Well, here we are. Chapter 3. We all knew I’d get here eventually, and I knew that when I did, I would probably lose some of you. That’s because we are going to look at some deeper theology here, and everyone has their own beliefs about interpreting the Bible.
For most of my childhood and teen years, I read the Bible and simply accepted what it said as truth. But as I got into my 20’s, I became aware of a variety of interpretations of the Scriptures. I realized that several people would read the exact same passage and get 4 or 5 different meanings out of it. As I began to slip deeper and deeper into a life of sin, I began to accept the worldly notion that truth is not just black and white, but that there are many, many shades of gray. I began to accept that different people reading the bible might come to different conclusions, because their truth might be different from mine. I also began to believe that it was alright for me to accept these differences.
I had started my descent from the truth to post-modernistic thinking.
It may surprise many of you to learn that I did not stop reading or studying the Word of God during the period of time where I turned away from Christ into a lifestyle of deep sin. In fact, thanks to post-modernistic thinking, I did not have to reconcile those two aspects of my life. Sinning did not preclude me from studying the Bible, and reading the Word did not preclude any of my sinful behavior.
How can this be, you might be asking?
The answer is simple: through sin, pain, depression, and drugs I no longer heard the Spirit of God speaking to me through His Word.
I had quenched the Spirit! I had abandoned my relationship with the One who had hung on a cross for me. At that point, I didn’t know whether I would pass into an eternity in heaven or in hell; and compared to the hell of my life, I did not care either way.
But God still loved me and had a plan for me. He never abandoned me! He never abandoned my mother, who never ceased praying for me. (Big, public “Thank You, Mom”) He just answered in His time, in His way, which brought Him alone the glory. And at just the right time, He called me back through His Spirit and brought me back into relationship with Himself. Renewed in my relationship with Jesus Christ, I wanted as much of the Word of God as I could get my hands on!
Through all of the pain and suffering, I had been taught things that I could not have been taught any other way. Things like humbleness, patience, and the difference between knowledge and wisdom, flesh and Spirit. I learned it was not enough to know the Word of God if I was not willing to yield to the Spirit and allow Him to apply it to my life.
And that’s where Chapter 3 and theology come in. Everyone has an opinion about interpretation of the Bible, but if we have access to the Author of the Book, why not just ask Him? We can do that in 2 ways:
- Pray for the Spirit of God, who write the Book, to open our eyes and guide us into all truth.
- Search through the Bible to see what other passages shed light on what we are reading, since it is all the Word of God.
Simply put, that is the basis for Reformed Theology. We allow Scripture to interpret Scripture. We read exegetically, which means we allow the Scriptures to speak for themselves. We do not come to the Bible with preconceived notions about what we would like it to say; instead, we form our thoughts and opinions based on what it DOES say.
So, I hope and pray that you will continue on with me. Whether you agree or disagree, please feel free to leave a comment. We are all learning together, and I don’t know it all. Not even close!
Next post… John 3: 1-8 (ESV)