Pastor A. W. Weckeman – August 2015
“Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any PRIVATE INTERPRETATION. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were MOVED BY THE HOLY GHOST.” (2 Peter 1:20-21) [Emphasis added].
Private interpretation forms a bias in favor of our “own understanding” (Prov.3:5); a personal viewpoint or erroneous teaching which has the tendency to solidify over time.
“Well that’s what I have always been taught and have come to believe.” “The great Dr. so and so says…or I heard on Christian radio or read on the internet”
Always be ready to change whatever you have been taught or have come to believe when it is contrary to what the Bible teaches. Avoid the trap of attempting to make the Bible line up with what you believe, instead, always line yourself up to what the Bible teaches. Be careful not to allow your pride or intellect to close your mind and rob you of the truth.
“Deception has all to do with the mind, and means a wrong thought admitted to the mind under the belief that it is truth. Assumed knowledge is as dangerous as ignorance, since it closes the mind to truth.” Jessie Penn Lewis
People generally approach the subject of Bible interpretation from three different perspectives: First, “I sincerely want to know what it means.” Second, “I know what I think it means.” Third, “I know what I want it to mean” (to line up with my own preconceived ideas).
In reality, the second and third methods are based upon private interpretation; someone’s opinion derived from their own personal point of view. The first approach humbly acknowledges the inadequacy of human intellect, choosing rather to rely on illumination from God’s Word and Spirit.
“…God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.” (1 Peter 5:5).
The three diverse attitudes are rooted in two contrary types of understanding; “intellectual understanding” (Prov.3:5) and “spiritual understanding” (Col.1:9).
The greatest obstacle to “spiritual understanding” (prerequisite to correct interpretation) is that it is often expressed in the form of paradox. Spiritual realities are paradoxical (just the opposite of what we think); therefore many times what we think we know just isn’t so. Consider:
Calvary, life from death, (John 12:24).
Surrender equals victory, (Phil.4:11).
Weakness becomes strength, (2 Cor.12:9).
Humility is power, (1Peter 5:5).
Evil is overcome by good, (Rom.12:21).
To lose your life means to save your life, (Luke 9:23-24).
Fortunate to have misfortune, (Ps 119:67, 71, 75).3
God uses the foolish things of the world to confound the wise, (1 Cor. 1:27).
The Power of Paradox
The power of paradox confounds pride and human intellect, rendering “the wisdom of this world” (reason, logic and deduction) foolishness; while at the same time unveiling key truths absolutely essential to “spiritual understanding” to the humble truth seeking heart. Providing “spiritual wisdom”, without which, sound interpretation and doctrine are unobtainable.
“Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you seemeth to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise. For THE WISDOM OF THIS WORLD is foolishness with God. For it is written, He taketh the wise in their own craftiness. And again, The Lord knoweth the thoughts of the wise, that they are vain. Therefore let no man glory in men. For all things are yours…” (1Cor. 3:18) [Emphasis added]
Intellectually gifted people are rarely humble people; they pride themselves in their intellect; therefore the natural tendency is to interpret the Scriptures through their own inadequate abilities.
Pride produces men of high self esteem; contemporary Pharisees and Sadducees mysteriously oblivious to the truth of (1 Cor.1:25-29). Sadly, many of the recognized “scholars” (Christian academia) of today have fallen into the same trap as their secular cousins, believing their “intellectual knowledge” to be illuminating power. The power of paradox has left them blind to spiritual realities…“Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.” (2 Tim.3:7).
This is not to imply the human intellect of no value; it is a wonderful gift of God (1 Cor.4:7) to be used for His glory. However: “Without the guidance of the Holy Spirit human intellect is not only vain but dangerous because it often confuses right and wrong” (therefore a powerful means of deception). “Assumed knowledge is as dangerous as ignorance, since it closes the mind to truth.” Jessie Penn Lewis
The Heart of the Problem
Pride is an insidious heart problem which darkens the mind and hardens the heart.
“The pride of thine HEART hath deceived thee…” (Obadiah 1:3). [All emphasis mine].
“For as he thinketh in his HEART, so is he…” (Prov.23:7).
“…the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the HEART.” (1 Sam.16:7).
“And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your HEART” (Jer. 29:13)
God is infinitely more interested in the heart than the head.
Which translation is the actual Word of God?
Hundreds of differing versions of the Bible are not the fruit of “spiritual understanding” (Holy Spirit) but rather the product of so called “Christian scholarship”, (textual criticism) a pernicious amalgamation of intellectual understanding and assumed spiritual understanding.
Upon comparing the genuine humility, obvious depth of “spiritual understanding” and reverence by which the King James translators approached God’s word with those who translated the “New International Version” or any other modern perversion it’s not hard to discern the source of subversion.
“Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.” The Lord Jesus Christ (Matt. 24:35).