The people therefore, that stood by, and heard it, said that it thundered: others said, An angel spake to him.” John 12:29. Everyone heard the same thing, an intelligible statement from heaven yet everyone heard what he wanted to hear.

  3. Ignorance of the whole Word of God. Apollos was a powerful and eloquent preacher, but he only knew the baptism of John. He was ignorant of Jesus and His provision of salvation, so his message was incomplete. Aquila and Priscilla took him aside and explained to him the way of God correctly (Acts 18:24-28). After that, Apollos preached Jesus Christ. Some groups and individuals today have an incomplete message because they concentrate on certain passages to the exclusion of others. They pick scriptures out of context and fail to compare Scripture with Scripture.

Once more, let me repeat this scripture My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge…” Hosea 4:6. Again like I said before, it is primarily the proper knowledge of God. Not just any kind of knowledge, though it has a statute for general application. Not that the people of God lack power or “anointing” or do not know how to pray or fast. Nothing else but the lack of the KNOWLEDGE of God, the God we claim to serve, it is the lack of that true knowledge that DESTROYS GOD’S PEOPLE. Not the unbelievers but the people of God, the Almighty.

So I ask again, Why Do People Interpret the Bible Differently? When the book of Ephesians boldly tells us that… “There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling;  one Lord, one faith, one baptism,  one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.” Ephesians 4:4-6 O-N-E, ONE, meaning NO Division.

Scripture says in 1 Corinthians 14:33 “…God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.”

Let’s come to the mundane, I ask you, if you were a father in a large household with many children living in your compound. You lay down some rules and regulations for your family to live by. How would it look like if all your seven sons interpreted one instruction in seven ways? The instruction says “Don’t go play on the street” what else can that mean other than “Don’t go play on the street” If we agree that statement can only have one meaning, why should God’s instructions have different meanings for different people?

I ask again, since“…God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.”, why would that same Spirit of God give different interpretations to different people on one and the same scripture if there is supposed to be only ONE UNITED BODY OF THE CHURCH?

I’ll tell you why. It is because it has nothing to do with the Spirit of God. It is simply quackery emanating from the unregenerate heart of a man. It is just the typical prideful ejaculations exuding from a degenerate Homosapien.  So they could sound learned when they are simply worse than the empty vessel making the most noise. These are wells without water, clouds that are carried with a tempest; to whom the mist of darkness is reserved for ever.
For when they speak great swelling words of vanity, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through much wantonness, those that were clean escaped from them who live in error. While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption: for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage. For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning. For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them. But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire.”
2 Peter 2:17-22

  1. Failure to Mature.When Christians are not maturing as they should, their handling of the scriptures is affected. “I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able. For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?” 1 Corinthians 3:2-3. An immature Christian is not ready for the “meat” of God’s Word. Note that the proof of the Corinthians’ carnality is a division in their church (verse 4).
  2. Undue Emphasis on Tradition.Some churches claim to believe the Bible, but their interpretation is always filtered through the established traditions of their church. Where tradition and the teaching of the Bible are in conflict, tradition is given precedence. This effectively negates the authority of the Word and grants supremacy to the church leadership.
    On the essentials, the Bible is abundantly clear. There is nothing ambiguous about the deity of Christ, the reality of heaven and hell, and salvation by grace through faith. On some issues of less importance, however, the teaching of Scripture is less clear, and this naturally leads to different interpretations. For example, we have no direct Biblical command governing the frequency of communion or the style of music to use in Church. Honest, sincere Christians can have differing interpretations of the passages concerning these peripheral issues.
    The important thing is to be dogmatic where Scripture is and to avoid being dogmatic where Scripture is not. Churches should strive to follow the model of the early church in Jerusalem: “And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.” Acts 2:42. There was unity in the early Church because they were steadfast in the Apostles’ doctrine. There will be unity in the church again when we get back to the Apostles’ doctrine and forego the other doctrines, fads, prosperity jives and gimmicks that have crept into the church. That brings me to this last one I’m adding now.

 

  1. Selfishness and pride.Sad to say, many interpretations of the Bible are based on an individual’s own personal biases and pet doctrines. Some people see an opportunity for personal advancement by promoting a “new perspective” on Scripture. They will tell you they got a Rhema (revelation) from a scripture but when you check it out that Rhema they say they have, does not tally with any known scripture. The book of Jude has a lot to say about false teachers.

Why does having the correct meaning of scripture matter? The reason is simply because “truth matters.” Truth represents reality. And if we are wrong on our view of what is true, that means we are living in a false reality. Our perception does not create reality; all that really matters is what is ACTUAL and REAL. When we base our beliefs on false ideas that are not true, but only propaganda, the problem is that we then ACT on those false beliefs. When we act on false beliefs, ramifications follow and those ramifications are often destructive.

So when a person interprets something wrong or comes up with the incorrect position on a moral or ethical or political or economic view, there are real consequences to those ideas. This could include making mistakes that lead to many detrimental effects on our lives that affect both ourselves and others. That is why, however painful reality can be, it’s less painful than living in false hope, holding onto a lie, that only ends up allowing one’s life to collapse like a house of cards. “And great was the fall of that house, for it was not built upon a rock.”

That’s why truth matters. 

One meaning but multiple significance

The meaning of the original recipients is the same meaning we should extract from the text hundreds of years later. However despite scripture having one meaning it can have multiple significances or applications; this is true regarding prophecy especially concerning Christ. For example Psalm 22 is referring to David but the significance of the passage refers to Christ on the cross.

 

Again, let me repeat this scripture that says My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge…” Hosea 4:6. Like I said before, it is primarily the proper knowledge of God. Not just any kind of knowledge, though it has a statute for general application. Not that the people of God lack power or “anointing” or do not know how to pray or fast. Nothing else but the lack of the KNOWLEDGE of God, the God we claim to serve, it is lack of that true knowledge that DESTROYS GOD’S PEOPLE. Not the unbelievers but the people of God, the Almighty.

Over time we have turned the simple gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ into “…philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.” Colossians 2:8. We rationalise the word of God and try to help the Holy Spirit do His work both in us and in the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ. Forgetting that the Church does not belong to man in the first instance but to the Lord Jesus Himself and that is what He told Peter “…and upon this rock I will build my Church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” Matthew 16:18. It is His Church and He will build it the way He wants it done. Those that would want to destroy the things of GOD, whether knowingly or unknowingly very often do so very quietly, generally appealing to human reasoning and natural logic rather than the sincere milk of the word. The LORD said “…there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.” Matthew 24:24. In order for someone to be deceived they have to be comfortable with the deceiver.

So I ask again, Why Do People Interpret the Bible Differently? I will give you a few pointers to answer the question. The book of Ephesians says

“There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling;  one Lord, one faith, one baptism,  one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.” Ephesians 4:4-6 O-N-E, ONE, meaning NO Division.

Scripture says in 1 Corinthians 14:33 “…God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.” I ask, since God is not the author of confusion, why would the Spirit of God give different meanings to different people on one scripture if there is supposed to be ONE UNITED BODY?

Bear with me for I’ll use a couple of technical words but I believe it’ll make perfect sense. I think it’s important. Keep in mind that the problem I’ve described is usually due to all or one of the following issues I’ll describe below, so it’s important to keep them all in mind when you discuss matters like this with those whom you disagree.

People claiming to be Christians come to different opinions about ethical and other matters because of:

(1) Differing views on Biblical inspiration,

(2) Different/Poor Haemonetics,

(3) Lack of Proper Training

(4) Different exegesis, and

(5) The indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit, who helps illuminate one’s mind to the ‘truth.’

(6) Unbelief.

(7) Ignorance of the whole Word of God

(8) Failure to mature.

(9) Undue emphasis on tradition

  1. Differing Views of Inspiration

How you “approach” the Bible makes all the difference in how you interpret it. There are numerous different approaches or “views of” inspiration. These range from vague notions where the biblical writers felt ‘inspired to write’ just as writers are inspired… to views of inspiration that imply the human recorders of scripture fell into a trance where they were controlled by a divine force who wrote through them, without regard to their own experiences, emotions, or perspectives they were merely “mediums” or something like that.

Those who take a “low” or loose view of scripture invariably get to be more liberal in their views of ethics, morality, and biblical teachings thereby teach errors. While those who take a high view of scripture invariably come to a more solid view of Biblical teachings and, generally, come to hold views more consistent with a clear, straight-forward reading of the Bible which is often considered more conservative or progressive, but not often liberal. These groups are more focused on the truth of the Gospel.

How does one decide which view to take? It’s simple, if you are a believer in Christ or if one has come to believe that the Bible is from God and that it articulates God’s thoughts, His perspective and, literally, “truth,” then you would hold a high view of scripture. Such people naturally believe that God is our ultimate authority, so they want to know exactly what He says. In addition, those people believe that God knows everything so learning from Him and seeking to live consistently with scriptural teachings is a way to live a blessed life and one with great meaning, regardless of how much pain life may or may not deal out. In this view, pain doesn’t imply God’s disapproval what matters is devotion to God, obedience to His Word, and seeking His perspective in order to gain meaning in life.

  1. Different or Poor Hermeneutical Methods
    Hermeneutics simply means “the art and science of interpretation.” More specifically, it is the discipline that investigates the principles and theories that govern how to properly interpret a text especially the Bible, and its different parts. Taking a verse out of its immediate context can do great damage to the intent of the verse. Ignoring the wider context of the chapter and book, or failing to understand the historical/cultural context will also lead to problems.

As such, hermeneutics is also concerned with understanding how the human author of a particular Bible book should relate to the content being presented, and how that should relate to the original readers of the biblical passage and to those who read those same verses of scripture today. So that is the so-called “hermeneutical bridge” namely, what did it mean in the mind of the writer as that person understood the mind of God, and what did that mean to the people to whom it was addressed and what application does that timeless truth have for us today? That is the job of hermeneutics and that is the job of every person who teaches the Bible or seeks to properly interpret the Bible.

  1. Lack of training.

The apostle Peter warns against those who misinterpret the Scriptures. He attributes their spurious teachings in part to the fact that they are “ignorant” “As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.” 2 Peter 3:16. Timothy is told to “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” 2 Timothy 2:15. There is no shortcut to proper Biblical interpretation; we are constrained to study, Amen.

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