the weblog of Alan Knox

Humility in Hermeneutics

Posted by on Mar 1, 2008 in blog links | 4 comments

My good friend Eric from “Hammer and Nail” has written an excellent article called “Same Bible – Different Interpretations – Why?” Eric examines the issues of hermeneutics, that is, biblical interpretation. He asks the question, “Why do two people both indwelled by the Spirit comes to different interpretations of the same passage of Scripture?” His answer:

So why do Christians with good intentions of determining the truth come to different conclusions about the meaning of scripture? The answer must be that we are fallen creatures. Even if we are redeemed sons and daughters of King Jesus, we are still affected by sin. This sin impacts not only our moral judgments, but also our intellect. We do not interpret perfectly.

I agree with Eric, and I agree along with Eric that our fallen nature should not keep us from studying Scripture and coming to conclusions. But, recognizing that we are fallen creatures should lead us to hold to our conclusions with humility.

I wonder if the same fallen nature that causes us to misinterpret Scripture also causes us to hold tightly to our interpretations to the point of condemning those who disagree with us.


Comments are closed. If you would like to discuss this post, send an email to alan [at] alanknox [dot] net.

  1. 3-1-2008


    Thanks for the link!


  2. 3-1-2008

    yes indeed – why else would we have so many denominations – we hold fiercely to doctrinal loyalty and often make mountains out of mole hills (divide over non-salvational issues) – an example would be that in our situation here at the Grand Canyon, both my wife and I are pastoring the church – not a few people fiercely disagree with this practice and cannot support such a notion – I think one of the other pastors here is in this dilemma – he wants to work co-operatively but is really having a hard time because my wife is pastoring and he can’t handle that. It’s sad really.

  3. 3-2-2008

    It is wise that we not “think more highly of [ourselves] than we ought to think.” We must recognize that now we “see through a glass darkly.” Yet this must be balanced with the promise that God gives wisdom generously to those who ask. That is to say, it must be possible that we know the Truth, or the Word is of no effect. “He has given [us] everything [we] need for life and godliness.” To me the big problem we have is that we are not looking at the proper thing. Rather than concerning ourselves with our own relationship with Jesus Christ, we concern ourselves with analyzing (dare I say “judging?”) the walk of others. Rather than growing in the knowledge of God, we compare and contrast ourselves with those around us.

  4. 3-2-2008


    Its a great post. Thank you!


    The role of women in ministry has been a very divisive issue among believers. Unfortunately, I have heard very few Christians asking how to maintain unity in spite of our differences in this area. The world recognizes our divisions, and the world would recognize our unity as well.


    God willing, all of us will continue to grow in maturity and in our understanding of God. I agree that a big part of our problem is that we are more concerned that our brother thinks differently than we do, and therefore we judge him as being wrong.