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Monday, September 26, 2011

Can We Interpret the Bible Differently?

By Tyler Boyd
     The existence of so many denominations and sects of those who claim to be “Christian” has led to a belief that the Bible can be interpreted differently. Is this a true statement? Can the Bible be interpreted differently?
     First we must understand that it is a truth that the Bible must be interpreted. But what does it mean to interpret the meaning? Does “interpret” mean to assign the meaning, or to learn the meaning? God has given us His word, and His word has a meaning. There is only one meaning to God’s word. There is “one faith” (Ephesians 4:5). Man does not have the authority to assign his own meaning to what God has said.
     It is impossible to interpret the Bible differently. It is possible for someone to interpret the Bible, and for someone else to “misinterpret” the Bible. But because God’s word has one true meaning, if two people disagree on the meaning, both cannot be correct. For example, it is a fact that the Indianapolis Colts won the Super Bowl in 2007. If you were to say “the Indianapolis Colts won the Super Bowl in 2007,” but I said, “the Chicago Bears won the Super Bowl in 2007” we could not both be correct. I would not be interpreting the game differently, but rather I would be misinterpreting the game.
     John 8:32 reads “And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” From this verse we learn two facts. The word “truth” is singular; therefore there is only one truth. We also learn that the truth is something we can know. From the preceding verse we learn we can know the truth by abiding in His word. When we encounter difficult passages, we cannot simply assign our own meaning, but rather we study to understand the true meaning. “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God…rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15).

- Tyler Boyd; via the weekly bulletin of the Harrisburg church of Christ in Harrisburg, IL.  You may visit their website at

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