How many times when discussing the Scriptures with someone that differs with us do we hear them respond, Well, that s just your interpretation? This statement is made generally to imply that we simply cannot understand the Bible alike, that one interpretation is as good as another and that we are really dealing with opinion anyway. Many believe there to be no consequence to the many interpretations of the Bible as long as we believe in Jesus as the Son of God and accept Him as our personal Savior. Hence, the idea of unity through diversity is universally accepted in the denominational world as being perfectly acceptable to God.
But the apostle Paul said, Give diligence to present thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth no to be ashamed, handling aright the word of truth (2 Tim. 2:15.) This passage clearly shows God s approval dependent upon handling God s word properly. The fact that we are instructed to use the word of truth correctly indicates the possibility of misunderstanding and wrongly applying God s Word. But more than this, it necessarily implies the possibility of understanding God s word accurately and finding His favor.
Many today seem unconcerned with all the confusion and think nothing of the division that exists in the religious world. But the fact that so many different denominations teach and practice different things, while they all claim to be following the same Lord and use the same Bible is not evidence that we cannot understand the Bible alike. Paul wrote, whereby, when ye read, ye can perceive my understanding in the mystery of Christ (Eph. 3:4). Paul s understanding was revealed by inspiration. It was not an interpretation, but a revelation. And he wrote so that we also might also understand that which was revealed.
I realize that some Scripture is easier to understand than others. There is such a thing as the milk and the meat of the gospel (see Heb. 5:11-14). Peter speaks of Paul s writings containing some things hard to be understood. But he points out further that the ignorant and unstedfast wrestle with these passages as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction (2 Peter 3:16). Even then individuals misinterpreted that which should have been understood. Why is this?
The problem lies not in the seed (the Word of God, Luke 8:11), but in the soil (the heart) into which the seed is sown. Only the honest and good heart receives the seed (Luke 8:15). Since it is the honest heart that understands and receives God s instruction, does this imply that most people are dishonest when dealing with Scripture? Not necessarily. While many cannot see the truth of God because of bias and prejudice, there are also many honest people that have simply been deceived. They either have never heard God s truth, or they are honestly mistaken.
But when honest individuals are confronted with God s truth they will not label it as your interpretation. Instead, they will carefully consider it and recognize it as being God s Word. They will understand it and apply it. They will receive and obey it.
Remember, we can understand the Bible alike. Jesus said, Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free (John 8:32).