Some say, “The Bible is more complicated than we think. God speaks to us through it. In it, we find life and meaning. Judge Scripture through the lens of Jesus. When confronting difficult issues, ask: Does this really capture the heart and character of God?”
When trying to understand why so many believers of Jesus disagree on the “interpretation” of a verse, it helps to return to the source, the author. Some believe men and women can reach a different interpretation by overlaying their culture and experience. Others contend that, if we ask, the author will tell us plainly what He meant when He gave the verse. Here is how Jesus, the Father, the Gospel writers and Prophets instruct us to reach a proper interpretation of every verse.
“Interpretations belong to God.” — Joseph Genesis 40:8
Jesus opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. (Luke 24:45)
“The Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.” — Jesus (John 14:26)
“There is a God in heaven who reveals secrets.” — Daniel (Daniel 2:28)
Jesus’ disciples said, “Now you are speaking clearly and without figures of speech. Now we can see that you know all things. You do not even need to have anyone ask you questions.” (John 16:29)
All Scripture is breathed out by God. All Scripture is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness. In this way the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:16-17)
“The word of God came and Scripture cannot be set aside.” — Jesus (John 10:35)
What we have received is not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may understand what God has freely given us. We do not speak words taught by human wisdom but words taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual realities with Spirit-taught words. (I Corinthians 2:12-13)
“I will ask the Father and another Helper He will give you. He will teach you everything and remind you of all that I told you.” — Jesus(John 14:16)
No prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation of things. For prophecy never had its origin in the human will. As they were carried along by the Holy Spirit, prophets spoke from God. (2 Peter 1:20-21)
“The Spirit of truth will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own. He will speak only what he hears. He will tell you what is yet to come.” — Jesus (John 16:13)
They read from the Book of the Law of God, making it clear and giving the meaning so that the people understood what was being read. (Nehemiah 8:8)
Anyone who does not continue in the teaching of Christ does not have God. If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not take them into your house or welcome them. Anyone who welcomes them shares in their wicked work.
On the other hand, whoever continues in the teaching has both the Father and the Son. (2 John 1:9-11)
“Scriptures testify about me.” – Jesus (John 5:39)
These are the things God has revealed to us by his Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. For who knows a person’s thoughts except their own spirit within them? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God. In fact such a person considers them foolishness. They cannot understand them because the things of God are discerned only through His Spirit. (1 Corinthians 2:10-14)
If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God. He gives generously to all without finding fault. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt. (James 1:5-6)
“The Holy Spirit will teach you at that time what you should say.” — Jesus (Luke 12:12)
“David himself, spoke by the Holy Spirit.” — Jesus (Mark 12:36)
There is but one Holy Spirit, the Spirit of God — the Spirit of Jesus. This same Spirit gave us all Scripture. This Spirit knows the meaning, purpose, and intent of each verse. Should you hear another preacher or teacher “set aside” a verse by offering a different interpretation than what the verse says, look to Scripture to confirm the speaker’s interpretation. God cannot lie. He Himself said, “I am the LORD; I change not” (Malachi 3:6).
There are instances where Jesus set aside Old Testament laws and commands. As Author, this is His right and we are right to follow His directives. For example, Jesus amended Jewish dietary laws. He calls us to refrain from executing judgment. Instead we are to forgive others and offer mercy and grace, for this we received from Jesus. In matters of morality, Jesus expanded the law and commands. Jesus said simply thinking with lust in your heart is adultery. Hating your brother is murder.
When interpreting Scripture keep in mind the instructions of the Apostle John.
“Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God. (1 John 4:1)
“The word of God came, and not is able to be broken the Scripture.” — Jesus (in Greek) (John 10:35)
Judge for yourself if a preacher or teacher offers an interpretation from the Holy Spirit of God or a deceiving spirit.