9 Jun 2002

Taking Spiritual License with Biblical Interpretation

Submitted by theshovel
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Jim, I realize that the verse I was speaking about may not have used those specific words and that I was using “spiritual” license by comparing scripture with scripture to help scripture interpret itself. I find that I do that a lot. That’s how I “read” things into how I see and interpret scripture. I guess it isn’t very systematic, or might not go with the context but to me it helps me to see the “big picture”. Kind of like those pictures that came out a few years back that looked real “fuzzy” and didn’t really look like a picture at all…and the more you tried to see the picture the more you couldn’t. Then when you “give up” and relax and try not to “focus” at all…then “SUDDENLY“…the picture that was UNSEEN…appears before your eyes. Somehow the pieces that didn’t “seem” to connect…had hidden connections and created this beautiful three dimensional picture.

So…I naturally just connect what verses come to me spontaneously. I guess it’s wrong cause I never had anybody teach me the right way. I think that is part of my “testimony”. I’ve always been the “square peg” that everybody tries to fit in a round hole.

Hello Bruce!

I guess it’s wrong cause I never had anybody teach me the right way.

I have to wonder why you would feel the need to hold on to a modified version of the mis-interpretation principles we learned at the Bible college?

I realize that the verse I was speaking about may not have used those specific words and that I was using “spiritual” license by COMPARING SCRIPTURE WITH SCRIPTURE TO HELP SCRIPTURE INTERPRET ITSELF. I find that I do that a lot. That’s how I “read” things into how I see and interpret scripture.

Now, there is validity in checking thoughts and statements by connecting them with other similar statements, but isn’t this also how we learned to manipulate verses at FBC to make our doctrines fit. Basically, we had our idea, and then we went looking for the best statements to back them up.

I had even applied memory peg techniques to these principles of interpretation, of which I can only remember two or three connections right now, hahaha! “Comparing Scripture with Scripture” was perhaps our most used (or was that mis-used?) principle. The irony was that we had to totally trash the amazing reality Paul was declaring in 1 Corinthians 2:13 (comparing spiritual things with spiritual) to give us the license to do that.

I am thrilled when anyone receives insight into this miraculous life we have in Christ - even if it comes through mis-applied statements, mis-information, totally unrelated events, or even confusion and delirium. :) This miraculous reality in Christ does indeed appear as those fuzzy pictures that don’t connect and then all of a sudden come together, but the pieces that didn’t ‘seem’ to connect are not Bible verses taken out of context, but is the reality that our false perceptions have distorted.

That’s how I “read” things into how I see and interpret scripture.

Though I have often commented on the living encouragements you have shared - and I am in no way taking any of those back - I have watched you fitting many of these mis-applied encouragements together (what you’re terming “spiritual license”) to insist upon an end result that seems very logical, and even Biblical.

You see, nobody really wants to question statements (verses) taken out context when the overall message is so encouraging. Some don’t question it because they don’t know that it doesn’t really say what is being suggested and simply assume its meaning by the way it was used; and for some, to do so would appear as stomping on the encouragement of grace … or legalistic. I have often read posts with the realization that some of the strained interpretations could easily come back as foundational building blocks of a larger system.

This approach to the Bible is what forces it into the realm of the mysterious instead of letting it be the simple testimony to the TRUE mystery: Christ, in us. If it is simple, then its words are not clouded and veiled so that they need some formal education or special rules to unlock their meanings, but are straight-forward (Sure, there are many considerations anyone would have to make when dealing with writings from another time and culture). But these scriptural words need to be seen for what they are, knowing they were written in originally understandable language, so that the mystery does not become perceived as a shared thing between the written word and the living Word.

As to being the square peg being forced into a round hole, I think we all relate to that. I’m only asking you if you might not be doing the same thing to some of the Bible verses you fit in to the bigger picture?

Love, Jim

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