“That is just your interpretation” has become the go-to answer when someone does not have a solid, Bible-based answer to defend something they believe. I used to struggle with how to respond to this statement, but now, I usually just say, “You are absolutely right. That is my interpretation.” Then, I will ask them, “Where did you get your interpretation?” No matter their answer, I will respectfully respond by telling them,

“My interpretation has come from many years of study and research to understand what God originally meant when He had His inspired writers pen the words of Scripture. I’ve done this by investigating who wrote it, when they wrote it, where they were when they wrote it, what events were happening around them at the time they wrote it, who they were writing it to, and what the circumstances were that prompted them to write it. I then have done extensive study into the original Greek, Hebrew, and Aramaic languages to better understand the written words, so I can know what they meant when they were written, not just how people use them today. I then spent countless hours studying the Scripture in its full context to make sure that I wasn’t just pulling a disconnected thought out of the text but had a complete and accurate picture of what the original writer was trying to communicate. That is where my interpretation has come from.”

The truth of the matter is that they are correct. Different people are interpreting Scripture in different ways. Once I understood this, I was able to better help others understand where I was coming from. The Scriptures are the same. It is just the lens we view Scripture through that is usually the greatest difference.

Whenever you are “making a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you (1 Peter 3:15), if you don’t agree with them on what the Bible is and how you should approach it, nothing we say will have much of an effect.

Many of the differences in interpretation are based on whether you approach the Bible as the perfect, complete, inerrant word of God or not. If you do, then there is extreme importance placed on all the points of interpretation I listed above. If you do not, then there will always be some doubt in your mind as to what was really intended by the words in Scripture, which will lead to allowing your faith to be “like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind” (James 1:6), never completely sure if it is right or not. Since Paul tells us in 2 Timothy 3:16 that “all Scripture is inspired by God,” what exactly does it mean to be “inspired.” Let’s look at what the Bible tells us about it.

The apostle Peter said,

“But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation, for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God”2 Peter 1:20-21

One of the first keys to inspiration is understanding that the prophets God spoke through did not originate the message. The prophet was not just speaking from or for himself, but each prophet was “moved by” or guided by the Holy Spirit in what he wrote. The apostle Paul made this same point when he said,

“For this reason, we also constantly thank God that when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men, but for what it really is, the word of God, which also performs its work in you who believe”…1 Thessalonians 2:13

Paul also told the church in Ephesus,

“that by revelation there was made known to me the mystery, as I wrote before in brief. By referring to this, when you read, you can understand my insight into the mystery of Christ, which in other generations was not made known to the sons of men as it has now been revealed to His holy apostles and prophets in the Spirit...Ephesians 3:3-5

Here, Paul emphasizes the point that the whole reason we are able to understand what God wants us to know is that those who were writing it down were getting their information directly from the Holy Spirit.

To the church in Corinth, Paul wrote,

“Which things we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, combining spiritual thoughts with spiritual words”...1 Corinthians 2:13

Some will argue that God was sending a generic revelation to the writers of the Bible, claiming that God was not giving them word-for-word inspiration. However, when you look closely at the Scriptures, there is much more evidence that points to a very detailed revelation. Jesus Himself even demonstrates the level of exactness that God used. In Mark 12:18, the Sadducees began asking Jesus questions about the issue of resurrection. Jesus responds by quoting an Old Testament passage (Exodus 3:6) that they clearly did not understand.

He said,

“But regarding the fact that the dead rise again, have you not read in the book of Moses, in the passage about the burning bush, how God spoke to him, saying, ‘I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? He is not the God of the dead, but of the living…”...Mark 12:26-27

When God was speaking with Moses, these men had been dead for hundreds of years, yet God speaks of them in the present tense—“I am the God of Abraham….” So, Jesus’ point turns on the present tense of a verb in Scripture. This is the exactness with which we can approach Scripture. Even the very tense of the verb is precisely what God wanted it to be.

If God was so intent on that high level of accuracy when He inspired the Biblical writers, how has that accuracy endured over the ages? It has been nearly 2,000 years since the final words of the New Testament were penned, and there are a lot of rumors out there that accuse different people of changing, rewriting, adding to, and deleting parts of the Bible. Can we still trust its accuracy today? We will be looking closer to questions like these in the next several articles pertaining to our apologetic approach to Scripture.

Steve Schinnerer
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Steve Schinnerer was raised in the church in Scott City, KS where his father served as an elder for 25 years.  Steve attended Oklahoma Christian for one year where he met his wife, Jennifer, of Yukon, OK.  Steve and Jenni have four children: Ajay, Jagger, Liberty, and Jase, they also have 4 grandchildren. Jenni is a stay-at-home mom where she homeschools and is focused on raising her children in the Lord.

Steve and Jenni both attended Bear Valley Bible Institute of Denver where they graduated: Steve with a Bachelor’s degree in Biblical Theology, and Jenni with and Associates degree in Bible. 

Following Bear Valley, Steve and his family moved to Porter, OK where he served as their pulpit minister for six years, and then another six years as the pulpit minister for the Cherokee Hills church of Christ in Oklahoma City before coming to Cave Springs in the fall of 2013.

Steve and Jenni have a passion to teach the saving message of Jesus Christ and do so whether it be in their home congregation, at summer camps, gospel meetings, lectureships, or in the foreign mission field.  Steve has been able to preach in eight different countries around the world with most of his time abroad spent in Africa and Australia.  Steve and Jenni have recently been focusing on young families, trying to help strengthen marriages, encouraging parents to utilize Biblical discipline and training with their children and especially in helping men in their battle to become the husbands and fathers that God desires for them to be.