Wednesday, November 23, 2022

A Matter of Interpretation

We're talking about the idea that the Bible is the inspired Word of God that God has not inspired you to understand and how certain individuals love to spout this argument so that they can become the biblical authority in your life and tell you what you're supposed to believe (because you're too dumb to figure faith out yourself). 

(Scary side point: I'm watching one of these guys right now who has made an entire short film to explain his current pet interpretation and how what the church at large is preaching to you is inaccurate because he found some shred somewhere that suggests otherwise and that better fits his narrative. It's just that easy, folks, when you've convinced the world that God doesn't want them to understand Him and that they need your help.) 

So we're at the point now where we're questioning the path this argument takes - that God hasn't inspired you, but has inspired others at various points of history and has currently inspired certain academics or certain individuals to understand the previously-inspired men (who you are also incapable of understanding without help). And at just the point that you're ready to confidently make this argument, at just the point where you're ready to say, "Wait a minute...," these guys jump in with this: 

Oh, that's the way God has always worked. See? He keeps sending prophets, and the prophets are there to interpret God for the people. They need that. And then in the New Testament, see? He says that whenever someone speaks, like in tongues, there has to be someone there to interpret for them. And what bigger tongue is there than the Holy Spirit Himself? 

The goal here is to change your "Wait a minute..." into a "'re right."'s not quite right. 

Yes, God has sent prophets to His people throughout history. That much, we know because it is in the story that He's given us. Yes, the very story that today's wanna-be "prophets" tell you that you can't understand without them. 

But notice that God never sent a prophet with the prophet to explain to the people what the prophet was trying to tell them. No, the prophet himself did that. Elijah didn't have an interpreter for the people. Elisha didn't have an interpreter for the people. Amos didn't have an interpreter for the people. You get the point. At no point in Scripture is there a guy just standing around so that he can explain to the people what the prophet is doing. 

Why would today be any different? Why would God send us a "prophet" to interpret the prophet He already sent, whose story is already written for us as plainly as it was told to the people of that time? You can see clearly that this is not the way that God operates.

But what about that speaking in tongues thing and always having an interpreter present? 

That, too, is pretty clear. (And we could talk about speaking in tongues in general for awhile, too.) When the people spoke in tongues, they were speaking not in nonsense, but in languages that actually existed. Which is all well and good, unless no one else there speaks that language. Then, you're just babbling, even if you have something really important to say. 

When God talks about needing an interpreter to be present, He's talking not about you having understanding, but about the words themselves having meaning. It's like...if you, as a member of the American church, went to a seminar where a Chinese pastor was talking about the state of the Chinese church. Except he only speaks Chinese and you don't. If there's no one there to interpret what he's saying, the entire talk means nothing to you and you are not encouraged by the global faith. 

That's why we have to have interpreters. But what the argument we're talking about is saying is that the interpreter doesn't just change the language; he tells you what it means. And when is that ever true? A good interpreter puts things in the language you already speak so that you already know what the words mean when you are told them. It would be strange otherwise, wouldn't it? 

"He said that he likes to watch basketball. That means he likes to watch a game whereby individuals convey a round, orange ball up and down a pre-designed court with the goal of throwing the ball through a small hoop elevated in the air." 

No interpreter does this. No, he tells you "basketball" in your native language and assumes you know what that means. 

That's the difference. 

So even though it sounds intimidating when these guys try to tell you that God has always sent prophets and interpreters (because it is true that He has), their definition is very different from God's definition, and it's simply not legitimate. Period. 

No comments:

Post a Comment