How do YOU interpret scripture?
I was recently told I was only looking for trouble and to go post my stupid comments elsewhere after someone told me they get their understanding of the Bible from what the catholic church establishes as true, to which I then questioned why the church is considered infallible while other interpretations are fallible. It boiled down to if they agreed on something, its truth through the holy spirit. If they don't, its irrelevant.
How do YOU interpret scripture, and what makes your interpretation more "right" than someone else's?
I interpret scripture to be based upon the historical precepts of the time. I am not religious at all but spiritual. Now enough about me. Religionists aren't monolithic in scope but are varied in their beliefs, outlooks, & psychologies. Progressive, liberal, & enlightened religionists interpret scripture based upon their own thoughts. They refuse to go by what so-called religious authorities' interpretation of such scriptures. They feel that they are as qualified to interpret scripture as any religious authorities whom they believe are humans such as themselves, no more, no less.
However, conservative, dogmatic, fundamentalist, & traditional religionists are an entirely different story. These religionists oftentimes go by the interpretation of their religious authorities. In essence, what their respective religious authorities say that scripture is & should be.....GOES without question. Such religionists view the findings of their religious leaders as infallible because in their view, religious leaders are seen as God incarnates on earth. So they contend that if the religious leader/authority says scripture is such that means that somehow God is speaking through them & who are the former to question them for if they question the religious leader, they question God which they consider to be blasphemous.
Welcome to our world, Link. Mormons think the holy scriptures were delivered by an angel and written on tablets made of gold. Abrahamic religions think that the scriptures were delivered by a burning bush and written on stone tablets or the scriptures just popped into the heads of the gospels inspired by a criminal that was executed in a horrible way. And btw, the criminal was his own father and didn't require sperm to be conceived with. These are the people who are "interpreting" scriptures.
The truth is that man created religion because he had questions about the natural world and was still too primitive to even formulate real theories.
Later on, kings and royalty siezed on the church scriptures, even rewriting them to sieze power over the poor and the superstitious, uneducated people. The myths grew and became beliefs, which are still subject to interpretation by the fabulously wealthy catholics.
The scriptures can be used to control the masses, so that's what they do with them. God needs more money! He is still getting it from the sheep. And the vatican laughs all the way to bank.
Best to ignore these people. Someday, they may discover the truth, but don't hold your breath. It's useless to argue with them as their mind is controlled by a "higher power".
It's funny because I just had a refresher in my humanities class about Martin Luther. When the printing press was invented and information/knowledge became more accesible to the public, a Reformation of the church immediately followed...
Yes, that is when King James commissioned the interpretations that exist today as the "standard". He awarded the new bibles to his court and made it the official interpretation of the bible.
If I'm going to be using particular scripture for any reason, I take a look at the context which that particular verse or chapter may come from - historical, social, cultural - because for a lot of the more "controversial" and often used to bash other's verses make COMPLETE sense if they are interpreted in the context of which they were written, but no longer work for the reason they are being applied to today.
Then, thinking about the mistranslations as well - context is EVERY thing. The Bible in it's English state has been translated through up to three languages from it's original language - as anyone who's ever used Google Translate or had someone translate for them - you know that it never QUITE fits word for word, but the 'gist' of the statement is there - UNLESS the translator assumes that their thoughts on what was meant to be said is the one that the original speaker meant....(think "Chinese Whispers") - the context of several words in Corinthians which have been 'translated' to mean "homosexual" actually don't mean anything of the sort. (I'm still writing that hub..it's fiddly!), and the word Homosexual didn't exist in the original language = translator bias.
I also don't assume that my interpretation is the ONE and ONLY true interpretation. I did not write it, it could never be completely correct. And that goes for anyone who claims theirs is correct - did you write it? No. Then, your interpretation is NOT infallible, even if you think that God has inspired your interpretation.
Anyway....I wonder if anyone from a religious background will answer....
What a wonderful question. I am afraid I cannot help you with the notion that my interpretation is more right than someone else's as I see interpretation as a personal deal with no right answers. (or all right answers)
Now I am a hybrid believer. I attend a Lutheran church each Sunday. I am not a member. I donate some money but do not tithe. They have a wonderful African ministry that does a lot of good. I have good friends there and we sing and pray together and read scripture together and there is always a nice message delivered. So that effects how I view the Bible.
I pray and meditate and read some Bible verse everyday. And I write an online sermon here at HP. I normally quote a Bible verse somewhere in those sermons.
I do not spend very much time reading the Old Testament. I have read it of course but do not study it. Love the Psalms.
Let me put this in the negative: The Bible is not all historical; The Bible is not all metaphorical; The Bible is not translated the same everywhere; The Bible can be interpreted differently. And of course the inverse is true. If you catch my drift.
So for my studies of the Bible it is generally just New Testament keeping the knowledge of the Old Testament in the back of my mind.
I cannot in good thought and conscience follow the dogma of a particular denomination though I attend Lutheran and am on my 3rd year of online study of the Catechism (Catholic). Dogma and doctrine are cool insofar as they give us examples. But not so much as they give us rules.
So for the New Testament I put on my glasses of love. If the passage does not ring true to the greatest commandments then I am reading it wrong. Hell and Heaven do not bind me in the direction in which my life flows so I really give them very little note. How the world ends is not my business so I really do not pay much attention there. I interpret the Bible in a way to help me lead my life today -- tomorrow and yesterday will have their own problems. Which is why prayer, meditation and study must be nearly daily.
Now on the fun side, the historical stuff is cool. Putting some cultural influence on the time of Jesus is cool. And you just cannot read a one liner and get it so it is fun to put things in context.
I do not think I am odd for a Christian. I think most kind of do like I do just maybe not to such a degree. I preached to second gen from immigrants youth for a few years and have a degree in philosophy. So my bent may be a little more extreme.
Simply put, I do not try to interpret scripture. How arrogant can us humans be to actually believe we can rightfully understand the word of God? I can't even be sure if the scripture is correct, as it has been translated over and over in different languages. Every part of it reveals a meaning that goes further than words, history, and human comprehension.
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