Q&A: Humility and Submission to Scripture

Humility and Submission to Scripture

How does the spiritual condition of an interpreter affect his or her ability to interpret the Bible?

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Answer

Well, the spiritual condition of a person certainly is important in interpreting Scripture. Not that somebody who is walking closely with the Lord can just interpret Scripture without study, without putting effort into it, but something that is essential for understanding Scripture, for letting it come into my life, is humility and submission to Scripture, to listen to what God is saying. And so, a person who is walking with the Lord closely their spiritual condition then you'd say was good is walking with the Lord closely is much more likely to be submissive to Scripture, to really listen to what it has to say, not to try to twist it to what he wants it, or she wants it to say, but to really submit to the text of Scripture and let it speak to them. And that is so important. If the Scripture is the Word of God, and if it is God's message of salvation, then I want to know what God is saying. I don't want to know what I am saying. I don't want to make it mean what I want it to mean. I want to know what God is saying. And so, a submission to the Scripture is very crucial. And that, I think, is one of the main things that walking closely with the Lord does, walking and having a good spiritual condition and relationship with him does. It enables us to be humble before Scripture and receive what God has to say to us.

Answer by Dr. Gareth Cockerill

Dr. Gareth Cockerill is Professor of Biblical Interpretation and Theology at Wesley Biblical Seminary as well as Academic Dean