The Question, “Can we really know the true meaning of Scripture?”

  • Recently during a Q&A session a young man suggested to me that we can never be certain of the true meaning of the Bible as there are so many different interpretations; and because of this, he proposed that Christians should be less rigid in our beliefs and more open to other religious and cultural perspectives.
  • While this is a popular notion with many in our world today, there are some fundamental problems with this idea that we as Christians must be ready to address.
  • First, the Bible is actually very straight-forward in what it teaches. The will of God, his norms for our lives, his plan of salvation for the world, these are all concepts that can be easily discerned by a plain reading of Scripture. Different interpretations of the Bible are more often the result of people choosing to willfully reject the plain teachings of Scripture than they are the result of Scripture being hard to discern.
  • Second, what is the purpose of the Bible? It is our loving Creator’s message about how men and women can have a relationship with him and know his will for our lives. Now, if that is God’s intention for Scripture, wouldn’t we expect that our perfect God would communicate that to us in a clear and easily discernable manner? And again, this is what we find in the Bible.
  • Third, while different interpretations of the Bible are possible, different actual meanings are not. The Divinely inspired authors of Scripture actually intended to convey discernable truth to us. In other words, there is a correct interpretation for every verse in the Bible.
  • The Bible is the inspired word of God, given to be “useful” to us (2 Tim. 3:16-17). God superintended the writing of Scripture so that we could know and be confident in his revealed truth to humanity (2 Peter 1:20-21).
  • When difficulties arise in our reading of Scripture, the answer isn’t to throw up our hands and say, “We can never know the Bible’s true meaning.” The answer is to pray, study, practice good exegesis, and allow the Holy Spirit to illuminate the meaning of God’s intended message to us.

For more information on today’s flawed views of truth and Scripture, please check out our friend Shane Idleman’s book, Answers For A Confused Church available in our online store.