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Discussion in 'Other Christian Denominations' started by Deacon, Jun 26, 2010.
If the Bible is a valid guide, why do so many people understand it differently?
It seems to be very, very difficult to actually strickly adhere to "sola-scripture".
Those pesky traditions that creep in are very hard to shake.
One has to be willing to say "this is my opinion" on some issues rather than saying "thus sayeth the Lord". Some preachers do noy like that, it makes them feel "uncertain" when they like to preach as one with authority in all matters.
It is really a matter of pride I think.
That's why we have so many denominations, and only one can have it right. Perhaps none do. So what did Jesus mean when He said, "When He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth."?
Doesn't this invalidate its usefulness?
In a word, NO. The Bible is full of ambiguities and how we resolve those ambiguities depends on our traditions, or our preconceived notions, or who we are looking to for guidance. Yet there are certain immutable truths in scripture on which we can all agree—IF we regard scripture as true.
I'm developing a bible study class outline and thougth the quesiton was worth asking.
Here's my simple answer:
If the bible is a valid guide, why do so many people understand it differently?
But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation, for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God. (2 Peter 1:20-21 NAS)
1. We need the Holy Spirit to help us understand God's message.
But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you. (John 14:26 NAS)
2. Not everything in Scripture is simple, something’s are hard to understand.
as also in all his [Paul’s] letters, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which the untaught and unstable distort, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures, to their own destruction. (2 Peter 3:16 NAS)
Does it answer the question? Is it enough?
Mark Twain said something like "It isn't the parts of the Bible we don't understand that cause us trouble but the parts we do understand and ignore."
That's great! Just what I was looking for. I just added it to my notes.
6 And He said to them, ""Rightly did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written: " THIS PEOPLE HONORS ME WITH THEIR LIPS, BUT THEIR HEART IS FAR AWAY FROM ME.
7 " BUT IN VAIN DO THEY WORSHIP ME, TEACHING AS DOCTRINES THE PRECEPTS OF MEN.'
8 ""Neglecting the commandment of God, you hold to the tradition of men.''
9 He was also saying to them, ""You are experts at setting aside the commandment of God in order to keep your tradition.
10 ""For Moses said, " HONOR YOUR FATHER AND YOUR MOTHER'; and, " HE WHO SPEAKS EVIL OF FATHER OR MOTHER, IS TO BE PUT TO DEATH';
11 but you say, "If a man says to his father or his mother, whatever I have that would help you is Corban (that is to say, given to God),'
12 you no longer permit him to do anything for his father or his mother;
13 thus invalidating the word of God by your tradition which you have handed down; and you do many things such as that.''
Mark 7 "in vain do they worship me teaching for doctrines the commandments of men" -- accepting popular doctrine instead of unpopular "Bible doctrine" is one way to "get a different result".
Thus many people believe what they are "told to believe" or what "sounds good" rather than looking into the Word of God (both OT and NT) to "see if those things are so".
The result? - even evolution is believed by "christians"!
Mark 7 "invalidating the Word of God with your traditions" - traditions about the entire OT being "invalid", tradition about this or that commandment being "invalid", traditions even about the teaching of Christ before the Cross "invalid" - or for some it is traditions about "tradition over the Bible" in all cases.
You name it.
Because everyone has an agenda and differing levels of education.
Assuming I am taking your Bible class and you presented this outline to me to explain why so many people understand Biblical truths differently, I would have the following questions.
1. Can we claim John 14:26 for ourselves or was it meant for the apostles only? Jesus gave it to them when no one else was around so I'm not sure it is valid for anyone else.
2. What does 2 Peter 1:20-21 mean? It could mean that those who wrote scripture were inspired by the Holy Spirit rather than acting on their own, OR it could mean we have no right to make our private interpretation of scripture, OR it could mean both.
I'm afraid I have just pointed out that even the passages you seek to use to explain why we have different understandings are themselves subject to different understandings.
Why do so many have different understandings of scripture? Because there is a devil out there. He was a murder from the beginning, is the father of lies, and is the author of confusion.
The remedy to scriptural misunderstandings:
1) believe the bible is the word of God, every word of which is wholly true and that every part of which is wholly consistent with each other
2) place a reliance on the Holy Spirit to guide you into scriptural understanding
3) obey the context no matter what
But sometimes the more education one has the more confused they can be. :love2:
I believe Jesus made it simple so the most simple uneducated children can "get it".
They will all be taught of God.
Brother, allow me to add:
Remember that in our chronological location, the cross is past, the blood is shed, the atonement is over,the Redeemer is seated and Eternal Salvation is done.
Won't work. You have chosen your interpretation and there are many who would disagree that "Eternal Salvation is done." These people are just as Spirit-led as you are and just as well educated as you are. Yet they understand that the Bible does not teach eternal security. I don't want to start a debate on eternal security but this is just one of many issues where people interpret the Bible differently. So what is the answer to the question in the OP?
Think on the by far outweighing majority of things Christians through all times have been in agreement on. It is a much more rewarding perspective. But that is exactly the perspective which MUST and WILL highlight the important points on which Christians for two thousand years have been in disagreement on. In other words, all the 'new' heresies and revelations are but very OLD ones repeated. "There is NOTHING new under the sun", but there are myriads of combinations and compilations and mutations. BUT THE TRUTH STANDS TALL and from its very nature WILL expose the heresies.
What I am trying to say is, a Christianity that might not have had so many different 'interpretations' of the Scriptures, would not have been the genuine Christian Faith.
That's what every one likes to preach because that's what everyone thinks of his own success in trying to do.
And because the Bible was written to a specific people at a specific time and, by extension, to us today. The issue is that we have to find out what it said at that specific place and time and there we find its application.
But there is much in the Bible that is very difficult, even for the best and most faithful of scholars, to understand. Truth be told, we can easily get lost in many word meanings, cultural cliches and idioms and language interpretation.
Interpreting Scripture is no easy job. Yes, the Spirit speaks to even the most unlearned of believers, but we are kidding ourselves if we think we can get it right every single time in even the most difficult of passages.