I’ve been spending some of my free time reading about politics lately. Not necessarily about what’s in the news, such as the finance bill. Instead, I have been reading about judges, senators, and representatives interpret the law. Mostly, this has been in regard to the national level. How does one interpret the constitution or the Bill of Rights? President Obama, when he was still a U.S. Senator, has written about how the debate would often come down to whether these documents teach us what to think or how to think. What he was getting at was whether we the contents of these documents should be the very thing we continue to hold to today in a vastly different context or if they provide a framework through which legislators can act in the spirit of these original documents.
Although there is some breakdown in the analogy, I do think this may help one understand the debate that often occurs when interpreting the Bible. There are those who think the Bible teaches us what to believe and there are others who believe the Bible teaches us how to think. There are plenty of others who fall somewhere in the middle. This has helped me to understand the debates that surround the interpretation of the Bible without using the terms “inerrant” or “infallible” which often carry baggage and can mean different things to different people.