Question:

I continue to believe that Jesus is the Son of God and lived then died for the sins of the world and then was resurrected. However, recently I've become confused by all the different interpretations of the Bible and all of these people claiming to be right and inspired by God. I realized that all of these people can't be right and, therefore, their interpretation was likely no better than my own, so I decided to read the Bible to see what I believe it meant.

After doing further research I discovered you could logically and rationally prove with the Bible that things such as: pre-marital sex and pornography use aren't always sinful and that there is no eternal hell and after a bit of searching found web sites created by those with similar views. It would take forever to prove my point and it would just end in the opposition quoting the very scripture I interpret as meaning something different to me and then giving justification for their own interpretation which seems no better or any more logical than my own.

I realized this approach is completely illogical as it achieves nothing else but more confusion as to what is correct and just arguments and opposition between Christians. With the verse "Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you" in mind, I decided to rely more on God rather than my own beliefs and prayed for guidance. So far all this has done is lead me to yet more Christian sources with opposing views on a variety of different subjects.

This lack of confidence has lead me to question the legitimacy of my faith which has negatively impacted on my relationship with God. When I just focus on what I believe to be true my relationship with God seems stronger, but perhaps I'm just deluded as others would claim I'm not a true Christian because I do things many Christians believe to be sin. It just seems wrong and narrow-minded for me to assume that my interpretations are above that of other people's and that I'm the only true Christian, as surely you can't have more than one truth.

What is the point in me putting so much effort into following God, if I'm not even following God the correct way? With no way of knowing exactly what God wants or expects. How can I avoid God saying to me 'Depart from me I never knew you. away from me you evildoer'? Many claim to 'know' God, but clearly the majority don't. What makes me, you or anyone else, have any reason to assume we do? Either God decides to only unveil the full picture to a minority of believers in him or God wishes us to just follow what we believe to be right, but I doubt it as it seems completely illogical as it just leads to believers spliting and spliting into even more different sects all believing they have found the truth.

I don't know what to do or where to look as surely with this approach every man will be his own church and we'll all be lost. Does acting upon the wrong interpretation lead to not being saved? What do you think about everything I've said? Maybe you have more insight and can help me. I don't know anyone one else who believes like me, so I'm completely trapped in a ditch.


Answer:

"And so we have the prophetic word confirmed, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts; knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit" (II Peter 1:19-21).

The Bible was not written for you or anyone else to put your private spin on what God said. While you claim that the Bible is hard to understand, God claims the opposite: "See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is" (Ephesians 5:15-17). Your personal rejection of truth doesn't mean that truth cannot be found or understood.

"For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe. For Jews request a sign, and Greeks seek after wisdom; but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men. For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called. But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, that no flesh should glory in His presence" (I Corinthians 1:21-29).

At least you admit that your approach leads to illogical conclusions, but then you don't open your eyes to the truth: Truth does not lead to falsehoods. If you end up with a contradiction then you are starting either with error or illogical deductions or both.

For instance, you claim that you could logically prove that pre-marital sex is not always wrong. However, you decline to do so claiming that it is too complex to accomplish. That alone is an indication that you are unsuccessfully trying to force fit your own goals into the biblical text. Unlike you, I can read and understand God's view on sex outside of marriage: "Marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled; but fornicators and adulterers God will judge" (Hebrews 13:4). I note that you admit that you came to these false conclusions by relying on your own beliefs instead of following God's lead.

What you do is the very thing Peter warned against: "And consider that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation -- as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given to him, has written to you, as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which untaught and unstable people twist to their own destruction, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures. You therefore, beloved, since you know this beforehand, beware lest you also fall from your own steadfastness, being led away with the error of the wicked" (II Peter 3:15-17).

"Wisdom calls aloud outside; she raises her voice in the open squares. She cries out in the chief concourses, at the openings of the gates in the city she speaks her words: "How long, you simple ones, will you love simplicity? For scorners delight in their scorning, and fools hate knowledge. Turn at my rebuke; surely I will pour out my spirit on you; I will make my words known to you. Because I have called and you refused, I have stretched out my hand and no one regarded, because you disdained all my counsel, and would have none of my rebuke, I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your terror comes, when your terror comes like a storm, and your destruction comes like a whirlwind, when distress and anguish come upon you. Then they will call on me, but I will not answer; they will seek me diligently, but they will not find me. Because they hated knowledge and did not choose the fear of the LORD, they would have none of my counsel and despised my every rebuke. Therefore they shall eat the fruit of their own way, and be filled to the full with their own fancies. For the turning away of the simple will slay them, and the complacency of fools will destroy them; but whoever listens to me will dwell safely, and will be secure, without fear of evil" (Proverbs 1:20-33).