How do we know when our interpretation is wrong?

@PDPrice, because you’re relying very heavily on particular interpretation of the Bible, I wonder how you would know if your interpretation of Genesis was incorrect? As we know, we’re all fallible and limited in our view of reality, and there are many different interpretations of many doctrines within Christianity. How do you go about figuring out which is correct?

Maybe more particularly, how would we know when our interpretation of Scripture is best?


How do we know when our interpretation is wrong?

Maybe when we substitute ‘perfect’ for ‘very good’?


Good question @Jordan.

@PDPrice Scripture is important to you, as it is to me. I’d think you’d be all about this topic. How do you determine if your interpretation of Scripture happens to be wrong? What is the process? How would you know?


Those of us who hold different interpretations of Scripture than @PDPrice should answer this question as well - I will try to give my answer when I have some time. :slight_smile:


When it doesn’t match the whole of reality.


That is a profoundly anti-Jesus and anti-Biblical statement. Do you know that? Jesus said heaven and earth will pass away but never his words. He was echoing the OT about the grass withering and flower fading but the word of God will stand forever. What pray-tell, does reality have to do with the established word of God?

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Shouldn’t the word of God be real? it seems like Jesus thought it was real, right?


Here’s my point. Your reality is based on your interpretation of the evidence, mine is based on my interpretation. If we as human prone to both get it wrong, how would it be best to err? On which side of the evidence should we find ourselves when God’s reality is finally and ultimately imposed?

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I guess I was assuming there was only one reality, but different individual “views” of it or maybe interpretations, some of which may corresponds more completely to the true reality.


That’s a different question. How do you know if your interpretation is correct or not? If you know it isn’t correct, you shouldn’t err towards it, right?

Well…you would think, right? But no, not necessarily. Remember when Ann Gauger said “The cost is just too great” [for peace, that is]. It would all depend on how far I would be expected to move my position of belief. If it was too far from my Scriptural comfort zone, then no, I could not err that far.

Just so I understand, are you saying that even if you knew something was wrong you would believe it anyway depending on how much it violated your “Scriptural comfort zone”?

Hmm. No I did not say that. No arrogance intended here but I have not found one convincing piece of evidence in my decades here on earth that shows me “I know something is wrong” (to use your words) with a starting and continued literal interpretation of Genesis. I have found nuances to that literal view, however.

But the question wasn’t if we were wrong, the question was how would we know if we were wrong. I’d welcome your contribution to that question. I thought that’s what you were talking about in your previous replies but maybe not.

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Whether or not our interpretation matches the whole of reality, is itself another interpretation.

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@Agauger never explained what that cost was, even when we directly asked her. The cost could have been as banal as losing her job, or as parochial as letting ID finally rest in peace.

Maybe these costs were too high for her, but they need not be too high for the rest of us.

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Hardly. Did Jesus say that heaven and earth were not real? He absolutely did not. In fact, the reality of the Bible says look to the heavens for truth, doesn’t it, and that mankind will be held accountable for the truths revealed in creation.

The heavens declare the glory of God,
    and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.
Day to day pours out speech,
    and night to night reveals knowledge

For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities – his eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.

You have your glasses on profoundly backwards, making you anti-scripture.

Huh. You apparently don’t know that truth comes from reality. Look it up.

Are you a solipsist, perchance? :slightly_smiling_face:

Nobody gets it all 100% right. I’m sure we can all agree to that. But determining the proper interpretation is about taking a holistic approach to the scriptures, allowing them to in effect interpret themselves by seeing how other parts of the Bible regard that part. If all I had was Genesis 1, I would still default to a literal understanding because there’s nothing in the text to suggest otherwise; however, I might be open to a different take on it much more so than I am now, without all the rest of the Bible’s commentary on it. But with the rest of the Bible to go on, there’s no question in my mind that God intended to leave absolutely no room for long ages, evolution or death before sin.

It’s by no means the only place, but one key passage of scripture I keep going back to (because of how clear it is) would be 2 Peter 3. This passage is so clear that it utterly lays waste to allegorical or figurative interpretations of Genesis.

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