Is it wrong to debate about our own interpretations of the Bible?
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in my opinion, we should understand the non-negotiables of Scripture regarding God, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit. These non-negotiables should be our core of who we are in Christ. All other areas of Scripture should be discussed without destructively and negatively damaging the other persons opinions on God's word. When studying scripture through context, grammar, the genre of the writing, author/audience and intent; we can understand a little better why and what God is telling us through His word. Many people, even godly theologians debate on scripture and seek to find the true understanding of the Word. We should always feel free to discuss our understanding amongst our brothers and sisters in Christ, but ultimately yield to the Holy Spirit and even consult others more educated or knowledgable on the subject. Open minds and willing hearts are better to have in moments of debates when seeking wise counsel. I remember stating things as facts when I first became a Christian (which were terribly wrong) and my friend didn't scold me, he gently suggested that I think of it in a different light. Not long later did I understand what he was saying as the Holy Spirit had brought me a better understanding of what I was originally misunderstanding.... so in short to answer the question, we should always be open to discuss our interpretations but their comes a time when we should seek wide counsel of someone who is well versed to understand their meaning on the word.
I believe the Bible encourages debate. 1 Corinthians 11:19 "For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you." 2 Peter 1:20-21 "Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost." No scripture is isolated from scripture given elsewhere. Seeming contradictions arise when we have a wrong interpretation and wrong understanding. All of us get into trouble when we "cookie cut" scripture. For instance, in Matthew 27:5 we read: "And he cast down the pieces of silver in the temple, and departed, and went and hanged himself." Luke 10:37 states: "And he said, He that shewed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise." So if we do not "rightly divide" but combine the two passages we come up with: And he cast down the pieces of silver in the temple, and departed, and went and hanged himself And he said, He that shewed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise. I realize this example is bizarre and extreme but to a lesser degree, it happens all the time. Text taken out of context in isolation from its cotext becomes a pretext. Text: A written, typed, or printed version of something such as a speech or a statement. Context: The words, phrases, or passages that come before and after a particular word or passage in a speech or piece of writing and help to explain its full meaning. Cotext: The text that surrounds a passage, i.e. the words or sentences coming before and after it. (Cotext is the textual context of a text.) Pretext: A reason for an action which is false, and offered to cover up true motives or intentions.
When you are drawn to the Bible, God is speaking directly to you. I find that the message applies to me, so the message is unique to my circumstances. God uses the same scriptures to lead two different persons in the direction he needs them to go. So listen to others and don't be afraid to ask for explanation of a word or verse or chapter no matter how long you have been studying the Bible. An old Jewish saying "there is no shame in a rich man asking a poor man for a cup of water"
As far as I remember the bible said lean not on you own understanding. We must Pray and ask wisdom from the Lord. And seek also the people that are trustworthy in this field.
In my humble opinion scripture should be read with an open prayerful mind asking God to reveal His deep buried nuggets of wisdom. We all come to faith on our own very different life experience paths, God uses these experiences for His glory. The body of believers is varied for a purpose strong, weak, short, tall and iron sharpens iron! There are some who have paid such a price for their faith knowledge, that it's humbling to those who haven't. Their interpretations of scripture comes from a very long dark night of broken painful weakness, where a most merciful God showed His loving grace. The wise would choose not to pay the admission price for such heartbreaking knowledge or wish such things on their worst enemy, and yet these lion heart warrior saints walk among us with a purpose, let us be wise in building up our faith. Scripture tells us to come let us reason, together we will seek out the true things of God with all that He has given to us! Four Jewish levels to scripture, p'shat, remez, drash, and Sod = secret things (to profit) In the Lord's freedom to seek out the Sod........warrior on
After years of studying I came to this awakening that the teachers need historical background knowledge of the people to whom certain things were written. The Bible How the hearers understood it. There are writings that will be totally misunderstood if you don't have knowledge of the time it was said, what the hearers understood, their customs of the day and their surroundings. Example : Jesus speaking to the hearers Joh 16:23 "In that day you will not question Me about anything. Truly, truly, I say to you, if you ask the Father for anything in My name, He will give it to you. The hearer wrote down what he understood Jesus said because he was there: 1Jn 5:14 This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. “…according to His will…” this part omitted gave birth to “name it and claim it” and “declare and decree” Thank God for all those who spend years preparing for us The Commentaries, Apps, and Dictionaries though some differ but at least I am so appreciative of their contribution. It makes studying easier and you can spend your time on studying new topics. When I study I put my personal findings on paper. Thereafter I investigate its validity using all kind of tools (Commentaries, dictionaries, bible interpretations and books). I also deliberately look for those on the net who agree and disagree with my opinion reached and why they disagree. Either I refute or amend because truth must reign. This method I find very important before sharing it to the brethren. Our working brethren are depending on the teachers to fill the gap of studying God’s word fulltime intensively because the brethren after a day’s work come home have to wash feed the kids prepare for them for the next day etc. Then they end up with an hour to spend on the word before literally passing out (fall sleep) just to ditto it the next day. The teachers steer the body of believers and they must do it right. KJV 2Ti 2:15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
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