It is common to hear in many critical circles throughout the church that people read the Bible through a lens of subjectivity depending on where one was born, where one lives, what kind of governmental system one is subject to, and many other factors and that the reader will not be able to see truth in spite of these things and filter out their cultural bias, therefore, one cannot know truth completely and speak to it.
We all have things that affect how we read and interpret Scripture, but it is a fallacy to say that one cannot be objective in the way they approach and read God’s Word. Our lens is just that; a lens. We see things through it, but some of the things we see are plain for everyone to see. The better question is can you accept what God has said in His written Word, the Bible?
The problem with critics of this truth is they want us to believe that we are incapable of understanding Scripture unless they help us to interpret it “correctly” which usually means to see it through their lens. Isn’t that a bias too? By this reasoning, there is no way to know anything in the world objectively–Nonsense! And this is where the postmodern movement has directed us.
I think there are a lot of very intelligent people who can come to a valid conclusion of what Scripture is saying whether we are prosperous Americans or poor Asians, whether we are in a male dominated society or whether our society is dominated by feminists, and so on, ad infinitum. It is possible to remove a presupposition and to analyze what we are reading in order to come to a conclusion based in a non-ideological finale. What we need is honest study and to dig into the Word to examine what it says.
I believe the bigger issue is an overcontextualization in saying that since this writing was for a Hebrew audience, it has nothing to say to us in 21st century America. I’ve heard it said that since Paul’s letter was for a Roman church, for example, it was only for the Roman church. The problem with this is that Paul himself said that he taught every church the same thing.
I am writing this not to shame you but to warn you as my dear children. Even if you had ten thousand guardians in Christ, you do not have many fathers, for in Christ Jesus I became your father through the gospel. Therefore I urge you to imitate me. For this reason I have sent to you Timothy, my son whom I love, who is faithful in the Lord. He will remind you of my way of life in Christ Jesus, which agrees with what I teach everywhere in every church. — 1 Corinthians 4:14-17 (ESV)
We have been given the Bible by the God-breathed inspiration of the Holy Spirit in order to understand God’s will.
Some things are just plain to see. Others take some explanation and time. Truth is universal and absolute. Because truth is absolute and universal, it is possible for one to read God’s Word and find the truth. When you find it, it should change the way you think and how you react to the world around you.
God has given us ears to hear and eyes to see. We should be well equipped to use them as He has seen fit to give them to us. Let us be humble in our approach to Scripture. Let us be honest when it says something that doesn’t fit the narrative of the surrounding culture.
May our God of wisdom and understanding allow you to find His truth. (He will. He always does.)