Human understanding of the bible

September 29, 2006

This is from a post of mine on a Facebook group talking about taking the bible literally, with a few additions for this blog post:

Neither the human mind or languages allow for complete understanding. I admittedly have not done a lot of bible reading for myself, but in church small groups we have done some bible study. Most passages that we study have a good amount of ambiguity and are open to multiple interpretations. It is not humanly possible to have perfect understanding of such a complex thing as the bible. With every human idea and with humans interpretation of the bible, we are always subject to differences in what we place the most importance on, how deeply we go into a subject (the surface level interpretation may not always be correct), how we translate from one language to another, how much you build upon what you read, etc. How else do you explain all the many different denominations of Christianity, with many different ideas, all claiming to be grounded in scripture? Even if, for the sake of argument, the bible was infallible, our understanding of it is not and never can be infallible, because we are human. For that reason, we should never have unquestioned acceptance of what we read in the bible because we very likely could be misinterpreting it or reading a bad translation.