(Biblical) Myth Busters: God’s Word and Interpretation – Part 2

Speaker: Scott Jarrett | Mar 28, 2021

(biblical) MYTH BUSTERS

“Debunking the biblical myths believed by the big dummies of this world”

  1. The Scriptures are simple enough that a child can understand them (I don’t need qualified and trained pastors).

When addressing that issue, the Scripture themselves bear witness to their difficulty on more than one occasion (2Pe 3:15-16; Luk 8:9-10; Act 8:29-31). God’s prescription for dealing w/such difficulty and making sure we are understanding/interpreting the Scriptures correctly is seeking out qualified and trained pastors (1Ti 3:2-7; 2Ti 2:15).

  1. The Holy Spirit helps me understand the Scriptures (I don’t need anointed pastors).

The only ones given the Holy Spirit for the purpose of understanding the Scriptures are the anointed pastors of the church (Eph 4:11 w/Isa 66:21; Joh 16:13 w/Joh 20:22 w/1Co 2:3-16; 2Co 3:5-8; 1Th 1:5; 1Pe 1:12 and 2Pe 1:21; 1Jo 2:18-20)[1].

  1. You are safer trusting yourself than another man when it comes to understanding what the Bible teaches (Solo Scriptura).

Unless you have been trained and are qualified, believing that it is safer to trust yourself than someone else forgets that we trust people more qualified in a specific area over ourselves all the time.  The foolishness of such a statement is thus revealed when considering its equivalent: it is safer to trust yourself than your doctor when it comes to medical issues – especially those which will determine whether you live or die. Why would you trust yourself (an untrained person whose medical ignorance far outweighs your medical knowledge) over someone who has spent countless hours in study and demonstrating their competency (whose medical knowledge far outweighs their medical ignorance)?  Guaranteed if your pastor has been properly trained, then the ratios of biblical knowledge to ignorance are similar and the gap between you and him, equally substantial (again like the average patient in relation to their doctor). Hence the reason, pastors were at one time referred to as “spiritual physicians”[2]. It should also be mentioned that Scripture makes explicit those w/the greatest potential for leading us astray are those who lack the proper training or qualifications to serve as pastors (2Pe 3:14-16).

Does this mean we follow qualified and trained pastors blindly? Hardly. We must always be Berean. But this connotation refers to taking a position of teachable trust and self-education – not distrust and suspicion (Act 17:10-11).

Does this mean qualified and trained pastors can never be wrong or are infallible? No. But when there is disagreement, we should give them the benefit of the doubt since chances are far greater of us being wrong than them (again consider the example of the doctor and the patient).

What about accountability or making sure that they bounce their interpretations off others before teaching them? Pastors are accountable to the congregation for their doctrine and Scripture establishes the church’s courts for dealing w/them when there is error and unrepentance. However, this is vastly different than saying they cannot operate independently – or without first checking w/the congregation as to what they teach. Does your doctor bounce his diagnosis or prescriptions off you before administering treatment? Are parents required to bounce their ideas off the children before administering discipleship or discipline? The proper question therefore is never, “Should we – or shouldn’t we trust another man?” but rather, “Who has demonstrated themselves to be the qualified and trained expert?” Leaving your life in their hands will always be the safest choice (Hence Heb 13:17). 

  1. There is more than one correct interpretation of the Bible.

There may be many interpretations of the Bible in the world today, but there is only one that is correct, that which is in agreement with God’s original intentions. We do not have the right to interpret the Scriptures whatever way we want – or to suit our own desires, and then act as though it is still God’s Word. It is His words and therefore only the correct interpretation is His Word – i.e. it is no longer God’s Word the moment we interpret it incorrectly (2Pe 1:20-21) = Scripture has never allowed people to make it what they want or need it to mean (their “own interpretation” or the “will of man”). According to Peter, the Scriptures meaning exactly what God originally intended is vital to our confidence that Jesus is indeed the Christ, since this is how they “confirmed” that to be true.

  1. We cannot be confident about our interpretation of the Scriptures (Scripture is not clear).

“Those who persist in an appeal to the clear teaching of Scripture face charges of hermeneutical naivety, entrapment in modernist assumptions, a lack of epistemic humility, or worst of all, an act of ‘communicative violence’.  You can’t be sure that’s what it means; and if you say you are, it is merely a ploy to coerce me to accept your point of view.  Despite a number of sophisticated explorations of the clarity or perspicuity of Scripture in recent decades, this doctrine is either ignored or derided by many.  It seems scarcely credible and even absurd… No confession concerning Scripture is more disturbing to the church [today] than the confession of its perspicuity.’” – Mark D. Thompson (A Clear And Present Word)


Though interpreting or understanding the Scripture is not always simple (it oftentimes is “hard to understand”), that doesn’t mean we can’t be certain about its meaning. Such certainty is attested to by the fact that we are commanded to build our lives upon it and understand it as the means to not only loving God but receiving His blessings – most importantly the blessing of salvation. If God’s Word were so unclear that certainty was impossible, then so also would be Gods’ ability to judge or condemn us for not keeping it.  A basic requirement of all justice is that a person have not only the ability to perform, but also understand those obligations by which they will be judged (Deu 29:29, 30:9-18; Rom 10:6-9; 2Co 1:13; Eph 3:4; Psa 119:105, 130; Pro 1:2; Mar 12:33; Jer 9:24; Eph 5:15-17; Mat 7:21-27; 2Ti 3:15-16).

  1. God’s Word is to be the only spiritual or moral authority in my life (again Solo Scriptura).

Another popular misconception regarding God’s Word is that it is to be our only spiritual or moral authority. There is a big difference between saying something is our only authority versus our final authority. God views His Word as the final authority but never the Christian’s only authority. Authority is also given to the church and her elders (especially her anointed elders) (Mat 18:15-20 “tell it to the church…whatever you bind…whatever you loose…if two of you agree on earth [and] are gathered in my name…it will be done…there am I among them”) = When the church acts in agreement w/God’s Word – i.e. Christ’s Name, their authority and judgment is granted and backed by Jesus. That those acting include anointed pastors is confirmed by (Joh 20:21-23). That acting in agreement w/God’s Word is always acting according to His Name is confirmed by the fact that the basis of God’s [or Christ’s] name is their Word. Their word is their name (i.e. how they are to be known; their reputation; See Psa 138:2 = God is what He says. This passage therefore also supports God’s Word as our final authority since to serve Him – or His name, we submit to His Word; See also Deu 12:32; Jos 1:7-8; Isa 2:2-3,8:20, 42:21; Mal 4:4; Mat 4:4 w/Deu 8:3; Mat 5:17-20; 2Ti 3:15-16). This understanding (Scripture as the final authority but not the only authority in relation to spiritual or moral things) is the historical doctrine of Sola (not Solo) Scriptura.

  1. We are commanded to allow no one to be our “teacher” but Christ.

The passage often cited for support of this belief is (Mat 23:8, 10 “rabbi” = Master or teaching authority; “instructor” = Teacher). If however what Jesus means by such words is, “never identify anyone other than Me as your teacher or instructor”, then the apostle Paul clearly didn’t get the message (1Ti 2:7). Not only that but in verse 9 (the verse in between), Jesus gives a similar prohibition about calling someone “father” (Mat 23:9). The Scriptures however are filled w/examples of saints (even God) granting this designation to others (e.g. Exo 20:12; Eph 6:1-4). What then is Jesus talking about? What we just discussed. He is prohibiting identifying a person according to either of those designations (teacher or father) in the ultimate sense of those terms – i.e. as the final authority in our life. In that respect only Jesus (as Teacher) and God (as Father) are to hold those designations or distinctions.

CLOSING CHALLENGE: Who do I know that believes some or all of the above myths? Our responsibility as those who know the truth (2Co 10:5).

[1] That the pastor-teachers or anointed pastors are the only ones possessing the Spirit for the purpose of interpretation or discerning truth for leading God’s people is consistent w/the anointing (of the Holy Spirit) given only to the priests, prophets and kings in the OT. The idea that all believers now possess such an anointing (or the Spirit for the purpose of interpretation) comes from the big dummy Martin Luther and his doctrine of the “priesthood of all believers” – a gross misinterpretation of Rev 1:6 (sb w/Exo 19:6) and Rev 20:6 (sb w/Rev 20:4-5).

[2] It is an unfortunate reality that today most men functioning as pastors have not been properly trained. This however doesn’t mean we “throw the baby out w/the bath water” by viewing all pastors this way. It instead means taking the time to find those who are trained and never taking them for granted.