February 21

2 Peter 1:19-21

“First of all you must understand this, that no prophecy of scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation, because no prophecy ever came by human will, but men and women moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.” vss. 20-21

Interpretation of scripture is a notoriously difficult enterprise. Some say it can only be done reliably by trained and skilled biblical scholars, men and women who understand fully the historical context of the texts and who have an extensive theological education. Others say that anyone can interpret the scripture, it’s just a matter of reading the passage and thinking about what it means–there’s no prior preparation necessary. Now it is true that many verses in the bible can be read and appreciated by most anyone who reads them. Their truths are self-evident and uncomplicated. But for the most part the bible is an enormously complicated and difficult book, and understanding the intentions of the various writers and editors will require significant study. The bible has even been used to drive wedges among believers and undermine the mission of Jesus Christ. Some people claiming to be scholars have wielded the scripture as a weapon and caused major mischief in the life of the Church with their fanciful and wrongheaded interpretations. Above all it’s important to remember that the bible is the word of human beings, and not the center of our faith as disciples of Christ. As Martin Luther said, “The bible is the cradle in which the Christ is laid.” It deserves our study, but not our worship!

Thought for the Day: Why do some call the bible God’s word?

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