Do We Need Man’s Interpretion of Scripture?

I have been a Christian for many years and have sat under some great, and not so great, pastors. I have heard scripture interpreted several different ways and have read many a discussion on who is right, and who is wrong. Spurgeon? Wesley? Calvin?

I am of the opinion that the Holy Spirit can lead teach us the COMPLETE truth in the Word.

John 16:12-14 (New International Version)

    12″I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. 13But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. 14He will bring glory to me by taking from what is mine and making it known to you.”

What are your thoughts?


About Jimmy Eldridge

I am a husband, a father, a son, a brother and most of all, a follower of our most gracious savior Christ Jesus. Who are you following?

13 thoughts on “Do We Need Man’s Interpretion of Scripture?

  1. The problem is, you have the Holy Spirit “guiding” many of these different men you’ve mentioned, including yourself, into ideas that flatly contradict each other. It’s simply a matter of replacing the authority of other teachers with the authority of Self. What we like to call the Holy Spirit often becomes just a vehicle for more of our own opinions.

    I believe that Scripture is inspired by the Holy Spirit, is without error, and interprets itself. I can make mistakes, but God’s Word can’t. But I don’t believe that I get a more “authentic” or accurate interpretation by just sitting at home alone with my Bible, expecting the Holy Spirit to personally zap me with enlightenment that no teacher could. The Holy Spirit works through means of his Word, and yes, through pastors. If I make wrong interpretations, that is the result of my own sin and the confusion that exists in the world when it comes to the clarity of God’s Word.

    This does not mean that we refrain from reading God’s Word on our own, but it does mean that we shouldn’t be fooled into thinking that our own subjective opinions when we’re alone in our room with the Bible is the infallible Holy Spirit. In John 16, Jesus said that the Holy Spirit would guide his disciples into all truth. He didn’t say that this was a highly individualistic revelation with little need for teachers.

  2. So…if these men were led by the Holy Spirit…how can any of them be in dissagreement? How can there be so many pastors that are not in agreement?

    “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”

    So…if the Holy Sprit can lead us into all truth as the scripture states, and the scriptures cannot be wrong…then somebody is wrong….and if somebody is wrong, then why do I need to listen to them?

    What we need to do is read and study the word and trust the Holy Spirit to LEAD US INTO TRUTH.

  3. “So…if the Holy Sprit can lead us into all truth as the scripture states, and the scriptures cannot be wrong…then somebody is wrong….and if somebody is wrong, then why do I need to listen to them?”

    Exactly… if someone is wrong, might not you be one of those ones? Surely many of those wrong ones sincerely believe they are following the truth of the Holy Spirit. If you cannot trust the way certain people read the Scriptures, you cannot trust your own reading either. What we need is to find those teachers we believe are teaching God’s Word and dividing it rightly, and listen to them. But each person is hardly called to be their own pastor. Rather, we are to encourage true preachers and reject false teachers.

    I never said we shouldn’t read, study, and let the Holy Spirit guide us. I do express concerns over what seems to be an idea that the individual is the infallible guide of the Scriptures.

  4. Beth,

    You could be right..I may be wrong…(although my wife can witness that I am never wrong) 🙂

    I believe that you cannot blindly follow the teaching of any man. That is just ludicrous. You must be able to “rightly divide the word” and let the Holy Spirit “lead you into truth”.


  5. I’ve ranted at length about this in my blog. Whilst God’s Word is the Truth we need to use a lot of humility when we wield it like a Sword. Most if not all of us will never get all of it right. The Spirit gives us insights into the Word but our receptors are basically faulty much of the time.

  6. While there are timeless applications for our time and culture in each passage, it may be most helpful to seek what Jesus meant in the original context. While Jesus says these words for us, they were not given directly to us, at least not as the original hearers.

    Jesus was giving His last instructions to His Twelve Disciples (well, eleven at this point) before paying the ultimate price for our sins. In that light, I believe John 16:13 can best be seen in the context of what the Spirit will being doing in and through the Disciples after Christ leaves. While Jesus had been with them bodily, another of the exact same kind, God the Spirit, would come and lead them into all truth. The way I interpret this 16:13 (and 14:26) is that Spirit will be all that Jesus was to them and more and by extension Jesus is predicting the inspiration and writing of the New Testament. While Christ’s words would be primary, the inspired interpretation of them and application into various areas of life and doctrine would be led by the Spirit, as He bore these writers along (just as in times past He did the prophets, 2 Peter 1:20-21).

    At least, I would not want to be the person who takes that passage (and others like Matthew 10:19+) to mean that we should not be diligent students of the Word and instead just show up to preach or teach hoping the Spirit will illuminate and inspire. While ten hours over one’s books is not enough without prayer, perhaps ten hours on our knees, pleading with God to illuminate the biblical text as we pour over our books will be the type of perseverance God rewards as we labor to be found faithful and useful for Him. The fruit of our endeavors (the impact) is not ours but God’s, yet faithfulness is our part. God rewards faithfulness.

  7. I look at it as we have the perfect teacher (The Holy Spirit, the mind of Christ) so all we need are the questions. There are many levels of understanding the truth and only one truth (About any specific subject) , so I view others interpretations of the Word as always flawed (As you should view mine) and I look for what is true and reject what is wrong. (With God’s help) The end result is my understanding is advanced. So I agree with you God teaches us, not man.

  8. If a redneck in the woods of Tennesee can figure out the Scriptures, then so can I. God did not make His Word hard to understand. We make it hard to understand.

  9. I’m in complete agreement with Jimmy. I, too, went to several churches that meddled with scripture too much.

    Once my family stayed home & studied diligently God’s Truth we discovered so much more. It’s amazing how all of it comes together so well after prayer, love, & The Holy Spirit’s guidance. I do believe it is important to compare it to the original Greek texts translations though. There are so many Bible versions now that this is quite crucial to original translation.

  10. The words physical representation is inherently flawed. It was written by _man_ inspired by God. This can be proven quite simply with a simple lesson I learned in grade school. Whisper in someones ear and have them whisper the same to another…you all know the rest. The Holy Spirit will translate/unlock/cipher our words for you (assuming you can hear). The Holy Spirit will show you amazing things (assuming you can see).

    To answer the original question, yes, we absolutely need mans interpretation. Seeking God (reading the word amongst other things) is a fundamental aspect of our faith.

    Without the power of the word, what are we?

  11. Beth wrote:

    If you cannot trust the way certain people read the Scriptures, you cannot trust your own reading either. What we need is to find those teachers we beli eve are teaching God’s Word.

    Jeff wrote:
    Jesus was giving His last instructions to His Twelve Disciples (well, eleven at this point

    They are both right.

    Everybody reads the scriptures and interprets it and everybody contradicts each other. It doesn’t interpret itself.
    That’s not the holy Spirit. He may help sometimes but he never promised to inspire the crowd.

    Jesu promised the eleven Apostles at the Last supper that he would give them “all truth” ” paraclete or spirit of truth forever.” John 16:14 etc.

    In Matthew 28:16-20 he was alone with th eleven Apostles again when he gave the teaching authority and promised to be with them always.

    The Bible shows they selected men and laid hands on them to give them
    The Holy Spirit of Truth and powers. Simon Magnus tried to buy this power.
    The Bible shows twenty three apostles and many bishops. Acts 28:20 Bishops shepherd the Church. It shows ordinations of presbyters and
    deacons. It two places it shows four generations of the power being passed on. They only received the guidance of the holy Spirit and
    they all taught the same thing. There was only one Church in the Bible.
    Christ founded it on Rock. Jesus said a house founded on rock would last nomatter what. So to find the truth you need to find the Church that was founded in 33 AD and has apostolic sucession. Peter wrote the Bible is
    not for private interpetation and is difficult to understand. The Bible is a
    great book but it needs an authorative interpreter. Eph 4:11-16 say there will always be apostles until we all come in unity to keep us from wrong doctrine. so we have to look for them.

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