I just started reading through John Bunyan’s classic The Pilgrim’s Progress (I read part of it for one of my classes, but have never read through it in its entirety) so there may be most posts of this nature in the coming days/weeks.
Skeptic: There is no right interpretation. In fact there have been lots of interpretations over the many years since the Bible was written. Who are you to say you know what the Bible means? We can’t know what it really means.
Christian: So let me see if I understand you correctly. You’re saying that Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life, and that there is no salvation without Him.
Skeptic: What? No, that’s exactly what I’m not saying! I’m saying you can’t conclude that, there are many valid interpretations of the texts.
Christian: So you’re saying that there is only one correct interpretation and we should try to find it.
Skeptic: No, no, why are you twisting what I’m saying? You know I’m not saying that.
Christian: Are you saying I am interpreting your words incorrectly?
Skeptic: Yes, you are!
Christian: So, it seems to me that a person could be interpreted wrongly. If that’s the case, then some interpretations about what the biblical authors wrote could similarly be wrong, couldn’t they?
There are no doubt passages of the Bible that are difficult to understand. Perhaps, for some, we will never be sure of the correct interpretation. But most are not so difficult, and even some of the difficult ones are only so because we choose to make them so. As with most things in life, the interpretation with the best reasons to back it up “wins”; we make educated inferences to the best explanation. There ARE correct interpretations of the texts. That doesn’t mean I claim to be 100% right about all of mine, but since I believe there are right answers, and I care about finding them, I will be willing to change my mind if I am convinced otherwise.