Summary: There is reasonalbe differentiation on biblical interpretation and then there is the loony.

Neighborhood Junk Mail. We get a lot of junk mail – don’t we all. This one is from a local realtor – they use a lot of fill. Important dates for January.

(sorry I threw out the junk mail and don’t have the info for sermon central here, but it is not that relevant to the sermon. But the realtor had a calande filled with days to celebrate like penguin awareness day)

Is this fiction? Or is there really a Penguin awareness day? I’m not sure, are you?

We have a lot of information thrown at us from many different places – at almost becomes overload. We get silly little letters like this one and such, and I think with so much coming at us the Scriptures become just one of many voices….and isn’t really that important anymore. It is not that we consciously made that decision. But we tend to believe it. One of the ways we show this is when we say about the Bible: Your Interpretation Is But One Of Many. In other words, I can say: Scripture, though it may be valid, I cannot be so sure of its meaning. Sure I can be sure of general meaning - Love your neighbor, Be a good husband, Take care of the poor - But specific things, I can’t be so sure, because I have heard so many different and even contradictory interpretations

so a biblical passage can mean whatever one wants it to mean sounds valid….But is a modern myth.

I think some of this has been brought about by wild interpretations:

Jesus was a woman. Few years ago someone came up with the idea that Jesus was a woman.Even though everything we read says he was a man. The theory was....A woman wouldn’t be accepted as a messiah so, after death, the disciples just said Jesus was a man so Christianity could spread.

Instead of being laughed at other scholars took the author serious. There was a speaking tour, fan fare, money to be made. Year or so later – completely discredited. But the economy was helped!

Jesus was a homosexual. John 21:7 Then the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter....Well obviously Jesus was gay - He loved John. Greek has several words for love – English one. The word used is hjga¿pa - unconditional love. Not eros – sexual love, we get the word erotic from.

Again not treated as absurd but entertained by some with possible legitimacy.

Jesus was a vegetarian. I love this one, it makes me laugh. Eating the Passover meal means you eat lamb – which Jesus did, which, even today, in most parts of the world is considered meat.

So you hear this stuff and wonder how can anyone interpret scripture?

Actually interpreting Scripture is not so mysterious and not surprisingly interpretations from across all denominations on most Scriptures are pretty much the same.

Seminary intro theology class. Unbelievable variety of denominations. We thought – this is going to be fun - So many different interpretations! We were very disappointed, we flat out agreed on almost everything.

Interpretation of Scripture is a large topic. I cannot address everything today. First - Look at how Scripture can be distorted, even by people not intentionally trying to distort it. Then - Look at some ways we can guard ourselves, from distortion.

Distorting Scripture can rise within the church. Usually distortions come from within the church – though not always. 2Pet. 2:1 But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. False teachers will arise from the church. They will distort any or all of the Bible and let’s note that just because a person is right on in one area of the bible, doesn’t mean they cannot distort another part.

Scripture is consistent and agrees with itself. Usually a distortion is based on an obscure text. Start with a problem text, develop an unorthodox doctrine. Generally texts that disagree will be set aside by the person as not relevant.

Faith at Seminary.

I was in the cafeteria, just a few weks into school and I saw a fellow student furiously working in her bible. I thought, wow there is some intense bible study. So I walked over and asked: "Are you underling Bible verses?" "No" she shot back, "crossing out those I do not agree with". I was taken back and said, " I might be stepping over the line in assumptions but… a first year seminary student, in the cafeteria

crossing out verses that hit you as invalid...Just doesn’t strike me as, holding a lot of authority". You know, she never liked me very much.

Reasons For Distortion: Untaught, Ignorance, Instability…..Self Indulgence. Greek grammar ties ignorant and unstable together. They are ignorant therefore unstable. Infers both of the Scriptures and listening to the Holy Spirit. I think this adds up to self indulgence.

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