“[The Bible] has to be interpreted. And if it isn’t interpreted, then it can’t be put into action. So if we are serious about following God, then we have to interpret the Bible. It is not possible to simply do what the Bible says. We must first make decisions about what it means at this time, in this place, for these people.”
– Rob Bell in Velvet Elvis
I am finally reading Rob Bell’s book, Velvet Elvis, and I am loving it. This passage above is from the second chapter where he makes the important point that every person who reads the Bible must interpret it.
Occasionally I hear talk of just “believing what the Bible says,” but two people can easily say that while having differing opinions on what a passage actually means. Both have interpreted the verses in light of what they believe about the text surrounding it, their own past experiences, and the way they already view God.
After reading this chapter in Bell’s book, I was also reminded that what we think about the Bible’s message really does matter. We may be tempted to abandon the effort to study and understand, since there are so many varied opinions out there. How could our opinion make a difference?
Our thoughts on the Bible matter because as we connect with other thinking believers, we contribute to a ongoing conversation about what God has to say to us and what he is doing in the word.
I am becoming increasingly convinced that God didn’t give us an easy book because he knew that a difficult word would more likely draw us to be engaged with God and his people.