I’ve always questioned everything I was told. I hope I always listen to others’ viewpoints, but they’re no more than that for me…someone else’s point of view. There are some whose point of view I trust more than others’ because they’ve earned my respect over the years. They’ve proven themselves honest, humble, and consistent; with actions that match their stated beliefs. But for me, it has always come back to one authority, God, and the right and responsibility each of us has to learn more about Him and His Word.
I believe a combination of humility and confidence make for the best approach to understanding the Bible. We must be humble enough to recognize that we are always in danger of allowing our own personal experiences and wishes to shape our interpretations. Grasping the complexities of an eternal God is beyond us. The temptation to form His image according to our liking can be powerful. We are all susceptible to error and we need the Holy Spirit and each other to minimize the personal pull each of us exerts on our own view of God. Humility about our own capacity for error in understanding and interpreting is basic to a reverential study of God’s Word.
There is too much there for any one of us to understand. The Bible is filled with layers of meaning and with connections between concepts that I’ve never noticed, but maybe you have. We need each other to expand our collective scope of understanding. It’s much like the old joke about two individuals looking through different holes in a fence and trying to describe the whole elephant based on the limited part they’ve been able to see. No one of us, nor even all of us together, can grasp the whole picture of God. The desire to do so, however, can bring us together in a community formed of common purpose.
There are Christians with whom I disagree on many points that are not essential to faith in Jesus Christ. I assume that readers will, at times, disagree with some of my perspectives. I expect that and look forward to hearing their views. I believe we can learn from each other if we remember that we are not the authority, God is, and we speak about Him, but not for Him.