17 Sections

"It's a Matter of Interpretation"



Chapter: 6.03
(Section 6: How Accurate is your Spiritual Compass?)
Copyright Michael Bronson 1997, 1999, and 2000

Many people point to the hundreds of denominations as proof that there can't be any consensus on what the Bible says. This chapter provides an interesting example on why there can be agreement on what the Bible says.

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Have you even tried to share the plan of salvation with someone only to have them say, "Well, that’s your interpretation of what the Bible says. Everyone interprets the Bible differently. You can have a thousand people read the same Bible and have a thousand different interpretations. That’s the reason we have hundreds of different denominations. Besides, there are people with Doctorates in Theology that can’t agree on what the Bible says. What makes you think you’re smarter than they?"

It is true there are hundreds of denominations with different interpretations of the Bible. It is also true there are many very intelligent people with extensive theological backgrounds who are not in agreement on what the Bible teaches. It is not true, however, this is proof there cannot be agreement on what the Bible says.

The field of science is a good example of "experts" looking at the exact same information and ending up with opposite conclusions. For example, some say DNA can conclusively determine a person’s identity while others say it cannot. Some scientists say the theory of evolution violates some of the most basic laws of physics (i.e. the Laws of Thermodynamics) and others say it does not.

Almost everyday you hear reports about how the earth is heating up because of global warming. This theory is supported by data collected over the past 200 years. Yet, only 25 years ago scientists looking at the same data and concluded we might be heading into a new "ice age." The National Geographic ran an article (Nov. 1976, pages 576-616) called "What’s Happening to our Climate?" This article listed several possible theories of what our weather could do in the future, but here are some of the comments about the ice age:

-"During the last 20 to 30 years, world temperature has fallen, irregularly at first but more sharply over the last decade."

-"England’s annual growing season shrank by nine to ten days between 1950 and 1966."

-"But since about 1940, there has been a distinct drop in average global temperature."

-"Most scientists agree that today’s ice movement may reflect a worldwide cooling trend."

How can scientists look at the exact same data and come to opposite conclusions? You may say to me in frustration, "If experts can’t agree on these things, what hope do we have in finding agreement on the Bible? I never said scientists couldn’t agree on important issues, I only said they usually don’t. When it becomes necessary to study the facts all the way to their logical conclusion, thousands of scientists can come to complete agreement. It is difficult to see the facts clearly when there are personal agendas, biases, and politics. When these are put aside and the issues are carefully thought through all the way to their logical conclusion, it becomes very clear how all of the pieces fit together.

An excellent example of this is the scientific study that was needed to place a man on the moon. There were over ten thousand laws of physics that had to be followed precisely to make the moon mission possible. A deviation in any one could result in death and failure. The moon mission required thousands of scientists to agree on tens of thousands of obscure facts of physics. When politics, special interests, and hidden agendas were removed, the facts of science were clear and obvious. When it is necessary to actually study the facts, you don’t have the lame excuses like, "Well, that’s you’re interpretation." If there was a conflict as to how to view some data, the scientist tested their theories until they came to a logical conclusion. The answers were already there, they just needed the will and discipline to find them.

September 1999 provided a perfect example of the necessity of everything working together perfectly in order for a space mission to be successful. NASA’s $125 million space probe traveled millions of miles to Mars only to be undone by a simple mistake. Apparently, one of the engineers did his calculations using the standard measurement system (miles, etc.) instead of the metric system (kilometers, etc.). When he handed his numbers to the other engineers, they assumed the numbers were in the metric format. So, although great engineering got the probe all the way to Mars, a small error caused it to burn up in the Martian atmosphere.

The fact we have had so many successful space flights shows that it is possible to have agreement on the facts. If there can be agreement on the difficult field of physics, there can be agreement on the Bible. The problem is many people are not thorough in their Biblical studies and are often biased by church politics, special interests, and hidden agendas. If people are willing to put those aside, the message of the Bible, especially salvation, should be very clear.

How would you like to be an astronaut if the scientist designing your spacecraft were as sloppy in their engineering as many Christians are in their Biblical studies? Doesn’t it stand to reason that Christians should be as diligent in studying the Bible as space engineers are in studying physics?


Other Chapters in this Section

Walking in the Dark
When your World Turns Upside Down
It's a Matter of Interpretation
Study the Scriptures Carefully
The Cookie Thief
In Dying you Live
Defying the Laws of Physics (a skit)
Explaining the Phenomenon
Setting up the Demonstration
Instructions for Making the Permanent Display
Instructions for Making the Temporary Display

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