People read the Bible many different ways. They come up with different views, and cause massive confusion to the world. The reasons for this are as innumerable as the interpretations of the Bible; however, they can be boiled down into three different categories.
- People who don’t care what the Bible says. These people want the Bible to affirm what they already believe. If they are a democrat or republican, they will want the Bible to affirm their political values. If they are liberal or conservative, they want the Bible to affirm their theological system. If the reader is an Atheist, he or she will want to find contradictions, tell fairy tales, or act like one of the surrounding myths. If the person is a theist, he or she will want the Bible to give answers to affirm their belief. This kind of interpretation involves proof texting (using verses to prove a point), taking verses out of context to make them mean whatever that person wants them to mean, and twisting scripture using the nuances of words translated into a target language like English to mean something it didn’t mean originally.
- People who use an unbiblical system to interpret the Bible. these kind of people think that the Bible is either not understandable or has been corrupted in someway where they have to use something other than the Bible to interpret it. There are people who use traditions to interpret what the Bible has to say, like the Catholic church. The Catholic church says that the Bible is inspired and without error but it is not understandable to the common person. Therefore it must be interpreted through church tradition, the clergy, and the Pope. This has caused several misinterpretations of the Bible, and they have butchered the original meaning of the text. Mormons believe the Bible has been corrupted to mean what it did not originally mean and they interpret the Bible through the book of Mormon. Islam teaches the Old and New Testaments have been corrupted and they interpret it through the Quran. Evolutionists believe that the Bible doesn’t hold true to science, so they interpret it through the myth of evolution.
- People who try to understand the Bible as it was understood by the original audience. These people interpret the Bible according to its context. They don’t just read a Bible verse they read the Bible verse according to the surrounding passages within the book, its theme, genre, and historical and cultural settings. They read and reread passages in their context. They believe that the Bible can be largely understood, even though it is separated by three different languages, a large time gap, different covenants and audiences. They understand that the Bible is God’s revelation of Himself in history, man by and large is evil and separated from Him, that He is redeeming a people to himself though His Son Jesus Christ, and He is bringing all of human history to a glorious end where He reigns with His people over all creation for eternity.
Obviously I endorse the last view. The number one Bible study tip I have is to read and reread Bible passages in their context, according to the rules of their genre, in their cultural and historical settings. Keep reading it all the way through, you will get the big picture, and you will understand it. The Bible is the inspired, infallible, and all sufficient book for holy living and knowing God. It can be understood. I have three resources available that can be seen in the Resources section that make biblical interpretation much easier for the average reader. Check out these resources and please read the Bible, ask for prayer in understanding it, and read it in context. Also if you go to church where the pastor preaches and explains the Word of God that is a great help too. My sermons can also help you better understand the Bible as well. If you live in the Robinson, Oblong area in Illinois, I preach at Hardinville Christian Church. We would be happy to have you and train you in the Lord. My sermons are also available on this website as well to help you grow in the Word. Please consider checking out these resources to help fund this site. Lord bless you and have a great day.
All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:16-17, ESV)