The Christian Tendency to Interpret the Bible Amiss
One area in which I am vigilant is the proper interpretation of the Bible. You might have noticed that I write frequent posts regarding the accurate understanding of scriptures that are being incorrectly taught. This is because I believe that there is a Christian tendency to interpret the Bible amiss. Therefore, I make every effort to determine what the scriptures are trying to say. I want to know what the original writer intended. After all, the original writer was the pen-holder but the Holy Spirit was the inspiration for all he wrote.
Of course, many people would say the exact same thing: they want to know exactly what the Scripture’s author was trying to say. However, more often than not, people say what is right but do what they want to do.
So we have a situation where Christians call themselves Bible-believing. They see themselves as Bereans. However, when faced with teachings that are Biblically true but are opposed to their current thinking, they take an erroneous approach in interpreting the scripture.
About The Bereans
The Bereans were considered noble-minded. Paul’s approach to scripture conflicted with their understanding and beliefs. Their response was to study what Paul taught. They determined that this new way of understanding scripture was more accurate than their old way. They change their beliefs. They have a completely new faith. God praises the Bereans for properly reading and interpreting the scriptures (Acts 17:10-11).
Since most Bible believing Christians call themselves Bereans, they think they are also noble-minded. Unfortunately, they are not. In fact, I would say they are the opposite of a Berean and instead embody the definition of the Church of Laodicea: lukewarm (Revelation 3:15-18).
Jesus calls the Laodiceans lukewarm because they think they are doing well. However, they are not at all. They think they are rich but Jesus calls them poor. They think they have need of nothing but Jesus says they are blind and wretched.
Today’s fake-Bereans are Laodiceans. They think they have need of nothing but they are blind and wretched. Why? Because they interpret the scriptures incorrectly.
The Bereans compared their scripture interpretations to those preached by Paul. They tested Paul’s teaching for accuracy and determined his interpretations were more Biblically correct than theirs were. They changed their beliefs based on this.
However, today’s fake-Bereans hear a teaching of the scripture, compare this teaching to their current interpretation and determine which is true based on which makes them feel better. Biblical truth has nothing to do with their decision.
For example: I have written about the wrong understanding and interpretation around the scriptures that teach, “By His stripes we are healed.” Many Christians insist that this means we are physically healed by the work of Jesus on the cross. Yet, this is an incorrect interpretation of this scripture.
Unfortunately, when this is pointed out to them, they ignore the Biblical truth and choose to interpret the scripture based on their feelings about it. They are determined to believe that all of their physical ailments are healed because Jesus was crucified. Why are they so stubborn regarding their interpretation? Not because it is the proper interpretation of the scripture. Not because it is what the original authors meant when they wrote this. Not because there is sufficient evidence to back their interpretation. They choose to continue to believe they are physically healed because it makes them feel better.
The Danger of Interpreting the Bible Amiss
Besides the obvious problems of misinterpreting the scriptures, there is a somewhat insidious issue with this kind of Bible interpretation. We end up with a faith that is not Biblical at all and instead is a feel-good fairy tale. Once this happens, Christianity is no different from any other religious belief: Atheists, Muslims, Hindus, and Buddhists.
These are all false religions with false teachings. When Paul taught the Corinthians, he mentioned that the worship of the false religions was actually worship given to demons.
but I say that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to demons and not to God; and I do not want you to become sharers in demons. – 1 Corinthians 10:20
I write these posts because I do not want you to become sharers in demons. Yet, not only Roman and Greek religions should be considered worship to demons, but any false religion, including false Christianity.
But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed! – Galatians 1:8
Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. – 1 John 4:1
Anyone who goes too far and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God; the one who abides in the teaching, he has both the Father and the Son. If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him – 2 John 1:9-10
But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons, – 1 Timothy 4:1
But in vain do they worship Me, Teaching as doctrines the precepts of men. – Mark 7:7
But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies – 2 Peter 2:1
For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths. – 2 Timothy 4:3-4
I could continue, but it seems clear enough. When we believe the Bible says what we desire even when clear teaching shows it is saying something else, we follow Satan, not God, and walk the path that leads to destruction. Many false teachers are tickling people’s ears. Their destruction is set. Yours does not have to be. Turn to the Biblical truth! Reject the false teachings!
What Interpreting the Bible Amiss Looks Like
Here is a conversation I recently overheard:
“I believe I will be healed (of cancer) because by His stripes we are healed.”
“Actually, you know that scripture doesn’t mean that.”
“I don’t care. That’s what it means to me. I receive it and hold on to it.”
When Christians take their pet verses and use them out of context, they are no different from the Atheist, Muslim, Hindu or Buddhist who also take the Bible and use it to mean what they desire. In fact, the Bible becomes just one of many books that have helpful information that teaches how I can have my best life now. May as well take the next step and begin reading the Quran, the Vedas and the Tripitaka. After all, they also have some wonderfully positive things to say.
While I don’t expect anyone reading this post to actually begin reading the holy books of other religions, I am concerned that many of you reading this will continue to approach the scriptures as always: weighing the different interpretations of the scriptures based on which works best for you rather than what the original writer was actually saying.
In these last days, it is of the utmost importance that Christians take the narrow gate. We do not want to hear Jesus say, “I never knew you.” (Matthew 7:13-23). Be true Bereans. Change your entire belief system when the Bible clearly teaches something different from what you currently accept as true. Strive to understand exactly what the scripture writer was actually saying instead of trying to get the scripture to say what you want it to say.
There is a Christian tendency to interpret the Bible amiss. On the contrary, when we understand the truth of the Bible, we have a better understanding of God. This leads to a more realistic and better relationship with Him. Then, even should our pet scripture not mean exactly what we want it to mean, we can rejoice because the Real God is so much greater than any false belief to which we may want to hold tight.