You can make the Bible say almost anything.

The title of this post “you can make the Bible say almost anything” is a claim I’ve heard several times, most recently in reply to a comment I made on another blog.

In the past I may have said something similar myself, but now I strongly disagree with that statement.

In reality the Bible CAN’T be made to “say almost anything”, but  if we put our trust in commentaries, study bibles with interpretive notes, or church teachers (without addressing scripture for ourselves) we can be made to believe that the Bible says things that it DOESN’T say.

A more accurate claim would be to say that PARTS of  the Bible can be used to support a variety of contradictory ideas. If those parts are used with no consideration of context, if they are used as isolated statements that have no relationship with the rest of scripture, those bible “texts” can be the false teachers most valuable tool.


4 Responses to “You can make the Bible say almost anything.”

  1. 1 Steve
    September 19, 2014 at 1:11 am

    “In reality the Bible CAN’T be made to ‘say almost anything’, but if we put our trust in commentaries, study bibles with interpretive notes, or church teachers (without addressing scripture for ourselves) we can be made to believe that the Bible says things that it DOESN’T say.”

    Spot on, Tim. The view that the Bible, and its Interpreter, the Spirit, can “be made to say almost anything” is basically denial of God’s operative sovereignty. The only real interpretive component in man’s control (ours, or any teacher’s) is integrity of the heart.

  2. September 19, 2014 at 8:48 am

    Hi Steve,
    I’ve spent a lot of time on that other blog trying to explain that we don’t need to have our biblical understanding limited or corrupted by cultural or denominational influences. The blog owner continually refers to those influences as if they are permanently unavoidable. In other words we can never be free from them.

    My contention is, that if we genuinely desire the truth, God is willing and able to reveal the truth to us IF WE PUT OUR TRUST IN HIM.
    My view is that if we always look to others to explain the bible (either through commentaries, study bibles or even bible teachers in church) then we can’t avoid being influenced by man’s traditions. I see that we need to take personal responsibility and turn to the Bible much more OURSELVES, asking for and trusting the Holy Spirit’s help in leading us to understand.

    But whenever I’ve said that I received replies that either:

    1) suggest I must think I already fully understand all of the truth


    2) Infer that if my views were right that the Holy Spirit would download the whole truth into all believers and therefore all believers would always be in total agreement.

  3. 3 wakarusaguySteve
    September 19, 2014 at 5:29 pm

    LOL. No end to the dodges we (human beings) come up with to keep from BELIEVING what we believe. And they’re handy to throw at anyone who suggests there might be a “doer” component of our notional beliefs.

  4. 4 Marleen
    September 24, 2014 at 3:42 am

    I don’t understand those responses, why the people who say them feel compelled to do so. But I do know there are people, many people throughout the history of the Church (in fact it’s the definition of the Church) including now, who say they are teaching Bible truth (and are seeking a communal or national conformity or just their own little fiefdom or simply ego trip). That can be anywhere from scary to bristling. Maybe they’re sort of turning that experience on someone else who talks like there’s clarity to be sure, such that they (people in general and they themselves) should stop discussing subjects and just know or just listen to someone who claims to know — as most of us have had at least some contact with people who claim to know. So, I guess I do understand even if the reaction seems misplaced.

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