When you read “Insist on getting it right”, what comes to mind? Maybe it’s just me, but I must confess, my initial reaction to that phrase is not entirely positive. It makes me think of stubbornness. It makes me think of people who can’t be reasoned with. It makes me think of harshness. It makes me think of unloving relationships. It makes me think of rudeness. Maybe it’s just me, but I have a hunch that most of us have had negative experiences with people who were so stuck on one particular way of viewing things (“the truth”… at least from their point of view), that they end up saying all kinds of hurtful things towards those who draw different conclusions.
So when you read “insist on getting it right”, if your initial reaction is a negative one, I get it. But hear me out. When it comes to Bible study, truthful interpretation still matters. It is still important to get it right.
Insisting on a right interpretation of the Bible doesn’t necessitate stubbornness. In fact, stubbornness often stands in the way of understanding truth, because it makes us less likely to recognize our own mistakes.
Insisting on a right interpretation of the Bible isn’t antithetical to love. It isn’t antithetical to kindness. It isn’t antithetical to listening to others. It isn’t antithetical humility.
It is possible to love truth, and love people at the same time. It is possible to love truth and be kind towards those who draw different conclusions. It is possible to love truth and to remain humble and open to the possibility of being wrong.
Just because you’ve had bad experiences with people who justified unloving actions in the name of truth, that should not lead us to the conclusion that truth doesn’t matter.
When it comes to Bible study, we want to understand it rightly. If we believe the Bible is inspired, we need to follow what it says, even when right interpretation comes in conflict with what we’ve been taught to believe. If the Bible is a guide for our lives, a light to our path, a protection from sin, a source of divine wisdom, the way to understand the gospel, the way we know how to please God, the source of Christian doctrine, a guide for right relationships with others, we want to get it right.
Yes, be kind. Yes, be loving. Yes, remain humble. But insist on getting the Bible right. Think critically. Be tenacious. Demand clarity. Wrestle with scripture, and insist on getting it right.