I encourage my readers to read and compare two blogs from my lists below. Just posted on “Winging It” is a look at a passage from Acts that is often used to justify communist/socialist economic policies. At the same time, the most recent post at “A Payne Hollow Visit”, aka “Through the Woods” has another entry in the host’s ongoing series of posts looking at the Bible and economics. I would hope it is easy to see how one is reasoned and logical, taking cues from the actual words of the text…you know…what it is actually saying, and the other…well…doesn’t. One draws conclusions from the text and the other injects meaning into it.
I can’t knock anyone’s desire to understand Scripture, to uncover meaning and learn what God wants us to know about Him and His will and intentions for us. But it seems to me that there is only so much that is there, only so much that is intended to be drawn that at some point we can say, “I get it.” and from that point, further study simply cements the message into our skulls.
But then there are those who seem determined to find some secrets, or perhaps regard themselves as more able to divine deeper meanings. I think these people get themselves in trouble by supposing they are smarter than the average believer, have a better grasp that is beyond the common man and thus are no more than complete frauds on the order of a Pharisee. I can think of two in particular who visit here.
And then there are those who want the Bible to mean something that is more appealing to them than a stark reading reveals. We see this in the commonplace expression “God is love” that is put forth as the bottom line of Biblical teaching and all one needs to know. In the above example, we have a clear case of one’s economic preference being injected into anyplace the blogger feels he can stick the hypodermic needle. It is clear that he feels any place will do.
There is plenty we can learn from Scripture that Scripture intends us to learn without forcing meaning upon it. If one wants to say that It warns us against greed and the lust for money, I can deal with that, because it does. But it says so in clear terms without pretending there are underlying messages of this type in every other verse. Worse, the message that is so imagined by this particular blogger is used to support economic policy proposals that do not conform with the true message charitable giving and caring for the poor.
I cannot help but regard this type of interpretation as every bit heretical as any other unBiblical teaching. It doesn’t matter if the heresy is something that is actually taught elsewhere in Scripture (assuming it is). But injecting meaning that the text itself isn’t providing interferes with the message it intends to provide. One might even ignore the intended message in favor of the “underlying” message not truly intended. That can’t be good.