Vol. 5, No. 9
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It should go without saying that one's attitude toward the Word of God itself will affect interpretation greatly. However, time and time again in my studies with individuals, I have seen people willing to impugn God's Word rather than accept the truth. In other words, they would rather imply that the Bible is inconsistent or wrong than admit being inconsistent or wrong themselves. The Pharisees were so intent on proving Jesus was wrong that they were willing to assign Jesus' healing power to Beelzebub (Matthew 12:22-24). To this Jesus replied, "All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men" (Matthew 12:31). Jesus told them that in their efforts to circumvent Jesus' teaching they, in fact, had brought indictment against the Holy Spirit who had provided the means of the miracle. Likewise, when we take a position that implies that the Bible is in error, we have effectively committed blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, impugning the Source, because we are implying that what God says is not really from God (2 Timothy 3:16-17).
Many people commit this moral felony when they refuse to examine the entire context of a passage. How many people have quoted Jesus saying, "Judge not, that ye be not judged" (Matthew 7:1), and then interpreted that to mean that all judging is wrong? Jesus also said, "Judge not according to appearance, but judge righteous judgment" (John 7:24). Therefore, Jesus could not have meant in Matthew 7 that all judging is wrong. Yet, some people would rather act as if Jesus was right in Matthew 7 but wrong in John 7 in order to try to justify their own position. This essentially pits Scripture against Scripture. I have taken people to various passages in the Bible in an attempt to teach them only to have them try to jump here and there in the Bible looking for some Scripture that would contradict the Scripture I pointed out to them. This attitude itself is wrong! How are we better off by treating God's Word as if it is full of contradictions? Again, this is an attack against God himself. When you have two verses contradicting one another, you can be sure that your interpretation of at least one of them is wrong. "For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints" (1 Corinthians 14:33).
Satan tried to pit Scripture against Scripture when he tempted Jesus. Rather than agreeing that there was some contradiction or inconsistency, Jesus pointed out that Satan's interpretation was incorrect and therefore the problem (Matthew 4:6-7). Some try to mask their own inconsistency in doctrine by calling it "tension." Others try to play down the fact that they are undermining verbal plenary inspiration. Any time we study the Bible, we must examine the entire context, not only of the passage and book, but also of the entire Bible, in order to make sure that our interpretation does not create inconsistency in our beliefs (Acts 20:27). The Bible is always right; we are often wrong. Let us not confuse these two.