Yesterday I wrote, “Careless observation leads directly to incorrect interpretation.” Some might wonder if there is such a thing as “incorrect interpretation.”
YES, there is.
In Luke 7:18-19, John the Baptist wanted to make sure he had the right interpretation.
In Mark 12:24-27, Jesus accused the Sadducees of having the wrong interpretation.
The Apostle Peter tells us that ignorance or instability can lead someone to distort (misinterpret) the Bible. This practice has dire consequences (2 Pet 3:15-16).
I’ve heard people speak of the Bible: “it means whatever you want it to mean.”
Although I appreciate the desire for relevance, may I propose that extreme relativism is, in fact, self-defeating? If a communication could mean anything the receiver wanted it to mean, then there could be no such thing as meaningful communication. The speaker or writer intends a certain meaning. We can agree or disagree with it, but we can’t overlook the fact that it’s there.
In other words, when someone says that it means whatever you want it to mean, a helpful and respectful response might be, “do you really mean that?”
By all means, let us work hard to figure out what it means.