Your Interpretation of the Bible

theology -

Your Interpretation of the Bible

"Bible Interpretation" cartoon by nakedpastor David Hayward

This is a revamped older cartoon of mine.

Funny story: 

Years ago when I was a pastor I was invited to attend a weekend workshop on biblical interpretation. The theologian's intent was to debunk the philosophy of deconstruction and prove to us that there was an objective interpretation to the Bible.

We were assigned a bunch of books to read on the philosophy of deconstruction, literary analysis, and hermeneutics.

Basically, the philosophy of deconstruction, developed by Derrida, analyzes, questions, and challenges the relationship between text and meaning.

For me, the workshop backfired.

I left that weekend appreciating the deconstruction theory.

So I drew this cartoon and I still stand by it.

Especially when people say things like...

"It's not me who says it. The Bible says it!"

"Clearly, the Bible says..."

"God said it. I believe it. That settles it!"

Not true! You have the Bible. You have your interpretation of it. What you leave with is your interpretation of it. Period. 

Until we understand that, we really can't have a decent conversation about the text and meaning.


3 comments

  • Bob Lundgren

    The shorter previous comment was an unintended draft version. Please delete that one as well as this message.

  • Bob Lundgren

    Amen, brother!
    Reminds me of my epiphany on this subject. Was in a United Methodist group discussing the so called “Wesleyan quadrilateral,” namely: Scripture, tradition, experience, and reason. The teaching was that of these four, Scripture is primary.
    My epiphany was as follows: Scripture and tradition are historical; they predate our lives and experience. What we initially believe about the SCRIPTURE is based on our EXPERIENCE of a learned TRADITION — but we give assent to it whether uncritically or with our REASON. For some, REASON leads to deconstruction and another path. Bottom line: Regardless of how we come to our beliefs, our interpretation of the Bible is OUR INTERPRETATION.

  • Bob Lundgren

    Amen, brother!

    Reminds me of an epiphany of my own. Was in a United Methodist group discussing “Wesley’s quadrilateral,” namely Scripture, tradition, experience, and reason. The claim is that of these four, Scripture is primary. My epiphany was as follows:

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