“There are at least 14 Factors that influence what one comes up with in the Bible:
1. Your views regarding the inspiration of Scripture.
2. Whether you would favor a literal or figurative interpretation of a given passage.
3. Your knowledge and awareness of other “related” Scriptures dealing with the same issue, including the immediate context and the broader context of the entire body of Scripture.
4. Your knowledge and understanding of the background and motivation of the writer.
5. The way in which a given interpretation fits into your over-all theological belief system.
6. Your level of understanding of the original language in which the text was written.
7. The various interpretations and commentaries to which you have already been exposed.
8. The ways in which you process information. Some of you tend to emphasize reason and logic, while others depend more on personal
experiences and intuition.
9. The degree to which you are willing to accept logical inconsistencies as part of your belief system.
10. Your willingness to change your views in the light of new information.
11. The degree to which you are satisfied with your current views.
12. The amount of time you are willing to devote to your theological study and inquiry.
13. The unwillingness to consider alternative interpretations that diverge from your religious tradition.
14. Your overall view of God that has been conditioned by many different life experiences and relationships.
Based on the above variables, does it surprise anyone that there are many different ways the Bible is interpreted? This is especially problematic because many people view the Bible as something to be “right about.”
The only absolute truth is God or truth itself, and our best interpretations of the Bible are only an approximation of it. God was God and Truth was Truth before there was a Bible and will continue to be after the Bible is no more. The Bible is not a theological landing strip for a particular belief system about God, but a spiritual launching pad setting us free to explore and enjoy ever-deepening and ever-widening dimensions of life, love, peace, goodness, beauty, and freedom.
Once I realized that the point of the Bible wasn’t to create a belief system ABOUT God the Bible became an invaluable resource for my journey WITH God.”
– Jim Palmer, Notes From (over) The Edge