Authority to interpret religious texts

This post brings to focus this comment


Let each person decide for themselves whether the religions conforms to their natural reason and to believe as they so wish or rather as they are convinced. (sic)

~~~~~~  I cannot agree with this assessment.

Natural reason and the mind of mere, fallible, and finite human thinking, with evolving standards of humanity and their supporting solutions is out of the picture when compared with Almighty God’s omniscience and supernatural power.  That would be like the pot telling the potter what to do.

There is a necessity to follow rational convention when interpreting Scripture.

HERMENEUTICS :   principles and methods of Bible interpretation.

Historically, the most common approaches to Bible interpretation have been the

ALLEGORICAL [which  errantly sees symbolic language just about everywhere in the Bible text];   A story that has a deeper or more general meaning in addition to its surface meaning. Allegories are composed of several symbols or metaphors.

LITERALISTIC [which prefers to take the words of the text as they are given and fails to appreciate picture language symbolic use of words to the degree that literal interpreters do];  and

LITERAL [ the method which takes the words of the text in their ordinary sense but allows for the use of symbolic and poetic language IF, and only IF other parts of the Bible endorse it].

Just as import, is the proper EXEGESIS [exposition, explanation; especially : an explanation or critical interpretation of a text in Scripture]  which includes using the context around the passage of Scripture, comparing it with other parts of the Bible, and applying an understanding of the language at the time of the writing, in an attempt to understand clearly what the original writer, inspired by God the Holy Spirit, was conveying.

 In other words, it is trying to pull out of the passage the meaning inherent in it.

 The opposite of exegesis, which is called EISEGES, uses an approach to interpreting a Bible passage by reading into it a meaning that is not evident at all by the passage or by how one “feels” what it means to make it fit into a preconceived notion to satisfy the “itching ears” of those who want God’s word to exonerate them.

The Apostle Paul wrote to Timothy:  Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction. 3 For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. 4 They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. 2 Timothy 4:2

Which, yours truly, thought was quite odd. The fellow has dismissed the human mind in the first paragraph and then asks me to take as authority systems designed by other minds in their attempt to interpret the historical fiction that has come down to us as the Bible.

What is makes it relevant to SB’s post above is it appeared in this post where the author argues for tolerance and freedom of thought in treating of religious texts.

Now, that I think of it, what deity would communicate in a manner requiring so many interpretations to understand? If, for example, one day is like 1000 god years, are we allowed to interpret this to mean we haven’t reached the day of the Sabbath, that is, day of rest? Could this explain why our lives is mostly toil?

It seems we are required to forgo our reason and listen to the divine interpreter to tell us what god says and in turn we tell them what we want god to know. This way, their power is maintained for all time. Not luck with me!