one can disagree that it's wise to exercise caution when presented with
something we're asked to believe. "What was the author trying to
communicate?" we should ask. "Travel broadens the mind",
for example, is not the message Darwin was trying to communicate through
his book Origin of Species. Therefore
care must be taken to interpret a given writing for the message the author
it is with the Bible. Interpreting it to receive a message other than
what was intended is not really receiving it at all. Consider the following
topics I believe pertinent to the broad issue of interpretive freedom:
WHAT IS TRUTH?
Christianity is accused by nonbelievers as being untrue. Can we at least
agree then that there is such a thing as truth? If so, then I contend
that truth matters, for without it any hope to communicate accurately
with one another is pointless.
ISN'T ONE INTERPRETATION JUST AS GOOD AS THE NEXT?
A survey of individuals and institutions reveal
there are many interpretations of the Bible being held other than those
of traditional orthodox belief. This neither justifies nor refutes either
set of interpretations. What would justify or refute them? (This is the
first of a two-part chapter critical for the topic of interpretation.)
HOW CAN DIFFERENT TRANSLATIONS EXIST OF THE SAME BIBLE?
If the Bible is the unchanging word of God, why
are there so many different translations in circulation today?
HOW COULD A "MERCIFUL" GOD ORDER ISRAEL TO DESTROY CERTAIN PEOPLES
Is God to be interpreted as merciful per the New
Testament, or vengeful per the Old? Or are we missing something?
What causes some to see evidence for God where others
see none? Or what blinds some to the evidence for God that others plainly
see? The answer is faith, and it's far less esoteric than you might think.
6. WAS JESUS
RESURRECTED FROM THE DEAD?
link jumps into the middle of eight chapters on the subject, focusing
on whether the resurrection was LITERAL or FIGURATIVE. Jesus' apostles
willingly endured torture and death for their interpretation of the resurrection.
For which interpretation did they choose to die?
7. THE REFORMATIONS
Protesters to the inquisitions, or "Protestants",
returned to the Bible as their sole source of authority on God (sola
scriptura), turning away from a centuries-long corrupted system. Is
the Protestant interpretation that the Bible is our chief authority a
valid one, or does the Papal office reign supreme?
HOW LONG DID CREATION TAKE?
How old is the universe? How old is the earth?
What does the evidence indicate, what does the Bible say, and how is it
to be interpreted? (This links to other chapters which will help provide
a more complete answer.)
9. WHAT IS INSPIRATION?
Only books determined to be inspired were included
in the Bible. Whose to say what is inspired?