Does anyone read the Bible “unfiltered”?

So I hear:

“I GET MY DOCTRINE FROM THE BIBLE AND NO HUMAN INFLUENCE.”

While I of course respect the intent of the claim, and while I have a robust belief in the Spirit’s guidance, I have to qualify it:

EVERY CHRISTIAN IS INFLUENCED BY MERE HUMAN TEACHERS, AND EVERYONE READS THE BIBLE UNDER THE INFLUENCE OF OTHERS.

Much of what we “know” from the Bible comes from deep within our memories, for example: a sermon you heard decades ago, that you accepted but then forgot. Or, our ideas about whether a woman can teach men are partly formed by whether we have experienced that or not.

Although I would like to imagine that I have immediate, unfiltered perception of all divine truth without any other influence, it’s not the way it goes! Not even if you read Greek and Hebrew! Better that we practice what someone has called “hermeneutical humility”.

Much better – and safer – to say:

  • Some people take steps to identify who are the influences on their doctrine.
  • Others deny such influences; it seems to me that such people are more likely to be the people who start cults

** It’s better to recognize the influences on our minds – and discern and critique them – than to deny that they exist **

“Does anyone read the Bible “unfiltered”? by Gary S. Shogren, Professor of New Testament, Seminario ESEPA, San José, Costa Rica

2 thoughts on “Does anyone read the Bible “unfiltered”?

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  1. This is so true, and we are better off identifying all our influences. Nothing wrong with that because, obviously, the Lord had brought so many people and opportunities into our lives to strengthen our faith. Over time, as we continue to pray and evaluate, we discard some, chew on others, and embrace the rest even more closely. It’s also one of the motivations for those of us who write and speak to be an influence/witness into someone else’s life.

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