How do you know what the words in the Bible mean?

A friend of mine on Facebook put out the question: What is your interpretation of Hebrews 6:4?

Here is Hebrews 6:4-6

4 For it is impossible for those who were once aenlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost,

5 And have atasted the good word of God, and the powers of the bworld to come,

6 If they shall afall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they bcrucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open cshame.
There are multiple ways to interpret this scripture because there is a lot of ambiguity. What does “enlightened” mean? What does it mean to taste of the heavenly gift and be made a partaker of the Holy Ghost? What does it mean to taste the good word of God, or the powers of the world to come? What does it mean that those who fall away cannot be renewed? What does it mean to fall away? What does it mean to crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh and put him to an open shame?
Each of these parts of this relatively brief scripture could be interpreted in a number of ways, but which interpretation is true?
Let us begin by making an assumption, which you are free to disagree with if you choose, and it is that there is only one correct interpretation of this scripture. If you accept this as fact, then how can one know the true interpretation? I would put forth the argument that there are only two ways to know what the true interpretation is:
1. God tells you.
2. An authorized servant of God tells you, and the Holy Ghost confirms it to you.
The problem with #1 is this–it only works for you. That is, you can’t go around telling others what the scripture means, at least not with any authority. If everyone had authority to tell everyone else whatever “God told them” then we’d have chaos. In fact, we do have chaos. As the joke goes, ask three Methodists [insert any other Christian religion here] what a scripture means and you’ll get at least four opinions. In order for there to be a widely accepted interpretation of scripture, it must come from an authorized servant of God. Who are authorized servants of God? Prophets and apostles, such as Moses or Peter. If you accept this as being logical, then the only questions are which churches claim to have the same authority that was given to Moses and Peter, and how do you figure out which of them is true church, with authority to speak in the name of God?
But that last question is for another post, not this one. My question to you is can you logically deny anything I’ve stated here? Other than I described, how else could you know for sure what the words in Hebrews 6:4-6 mean?

Comments

  1. Sup josh, i know its hard trying to find out what true interpretations is, even as for me, but through God Special revaltion he reveals it through us in his timing, and through our understanding of Jesus.

    Lets Go back to the beggining, in what the real issue is, with the Jehovas, the Mormans, Muslems, all have a problem with the diety of Jesus Christ.

    The issue is this and to understand Scripute, is which true Jesus do we follow? Jehovas dont beleive that Jesus is God incarnated in the Flesh, Muslems dont believe that Jesus is God in the Flesh, You beleive that Jesus is the Son of God, and that Satan is his brother, and elohim is the father.

    What Me and Simon Beleive that Jesus is God incarnated in the Flesh, we beleive in the Holy Trinity. Which the Bible teaches, and there's many evidence's in the Bible that Teaches that Jesus Christ wasnt just a man, not just the Son of God, but Also He is God. Question is what Authority is the Bible trying to communicate with us? Gods word is a revalation and communication to speak to us of Who Jesus is, Sin, judgemnt, etc. and that the Bible teaches, and Jesus teaches, that God gave all Authority to Jesus Christ. The issue with the human race is SIN!! and Separation From God, because we are not holy in the eye's of God, and the ONLY way to Get right with God, is through Jesus Christ, and the shedding of His Blood, Jesus taking our place at the Cross, if you think about it, if Jesus wasnt God in the Flesh, there is no way that sin can be forgiven for the whole world, past present and future in just a regular man, Only Gods Holy Power his diety, Can do that. He died for us and rose from the dead because He Loves us. We must have Faith in Jesus, and Jesus alone.

    If you read all through new testoment, it all talks about Jesus, Peter talked about Jesus, Paul the apostle talked about Jesus, Mathew, Mark, Luke and John talks about Jesus, Revaltion talks about Jesus. So what does that tell you and i, and the world? Im not doing this to Debate with you Josh, or to prove im right and your wrong, i'm doing this cause i care, and im concern were you spend eternity. If i didnt care Josh, i wouldnt be reaching out to you. I've prayed for you 3 times already in the past 4 hours. its because of the Love of Jesus, Its the Goodness of Gods Grace that Leads us to repentance.

    so how can we understand the interpretations of Schripture if dont have our faith and tRust, in the True Jesus Christ, in which the Bible teaches. but i can write, and write, if the heart isnt humble, and fraustration kicks in, How can God speak to you or me? I pray for Gods Grace to be upon you Josh, and that you'll have a true personal relationship with the true and Living God, the Author and finisher's of our Soul Jesus Christ. God bless you

    • Thanks Chester, I appreciate your concern for me and want you to know I don't mean to be contentious or argumentative. For me, discussing religious issues is fun, and my intent is not so much to convince anyone of what I believe so much as to understand what others believe and why, as well as better understand my own beliefs. With those as my objectives I can come away from just about any religious discussion feeling that it was productive and rewarding, regardless of whether anyone's mind was changed.

      But to get back to our discussion, I believe in a logical God. I know that man doesn't always understand God's logic and sometimes to our limited understanding God's logic may appear completely illogical, but I believe that if we could see what God sees that we would see that everything is perfectly rational and logical. I believe it's our duty to not blindly accept anything as truth, and I believe God has given us tools such that we can find out for ourselves whether something is true or not. I believe God expects us to put some effort into figuring things out on our own before He'll step in and give us answers, and so I believe logical debate and exploration is healthy and part of how we learn more about God.

      That said, I don't see the logic in what you're saying, and I'm not sure you're actually trying to answer the main question of this post. In fact, your response just goes to prove my point, which is that people have different interpretations of the Bible, and that you can't turn to the Bible to tell you what the Bible mean. Sorry, let me explain that, because it's only partially true. There are parts of the Bible that are so simple to understand that we can all agree on the meaning, and the Bible sometimes does confirm its own story with regards to historical facts. There are also parts of the Bible where one part clarifies or sheds light on what another part means. However, my point is that there is no shortage of interpretations for a large part of the Bible, and of course there are plenty of people who deny the Bible as being anything but fantasy, but we don't need to discuss that since you and I both agree that the Bible is true.

      And so from the Bible you have a certain idea of who Jesus is. To you, it's perfectly clear that God, Jesus, and the Holy Ghost are one being (correct me if I'm wrong, but that's my understanding of your belief). Mormons believe they are three distinct beings who are united in purpose, and that's why the scriptures say they are one, and that Jesus is God and vice versa. You can show me scriptures that seem to prove your perspective, but I might interpret those scriptures differently than you do. So how do we know who is correct?

  2. "1. God tells you.

    2. An authorized servant of God tells you, and the Holy Ghost confirms it to you."

    The sure and certain way is to let scripture interpret scripture. Find clear passages to interpret unclear passages.

    • If that works, why do so many Christians disagree as to what particular scriptures say? And not just minor differences, but major doctrinal differences relating to our very salvation?

  3. Question: "If that works, why do so many Christians disagree as to what particular scriptures say? And not just minor differences, but major doctrinal differences relating to our very salvation?"

    Answer: Here are 3 but there are more in scripture:

    2 Timothy 4:3 "For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear."

    2 Peter 2:1 "But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them—bringing swift destruction on themselves."

    1 Timothy 4:1-2 " The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron."

    The sure and certain solution is this:

    Acts 17:11 "Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true."

    Don't base your scriptural studies on feelings but on written fact. Correct and true interpretation may initially give you bad feelings until God changes the way you think….

    Don't trust feelings:

    Proverbs 14:12 "There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death."

    God changes the way you think:

    Isaiah 55:8 "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD."

    He will get you to the truth.

  4. Again, those are nice scriptures but they don't solve the problem. People have been having fundamental arguments about what the words in the Bible mean for many centuries, and rather than everyone arriving at a common conclusion, we see just the opposite–there are more Christian religions today than at any time in earth's history. And even within those religions there are serious arguments over what the Bible says. While some of this may be due to itching ears, false prophets, false teachers, demons, hypocrites, liars, etc., we all know good, honest people who seriously disagree with each other as to how the words in the Bible should be interpreted.

    Therefore we can plainly see that no amount of study of the Bible is enough to understand it fully. Clarification must come from a source outside the Bible itself.

    But for the sake of argument, let's assume you're correct. Great! Everything I read in the Bible confirms to me that Mormonism is true, because I interpret everything I read in the Bible that way. How can you say I'm wrong? All you can do is read scriptures to me that you interpret in a certain way, but I don't accept your interpretation. I interpret them differently, and how can anyone say my interpretation is incorrect? You will show me a scripture that you think proves that things are one way, and I will say "No, that's not what that scripture means." I will show you a scripture that backs up my point of view. You will say "No, you're understanding that incorrectly" and will show me another scripture that backs up your point of view, to which I will say "No, no, you don't understand…" and so on. Where does it end? It doesn't as long as we rely exclusively on the Bible.

  5. Case in point, you say that Proverbs 14:12 "There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death." means that if I base my belief in Mormonism on a feeling, that this is incorrect. But I don't interpret that scripture that way. I think what the author of Proverbs was saying is that most men have a temporal or worldly perspective, and that what seems right to the worldly man leads to spiritual death. But of course believe I am a Mormon because I have left the worldly way that leads to death, have found the spiritual life that comes through Christ, and it is the teachings I've learned through the LDS Church that have led me to Him. It is not we Mormons who are following the "way that seems right to a man," but rather those who reject Mormonism.

    That's just one example, but I'm sure we could go at this for years with thousands of scriptures, debating what they mean, and never coming to agreement.

  6. You said: "I think what the author of Proverbs was saying is that most men have a temporal or worldly perspective, and that what seems right to the worldly man leads to spiritual death"

    I agree with you.

    Not to insult you or anything, but Mormonism is a worldy perspective that leads to spiritual death. Your good feelings about Mormonism are wrong.

    There, we interpreted that scripture the same way and agree on its meaning. See, it can be done.

  7. But how do you know Mormonism is a worldly perspective that leads to spiritual death? How do you know my good feelings are wrong? Is that based on anything other than your interpretation of the Bible, and if so, how do you know that your interpretation is correct?

    My interpretation of the same words tells me otherwise.

  8. The Bible tells me that Mormonism is a worldly perspective. The Bible can be interpreted correctly, you can count on that because it is the very same word that will be used in the judgement to aquit or condemn.

    You have to remember that those who use the "which interpretation is correct?" argument are asking the wrong question. You will not be able to ask God that question in the judgement as a way to wiggle out of not knowing the correct interpretation yourself. It won't hold any water.

    Obviously the Bereans knew exactly how to find out which interpretation is correct:

    Acts 17:11 "Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.

    Joseph Smith will be without excuse in the judgment. His very own word in the JST stating that God justifies the godly will condemn him on the last day and the Bereans will be aquitted because they searched the scripture and found the TRUTH written there that God justfies the ungodly. The whole foundation of the Christian Church is built apon God justifying the ungodly. That is the sum total of our gospel message. The whole foundation of the LDS church is built on the opposite gospel message of scripture, a false gospel.

    It is exactly this message of the gospel that creates saving faith in our hearts. A false gospel does not create saving faith. In this regard, the LDS do not have saving faith yet.

    Ironically, Joseph Smith is a liar as is discussed in another thread here on your blog but he taught that the Godly are justified. He himself was not Godly. He will be condemned. This is a world view.

    Ironically, Moses on the other hand lied but believed God justifies the ungodly. His sin was covered with forgiveness. He was righteous not because of what he did but because of what he believed. He will be aquitted.

  9. Again, it's a matter of interpretation. You say the Bible tells you that Mormonism is a worldly perspective. I say the Bible tells me that Mormonism is a spiritual perspective. You say the Bible contradicts Joseph Smith, and I read the same words and say the Bible and Joseph Smith do not contradict one another. You read the Bible and say it is the opposite of what the LDS Church teaches, and I read the Bible and say that it teaches exactly what the LDS Church teaches. You say the Bible shows that Joseph Smith is ungodly, but I read the same words and come to the opposite conclusion.

    The Bible is not enough to tell us who is right, because you and I both use the same words in the Bible to claim that each of us is right, and that the other is wrong. This is a logical fact. To deny it is to deny that 2 + 2 = 4.

  10. Wrong. Only one of us believes the bible is true when the bible says God justifies the ungodly. The other one does NOT HOLD TO THE TRUTH, he believes God justifies the godly.

    JOhn 8:44 "You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desire. He was a murderer from the beginning, NOT HOLDING TO THE TRUTH, FOR THERE IS NO TRUTH IN HIM, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.

    2 Thess 2:10 "They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved."

    Your right 2 + 2 = 4 The Bible says clearly, beyond misinterpretation, that God jusfies the ungodly. You refuse to believe it.

  11. I believe the Bible as it was written by the prophets and apostles. I believe that if we had the original documents and could compare them with the Bible we have today, we would find many discrepancies. You may say you do not believe as I do, but this is your opinion, not fact. In order to prove your point of view, you would have to possess the original documents.

    I cannot prove that my point of view is correct either, but once again, my intent is only to show that my point of view cannot be proven false, and therefore may be true.

  12. Thank you for your time.

  13. People.Just look at what you're writing. If you believe God knows what you're doing then why are you doubting His Work. The owner of this blog does a disservice by manifesting unbelief. Enough! Back to your Bible.

    • Oh, I don't doubt God's work, but rather the meddling of men and men's interpretations of God's work.

  14. My interpretation: primitive babble trying to sound wordy and profound.

  15. Joshua believes men can be more powerful than God. Men's meddling and interpretation could actually thwart the whole plan of Almighty God, in fact for around 1500 years not one person had God's truth and God couldn't do anything about it! Not until Joseph Smith came along! When you believe men will become their own gods, it's not too far off to come to these beliefs. The God they worship was himself a mere man, and someone on this planet right now could become just as or more glorious than Him with their own planet and people to rule! Mormon men have the aspiration to be a god. You have to see that perspective from Mormonism to understand the depth of man worship in the religion.

    • Leah, I'm afraid you are mistaken in much of what you believe about Mormons. No, we don't believe that men are more powerful than God, nor that they can thwart God's plans (other than for themselves, if one rebels against God), nor that they can become more powerful than God. And we certainly do not worship any man, unless you want to call God a man, which in a sense he is, although quite a different man than any of us.

      What we do believe is that God will force no man to heaven. He will not force anyone to believe in him. The true church of Christ disappeared from the earth because men rejected it. God could have kept it on the earth, he had the power, but he could only do that if he forced himself upon men, and he has promised not to do that.

  16. Hebrews 6:4-6 refutes the false notion that once a person is saved there is nothing he/she can do to become unsaved.

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