Biblical Interpretation

All this is to say that if you find yourself agreeing with my interpretations, don’t assume traditionalists are thick-headed or hard-hearted for not seeing what we see. On the other hand, if you find yourself disagreeing with my interpretations, don’t assume that your viewpoint is unquestionably the “real biblical position.” Christians have been reading the same Bible and holding greatly different beliefs for over two thousand years now. Awareness of this historical fact alone should make us quick to listen to others, and slow to assume our position is the obviously right one. It should also give us pause before accusing someone of denying biblical authority just because they question the legitimacy of our interpretations. In other words, in questioning hell we are not throwing away the biblical puzzle pieces we do not like, we are simply questioning if the picture on the lid that we have received from the dominant tradition actually gives us the best way to put all the pieces together. Perhaps there is a better picture that can make room for more of the pieces to fit together better. At this point we need to acknowledge that people who disagree with our own biblical interpretations are not necessarily denying the Bible, but simply questioning the lenses through which we currently see the Bible.

— Heath Bradley, Flames of Love, p. 5

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