Scripture and Interpretation

I learned something today … it was about my own beliefs. Funny how I didn’t know that I believed this until I was asked a question. Actually, it is more accurate to say that I put a couple of pieces together that previously had not placed side by side. I was asked about comments a pastor had made about what God desires for us. (The details are not important for our purposes here.) Replying, I found myself affirming that what this pastor had said was true, but there was more.

One of the significant features of scripture (and by this I mean the Bible) is that it has the hand of many authors. (I know, some of you will say that God is the only author of scripture. Bear with me here.) Scripture is often understood as the revelation of God through these authors and editors. They experience God in a particular way because of who they are. Their writings give witness to this. I suspect this is rather unique in religious holy writings. Mohammad was the sole human involved in the writing of the Q’uran and Joseph Smith was the sole human hand involved in the Book of Mormon. It would be interesting to explore this further.

I believe that the Bible has a variety of authors because the experience of the revelation of God is for the community and is never captured in its entirety by one individual. (Yes, Jesus is different.) By extension, one interpretation of scripture can only be part of the fullness of God’s revelation. We need to listen to the voices of others because God is revealed in this way. That scares some people. It has never scared me.

I appreciate my liberal and conservative brothers and sisters in the faith, and I listen to them carefully. In my response to the question, I even stated that although I disagree vehemently with Westboro Baptist Church’s position on God’s judgment against this nation, their theological position might be more biblically defensible than that of some popular pastors.

The short version of this?

It is our faith that no one speaks for the fullness of God’s revelation except Jesus Christ.

Pondering Pastor

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