We prefer to live our own way rather than the way that God wisely and lovingly created us to live. As a result, when we read Scripture, our sinfulness will affect our understanding. We all have beliefs, assumptions, and biases which impact our interpretation of the Bible. As long as we remain in sin against God, we will read His Word opposed to the truth that He has revealed to us.
Over the years, when I bring God’s Word into my conversations with others, I have often heard: “But there are so many different interpretations of the Bible. How do you know that yours is the one that is true? Isn’t it arrogant to believe that your interpretation is the only true one?” Because I know that many people have asked these questions or have wrestled with the many interpretations of Scripture out there, here is my response:
Scripture is God’s Revelation to Us
We must begin by answering the question: What is Scripture? There are really only two possible answers to this question. One way is to recognize the Bible as God’s words to mankind. So our Creator and Lord has revealed Himself and His will to us in the pages of Scripture through human authors. Now if God has sought to communicate to us, then why would we think that He cannot speak to us clearly so that we will understand His revelation to us? When our God speaks, He speaks to be understood. God has created us in His image to receive His revelation so that we can know what He wants us to know. Therefore, we have every confidence in knowing that we can understand what God has revealed when we interpret His Word.
However, there is another way to look at Scripture. It views the Bible as merely a collection of spiritual insights from an ancient people over centuries. They may have somehow received these insights from God, but the Bible is essentially a man-made compilation of ancient human wisdom. If we read it in this way, then we are not looking for a consistent, coherent, or accurate message from the pages of Scripture. We should expect mistakes, errors, and confusion. Obviously, this approach to reading the Bible will affect how we interpret it.