The January 2011 issue of the U.S. Airways in-flight magazine promoted a book entitled Original Sinners: A New Interpretation of Genesis, by John R. Coats. It was heralded as a ‘must read.’ In this work, Coats invited his readers to view the Bible through his interpretation of it.
What one finds interesting is Coats’s use of the word ‘interpretation’ in the subtitle. It has become common to view such a word as rather benign and many would say that Coats has every right to interpret the Bible as he sees fit. But does he?
Biblical “interpretation” needs context for not all interpretation is created equal.
A responsible reader of the Bible uses spiritual discernment to discover the intent of the author (Ephesians 5:10). The Christian should interpret Scripture through a discerning spirit of obedience and humility. A correctunderstanding of His work is what we are trying to achieve, and we recognize that our own interpretations can be flawed because we are flawed. This subservient approach to the Scriptures can be called a God-fearing interpretational approach because it places the goal of truly understanding the Almighty God at the summit in which we are trying to reach.
However, the broader society of our modern world has adopted, by and large, a postmodern view of life. To the postmodernist truth is relative to whatever the individual wishes it to be. This mindset destroys any instructional or authoritative message the text has for an individual….
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