Why don’t all Christians

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by Craigbythesea, Mar 21, 2006.

  1. Craigbythesea

    Craigbythesea
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    Why don’t all Christians interpret the Bible in the same way? What are the factors that determine how we interpret the Bible?

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  2. CompassionateConservative

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    This is a very thought-provoking question. I'm thrilled to see a thread on it.

    There are thousands of factors that determine how we interpret the Bible. Regretfully, our denominational allegiances weigh in on our Biblical interpretation far too often. Also, a person's background, experience, and training often affect his interpretation of the Bible. Ideally, though, one's interpretation should be driven by sound hermeneutics - an effort to draw out of the text what actually is there as opposed to imposing upon the text what we think or wish was there.

    It may be that not all Christians interpret the Bible in the same way because the decision of whether to interpret the Bible at all has itself been a matter of debate. The fact that you pose this question is a testimony to the continuing victory of the inerrantists.

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  3. J. Jump

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    I think several have wrongly interpreted the Bible because there was personal gain to be made in the variant interpretation.
     
  4. slow to learn

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    Comfort. Whether most people will admit it or not, they have a theology that is comfortable to them. it makes sense to them. No way you say, i have my theology because it is right!!! well no one ever says "I have an opinion, I know it is wrong, but i will hold it anyway." Likewise no one has a theology that they believe to be wrong.

    for this reason this debate forum should last forever. it might be better if it was a dialogue forum but too much emotion is wrapped up in theology. when another person has a belief that makes us uncomfortable, we get twitchy. to remove this sense of unease we must prove our own "right interpretation" at all cost.

    one who believes every rain drop is a direct act of God is very uncomfortable around the notion of free will or that some things like weather are a natural system God set up and lets run.

    One who believes that there is free will and that sin is not God's will or that a murder can be a volitional act outside of God's Sovereignty gets uncomfortable around the opposite view.

    some will never entertain the idea that there is something new to learn. "I already have all the answers and don't want any of yours." before i went to college i had all the answers. After graduation I realized there were some things i did not know.

    Upon completion of Seminary I had more questions than answers for a little while, until i came full circle to realize I did have all the answers, and the others would too if they would just listen to me. i struggle with this as there is no doubt in my mind that Jesus would look at all "know it alls" with a great sadness. It is a great burder to have all the truth and to not be able to convince others.

    we can't because they don't want to be convinced!!! it creates a crisis of faith to even entertain the thought that you might not know, or gasp, that you might be wrong.

    hence we have denominations because of comfort. one person becomes uncomfortable with an established interpretation of the same Bible and seeks out those that agree with his/her postition.

    I can read the passages from Paul to the church in Corinth about speeking in tongues and get a totally different understanding than my assembly of God buddy.

    we come from different places, different backgrounds, have different personalities and have different needs. we seek those things that will quiet the anxiety and put us into a place of confidence and comfort.

    truth is truth regaurdless of whether we accept it or not. the end will come however God wants the end to come. my belief about the end times will not change the reality of that truth, it will only give me comfort until that time.

    the scariest people are those that are totally and absolutely convinced of their rightness in all areas of theology.

    Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster. And if you gaze long enough into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you.
    Friedrich Nietzsche


    truth is truth no matter what the source and all truth comes from God. we can get so caught up in looking into the abyss and fighting "monsters" that we become the monster. this detracts from the task of bringing people the knowledge of the salvation that awaits in Jesus Christ.

    the end
     
  5. jshurley04

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    Well stated slow to learn. At the very least this topic should be very entertaining as people begin to post to it. It will either get hot and heavy or die on the vine.

    I have always been taught and believe that there is only one interpretation of scripture and multitudes of application. I believe this to be true. The problem that many have and that I have had in the past is that we tend to take at face value what we hear from the pulpit and blindly accept it as faithful fact without researching it out for ourselves. I have had to change many things I used to believe because once I earnestly searched the scriptures, I found out that there was no basis for the belief. Basically it boils down to choice, do we go with who we know and like or with the hard things scripture tells us. Many go with who they know and like rather than scripture.
     
  6. CompassionateConservative

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    [emphasis added]

    I believe that this accounts for at least 90% of the Biblical misinterpretation out there.
     
  7. donnA

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    We interpet based on what we've been taught, whether right or wrong, based on our own will what we want it to say. And sometimes out of ignorance of how to properly interpet, or the rest of what the bible says.
     
  8. Helen

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    Most people believe what they believe regarding the Bible because of how they have been taught to believe. Parents, pastors, commentaries, seminaries...all these tell you how different passages are to be 'interpreted.'

    As we have traveled to different places speaking, however, we have found something interesting: there is almost zero difference in understanding among those who have only read the Bible and not had most or any of those influences.
     
  9. GLC

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    I suspect some of the problem may be the supreme nature of the subject matter. Certainly God's word to us is to be studied and understood. However, we are not meant to have it all settled and categorized after a short period of study. He tells us that His ways are not our ways and His thoughts are not our thoughts. Therefore, Bible study and interpretation is a life long journey. I would suspect that most of us have seen some of our own interpretations change over a period of months/years of study. It's no wonder that the individual members of the christian community have different views and are at different places in their journey.
     
  10. Gold Dragon

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    Excellent point. We often like to think of theologies as static silos.

    Calvin's theology, Luther's theology, Augustine's theology or even Paul's theology.

    But if we read through their writings or were fortunate enough to have a glimpse at what may have gone on that wasn't written down, I think we would have realized that theologies change over time for even these great theologians in history.

    The idea of journeying in our theology with God and how He uniquely interacts and reveals Himself to us through His scripture, Holy Spirit, creation and our individual contexts is an awesome image of what experiencing God is about.
     
  11. ChristineES

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    I hate to say it, but I think people are influenced by what others teach them rather what is actually in the Bible. The teachers get their teachings from bible verses, and then teach it to their followers. So it is not the bible they are learning, but someone else's interpretation of it.
    I think that all Christians should read the bible for themselves as well as being taught by others. We do need to be taught by others and compare to each other what they get from a verse, a story, a parable or whatever. I think that is why we should have some type of fellowship.
     
  12. Scott J

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    We all bring presuppositions to the table. Whether they originated with a teacher or another environmental factor or even ultimately with our temperment and sinful flesh... none of us are completely unbiased.

    We all also think our bias is justified.

    To that extent, I think the bias toward literal biblicism is best for the simple reason that it aids in filtering out other factors. It treats the Bible as an objective truth rather than something malleable to our will.

    I wouldn't claim anything close to infallibility but my objective is to always let scripture speak and then conform my opinions to what it says... rather than attempting to conform it to some experientially derived "truth".
     
  13. Scott J

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    That last part may be the answer. Do we approach the Bible as a truth unto itself or as truth only when in agreement with ideals we've derived experentially?

    We all have experiences that influence our paradigm. Perhaps the more one is able to divide their personal experiences from the truth of scripture... the more accurate their understanding.
     
  14. Brother Bob

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    To say our background has no influence on how we believe and interpt the Bible is just not the full truth. I say (make it as sure as you can, you only pass this way but once.) [​IMG]
     
  15. Nicholas25

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    I feel a majority of what we believe about the Bible comes from our youth. Those of us who attended church as a kid where taught the church doctrine and showed the scripture that backed that doctrine up. Obviously this is not the case for everyone but I feel it is for most. My question is this, does one church have all the answers or does the truth lie somewhere in between most of the Protestant church denominations? Another question is why do we as humans have to feel like we have all the answers. Notice not many Christians say "I am saved and I love Jesus with all of my heart but I am not sure about what I believe when it comes to doctrine and theology." We all have answers and some of us will defend them past the point of logic.
     
  16. Scott J

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    I don't think it would be healthy to be complacently "not sure about what I believe when it comes to doctrine".... and much, much less "theology".

    We shouldn't be closed-minded to change but we should believe what we believe in confidence or else study issues until we have a reasonable confidence. The "categories of truth" over in the Fundamentalist forum parallels what I am trying to communicate. Some things we should hold with absolute certainty, others with varying lesser degrees. But we should be confident and ready to give a reason for what we believe in any case.
     
  17. Me4Him

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    Joh 14:26 But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you "ALL" things,

    1Jo 2:27 But the anointing (Holy Ghost) which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him.

    People believe everything and everybody, "EXCEPT" the only one they need to depend on and believe.
     

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