We are a church that follows the Jesus written about in scripture, who fulfilled prophesies of scripture, who is understood by Christians to be the Messiah of scripture, who studied scripture, lived out scripture, taught from scripture, memorized scripture, and died with scripture on his lips. We could not be followers of Jesus without a high value of scripture.
But not everyone interprets and understands the Bible or scripture the same way.
People all over the world interpret the Bible from many different religious, political, and professional perspectives. These people may read scripture through the lens of an agnostic, an archeologist, an atheist, a Muslim, a Jew, a professor of religion, a historian, a professor of literature, or a combination of any of these as well as dozens of others. All of these people read and interpret the Bible in their own particular way – through their own particular lens.
As Christians, as people who are living into the Way of Jesus – living with Jesus as Lord, we interpret scripture through the lens of Jesus – through the life, teachings, death, and resurrection of Jesus.
We give the highest interpretive priority to the approach that Jesus taught his followers to take toward scripture, to focus on his teaching about loving God and loving your neighbor found in Matthew 22:36-40 along with the Golden Rule (“Do unto others what you would have them do unto you”) found in Matthew 7:12.
This interpretive lens leads us to make our primary questions: “What would Jesus do?” “What best expresses my love for God in this situation?” “What would best express God’s love to my neighbor?” “How would I want someone to treat me or speak to me in this situation?”
When it comes to interpreting scripture we follow Jesus’ teaching by asking, “How are we to understand this section of scripture in light of the primary truth that God loves us, God wants us to love God and to love each other, and to treat each other like we would like to be treated?”
Interpreting and understanding scripture is not always easy, but for us, as followers of Jesus, this is where we begin. When interpreting and understanding scripture become difficult, we turn to God, trusting God in the areas we lack clarity or find disagreements because we know that God is bigger than our particular perspective and God can handle our mistakes.