This I Know

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...for the Bible tells me so. [link here]

I had a friend in high school who told me that she didn't read her Bible because it "whispers to me."

Upon further inquiry, she assured me that her Bible audibly gave her directions to do bad things.


I didn't have a way to respond to that.

I still don't.

That little anecdotal bit was to demonstrate that I've heard a wide variety of Biblical claims, ranging from the thought-provoking to the implausible. And never were such issues more infuriating than while writing papers in Bible college. I had commentaries tell me that such and such a verse obviously said thus and such. Then the next commentary would assure me that the exact same verse said the opposite.

[Aside: Maybe that only happens when you try to write papers on "women in ministry" and "predestination vs. free will" because you're bored with all the easy topics. <smile>]

So now I'm rather wary when people claim the Bible says something. I do my best to consider the passage, the context, the rest of Scripture, as well as my own experience with the world and God when formulating an opinion.

I got on this train of thought today because of some responses I've been working on to various questions and posts. Questions surrounding easy topics like ecclesial form, origins of sin, and the definition of a "Christian filmmaker."

What resources do you use/trust to help you and your children wrestle through what we know the Bible tells us is so?

~Luke Holzmann
Filmmaker, Writer, Expectant Father

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  1. Mrs. C

    I agree... it complicates things to know that SOME of the very religious who happen to be insane can express their insanity THROUGH their religion.

    You know what I mean.

    I think you were predestinated to know what I meant.


  2. Craig and Heather

    Personally, I find it disturbibg about that girl...Not because I think she is insane but because I know Satan and his minions can and do speak audibly to people. What better deception than to convince someone that reading the Bible is giving them bad ideas? I think CS Lewis made a good point in saying that the two extremes concerning demons (either worship of them or denial of their existence) are huge problems in our modern society.

    Anyway, as far as study tools go--I like to have several Bible translations and spend time really praying over what God wants me to understand. We have a computer program that contains a good half dozen English translations so it is easy to compare texts. When one doesn't make sense, I can read others and often the idea becomes perfectly clear. Sometimes something won't make sense for years simply because I wasn't meant to understand at that time--so I have learned to not sweat too much if something doesn't click right away.

    A concordance is nice. And a book that explains the customs of Bible times has also come in handy at times. My parents had one for years called Manners and Customs of the Bible. It helps sometimes with context.

    My study Bible can be as useful as it is frustrating because I am regularly tempted to read commentary to help "enlighten" me about the text. When I study, having a "plain" Bible is best for reading--at least the first time I go through a passage.

    I think the most satisfying and TRUE understanding of Scripture I have ever gotten is when I actually read the Bible (multiple translations, if necessary) itself and simply ask God for wisdom on how it applies to me personally--with no ulterior motives such as the proving of a point to someone else. He has promised to give wisdom when we ask without doubting, and is the #1 source for truth.

    One other "tool" I feel is important is input from other believers on a subject. Discussion, especially with people who see things differently than myself has become quite a valuable learning process for me these days.

    Wish you well in your search :)

    Hope your wife is doing well.


  3. Jenny

    Laughing at Mrs. C!

  4. mary grace

    I use my handy dandy NASB Key Word Study Bible and a nice concordance. The NASB has been absolutely eye-opening ... and the literal Greek/Hebrew has rocked my world on more than one occasion. I also pray for discernment on a regular basis. Gotta' prime the pump, kwim? :-) My dh and I study the Bible together, and I have good friends who I turn to when I need to bounce a topic, thought or conviction around.

    Now, as for defining a Christian filmmaker, I'm guessing that it's a little akin to pinning down exactly what it means to be a Christian writer. I, personally, do not write solely on spiritual matters. I also include characters in my fiction that are clearly not coming from a Christian worldview--nor are they interested in obtaining one in a neat, surry-with-a-fringe-on-top kind of resolution at the end of the story. Do I still get to wear the BTDT Christian writer t-shirt? Depends on who you ask.

    I do not write primarily for a Christian audience. I do not write primarily for a non-Christian audience. But I do write, using what I believe is a talent and passion given to me by the one who ultimately decides whether we are truly "Christian" or not.

  5. Jill

    I basically use the bible. I use the discernment of the Holy Spirit (really I am not trying to sound oh so spiritual, although I know it is coming across that way, I am just being honest) both girls have a devotional, we read the Sisters in Time series that gives me a chance to help them understand how interpretations have changed over the past 400 years. We listen to the bible on CD, I believe it is the living bible translation. That should do it for now.

  6. Miss Jocelyn

    Hmmm interesting topic, indeed.

    Thanks for stopping by A Pondering Heart! Nice to meet you.

    Miss Jocelyn

  7. Ganeida

    Yikes! I read everything I can get my hands on. If the majority aligns one way & the spirit confirms I figure I'm pretty much on track. If not I go back to the Lord with it. Sometimes he needs to yell pretty loud before I get it but he's pretty reliable that way.

  8. Julie

    Ha. I know what you mean about the commentaries...we have about 4 full shelves of them. ..w/two of us in Bible college and now two of us in Seminary...we collect them! It can be hard to know who to really trust, I tend to go with the obvious...if I just really can't "see" what the commentator is saying....I try another one! Try writing a paper on the signs gifts...that's an exciting, controversial, and eye-opening one! : )
    Oh....then try for fun "The Destiny of the Unreached"...there's lots of fun ones out there!!! I'm with whichever person said have a couple versions of the Bible...a concordance and then a couple "trusted" commentator. My husband and I both tend to enjoy the Expositor's Bible Commentaryies...NIV. THe entire set is available at for like 130 dollars instead of 20-60 per book....wish we'd seen that first. :(
    Oh....and I'm so excited about your adoption update. I could just cry...ok, I think I will.

  9. agentlejoy

    Obviously a hot topic, here!

    I agree with the guy that advanced the theory of demons whispering to the girl. I've heard my share of their trash over the years...

    You asked what we tell our children about what the bible says & differences of interpretation: I have two thoughts. First of all, I tell my children that the bible was written so we could get to know God. God is important, not the book. (Christians all over the world are gasping and drawing back in horror!) What is important isn't what we believe about every detail, but who we love and who we follow.

    That being said, I agree with George MacDonald's oft-repeated statement that for those who earnestly and whole-heartedly try to follow Christ, the bible becomes easier and easier to understand. I think an awful lot of people start with an idea or agenda and try to use the bible to prove it, rather than trying to find God's agenda and follow it.

    Also, I figure all of us are are getting it wrong to a greater or lesser degree. The best we can do is to try and be honest with God and honest with ourselves and not put too much faith in our ability to figure things out.

    Did that make sense, or am I babbling? It's kind of late- I can't tell.

  10. Ganeida's Knot

    Hey Luke, link issues & I've had to move house so try from here. Ganeida.

  11. Cherish

    This is why I tend to follow the Quaker approach. The Bible can be read and a meaning inferred...but to really get the meaning, it should be read while mindful of the Holy Spirit. That is, words can be read and interpretted or misinterpretted...but how do you experience those words, and what is the meaning that God wants you to take away?

    The beauty and the frustration of experiencing the Spirit as an active part of your religion is that the same passage can have different meanings to different people...or even the same person on a different part of their spiritual journey.

    Admittedly, many people are more comfortable with the Bible having static meaning.


  12. Dana

    I think that whenever the bible "clearly states" it is probably exactly what we (or the person making the statement) want to hear.

    I mostly see those kinds of statements made by people who are trying to convince you that their interpretation is the only possible one. And the more fervently they proclaim "the scripture's clear teaching" on a matter, the more you have to read their words into scripture to get scripture to say anything of the sort.

    So mostly I stay away from "clear" teachings. And I'm increasingly leery of people who tell me I have to "consider the whole counsel of scripture."

    I agree with them in principle, but every single person who has told me that thus far has been trying to build a case for something that is found nowhere in scripture although some how the counsel of it points to it. Or something.

  13. Lisa

    I think much of the Bible can be interpreted literally and plainly for the common layperson to understand. It helps to know (or know someone) who understands Greek and Hebrew and can interpret from the original language, but a lot of study can be done on our own straight from the Scriptures.

  14. Luke

    Wow, this is a hot topic. I love it!

    I love reading your comments and gaining your insights and perspectives. It's fantastic. You make me smile, laugh, think, question, and consider things, and for that I am grateful.

    I normally go through and respond one by one, but I would pretty much just say what I've said already to each of you.

    Thank you, thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts! I appreciate it very much.

    You all have made my day yet again <smile>.