By Kevin Cauley
We live in a society that seeks to “interpret” everything. When the President or some other important official makes a statement, news commentators are quick to point out what was said and what wasn’t said. Did he mean this or did he mean that? The analysis is endless. Many take words that were said, rip them out of their context, and “sound bite” them giving them an entirely different meaning than when they were originally uttered. And this is, more or less, an accepted practice among some because of the failure of many to believe that there is such a thing as truth. If there is no truth, then the words that I say can mean anything that you want them to mean and what you say can mean anything that I want it to mean and we just end up believing what we want to believe regarding someone else’s statements without ever having considered the possibility that someone might have meant something different than what we thought they meant.
The truth of the matter is that words have real significance or, as Rush Limbaugh says, “Words mean things.” Many people believe that they can say what they want without consequence until they are forced to face the facts of the words that they used and the meanings that those words have. At that point, many don’t like the idea that you have pointed out to them what their words truly mean because if words have objective meanings and their words don’t line up with truth, then they might just be wrong and that would be something that they couldn’t accept.
In that regard, the Bible is no different. The Bible has words and those words have meanings. Those words were originally uttered in a specific language and in a specific context, which, when we properly investigate, will render for us the objective meaning of the word.
It’s not up to us to redefine those meanings to fit our own interpretations; it’s our task to understand what those words meant when originally uttered. So, the Bible just can’t mean anything. The Bible must mean certain specific things.
The Bible is a book that claims to be truth, not truth as we filter it through our subjective mind, but truth in the objective sense; it is true for everyone.
Jesus said, “Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:31-32). It was through abiding in the word of God that the disciples came to know the truth. So, since the objective truth is in the words, then that puts objective meaning in those words. The implication of that is that the Bible can’t just mean anything.
And we can’t just understand the Bible to mean anything that we want it to mean. Look at what Paul said regarding revelation in Ephesians 3:3-4: “how that by revelation was made known unto me the mystery, as I wrote before in few words whereby, when ye read, ye can perceive my understanding in the mystery of Christ” God’s words can be understood, Paul says, just as he, Paul, understood them. That means that there is no reason not to understand the Bible alike. That the Bible can’t mean just anything.
Yet, there are millions today who are convinced that the Bible can mean just anything. When individuals say things like, “You can interpret the Bible for yourself as long as you don’t force your opinions upon me,” they are in essence saying that the Bible can mean anything. When someone says, “Well, that’s just your interpretation” they are in essence saying that the Bible can mean anything. When others say things like, “This is what the Bible means to me, but it has it’s own meaning for you” then one is saying that the Bible can mean anything.
If the Bible is God’s truth for man, then it can’t just mean anything. It must mean that which God intended it to mean. And we can KNOW what God intended it to mean because he has revealed these things to us through the Mind of the Spirit (1 Corinthians 2:12). It is incumbent upon us, therefore, to learn and believe God’s objective truth (2 Timothy 2:15). (15 Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a worker who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.)