We see different interpretations of Holy texts like the Bible and Quran pop up from time to time. How can one piece of scripture be interpreted with so much love by one group and so much hatred by another?
I think it boils down to two possibilities: there are either problems in the holy text or in the people interpreting them.
Let’s consider the second for a moment.
Let’s say that God has truly spoken to us. Another question immediately follows: are we capable of truly hearing what he tells us? Do we really want to? The Bible says that by nature we are selfish – and that makes us prone to twist his words to suit our own agendas.
When Jesus came, even the religious authorities of the day did not want to accept him or his message. In fact, they put him to death. They did not want to hear that they were morally bankrupt and needed a Saviour who had to take on their guilt.
But Jesus also promised that he would send his Holy Spirit, who would open ears and eyes to his words and his work.
Here’s a broad principle: if you want to truly know someone, you have to love them. If a husband, let’s say, doesn’t trust or love his wife, he’s going to have a tough time hearing what she’s really saying.
In the same way, we need to trust God, love God, in order to truly hear the words of God. An atheist, no matter how smart, is simply incapable of giving a correct interpretation of the Bible. We must be changed (by God himself) – and every Bible reader, interpreter, and preacher needs to be challenged with that every day.