Why Do I Need to Interpret the Bible? (Part 1)

Author: Taylor Eising — Host: Natty AndersonPosted on: August 21, 2023

Unlocked: Daily Devotions for Teens
Unlocked: Daily Devotions for Teens
Why Do I Need to Interpret the Bible? (Part 1)

READ: PSALM 119:89-96; LUKE 24:13-27; JOHN 20:30-31; 2 CORINTHIANS 1:20

Did you know that you are a biblical interpreter? Whether we know it or not, all of us interpret the Bible when we read or listen to it. We bring our own experiences, assumptions, opinions, and perspectives to the text, and all of that forms how we understand Scripture. So if someone asks why it’s necessary for us to interpret the Bible, I tell them it’s because we’re already doing it. We just may not realize it.

The Bible is God’s holy Word, given to us to reveal who Jesus is. It was written over thousands of years by many different authors who were directed by the Holy Spirit. And all these authors are telling the same overarching story—the story of God’s good creation being broken by sin, and God’s work to reconcile His people to Himself, culminating in the death and resurrection of His Son, Jesus. It explains how, because He did this for us, we can dwell with Him forever in renewed creation when He returns.

The Bible is “God-breathed” and authoritative (2 Timothy 3:16-17). It’s His Word for His people. So, why can’t we assume everything in the Bible should be read at face value—that it always means exactly what it says? Well, the Bible is written for us, but it’s not written to us. It’s written to an ancient culture in an ancient language to people in a drastically different context. To understand Scripture more deeply, we have to understand that context.

For example, how should we understand what Paul says in 2 Corinthians 13:12: “Greet one another with a holy kiss”? Is this a command for everyone to follow, or was it only for the time and place that Paul was writing to? Is it even a command, or just a warm greeting? I haven’t met anyone in my cultural context who follows the literal command to kiss each other at church.

But one of the beautiful things about Scripture is that, even though it was written to people living in a radically different context, it reveals truth that applies to us. We find that, thousands of years later, we face the same struggles with sin, and we find the same grace in Jesus. We see God’s goodness again and again, in every time and place and culture. The message that people needed thousands of years ago is the same message we need today: the message that our loving God will never stop pursuing us. • Taylor Eising

• What questions do you have about the Bible? Who could you talk to about these questions?

But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name. John 20:31 (NIV)