One Bible, Many Interpretations

| March 11, 2015


Jesus knew, all too well, that lots of people who read the Scriptures did not really understand them. It’s true today, and it was true in the first century. Modern Christians disagree over all sorts of issues—baptism, spiritual gifts, the end times, church government, and so on—and if you read church history, you’ll soon discover that we’re not the first generation like that. So Christians often ask: “Is the Bible clear? Surely, if it were, we’d all agree on what it meant, right?”

There are two answers we could give to that question. The first is: when it comes to the essentials, we do. All Christians, everywhere, believe in one church, one Spirit, one hope, one Lord Jesus Christ, one faith, one baptism, one God. Whenever I feel discouraged about the confusions and debates within the global church, I go and read the Nicene Creed, and it reminds me just how much we agree on.

The second answer to that question—“If the Bible were clear, wouldn’t we all agree about everything?”—is: not necessarily. There are all sorts of things on our end—ignorance, hard-heartedness, sin, rebellion, unbelief—that might prevent us from understanding what Scripture says quite clearly. In fact, when Jesus…


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