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An Example of Checking Interpretation

One of the things I suggest that people do to check their Biblical interpretations is to apply the same process they have just used to another passage on another issue. You ask the question, “Would my process of interpretation work on more than one passage or is it an ad hoc method used to get the result I want from this one?”

This is a test that anyone can apply. You don’t have to be a Biblical scholar. You do have to take the time to think carefully about just why you believe a particular passage of scripture means what you say it means. It’s a good exercise. It’s great in debate, but it’s much more important to apply it to yourself.

In preparing today’s Christian Carnival, I encountered this post by Jeremy Pierce in which he does precisely that to an argument based on Numbers 5.

One should note that I’m one of those folks who is commonly called inconsistent because I believe that abortion is wrong in most cases, but also believe it should be legal. I might like to find a text that favored a pro-choice position, though this particular passage applied in that way would have some truly atrocious side-effects.

In any case, Jeremy simply points out how the same approach could be used in other passages, with results that nobody desires, and that one could demonstrate are clearly contra-Biblical.

My point here is to provide an example of the application of the method. It is one that more of us should pursue more often.

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