The Great Interpreter Is God—Not Me


GodReflection: My Bible Doesn’t Read Like Yours

gary portraitI live in a big city. Hidden in the city I miss the reminder of God’s grandeur. We city dwellers may find that concrete and bricks limit our daily visuals of All Powerful Creator God.

Day and night, I am either inside a house covered by ceiling or in the streets staring at pavement in an attempt to stay out of the pathway of a gazillion cars flying above speed limits and moving in my direction.

At this point in my walk I find much of my effort is spent on my deteriorating body. almighty7From my pavement focus while driving, to my downward gaze when I walk, my actions are careful to NOT speed up my demise. I try not to skin my knees and my nose by a fall nor end my time on earth in a wrecked automobile.

Often, I find when I read my Bible I am focused on a specific thought or a limited arena of concern. Far too often I read without a consideration of big picture God.

As I hunt and peck at the keys of my keyboard I think back to earlier years. Like a Power Point presentation, I see frames of sleeping bag nights in wait of sleep as I took in the vastness of God’s grand sky. The moon shown bright and stars filled the heavens in numbers too great to be counted.

almighty19Pictures flash before my mind of past views of high mountain ice-cold lakes in the Mountain Ranges of New Mexico, the Rocky Mountains of Colorado and the Andes of Argentina.

I see beloved images of the rugged vastness of New Mexico’s Chihuahuan Desert and the beauty of the tall pines in the Sacramento Mountains.

My Power Point continues to run through moments of awe at the enormity of Brazil’s Amazon, the power of her rivers, the beauty of the Pantanal and her exquisitely sculptured beaches.

almighty12Surely, God’s magnificence needs to also penetrate my Bible reading.

Ok, what’s my point?

When I look back over my Bible reading walk, I recognize that in earlier years my reading was anemic. My focus was upon how close I followed what I had learned from others. To be fair, I probably read more with brain than heart. I was more concern with my rightness than I was with relationship to the power source.

Yes, I did need to know God’s written word. Yes, I did want to honor it. But, with my eyes lock on city concrete I failed to see the larger grandeur of Jesus the Word. Perhaps I sought truth without awareness that Truth is Jesus since Jesus is Truth.

I was saved but I still believed Pluto was a real planet.

almighty13I learned and believed over my life that Pluto was a planet. It wasn’t until eleven years ago in 2006 that I learned I had believed wrong.

All because a bigger picture came into view and scientist reclassified Pluto. Still a heavenly wonder but little Pluto was removed from the planet list.

I must always read my Bible with an attitude of humility. I will arrive at some wrong interpretations because of my humanity. I suspect that is ok with the ONE who sees across all of the light years of the universe. He knows that my brain is limited in understanding.

almighty6What applies to me applies to others. It’s ok that we don’t read our Bibles alike. The same God that interprets the universe also sees my human ceiling, pavement and sidewalks.

He knows that far too often you and I read our Bible concerned with our present circumstances forgetting to trust the one who see the entire picture and is its perfect interpreter.

If God who is the final and Great Interpreter still accepts me when my limitations that cause me to understand many aspects of my Bible different from others; shouldn’t I allow Him to grant you the same grace when your understanding is different from my own?

And, shouldn’t I too open my heart valve and let some grace flow in your direction?

After all is said and done, all knowing and all-powerful God, who was before the beginning of time, is still the Great Interpreter—not me.

Stay tuned.

Dr. Gary J. Sorrells
A GodReflection: The Great Interpreter Is God—Not Me.

Gary@GodReflection.org       http://www.GodReflection.org    http://www.MakeYourVisionGoViral.com

 

 

Are Diverse Interpretations Legal?


GodReflection: My Bible Doesn’t Read Like Yours


garyguarujadiverse9All it takes to discover how differently two people interpret the same Bible is a conversation over a cup of coffee. Honest disciples of Jesus actually hold different opinions when it comes to an encounter with Holy Scripture.

The Bible is inspired by God. It is interpreted by flawed humans.

I would think it to be apparent that when it comes to the Bible—one  size doesn’t all.

Scripture1Some believe silence within the Bible equates to license while fellow disciples are sure silence prohibits anything not specifically addressed in the sixty-six Biblical books and letters. Both groups draw their conclusions from their Bibles.

I find in my Bible support of the death penalty while others read Scripture as teaching the exact opposite.

One is a committed pacifist yet another believes in justifiable war. Both views are drawn from Scripture.

diverse1Recently, while doing some spring cleaning I came across a ten-year old aerial photo of a small section of Sao Paulo the thirty-plus million populated city of Brazil. The picture was captured at such an elevated altitude that the thousands of skyscrapers appear as no more than little stacks of legos.

From this lofty point of view the essence of the city is missed. The texture of buildings, streets, parks, people and culture is not apparent. What is core to the city is absent.

The richness of the city that comes in its diversity is missing from the picture. The aerial snapshot completely failed to share the down-on-the-street view.

diverse8Like an “on-the-street” view of the city I see my Bible as rich in texture.

Texture is purposefully reflective of a God who majors in layer upon layer of richness and variety. Both gush from His creative nature.

I cannot read my Bible without the backdrop of inventive diversity that flows from Creator God.

The God of creation ties Himself tightly together with variety as the common thread to make Holy art from the diverse.

diverse4Each created one is unique and different from all others. Of the seven billion residents on planet earth no two people are alike. Yet God links us diverse ones together with Him—and each other—by His Spirit.

To speak to a diverse people God left a diverse Bible.

The text is so rich I can never claim to have mined it to its deepest depth.

Due to the one of a kind design of each person created by God the richness and the texture of the Bible ministers to every individual at just the right point of need.

In a time of trial, I may see for the first time an interpretation of a certain verse or a particular section from my Bible that specifically fills my soul. In turn, another person may read the same verses hundreds of time over a lifetime and never encounter the exact same fit that so ably fit me.

diverse7Any person whose face is turned toward God, Son and Spirit finds relevance within Scripture that is perfectly aligned to fit a unique situation.

The result provides growth and care at a time of need.

It seems to me the God who created diversity designed a rich Biblical text that not only allows but demands diverse interpretations to meet His ultimate objective—to form His creatures into His image.  

I would say, diverse interpretations of the Bible are not only legal but a fact of reality. What do you think? What would you add to this reflection?

Stay tuned.

Dr. Gary J. Sorrells

A GodReflection: Are Diverse Interpretations of the Bible Legal?

Gary@Godreflection.org http://www.GodReflection.org
http://www.MakeYourVisionGoViral.com