Honestly reading the scriptures
Posted by Matthew on September 30, 2012
Do you ever feel that a certain interpretation of the scriptures is too convenient? too strained?
Suppose a scripture seems to say one thing, but the interpretation of the scripture strains against the obvious reading. For example, I remember when I first heard a Mormon interpretation of Matt 22:23-32. In this scripture the Sadducees are trying to trap Jesus so they ask him about a woman with seven husband. The question is: whose husband will she be in the resurrection. The interpretation I heard said that Jesus was telling the Sadducees that nobody was given in marriage in the afterlife, but not that no one was married in the afterlife. The explanation didn’t make any sense to me then and still doesn’t. I don’t get why the Sadducees didn’t just respond to Jesus with “Look it doesn’t matter to us whether people get married in the afterlife or not. So what’s your point? In our example we say they got married in this life, so the question still remains …whose wife is she of the seven in the afterlife?”
Maybe I totally misunderstood the point of this Mormon interpretation of Matt 22:23-32. Whether or not I did is really beside the point of this post. My question really is, how good does an interpretation of scripture have to be before it is better than a straightforward reading that doesn’t fit into the way things are/should be?
Note: I don’t feel obliged to be able to interpret all scripture in a way that is consistent with my own beliefs. I assume this is because (a) some scripture is wrong (b) I don’t understand some scripture and (c) some of my beliefs are wrong. But regardless of what the underlying cause is, I’m okay with saying “ok, I don’t know how to reconcile that with my beliefs.”
Also note: certainly I am thinking about this because of my last post here and the comments in response.
If we didn’t feel obliged to show that every scripture is consistent with our beliefs, I wonder if we would end up being better readers.