Are the Scriptures “Subject to Interpretation?”

A reason some Christians say that the Scriptures are “subject to interpretation” or “it’s a matter of how you interpret the Bible,” or “you believe your way and I’ll believe my way” is sometimes because they do not know God’s heart or His intentions regarding what He said. 

The teachers of Jesus’ day did not interpret the Scriptures correctly because their hearts were far from God. Therefore, their interpretations became “traditions of men” and were a burden for the people to keep. Teaching God’s Word without knowing His true heart and intentions behind His words is called teaching “traditions of men.” Jesus was constantly confronting the religious leaders about this very issue.

The Scriptures are true because they are the truth and nothing less. Truth does not change by anyone’s interpretation. Therefore, incorrect interpretations become “non-scriptural,” which means that they are no longer Scripture.

If you said something intending one thing, and someone changed the meaning, heard it incorrectly or manipulated it, you would say, “I didn’t say that!” In other words, the words that were claimed to be yours were really not. You denied them as being your own words because the meaning was changed. It is the same way with God. If you state a specific Scripture and do not understand God’s true intention and His motive in that Scripture, it is no longer Scripture – it is something else.

In many ways (as in Jesus’ day), God’s people today are not “interpreting” the Word of God correctly. The primary reason for misinterpretation is because people do not have an intimate relationship with God (even though they may be born again) or their hearts have drifted far from Him. When we have a distant relationship with God, how can we possibly interpret the Scriptures correctly? There is no way we can watch filth on television, speak uncleanly and then “buddy-up” to God. We are deceived if we think we can!

If “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work,” (2 Timothy 3:16), then how can we say that the Scriptures are “subject to interpretation?” In other words, how can we be “instructed in righteousness” when we do not know if the instructions are correct? How can we use the Scriptures for “correction” when we do not have the right understanding to correct ourselves or someone else? If the Bible is “subject to interpretation,” then no Scripture has standard truth. Instead of being constant, fixed or absolute, they are relative.

Therefore, the Scriptures are not subject to interpretation. However, you must spend time with God (the One Who spoke the Words) to discover His true intentions. Without us fully giving ourselves to God, we will always lack true understanding of the Scriptures and will make “new doctrines” out of them. The truth is found in knowing Him, because He is truth!

“I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6)

If you are struggling with the meaning of a certain scripture, go to God in prayer. Seek Him and focus on your relationship with Him. That is the best way of all to learn what the Bible teaches.