• Rachel Ramer

The Narrow Way to Read the Bible

Updated: Jul 30, 2019

What happens when we examine a difficult Bible passage that impacts our lives? If we have been conditioned to adopt the more narrow interpretation, this is often the result:

1. First, we try to understand the author’s intent. (For literature, this is currently a low consideration, but for a religious text, this ranks high.)

2. Next, we may try to examine the passage for some universal principle. How does this apply to me? Do I need to obey this? Is it a salvation issue? (This often depends on our hermeneutic.)

3. If the passage will cost us personally, we begin to feel guilty for even questioning it. We examine ourselves to see if we are being self-serving. Who are we to question God?

4. We may even think about all the Christians, missionaries, martyrs whose situations are or were a lot worse than ours. Shame begins to set in.

5. At this point, other explanations appear suspect. Do they explain away God’s requirements? Do they sound like the serpent in the Garden of Eden attempting to deceive Eve? 

6. Religious conditioning tells us to accept the more narrow view of Scripture, just in case. We don’t want to make God angry. 

7. If we question the passage and the church's interpretation, we may be tagged as rebellious. 

(Excerpt from Heirs to Religious Angst, chapter 5: "The Hovels of Hermeneutics, Part 2")

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