Wednesday, 31 December 2008

One witness is never enough… Deuteronomy 19:15

Perhaps the most important lesson I have learned this year is how to correctly interpret the Bible, or perhaps I should say that I have learned how not to mistakenly interpret the Bible.

This summer I received a random e-mail from a writer in Edmonton, promoting her self-published book Redefining Bible Interpretation. As it turned out, the e-mail was not quite so ‘random’. The PDF excerpts from her book intrigued me so much that I e-mailed her back to find out where she had got my name from. Dawn Wessel told me that she surfed Christian websites prospecting for potential customers. The original e-mail Dawn sent out had bounced back (one of many) and she was going to ignore it but felt prompted to go to the effort to find my correct e-mail address. I’m so glad she did.

Dawn’s premise is that the Bible is self-interpreting and it is only logical that God would create it that way. She notes that throughout the Bible messages or instructions of any importance are always repeated, that is to say, witnessed. God, like all good teachers, uses the law of repetition.

Dawn further makes the point that many of the hundreds of different [Christian] denominations and even other religions have come into being because individuals have based their creeds on a single verse or passage which are unsupported elsewhere in the Bible. There is no additional Scriptural ‘witness’ to their viewpoint. God has given and demands witnesses.

God chose to write his covenant on two tablets of stone, engraved on both sides [indicating completeness], one being a 'witness' to the other. Exodus 32:14-16

“One witness shall not rise against a man concerning any iniquity or any sin that he commits; by the mouth of two or three witnesses the matter shall be established.” Deuteronomy 19:15. The principle of repetition is confirmed concerning the need of witnesses, see Deut. 17:6, Matt. 18:15-16, 2 Cor. 13:1, etc).

When there was no ‘human witness’ Moses still claimed witnesses, “I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you this day…” Deuteronomy 4:26.

May I encourage you, whenever you get stuck on a point of Biblical interpretation, look for a witness.