"Why are there so many different Christian interpretations? If all Christians have th


#1

Scripture says there is “one Lord, one faith, one baptism” (Ephesians 4:5). This passage emphasizes the unity that should exist in the Body of Christ as we are indwelt by “one Spirit” (verse 4). In verse 3, Paul makes an appeal to humility, meekness, patience, and love—all which are necessary to preserve unity. According to 1 Corinthians 2:10-13, the Holy Spirit knows the mind of God (verse 11), which He reveals (verse 10) and teaches (verse 13) to those whom He indwells. This activity of the Holy Spirit is called illumination.

In a perfect world, every believer would dutifully study the Bible (2 Timothy 2:15) in prayerful dependence upon the Holy Spirit’s illumination. Alas, this is not a perfect world. Not everyone who possesses the Holy Spirit actually listens to the Holy Spirit. There are Christians who grieve Him (Ephesians 4:30). Ask any educator: even the best classroom teacher has his share of wayward students who seem to resist learning, no matter what the teacher does. So, one reason that different people have different interpretations of the Bible is simply that some do not listen to the Teacher. Here are some other reasons for the wide divergence of beliefs among those who teach the Bible:

see next post


#2

1. Unbelief. The fact is that many who claim to be Christians have never been born again. They wear the label of “Christian,” but there has been no true change of heart. Many presume to teach the Bible who do not even believe the Bible to be true. They claim to speak for God yet live in a state of unbelief. Most false interpretations of the Bible come from such sources.

It is impossible for an unbeliever to correctly interpret scripture. “The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit . . . neither can he know them” (1 Corinthians 2:14). An unsaved man (someone who does not have the Holy Spirit) cannot understand the truth of the Bible. He has no illumination. Further, even being a pastor or theologian does not guarantee one’s salvation.

An example of the chaos created by unbelief is found in John 12:28-29. Jesus prays to the Father, saying, “Father, glorify Thy name.” The Father responds with an audible voice from heaven, which everyone nearby hears. Notice, however, the difference in interpretation: “The people therefore, that stood by, and heard it, said that it thundered: others said, ‘An angel spake to Him.’” Everyone heard the same thing—an intelligible statement from heaven—yet everyone heard what he wanted to hear.

next post


#3
  1. Lack of training. The Apostle Peter warns against those who “wrest [misinterpret]” the scriptures. He attributes their spurious teachings, in part, to the fact that they are “unlearned” (2 Peter 3:16). Timothy is told to “study to show thyself approved unto God” (2 Timothy 2:15). There is no shortcut to proper biblical interpretation; we are constrained to study.

  2. Poor hermeneutics. Much error has been promulgated because of a simple failure to apply good hermeneutics (the science of interpreting scripture). Taking a verse out of its immediate context can do great damage to the intent of the verse. Ignoring the wider context of the chapter and book, or failing to understand the historical/cultural context will also lead to problems.

  3. Ignorance of the whole Word of God. Apollos was a powerful and eloquent preacher, but he only knew of the baptism of John. He was ignorant of Jesus and His provision of salvation, so his message was incomplete. Aquila and Priscilla took him aside and “expounded unto him the way of God more perfectly” (Acts 18:24-28). After that, Apollos preached Jesus Christ. Some groups and individuals today have an incomplete message, because they concentrate on certain passages, to the exclusion of others. They fail to compare scripture with scripture.

next post


#4
  1. Selfishness and pride. Sad to say, many interpretations of the Bible are based on an individual’s own personal biases and pet doctrines. Some people see an opportunity for personal advancement by promoting a “new perspective” on scripture. See the description of false teachers in Jude’s epistle.

  2. Failure to mature. When Christians are not maturing as they should, their handling of the Word of God is affected. “I have fed you with milk, and not with meat . . . for ye are yet carnal” (1 Corinthians 3:2-3). An immature Christian is not ready for the “meat” of God’s Word. Note that the proof of the Corinthians’ carnality is a division in their church (verse 4).

Next post

  1. Undue emphasis on tradition. Some churches claim to believe the Bible, but their interpretation is always filtered through the established tradition of their church. Where tradition and the teaching of the Bible are in conflict, tradition is given precedence. This effectively negates the authority of the Word and grants the church leadership supremacy.

#5

On the essentials, the Bible is abundantly clear. There is nothing ambiguous about the deity of Christ, the reality of heaven and hell, and salvation by grace through faith. On some issues of less import, however, the teaching of scripture is less clear, and this naturally leads to different interpretations. For example, we have no direct biblical command governing the frequency of communion or the structure of church government or the style of music to use. Honest, sincere Christians can have various interpretations of the passages concerning these peripheral issues.

The important thing is to be dogmatic where scripture is and to avoid being dogmatic where scripture is not. Churches today should strive to follow the model left us by the early church in Jerusalem: “And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers” (Acts 2:42). There was unity in the early church because they were steadfast in the apostles’ doctrine. There will be unity in the church again when we get back to the apostles’ doctrine and forego the other doctrines, fads, and gimmicks that have crept in.

THE END


#6

good topic… but still dependant on Sola Scriptura.

[1] was there no chance for a “perfect world” before the canonization of the NT?
{2} was there no chance for a “perfect world” for those who could not read, and the majority who had no access to a bible before the printing press?

as for teachers…

[1] even the “best classroom teacher” will fail if there is a language barrier, or if the subject (say Calculus for example) is presented to 2nd graders.
[2] you are absolutely correct… some do not listen to the teacher

Perhaps the first question asked should be “Who has the authority to teach”??

Jesus Himself said He had all authority from the Father.

I think we can all agree on that… all authority comes from Jesus Christ.

Now… whom did he give His authority to??

“Feed My sheep… tend My flock… feed My sheep” was given ONLY to Peter… and never recinded. Only the Catholic Apostle, St. Peter received the singular authority (the “keys” if you will… and even if you won’t :wink: ) to act with authority to bind and loose, to have the Lord Himself pray that he would not bend, etc etc. etc

Why are there so many interpretations…

[1] many verses in Scripture have multiple teachings
[2] no verse in Scripture will contradict another
[3] those who reject the authoritative teaching, and the growth in understanding of Scripture will often come up short and will be “biased” in that they prefer their own approach to understanding.

Will those outside the Catholic Church always be wrong… :nope: .

Will those outside the Catholic Church always be at a disadvantage…:yup: .

Will the Magisterium always be right in declaring the Truth in matters of faith and morals?? :yup:

In a harsher tone… if a christian denies the words of Jesus (say in John 6), and prefers the easier understanding of “symbolic” words… or non-Catholic interpretation of the Catholic Bible

in other words… he or she walks away…

are they misinformed… are their eyes just not opened yet… or are they just not really christians. ??


#7

again… very true… the unity in the Church which Jesus Himself founded on Peter and the Apostles is key.

The Apostles’ doctrine was NOT theirs… it was the doctrines of Jesus Christ.

Unless one can trace their “church” or, more correctly, their faith community, directly back to the Apostles… they are not one.

Thus, only the Catholic Church can even claim to be that early Church… the one which grew and proclaimed the Gospel without a NT.

forego the other doctrines, fads, and gimmicks that have crept in.

each “doctrine, fad, gimmick” which you might suggest would each make a thread to be answered with reason… with open explanation, and with fairness to history, to faith, to the growth of the Church.

Therein lies the bias of this series of posts you have given… the author makes a case based on “The Catholic Church is wrong… therefore…”

.


#8

Chas Russell was WRONG
Martin LUther was WRONG
John Calvin was WRONG
so the teacher lead all the world to the WRONG teaching of Christ,Christ STATED one Church the world of false teachers stated the rest.
The Bible is not the sole teaching from God
The Bible has ONE interpre
ation.
The Bible does NOT condon private interpretation


#9

Holy Spirit guide us to understand things. We are given the gifts with the purpose of us worshiping God, practicing His teachings, and bring others to come to know God. However, human beings have weaknesses, and when we try to do things for your own favor or when we are lack of humility, humble, and many other things, we can go wrong.

Same thing goes with interpreting Scriptures.
This lead to: some Church has full truth and other churches have partial truth.

In the case of Martin Luther, an ex Monk. He had done great damage to Christianity - his Bible interpretation is so wrong, his elimination of 7 books out of the Bible is deadly. This results to the separation among Christians. Martin Luther was not the only one; nowadays, we still have many others even Catholic priests themselves.


#10

I wanted to come back and edited this post - but too late. I meant not to bring up issue to argue about the Bible and Martin Luther. It could be good for another forum. Sorry about that.

I had wanted to say the reason for having different Christian interpretation of the Bible is because some were lack of testing the spirits. Everybody thinks he has the Holy Spirit on his side.

Well, a lot can go wrong even if when you think you are guided by the Holy Spirit. Remember that Satan is always around you too. If you leave a little tiny crack, Satan will enter you and mess up your thoughts.


#11

The multitude of Protestants out there who practice Sola Scriptura and personal interpretation would ALL claim they are suffering from none of the deficiencies on this list, and would be highly insulted if you implied their interpretation was inferior to yours. “Who are YOU to say,” they could rightly object. “What makes you think my skills are lacking and my interpretations are wrong, and yours aren’t?”

In the end, these criteria prove nothing because with the multitude of self-interpreters with their Bibles and confidence that they are Spirit-filled, faith-filled, well-trained, humble, mature and not beholden to tradition, no one’s interpretation is any better or worse that anyone’s else. Once again it boils down to making the Holy Spirt a spirit of confusion, not truth.

**“So, who’s interpretation is the correct one?”:confused:

“Why, mine of course!” :smiley: **


#12

I think the reason there are so many interpretations is that in addition to the reasons you mentioned, is that that the teaching authority of the Church has been rejected. The Protestant attitude seems to be that after the Apostles died, all we were left to go on were the writings, and we were left to sort it out as best we could. Frank Sheed writes in his book *Theology for Beginners:
*

[FONT=Arial] [size=2]It seems strange so many Christians think the Apostles fulfilled their commission by writing the New Testament, leaving behind them no successors, nor any need for successors, with the authority Our Lord had given themselves. It seems strange, for one reason, that it would mean only five of the Twelve had obeyed their Master… [/size][/FONT]

It would seem strange for another reason- that the Church Christ founded would have been a teaching church only for a half-century or so, in all the centuries since merely a library.

Circumstances change and someone must have the authority to apply the teachings to the new circumstances; otherwise they end up as frustrations rather than teachings. Even in the doctrines themselves there are depths which the believing mind can explore, with all the danger of error but all the rich possibilities of development. With every operation of the unstagnant mind of man upon the truth, the question must arise, “What did Christ mean?”

[FONT=Arial]So it has proved. There is not a word uttered by Christ which has not met a number of diverse interpretations, some of them intelligent, some immensely attractive, but contradicting each other. How are we to know? It is not enough to have Our Lord’s words; the words themselves can only be a kind of talisman without the meaning. Without a teacher- to tell us, beyond the possibility of error, which of the various meanings is Christ’s- we should have no revelation but only an everlasting pile of conundrums. [/FONT]

However, would God really leave us in the lurch like that? The Church existed for decades before any of the NT was written, and it took centuries for the canon to be agreed upon. Even then, until the advent of the printing press, many people were illiterate, and even if they could read, would not have been able to afford a Bible. They would have to rely on somebody (i.e. the Church) to hear the Gospel.
Also, most people are unable to read the Bible in the ancient Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek that it was written in, and must rely on a translation. Would someone with a faulty translation (like the New World Translation of the JWs) reach the same conclusions that someone with a more orthodox translation would? Besides, even with a the best translation, sometimes deeper meanings can get lost when translating from the original languages. To give an example, the Eskimos have several words for snow, but none for lamb, so when trying to translate “lamb of God” for an Eskimo Bible, lamb was referred to as a “fuzzy young caribou” or something like that. So, how can somebody reading a translation actually be 100% sure they are able to graspe every nuance that the Sacred writer (or Holy Spirit) intended?


#13

I would guess that all churches have the same human failings.


#14

I disagree. First of all, where does the Bible say scripture is abundantly clear on the essentials? And where does it define what is an essential and what is a non-essential?

Secondly, Christianity is divided on Baptism. Some save it is necessary for salvation; others say it is not. How do we decide who is correct?

There is nothing ambiguous about the deity of Christ, the reality of heaven and hell, and salvation by grace through faith. On some issues of less import, however, the teaching of scripture is less clear, and this naturally leads to different interpretations. For example, we have no direct biblical command governing the frequency of communion or the structure of church government or the style of music to use. Honest, sincere Christians can have various interpretations of the passages concerning these peripheral issues.

Where does the Bible define “peripheral issues” and where does it say “sincere Christians can have various interpretations of the passages concerning these peripheral issues”? Sounds like you’re speaking from a faith tradition, and that, of course, goes against sola scriptura.

The important thing is to be dogmatic where scripture is and to avoid being dogmatic where scripture is not. Churches today should strive to follow the model left us by the early church in Jerusalem: “And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers” (Acts 2:42). There was unity in the early church because they were steadfast in the apostles’ doctrine. There will be unity in the church again when we get back to the apostles’ doctrine and forego the other doctrines, fads, and gimmicks that have crept in.

THE END

I would argue that “the other doctrines, fads, and gimmicks that have crept in” include sola fide and sola scriptura.


#15

only because the original meaning of Church has changed,

There was (and is) only one Church… it is directly linked to the unity of those who accepted the Gospel from the Apostles and their successors.

All others are simply “faith communities” (their own faith to be more explicit…and blunt)

The fact that they have choosen to use the word church to describe their group, and the fact that the usage is now so widely accepted… makes one think they are actually a church.

.


#16

but there is no guarantee of illumination! In Acts 8:26-39, when Philip asked the Ethiopian eunuch, “Do you understand what you are reading?” he replied, “How can I, unless someone instructs me?” So, who does have the authority to teach?

2 Peter 1:20 reminds us that there is no prophecy of scripture that is a matter of personal interpretation.


#17

Yes…that is the key (no pun)

Jeff Cavins does a great job of discussing this issue… the tape/CD is called “I’m Not Being Fed”

.


#18

That is true, but that is on the personal level. In unity, error can be avoided.


#19

Your Roman Catholic interpretation of John 6 can easily be refuted with the Jesus own words.


#20

please it on to Apologetics forum for refuting to see how easy!


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.