Sick of Religion? Week 5: Devotional Day 5
DAY 5 – Friday
How do you know when your interpretation of Scripture is accurate? Discuss as a group how to test and weigh your own interpretation through the lens of Scripture, wisdom and the history of interpretation by the Church through the ages.
Have you ever walked into the middle of a conversation? We begin to hear the statements being made, but can easily misinterpret them if we don’t understand the context. As one of my professors likes to say as we work on interpreting Scripture, “Christ is King, context is queen.
This week we have looked at the Pharisees interpretation of Scripture, particularly the Scripture regarding Sabbath. We saw that the Pharisees were trying to clarify Scripture by adding specificity, such as by specifying that work included picking heads of grain. The Pharisees were eager to be clear on the details, but due to their focus on the details, it seems they lost sight of the bigger picture, i.e., the context. As we see at the beginning of Mark 3, the Pharisees had become so caught up in their traditions and rituals surrounding Sabbath that they forgot the reason behind it all, namely God’s redeeming work.
How can we know when our interpretation of Scripture is on the right track? I would like to give you two c-words to practice as you interpret Scripture: context and community. Concerning context, there are several questions you could ask of a passage or verse: How does it fit into the chapter? How does it fit into the book as a whole? What is the historical context? What else does Scripture say on this topic? Part of answering these questions is simply continuing to read through Scripture to see the big-picture. You can also look into resources (sermons, commentaries, devotionals, pastors, mentors, etc.) to help you gain a better understanding. Be prepared to share in your LifeGroup some of the resources you find helpful. While you can do a lot on your own, there is something special about reading and studying Scripture in community. As we read Scripture in community, there is much we can agree on, but acknowledge there will also be some points where we hold different views. Remember the motto of our denomination (The Evangelical Presbyterian Church) as well when it comes to interpreting Scripture: In essentials—unity, In non-essentials—liberty, In all things—charity.