The Inspiration and Authority of the Bible: The Interpretation and Acceptance of Its Authority (Part Five: Illumination)

The young man felt sure of a couple of things.  One, the Bible came from God’s revelation to His prophets.  Two, He made sure that though they were using their own thoughts and ways of communicating, what they wrote was without error, was “inspired”.  But what good was an inspired account of God’s revelation if everyone had a different interpretation of it?  Who could say it was authoritative then?  Someone had told him that if you asked the Holy Spirit for the correct interpretation, that would be the authoritative one.  Could that be the answer?

He thought he had found a passage that confirmed all this.  1 Corinthians 2:10-16 said God had “revealed” to us His wisdom (v.10), that it had been spoken through His prophets “in words taught…by the Spirit (v.13), and that “the man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned” (v.14),  but “the spiritual man makes judgments about all things” (v.15).

But as he pondered this some more, some realizations came to him.  The natural man is the unbeliever.  To him, the things of God are “foolishness.”  It is not that he cannot understand the concept of Jesus dying for our sins and salvation being a free gift.  It is that he cannot buy it as true or at least true for himself.  Believers buy these truths.  They understand them in the sense that they accept them as valid for themselves.  This was because they have the Holy Spirit.

He had read interpreters who did not really follow Christ, but who had nevertheless made accurate interpretations of portions of the Bible.  The Bible was capable, like any good written communication, of conveying the author’s intended meaning.  One could understand what the author meant by paying careful attention to his words, his language, his culture and the situations of his time.  It required diligence and attentiveness to correctly interpret.  It required the Spirit of God to believe and act upon the interpretation. 

Paul said, “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” (2 Timothy 2:15).  Surely part of that “doing your best” was asking the Holy Spirit’s help as you studied, but it also included working hard and carefully to understand the text of Scripture.  God even gave certain believers the gift of teaching to help us gain more understanding.  And in regard to the basics of the Christian faith, there weren’t so many different interpretations that the truth wasn’t abundantly clear.  Any interpretation that wanted to claim Biblical authority had to be able to defend itself from the Bible.  It would not be enough to claim that God’s Spirit showed the interpreter what the correct interpretation was.

Advertisements

About thimblefulloftheology

Staff pastor of an evangelical church in Collierville TN just outside of Memphis. Married with four grown children, all married. Thrilled with life in Jesus Christ. View all posts by thimblefulloftheology

2 responses to “The Inspiration and Authority of the Bible: The Interpretation and Acceptance of Its Authority (Part Five: Illumination)

  • christianliberal

    Are you reading a censored Bible?

    Did you know that in the year 325 the Nicene Council eliminated much of the Bible contents.
    That council decided which books were truly “inspired” and which were not. The
    accepted books became our current popular bible.

    There are MANY other sources of inspired works, gospels, and recent discoveries
    of ancient texts that give fuller meaning to the teachings of Christ.

    There are various sources and include

    1. The Apochypha – the so called missing books
    of the bible ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biblical_apocrypha ),
    2. The recently popular Gospel of Judas ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gospel_of_Judas )
    and
    3. The Dead Sea Scroll, called the Nag Hamadi library
    ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nag_Hammadi_library )

    These works are important to Christians because the help explain some of the
    teachings of Christ.

    One example is whether or not we, like Christ, can become the “Sons of God.”
    or if that title belongs to Jesus alone.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_Council_of_Nicaea

    One purpose of the council was to resolve disagreements arising from within the
    Church of Alexandria over the nature of Jesus in relationship to God the Father;
    in particular, whether Jesus was the literal son of God or was he a figurative son,
    like the other “sons of God” in the Bible. St. Alexander of Alexandria and
    Athanasius claimed to take the first position; the popular presbyter Arius,
    from whom the term Arianism comes, is said to have taken the second.
    The council decided against the Arians overwhelmingly
    (of the estimated 250–318 attendees, all but two voted against Arius.)

    • thimblefulloftheology

      I take issue with your view that the church has unfairly censored or tried to silence legitimate expressions of the true gospel. The very article in Wikipedia on the Apocrypha you reference shows that many versions of the Bible have included the Apocrypha. The Protestant church has championed the view that the Apocryphal books are not on a par with Scripture and have given adequate reasons for believing this (see such representatives as Norm Geisler, General Introduction to the Bible).

      The Gospel of Judas represents a view much later than the New Testament that was judged a heretical view, that is, a view in contradiction to the New Testament. It is not thus included in our New Testament because it is not of the character of our New Testament nor theogically consistent with it. If someone believes and writes that Jesus is a bullfrog kissed by a princess and who thus becomes a man, are we to include this person’s writings in our New Testament. This is not really censorship but a reputable maintaining of the traditions handed down to us by those considered authoritative voices for our doctrin.

      You have mistakenly identified the Nag Hammadi texts as the Dead Sea Scrolls, which they are not. They are a collection of mostly gnostic documents (such as the gospel of Judas). The Dead Sea Scrolls include copies of Old Testament books and the writings of the Jewish sect which preserved them. Neither preserves any views that are helpful in explaining the teachings of Christ. Jesus did not teach that people are “saved” by realizing that they are spirits trapped inside sinful bodies waiting to be released from these bodies to join the world soul.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: