Monday, October 10, 2005

Learning to interpret the Bible

If someone tells me that interpreting the Bible is easy, my usual thought is that this person knows little to nothing about interpreting the Bible. If someone tells me that the Bible is impossibly difficult to interpret, I have the same response as to the first person.
D. A. Carson has written an insightful article called Must I Learn How to Interpret the Bible? In it he gives some good pointers on interpreting the Bible. Carson is an accomplished exegete of the Scriptures and I think that it is worth reading this article he wrote. Carson also wrote a book called Exegetical Fallacies that each Bible interpreter--that means all of us--MUST read! Reading this book is a humbling experience and it teaches sound grammatical, lexical, cultural, theological, and historical Bible study practices. It can be found at on the African continent or at (naturally there are many other places to find this book).
My contention is this: many people do not make the effort to interpret the Bible correctly, and as a result all kinds of errors and heresies abound! The biggest culprits are those that call themselves pastors. I wonder sometimes how many pastors spend any time at all in exegeting the Bible?! The easiest way to find out if a pastor is seriously involved in geniune interpretation of the Bible is to listen to his sermons.
We are all interpreters. We interpret life, job opportunites, conversations, literature, movies, etc. It amazes me that so many claim not to interpret the Bible at all and that they simply give the Bible itself! This is quite laughable! Whether we like it or not, we interpret the Bible as soon as we start reading it. So many things influence our interpretation of it and if we do not endeavour to learn to do proper Bible interpretation, we will be led astray into thinking that we have no spin on the Bible! There are many influences that put form to our thought processes as we read and study the Bible, such as our local pastor, authority figures, life experiences, TV, radio (also Christian television and radio) and many others.
It is because of all these influences that we need to work vigorously at learning to interpret the Bible correctly! The fact is that interpreting the Bible is an art that must be studied and it does NOT come naturally. Until we can claim to be equal with God, we need to spend time learning the principles of Biblical interpretation.
Just thinking...

1 comment:

risen_soul said...

I really like your blog! I'll be back to read more. I haven't had the time to read your whole blog on the reformation but I will!

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