Philippians 4:13- “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
You most likely had one of two reactions after reading that verse. Either you thought, “Man, I love that verse” or you rolled your eyes and almost stopped reading this blog post.
Religion is not simple. The bible is not straightforward. Everyone does not agree on everything. Verses mean something different to each individual person.
Everyone’s faith is different. Even within a denomination. Even within a church. Even within a family.
Hello, reader. My name is Madison. I’m a junior in college. I’m a non-denominational Christian. My dad is a pastor. And we probably disagree on so much.
And that’s okay.
Protestants often rely on the Holy Spirit to help them interpret scripture for them when they read the bible. Does this mean it can be different for different believers? Is it all black and white, the same across the board for every human? Or is it more individual than that?
Every human is different. Everyone relates to others in a different way. Similarly, we all relate to God differently.
Everyone struggles with different things. Different sins plague different people. People deal with them differently.
The bible gives room for us to seek God on things that aren’t perfectly clear. So that makes the bible more of a dialogue with God that a list of legalistic rules.
Yes, there are basic things that we cannot argue on. For example, Jesus came to earth, died for our sins and rose again. Salvation is through him alone. No one is perfect. God loves everyone. Etc. However, everything else isn’t so simple. We can disagree on things without the entirety of religion crumbling to the ground. I can say, ‘hey I think the earth is millions of years old’ and you can disagree with me.
Revelation can be interpreted differently by every human who reads it. Some can think the end times are around the corner, others can say they’re millions of years away. Some may think no one should ever drink, another may disagree. Bob has a strong opinion that all church’s should have stain glass windows and Susie may disagree.
The point is, none of these things are that important. None of these are the end all beliefs that determine someone’s salvation.
And no one can tell someone else that their beliefs are wrong. That’s not your place. Ever. It’s the Lord’s.
People get so much out of their faith. They find peace, love and hope. They have beliefs in common with the people around them. Beliefs are held in common over the years. But words, quotes, passages, literal meanings, metaphors, God’s will and all else from the bible have been interpreted differently since the beginning.
I, personally, have had the opportunity to learn so much at a young age but the learning never ends and even my dad and I disagree on stuff.
The bible is thousands of years old. It has been re-written and edited by man. It is obscure, filled with stories and fables which allow different interpretations for every listener. It invites debate. An extremely important lesson for Christians to learn from Judaism is that the Bible invites debate. In fact, it can’t avoid it, given how open it is to multiple interpretations. Winning Bible feuds with others, getting to the right answer, isn’t the end goal. The back-and forth with the Bible, and with God, is where deeper faith is found.
These differences should never separate us. Just because someone worships differently than you, doesn’t mean they are wrong. Just because that person across the room has different convictions, doesn’t mean they are destined for hell. Instead of finding these differences immoral, we should be celebrating them. Because God created us differently for a reason.
These differences, these debates and different beliefs and interpretations are not what are important.
What’s important is the gospel. The truth and love found within the pages. The one things that cant be debated is the truth of what God has done for us, the love he has for us and the love we are meant to have for each other.
That’s what it’s about.
So, yeah, everyone’s faith is a little different. And that’s okay. We are all loved. We all love.