There is only one true way to interpret Scriptures – if indeed – we want to know the truth that lies therein.
And that is: God’s way.
Perhaps this may seem quite obvious to us, in hindsight, after hearing it stated. Yet, the vast majority of those who look to the Scriptures for Divine truth, and who put in an effort to study them, do not actually approach the Scriptures God’s way.
Perhaps some may claim that we can’t possibly know what God’s way is, so we’ll just have to find our own way. But, I believe that this is not the case at all.
Firstly, we were, according to our foundational origins, designed in the image and likeness of God (Gen. 1:26). What this means, is that, if we are truly sincere and determined, we can indeed tune into His way. And, we can tune into what He seeks to show us, as we prayerfully approach the Scriptures and life.
We are also told in Proverbs, that if we sincerely put in the sufficient effort to seek truth, no matter what, then we will be given wisdom. How will we gain this wisdom? Proverbs specifically tells us, that we will get that wisdom from God Himself. He directly and personally gives wisdom, as He sees fit, based upon the heart, intent and effort of the individual who is seeking.
“For YHWH gives wisdom;
From His mouth come knowledge and understanding;
He stores up sound wisdom for the upright” (Pro. 2:6-7)
“My son, if you receive my words,
And treasure my commands within you,
So that you incline your ear to wisdom,
And apply your heart to understanding;
Yes, if you cry out for discernment,
And lift up your voice for understanding,
If you seek her as silver,
And search for her as for hidden treasures;
Then you will understand the fear of YHWH,
And find the knowledge of God.” (v.1-5)
What this means is that we cannot afford to seek the Scriptures our own predetermined way. We cannot be wearing any kind of man-made lens when looking at the Word of God, or we will be disconnected to its true message, and the truth of what is really being said will be lost on us.
And, these man-made lenses can come in various shapes and forms. We could be wearing a lens of preconceived doctrines and ideas that we have been taught through our religious affiliations. We could be wearing lenses of creeds, or of “statements of faith.” We can even be wearing lenses of the pains and hurts of our past, or of the secular world’s view of what is “ethical” and “right.” Moreover, even if we manage to let go of some of the preconceived ideas that we were taught to believe, or have left certain religious communities and their associated doctrines, we can still end up creating our own lenses that we think are the most valid way of interpreting the Scriptures. These could be lenses of literalism – being personally determined and committed to viewing Scriptural details in a “literal” way. We could be wearing lenses of reason – feeling that we should be able to utilize our own personal reasoning to come to truth. We could be wearing lenses of modern academia – wherein we may be putting our trust in academic institutions, placing disproportionate reverence upon their associated ideas and teachings. Any one of these lenses are our own predetermined way of viewing the Scriptures; while, at times, it can be helpful to use reason, to consider the literal elements of the Word, and benefit from any wisdom we can glean from academic sources, we must let go of becoming rigid in our personal approach and have an openness to the Creator and His guidance.
The problem is that any of the above lenses of our own, which we may cling to as the only valid and upright way of interpreting the Scriptures, will inevitably lead us astray in our understanding. There truly is only one way to find the truth of the Scriptural record – and that is to seek to understand it God’s way. Yet, what does this mean in reality and practice? It simply means that we seek it prayerfully, humbly, and by being open to whatever it is that the Creator of the universe will show us as we connect to His Word, and as we put in the effort to uncover truth and to study it. It means being okay with having our perspective challenged and being flexible, and open to change. It means trusting that if we let go of the lenses that we may be clinging to, He will show us the truth of what is hidden in His Word, and all that it really means. It means that we have our ears open – that we really, really listen to what is actually written there.
“Trust in YHWH with all your heart,
And lean not on your own understanding;
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He shall direct your paths.
Do not be wise in your own eyes;
Fear YHWH and depart from evil.
It will be health to your flesh,
And strength to your bones.”
All of this, very much, requires that we have faith. This means that we have faith that God does, indeed, work very closely and intimately with us… if we let Him. He will direct us into truth – in a way that is unseen and hidden. He will help us, as long as we put finding Him in truth, before everything else. Yet, it is also imperative to note that, as the above passage (in Pro. 2) also instructs us, we have a part to play in the process of being given the gift of understanding and wisdom. Wisdom is given by Yah, Himself – to those who actively, diligently, determinedly seek for it. Those to whom Yah will give the true understanding of His Word will be those who love His Word, and therefore continually turn to it and seek to understand what it is truly saying. It will be those who, as Proverbs 2 tells us, develop the kind of relationship with the Ways, Words, Instruction and Wisdom of our Creator wherein we receive, treasure, incline our ear, apply our heart, cry out, lift up our voice, seek as silver and search for as treasure – all these things. These will be people who – in association with their drive to put in this degree of effort – want the True Wisdom of God more than anything else. These people won’t let anything stand in the way of allowing themselves to be shown that which is His good pleasure to show those who love and trust Him.
“Blessed is the man …
Whose delight is in the law of YHWH,
And in His law he meditates day and night.”
In order to view the Scriptures God’s Way, we also will have to let go of all of our fears, including the fear of the unknown concerning where His truth may ultimately lead us. Because, in reality, truth is not always convenient. Sometimes it means we will no longer fit with the religious community we are a part of. Sometimes it means others will look down on us, and our faith outlook. Yet, in the end, we are promised that truth will win out. Truth will lead us to the right destination, even if there are some bumps in the road along the way.
So, dear friend, I encourage you today – let YHWH lead you. Let Him show You His truth, and the truth contained in His Word. For He will lead you to find the stunning beauty of all that He is – piece by piece. And, though it may not be a common road at present, it is a glorious and most beautiful road to travel.
“All the paths of YHWH are lovingkindness and truth to those who keep His Covenant and His Testimonies.” (Psa. 25:10)
In Sincere Shalom,