|Vol. 14 No. 8 August 2012||
You are given a picture. A school teacher asks, “What is it?” Your first response might be, “I’m not quite sure.” It is not too difficult to describe, but harder to identify. Different folks might have different ideas. However, to the one who made it, it represents only one thing – a train approaching as it comes through a tunnel. This information affects one’s future answer if asked again.
A passage from Scripture is read. A Bible class teacher asks, “What does this verse mean to you?” This form of question makes it subjective. Fifty people might have fifty different answers. Forty-nine of them may be well “off the mark,” but none are considered incorrect since it was prefaced by what it means “to you.” If it means a certain thing to me does it necessarily follow that is what it means to God? A what-it-means-to-me subjective approach to Scripture has contributed to a divisive, denominational and unbiblical approach to Christianity.
Rather, the Scriptures are designed to be approached in an objective way. God has revealed His message through Jesus, His apostles and additional penmen of Scripture via the Holy Spirit. The sense is vitally important. God is communicating the same message to every living individual. To God, the Author of the Holy Bible, a passage has its meaning. God wants every one of us to see what He is communicating to us. God wants us all to believe what He believes. Is God wrong? No way.
God does not alter His thinking or His criteria for judgment to conform to what a Bible passage means to me. Rather, He wants us to alter our way of thinking to conform to His (cf. 2 Peter 3:18).