The Bible is of no Private Interpretation.
Pastor A.W. Weckeman, Oct. 2016
“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 tends to solidify over time.
When challenged, people respond, “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 think; 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 preconceived ideas).
In reality, the second and third methods are based upon private interpretation; someone’s opinion derived from their personal point of view. The first approach humbly acknowledges the inadequacy of human intellect, instead choosing to rely on illumination from God’s Word and Spirit.
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” (the 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 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).
God uses the foolish things of the world to confound the wise: “For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: That no flesh should glory in his presence.” (1 Cor. 1:26-29).
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 fundamental truths absolutely essential to “spiritual understanding.” Hidden realities reserved for 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, their natural tendency is to interpret the Scriptures through their own inadequate abilities.
“A humble and prayerful person will find a thousand things in the Bible, which the proud student will utterly fail to discern.” J.C. Ryle
Pride produces men of high self-esteem; conceited, contemporary Pharisees and Sadducees mysteriously oblivious to the truth of the truth mentioned above in (1 Cor.1:25-29). Sadly, many of the recognized “scholars” of today (Professional Theologians of Christian Academia) have fallen into the same trap as their secular cousins, believing intellect to be all-sufficient; the key to understanding…including “spiritual realities.” The power of paradox has restrained their comprehension, often rendering them blind to spiritual truth “Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.” (2 Tim.3:7).
However, this does not, in any way, imply human intellect of little value when studying the scriptures; it is God’s wonderful gift (1 Cor.4:7) to be used for His glory. However: “Without the Holy Spirit’s guidance, 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 that 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 Bible is “of no private interpretation”… the actual preserved word of God?
There are hundreds of contradictory versions of the Bible which obviously are not the fruit of “spiritual understanding” (provided by the Holy Spirit); “For God is not the author of confusion…” (1 Cor. 14:33). Rather, they are the product of so-called “Christian scholarship” (textual criticism), a pernicious amalgamation of intellectual understanding and assumed spiritual understanding.
Upon comparing the genuine humility, evident depth of “spiritual understanding” and reverence by which the King James translators approached God’s Word with the translators of the “New International Version” (or any other modern “politically correct” perversion), it’s not hard to understand how the devil makes use of man’s sin nature to “corrupt the word of God.”
“…God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.” (1 Peter 5:5). Pride is the opposite of humility; just as humility opens the door to spiritual understanding, pride closes it.
Satan’s words: “Yea, hath God said...?” [are you sure that’s what God said] (Gen.3:1). Jesus’ words, “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away. (Matt. 24:35)