One of the questions I get most frequently in my travels is how to properly interpret the Bible.
Backup for a second.
Imagine you’re 19 years old and grew up in the church. You go away to college and discover that a lot of sincere, Spirit-led people interpret the Bible different than you.
And different from each other.
This raises several questions in your mind:
1. Who’s right?
2. Are there any rules or guidelines for interpreting the Bible?
3. Who makes these rules? Why should I believe them?
4. In the end, isn’t up to each individual to interpret the Bible for their own life, based on how God is leading them?
With these questions and a few others in mind, you show up at a 9pm talk in your dorm lounge to hear what a traveling “apologist” (a what?) says about these matters.
He is emphatic about one main thing:
Participating in the interpretive community.
You’ve never heard of this. It sounds like a nature hike at a state park.
He insists that it’s wrong to interpret the Bible in isolation. That you need to take part in the historic conversation that’s been unfolding around the Bible for two millennia.
The interpretive community? The historic conversation?
The apologist from St. Paul, MN, is maybe a little wacky.
We’ll find out next week.