What Does Scripture Mean?

  • Feb. 22, 2008
  • #6735

Joni shares an expereince that she had when she was young at a Bible Study that made her realize that Scripture is not up for interpretation, but has clear directions and meaning.

I remember going to a high school Bible study at a neighboring church - all my school friends were attending and so I made it a weekly thing.  Besides, I was a growing young Christian... I wanted to get deeper into God's Word... and the high school youth leader was pretty cool.  There was one week, however, where I began to realize this youth leader wasn't all he was cracked up to be. 

At the third or fourth Bible study, I remember he asked us kids to read several scriptures.  That was fine, and then he told us to write down what we thought those words in the Bible meant.  That was okay, too.  All 10 or 12 of us read aloud our definitions to the rest of the group and, as you'd expect, we all had slightly different ways of phrasing those Bible verses in our own words.  Well, after we did this exercise after three or so verses, I expected that the youth leader would then tell us what the real meaning of those scriptures were.  I mean it was fun hearing what each of us thought those verses meant, but what did they actually mean?  The leader never got around to doing that.  We were all left to discern those Bible verses for ourselves and leave with our own personal interpretations.  I remember that as being very frustrating, very unsatisfying.  Needless to say, a few of us decided not to go back the next week.

But you know, what I experienced back then in high school is still happening today.  In our post-modern culture, we Christians are encouraged to find out what this Bible verse means to you, as though another Christian is free to interpret it in a different way for himself.  Well, that's like driving up to a stop sign and saying, "Now, what does this mean to me?  How would I interpret this sign?"  Or, for another example, looking at an exit sign and assuming it has as many different interpretations for as many people.  Like... hello?  A stop sign means only one definite thing - "Stop!"  An exit sign has one definite meaning... and each verse in God's Word has a singular meaning as well. 

But know this:  scripture does have personal application to you!  It's application is specific.  For instance, when you read in Romans 12, "Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position," it means "Tomorrow morning go out of your way to greet that new guy doing janitorial work in your office."  Or when you read elsewhere in Romans 12, "Do not take revenge," it means "Quit plotting the downfall of that co-worker who got the promotion you deserved."  Do you get the point?  Each scripture has a definite meaning... but each scripture has thousands of applications.  Just remember that the next time someone quotes a Bible verse and asks what that means to you.

 ©  Joni and Friends

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