& Biblical Interpretation
by Joseph S.C. Bonadiman, Ph.D., P.E.
differently, and they both are right, then the Holy Spirit contradicts Himself which is impossible.
If one of the two parties is wrong, then there is no infallible interpretation of Holy Scriptures on
the part of an individual Christian. Therefore, logically, it can be seen that there cannot be
private interpretation of the Bible (see 2 Pt 1:20).
can this be when two or three or more persons all using the same Bible come up with different
interpretations while all say they are relying on the Holy Spirit for their interpretations? The Holy Spirit
cannot err (Jn 15:26); therefore, it would be impossible for him to give conflicting direction concerning
the interpretation of scripture. The only possible answer for this contradiction is that the Holy Spirit is,
in fact, not the one revealing the interpretation. But, if the Holy Spirit is not giving the interpretation to
the Christian who feels that is where his source of knowledge concerning the Bible is coming from,
then who is responsible? The only other possibility would be another Spirit who we call the Spirit of
Death or Satan.
Again, if two persons disagree on a scriptural quote and one of them is right, the other must be
wrong, but which one is right and which one is wrong? It would seem that the person interpreting the
scriptures properly, and therefore, being guided by the Holy Spirit would be the one that could come up
with the truth. If one is not being lead by the Holy Spirit, then it must be the Spirit of all lies and deceit
that is misguiding him, where does he go for help?
If you don’t want to be fooled by the devil (2 Cor 11:14-15), then the best way to insure your
interpretation is by seeing how the Early Church, even during the time that some of the Apostles were
still alive, were being led by the Holy Spirit in interpreting Christ’s words (Jn 14:26). To find out how
the Early Church operated, one only has to go to the writings of the Early Church Fathers for guidance.
You might say why go back that far, why not just read what Bible experts today teach about Bible
interpretation. That might be adequate, provided those Bible experts have also studied the Early
Church and are being led by the Holy Spirit. But this is not necessarily the case. Usually what
happens is a “Bible Expert” becomes one because he stays at a university longer than others and
receives advanced degrees, thereby, obtaining expertise from having learned from a university and
questionable sources. If those sources did not include the Early Church Fathers, then these “Experts”
may have it all wrong a case of the blind leading the blind. But why go to a doubtful expert if you can
go to a reliable one, and that is the Church Fathers.
One of the first Church Fathers, Ignatius of Antioch, a Bishop (a contemporary and hearer of St.
John), wrote seven letters of instruction to Christian Communities, as he was being lead from Antioch
to Rome to be martyred. These writings by Ignatius would certainly be a very fruitful start to one’s study
about the Early Church and how it operated based on the way the Bible was interpreted during the
time of the Apostles. Remember, some of the Fathers, such as Ignatius, studied with the Apostles or
the direct Disciples of the Apostles.
You might ask if going to the Early Church Fathers would lead one to truth, why aren’t more
Christians given the opportunity to study the Early Church Fathers. One answer to this question might
be that keeping people ignorant of this great source of truth, keeps a minister from losing a portion of
his congregation, those persons that provide his salary. For, if people earnestly studied the Early
Church Fathers, they would become Catholics as did Cardinal Newman and a great many others.
Some will scoff at this analysis and go no further, while others will be challenged by these words and
will investigate for themselves. And, if they do, I will guarantee that it will change their lives.
Joseph S. C. Bonadiman, Ph.D., P.E.
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