Why are there so many interpretations of the Bible?

If the Bible is the one book given to us by God, then why does it create so many denominations and opposing viewpoints? Here are 3 reasons why.

1. Education

Peter warned us that ignorant people would twist and distort the Scriptures in 2 Peter 3:16. To not distort Scripture’s meaning, we can’t be ignorant. We avoid being ignorant by careful study and research of the Scriptures, as well as careful study of the historical backdrop in which they were written.

In 2 Timothy 2:15, Paul tells Timothy “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth”

It takes being a workman to properly understand the Scriptures. We need to work in order to correctly learn and handle the word of God.

2. Illumination

“The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.” 1 Corinthians 2:14

Without God’s spirit, we can’t understand the deeper truths of Scripture. The Bible isn’t just a book, but an account of the very author who speaks to us through it. We need God’s spirit to connects us to his very heart in order to understand his written words.

Prayer and a relationship with God are essential in understanding what God is truly saying in His word. In Hebrews 4:12, the Bible is described as a living word, and we must be spiritually alive with God to connect with it.

“For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” ‭‭Hebrews‬ ‭4:12‬

Too many approach the Bible simply on a human basis, and they read it relying only on their own understanding, past instructions, and their current perceptions. A Biblical degree does not guarantee that we will truly understand what God is really saying in his word. If that was the case, Jesus would have summoned 12 scholars as his disciples. Instead, he summoned 12 simple men, most of which were fishermen. Correctly interpretating the Bible doesn’t only depend on education, it also depends on having the right attitude of humility toward God.

Relying upon myself and my degrees alone won’t get me any closer to what God truly means to say in the Bible, because God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble. (James 4:6)

3. Humility

We often let culture and the world make up our mind regarding certain issues. Then, when confronted with the Bible, we look for ways to use Scripture to support the viewpoints we have already decided upon, whether they are correct or not.
Those who get the most out of the Bible are those who approach it with a willingness to let it redefine their made-up minds because they acknowledge that they could be wrong.

Pride shuts the door to God’s perspective in the Bible and holds fast to what we call “our” perspective, causing us to think that our perspective is always right.


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