The Uncertainty Principle of Bible Interpretation


I recently was listening to a Christian friend explaining to me his interpretation of Bible doctrine from his reading from only the King James Bible.  He took a very exacting interpretation based on the plurality and capitalization of each word and after about 2 hours he could basically explain to me why Christ will not return till all Christians are dead.

And so enters the problem of Bible interpretation.

I am a jello interpreter.  In other words, I am open minded and constantly looking for better hermaneutics to use when interpreting the Bible.  The more I learn the more gelatinous I seem to get.  I am beginning to approach a liquid state!

Thus I have come up with a new idea that I think explains it.  The Bible is a LIVING WORD.  It moves how you move.  Each verse is contextually specific in its meaning, but unfortunately, like Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle, your situation and attitude are part of the context.

Let’s take an example:

Matthew 7:1 – Judge not that you be not judged.

If you see yourself as a poor judge of people, a sinner that has a hard time being objective, you would think it very bad to judge others – why put yourself under your own feeble powers of judgment?

If you see yourself as a mature Christian, rightly dividing the Word of truth and able to see and call out issues that are clearly wrong, you might think it a good thing that you judge others rightly and thus receive a righteous judgment for yourself.

The context here of Judge can be taken as a wrong type of accusing judgment or it can be taken as a righteous judgment.  Indeed other places in the Bible we are called to judge rightly.

So I have (tentatively of course, in keeping with my gelatinous nature) decided that the Bible is more meant to be a mirror and guide for the reader rather than a manual that is meant to hold a singular meaning for all of its readers.

Certainly there are clear parts that apply to all, but the subtle things, especially those not of a salvific nature, will fall where the reader needs them to fall.

Thus much of the Bible is like a wave function that collapses into a point only for each reader, not necessarily in the same place for all readers.


About sanfords

Ex Microsoft Dev for 20 years. Currently retired at my ranch in Idaho near Kooskia. I like coaching Chess for kids so let me know if you are interested in those services.
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