Interpreting the Bible

If you turn on today’s news you won’t be able to escape the process of choosing our next Supreme Court Justice. It seems, as you listen to the discussion, it’s not so much about a person’s qualifications, such as, how long have they sat on the bench, from where did they get their law degree, how many cases they have adjudicated etc., but more along the lines of, what is their philosophy of law, specifically in regards to the Constitution of the US?  Are they in the camp that believes the Constitution is a “living” document? i.e. it changes with time and the culture, and is to be interpreted as such, or are they what is called, an originalist, someone that believes the Constitution should be understood and interpreted according to what the original writers intended it to mean.  

Do you know what you call a person that subscribes to the first philosophy? A “relativist”,  someone who thinks that the truth for you may not be the same as the truth for them. Another name for this view is “subjectivism”, meaning the determining factor in a given context is the “I” factor.  Me. The truth, is whatever I determine it to be, like a flavor of ice cream. The best flavor is Vanilla because “I” like it and I determine it to be the best, for you it may be chocolate. This is why in 2017, a man has a constitutional right to go into a woman’s bathroom with impunity.

So on one hand we have the Subjective and on the other we have the Objective.  The objective finds it’s meaning outside of the subjective.  Truth is the same for one as it is another. Like the color Red. You may call it Roja or Scarlet but it’s still Red and what we both see is the same thing. Unless you are color blind and in that case you need to go to the eye doctor for correction because you are incorrect in what you see.

So what does this have to do with the Bible? Unfortunately, like our culture, many folks take a subjective approach to reading and interpreting the Bible. We ask, what does this mean to us? Rather than, what is God saying here. And we sometimes allow that God may be saying something entirely different to one person than He does to another.  This is what happens when we read the Bible and expect God to speak to us in a mystical way. News Flash! The Bible is NOT a mystical or magical book.  The words on the page that contain the writer’s intentions don't begin to change according to what we “feel” God is saying.  Are we hearing the words speaking to us about a personal situation that has nothing to do with the original meaning of the text or the intention of the writer when he penned them? This is not handling the word of truth accurately.  At this point we are getting personal, subjective messages from the Bible instead of learning objective truths and then use them for personal application.  

"Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth."    2 Timothy 2:15 (NASB)

Now the question becomes, how are we supposed to read the bible correctly. What does handling the Word of Truth accurately mean?  Here is a great lecture from Jen Wilken about how to correctly read and study your bible.