Monday, January 08, 2007

One Lane Begins

Friday I had an appointment at the dentist’s office. Driving along my usual route I saw the sign displayed above. I had driven this road enough times to know the speed limit is 30. This sign is posted a block or two before the road narrows from two lanes each direction to one lane each direction. Apparently, someone removed the top bolt so that it swung upside down.

When I saw the sign, I thought, “Oh, good. They put up a sign indicating that the road narrows.”

In my mind I converted the sign into this:

Now, no matter what way the sign is turned, it does not say what my mind interpreted it to say. Nevertheless, this is what I did with what was before me.

As I continued forward I said, “WHAT?!!” I laughed about it and then thought about how a person sometimes does the same thing with the Scriptures. What is written is as plain as it can be, yet a person has something else in mind when reading the text and interprets the clear words of Scripture according to the presuppositions that he carried to the text. Sometimes the person quickly comes to his senses and says “WHAT?!!” Sometimes the person continues onward, insisting that his interpretation is correct. Sometimes, like with my faulty interpretation of the sign, the false interpretation of the Scriptural text may actually state something that is true, even though it is not stated in the text that is being read. Other times, and actually most times, it is just plain false and wrong.

With the Scriptural texts, Saints Peter and Paul give us a guide to help us in being certain that we are not imposing our own false presuppositions upon what we are reading.
We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts: Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost. (2 Peter 1:19-21)

And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God. For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified. And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling. And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God. (1 Corinthians 2:1-5)

With these as our guide, when we turn the Scriptures upside down or inside out or whatever else we do to them, we will very quickly cry out, “WHAT?!!” Then we will approach the Scriptures with open hearts to hear what the Spirit says rather than interpreting for ourselves what He says. The Spirit always proclaims Christ crucified in everything that He preaches. If this is what we are hearing, we won’t drive off the road into a ditch, or worse.

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