Is the Bible Ambiguous?

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A reader asks, “How can we conform to Scripture that we all interpret in different ways?” And, “How do you know your Christianity is the right one among all others?” And when I replied that the Bible is the right Christianity, she said I’d dodged the issue.

Well, let me try again.

First, just because people insist on imposing their own emotions and opinions on it doesn’t mean that Scripture has no meaning. St. Peter: “Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost” (2 Peter 1:20-21).

In other words, the Bible is delivered to us, by the Holy Ghost, as objective truth. No one has any business subjecting it to any private interpretation. An extreme example of that would be “Clergy for Choice,” blaspheming by their celebration of abortion as “doing God’s work.” Or those who perform same-sex parodies of marriage. Or bless adulterous unions. If any of those “interpretations” is anything but blatantly wrong, then words really have no meaning and we might as well give up trying to communicate with one another. Those “interpretations” flatly contradict the plain language of the Scriptures.

Second, I kind of lost patience with that turn of phrase, “your Christianity.” In our stupid colleges and universities we learn that there is no true truth, but only “your truth” and “my truth”–and whoever has the most power, their version of the truth prevails.

The Lord Our God did not intend for us to live that way. He is a Person who created us, who loves us, who made us in His image, yet by no means the same as Himself; who is all-wise, all-righteous: and He is our objective truth; He is the starting-point for all that we can ever know to be true. So if there is any “my Christianity,” that would be a form of self-worship. There is no yours or mine. We are here to seek God’s will, and to do it.

All right, we can’t. We do insist on bending, folding, spindling, and mutilating the absolute truth communicated to us by God. If we did not do that, we would not need a Savior: there would have been no reason for Jesus Christ, the Son of God, to come into this world in the flesh. 

Now, just because we never arrive at 100% of the absolutely true meaning of the Scriptures does not mean that we always come away with nothing. Sanctification is not a wave of a magic wand. It is a process. It takes a lifetime. It is accomplished in stages by the Holy Spirit, and the sovereign will of God.

All powers on the earth are under God and will be held accountable to Him, and be judged by Him.

Those who are satisfied with their own bizarre and heretical “interpretations” of Scripture had best enjoy it while they can.

10 comments on “Is the Bible Ambiguous?

  1. One massive hustle is the notion that we need someone to interpret the Bible for us. The problem with this is in choosing who is qualified to act as an interpreter. If someone teaches any number of scriptural points accurately but contradicts the Bible completely on one point, how trustworthy is that person? Let God be found true, though every man is a liar.

    The written word of God is valid, but we must let it speak for itself. I can’t count the number of times I’ve heard someone attempt to manipulate the meaning of scripture by claiming that a certain passage was symbolic. There are symbolic bible passages, such as Revelation, but these are labeled as such. In Daniel’s vision, it is explained to him that the meaning will not be revealed until the End Times. So why is it written that way?

    In my OPINION, and please note that I am strongly emphasizing that this is a personal opinion, a conclusion I have arrived at and not something I am trying to pass off as fact; the purpose of prophecy is to reveal God’s promises and to allow us to recognize significant events when we observe them. Prophecy is not meant to teach of every detail of what is going to happen in the future. When people try to extract greater detail from prophecy than God included, they immediately set foot in the realm of opinion, which means that they risk imposing their own hopes, dreams and values on the matter.

    In my personal experience, relying on human interpretations of the scriptures has proven disappointing. I’ve heard all about symbolic and “spiritual” explanations for various verses and came to a point of frustration and confusion. At that point I decided to simply take the word of God at face value and feel that this has given me a much less cluttered understanding.

    Perhaps the most important aspect of this is realizing that it isn’t necessary to answer all of the possible questions. Seeing God’s purposes being fulfilled tells me that everything is on track and things will work out in the end according to the purpose of God Himself.

  2. This is a thoughtful, excellent post, Lee. I can’t count the times I’ve become dismayed with my denomination (and many if not most of my fellow clergy therein) taking political and social stands which are justified by “in today’s context” kinds of arguments.

  3. Very well said, Lee and all. I have nothing new to add. I just get impatient
    with those who try their best to cloud the issues. At the judgement, all of that will end immediately, thank the Lord.

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