TABLE OF CONTENTS


Introduction:  Why do you ATTACK CHALLENGE MORMONS?


Chapter One:  Hasn't the Bible been corrupted? (Coming soon)


Chapter Two:  Well, that is just your interpretation.  


Chapter ?:  Where does your Pastor get his authority? 




More chapters to come as they are completed...

CHAPTER TWO


WELL, THAT IS JUST YOUR INTERPRETATION



     The early 1990’s was an exciting time for me. I had moved to Spokane Washington to attend photography school, and for the first time I had my own apartment. Being a relatively new Christian I sometimes spent more time studying the Bible than doing my homework for college. I was beginning to fall in love with the God who redeemed me, and I wanted to read His love letter as often as time would permit. My non-Christian roommates thought I was a little strange as a result.

     Not only did my non-Christian roommates think it strange to study the Bible, they thought I was crazy as I would regularly invite LDS missionaries over to talk about it. One particular session with the missionaries is of note for this chapter on interpretation. The two missionaries had brought with them their mission president to partake in our conversations. He was a nice man in his mid 50’s and was enjoyable to talk with. After lengthy discussion about various issues concerning the Bible the mission President said to me, “Well, that is just your interpretation.” At the time I really did not know how to respond thus our discussions came to a standstill, and an end.

     Many Christians I know love to discuss Biblical truths with the Latter-day Saints. Unfortunately the phrase, “Well, that is just your interpretation,” is common. You may have heard this or even said it yourself.

I was speaking with a return Mormon missionary friend of mine about this subject. I asked him about his experiences with speaking with Christians like myself (for example, Baptist, Methodist, Pentecostal, Presbyterian etc.) on his mission. He reported to me that they were for the most part good but that there were many and various interpretations about Bible verses. Young Joseph Smith apparently had similar experiences and conclusions:


"…for the teachers of religion of the different sects understood the same passages of scripture so differently as to destroy all confidence in settling the question by an appeal to the Bible.[1]


     I pressed the Mission President further and asked for some examples and he shared with me that they all explained salvation a little differently. The conclusion that he reached was that the different Christian denominations taught differently about the important issue of salvation. After thinking about this problem for a short time the solution became obvious. It is important to understand that the Christian denominations do not believe or teach different things concerning the basic doctrines of the Bible (such as salvation and the deity of Jesus Christ). This becomes clear when reading the official “statements of faith” by each denomination. The Baptists believe the same thing as the Presbyterians and so forth. My experience has taught me that the same things can be said about Latter-day Saints. Not every individual Latter-day Saint I talk with believes exactly the same set of doctrines. If someone wants to know precisely what a church teaches it is best, and only fair, to consult official sources, not just people we meet on the streets or knocking on doors.

     So why does it seem that they all have different interpretations? Unfortunately, not all Christians are equipped to handle or answer the questions and issues raised by their LDS friends. The sad result is that they give responses that often do not reflect accurately what their Christian faith actually teaches. Again, this can also be said of the average person who attends the LDS church. In reality it only seems like there are many and various interpretations among the Christian fellowships (on the central teachings). To be fair we must consult the official sources to discover what a church really teaches.


God wrote the Bible so that it could be understood.

     The God that I serve is a kind and loving God. As such, I am fully convinced that He inspired the biblical writers to communicate in such a way that His message would be clear and easily understood by the original recipients. The Bible was not written in a secret “Holy Ghost” language that only the spiritual elite can understand. Thankfully, this is not just my opinion. Archeology has left evidence demonstrating this to be true.


     "In 1895 a German pastor by the name of Adolf Deissmann published a rather innocent-sounding volume: Bible Studies. Yet, this single volume started a revolution in NT scholarship--a revolution in which the common man was the winner.

     In the 1800s Deissmann began reading ancient Greek Manuscripts. But not the great classical authors. He was reading private letters, business transactions, receipts, marriage contracts. What were these documents? Merely scraps of papyrus (the ancient forerunner to paper) found in 2,000-year-old Egyptian garbage dumps. In these seemingly insignificant papyri, Deissmann discovered a key to uncover the NT! For these papyri contained the common Greek language of the first century A.D. They were written in the vocabulary of the NT.

     What's so revolutionary about that? you ask. It is revolutionary because up until 1895, biblical scholars had no real parallels to the language of the NT. They often viewed its Greek as invented by the Holy Spirit. They called it "Holy Ghost Greek." Now it is true that the ideas--even the words--were inspired by the Holy Spirit. But it's another thing to say that the language of the NT was unusual--that its grammar and vocabulary were, in a word, unique. If this were true, only the spiritual elite could even hope to understand the NT."[2]


     The above discovery helps us understand that God had the Bible written with common understandable language the average man could grasp.

When God inspired the Bible He used the communication device called language. Language was designed by God for the express purpose that humans could effectively communicate with each other. More importantly, that God could communicate with man.  Because of language a husband and wife can sit down and have a fruitful discussion about how to raise their children and understand each other. Because of language “manly men” can talk about the details of last year's Super Bowl game for hours and hours. Because of language a teenage girl can write a twenty page note to her best friend about why she is “in love” with the boy next door. Because of language God can and has effectively communicated to man in a way all can understand.

      Having said the above, there are some real hurdles today’s Bible readers must work through to rightly understand and apply God’s message.

It seems logical to surmise that the biblical writers intended for their original audiences to understand them… In normal conversation we immediately understand what we hear with hardly a conscious thought. Our mental computer, the mind, automatically processes the information we hear… this does not necessarily hold true when we read the Bible. For the Bible was originally written in a foreign language to people who lived long ago in a different part of the world with a different way of life. Statements that were quite clear to the initial readers may not communicate clearly to us at all. What was almost automatic comprehension for them takes considerably more effort for us.[3]

     Hence, intentional interpretation requires that we raise the routine patterns of subconscious communication to the level of conscious analysis.[4]


Is it really "just my interpretation?"

     When I'm talking with my LDS friends about issues discussed in this book, I often hear "Well, that is just your interpretation." Is that really true? Am I on an island all alone, in the way I interpret the Bible? No not at all. The fact that so many Christians interpret the Bible the same, from many denominations, is evidence of the clarity of the Bible. Conservative Bible believing Christians interprets the Bible in community, and not in isolation. This community consists of Baptists, Presbyterians, Methodists, Pentecostals, non-denominational, Lutherans etcetera. We all agree in roughly 95% of our interpretations, and the disagreement comes in areas of little consequence such as the timing of end times events, church government models, the precise definition of free will, and similar issues.         An interesting exercise to demonstrate this point would be to listen to verse-by-verse teaching through the entire Bible from teaches that could be considered on opposite sides of the conservative Bible teaching spectrum like Pentecostal and Presbyterian. As a listener, you would have to have a fairly trained ear to notice the differences between the Pentecostal and the Presbyterian.

     The fact that conservative Christians from various unconnected denominations interpret the Bible the same (for the most part) is a testimony to the clarity in which God inspired the Bible. The phrase "Well, that is just your interpretation" does not really apply to conservative Bible believing Evangelicals. It is more like "our interpretation" as we interpret in community with wonderful checks and balances that are described later in this chapter.

     There is an interesting twist here. The phrase "Well, that is just your interpretation" actually applies quite nicely to the LDS church. Why? Because no one else but the LDS church reads the Bible and comes to the conclusions it does. A perfect example of this is no one outside the LDS church reads the phrase "joint heirs" (Rom. 8:17) as a reference to the teaching that men can achieve godhood (See chapter Am I a God in Embyo?). A safe rule for interpretation is if your "Church" is the only one that sees a teaching in the Bible, it probably is not an accurate interpretation. God is not in the business of hidden secret interpretations only an LDS prophet could see.

     The original readers of the Bible understood its message as easily as we understand each other today. The goal of this chapter is to provide a simple common sense approach to interpreting the Bible that helps us get past hurdles that might exist. There are basic rules that everyone applies in everyday communication that apply to the Bible as well. Unfortunately, these rules of understanding language are often ignored when it comes to interpreting Gods message to man. The sad result is false teaching that can, and often does have eternal consequences.

     It is very important for the modern reader to understand that God wants us to understand His Word. If we desire to understand God’s communication we must follow rules for communication for it to make sense. These are the same rules we apply in every day conversation with friends (although we may not be conscious of it).


Why is it important to follow basic rules for communication?

     An illustration will help us to understand why it is important to follow the rules. Suppose two chemists decided to conduct two similar experiments. While one carefully followed the experimental design with accuracy and precision, the other worked carelessly and failed to follow the procedures or make the measurements precisely. Which of these two chemists would have the more accurate results? Without doubt, the chemist who worked with accuracy and precision. The same is true of Bible interpretation. If interpretation is to succeed, the interpreter must possess certain competencies and must work with correct and accurate methodology. Generally speaking, careful and accurate work produces the best results.[5]

     For though we might not always be conscious of it, without an organized approach or means to understanding, we would not be able to comprehend anything.[6] We may not realize it but in everyday conversation we apply rules. If we did not our attempts to communicate would only end in confusion.

     To avoid interpretation that is arbitrary, erroneous, or that simply suits personal whim, the reader needs rules or principles for guidance. A deliberate attempt to interpret on the basis of sensible and agreed-upon principles becomes the best guarantee that an interpretation will be accurate.[7]

     Failure to follow rules or principles for interpretation can result in sad situations. For example, many well meaning Jehovah’s Witness parents have allowed their children to die because of their erroneous interpretations of Bible passages. Because they believe the Bible forbids blood transfusions many children have died who could have been saved with this common and simple medical procedure.[8] The Bible was written with language and if basic rules for interpreting language are applied tragedies such as this can be avoided.

     Approaching the Bible without accepting and applying common known rules and principles for interpreting language can lead to error. This is why it is important to have guidelines. Following interpretational rules (Hermeneutics) safeguards the Scriptures against misuse by people who, deliberately or not, distort the Bible. This is why it is important to follow set and organized rules for interpretation. Warren Wierbe, one of my favorite Bible teachers, said “If people treated other books the way they treat the Bible, they would never learn anything.”


What are some of the hurdles to finding the correct interpretation?

     Adults may think they understand the words “cool” or “radical” (or any popular teenage word), but without knowing the codes of youth culture, they may be wide of the mark.  In light of this, how much more must modern biblical interpretation seek to bridge the vast linguistic, historical, social and cultural gaps that exist between the ancient and modern worlds so that they may understand what texts mean. We assume that people communicate in order to be understood, and this includes the authors of the Bible.[9]

     Consequently, every time we study a Scripture of text, we must be aware of these cross-cultural and epoch-spanning dimensions. Each passage was God’s Word to other people before it became God’s Word to us. In a sense, the Bible always comes to us secondhand, through others who lived at different times and in different places. This is the basis of an important principle of hermeneutics: The correct interpretation of a biblical passage will be consistent with the historical-cultural background of the passage.[10]

     Imagine if you lived in the time of Christ and someone from the year 2016 appeared to you and gave you a copy of the magazine “Sports Illustrated.” Without the proper information and tools the magazines understanding would be completely foreign to you. Being unaware of what a football is would make an article about the Los Angeles Rams rather confusing.

     Does it mean that because we live in an age and location far removed from people of the Bible we are doomed to misunderstand its message? No, we simply need study tools that will guide us to interpret it as accurately as possible.”[11]

     Does this mean that without a competence in biblical languages and a mastery of all the critical historical and linguistic tools no one can understand God’s message of the Bible? No, for certainly no one can attain total proficiency, and even were it obtainable it would not guarantee correct interpretation. Without doubt, a simple, sincere, and uneducated believer can comprehend the central truths of the Bible.[12]

     The main points of the Bible are easily understood and do not require any special tools or training to understand. We are told in Genesis 1:1 that God created the heavens and the earth. 1 John 4:8 says that “God is love. John 3:16 teaches that whoever believes in Jesus will have eternal life. These are basic biblical truths that anyone can understand with little or no effort. The next step is as follows.

     The diligent Christian with even an average education who is willing to study, and who has access to the fine tools now available, can arrive at the central meaning of virtually every passage in the Bible.[13]

People whom God created should not be satisfied with understanding only the simple and obvious truths. All of us should desire to know and understand the deep things of God. To accomplish this we cannot be lazy. We must do as we are told in 2 Timothy 2:15;

Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

     Above and beyond the basics someone who claims to be a Christian has the above responsibility. We are to diligently study in order that we would “rightly divide the word of truth.” We can even take it to the next level as follows:


     "The believer who can acquire expertise in the biblical languages in addition to further training in biblical studies, history, culture, and theology, will become that much more qualified to explain the meaning of most verses and even many of the more obscure or controversial texts. Finally, the scholars who have advanced training, research, and specialization are able to perform closely reasoned and technical studies, write commentaries, perform textual criticism to determine the original texts, translate and evaluate ancient literature that sheds light on the Bible…”[14]


     Even unbelievers can understand and grasp the correct meaning of the Bible if they follow the guidelines for interpreting language. Of course they will not apply it to their lives properly because they don’t believe what they are reading but this does not mean they can’t understand what is being communicated. We do not have to have any special “holy ghost glasses” to understand what God said. He inspired His message to be clear.


     "We do not arrogantly assert that one who does not believe cannot understand the Bible. Unbelievers can grasp much of its meaning. They may discover what it asserts or claims even when their own beliefs or value systems lead them to deny those claims. Thus, a competent, unbelieving scholar may produce a superior technical commentary on a biblical book—perhaps even better written than many believing Christian scholars could write—but that unbelieving scholar cannot understand and portray the true significance of the Bible’s message, for his or her ultimate commitments are not to the Bible as divine revelation. The unbelieving scholar will not accept the Bible as God’s revealed truth, will feel justified in arriving at conclusions that conflict with such a “high” view of Scripture, will reject depictions of miracles as fables or myth, and will account for “God language” as a prescientific way of the unexplainable. But if through a study of the Scripture this unbelieving scholar become convinced of its truthfulness, he or she would need to become a believer: one who confesses Christ as Lord and submits to the truth of God’s Word. Only when a person comes to that position can he or she understand the Bible’s message as “God’s personal word to me.”[15]


     Are there hurdles that exist that can make it difficult for the modern reader to understand the Bible? Yes! There is distance of time, distance of culture, distance of geography and distance of language. Fortunately, this news is really not so bad because we have plenty of tools that help us bridge these gaps that will be discussed in the last section of this chapter.


Context, Context, Context!!!


     "Most of us know from personal experience the frustration of having something we have said “taken out of context.” Political leaders and public officials frequently complain that their views have been misrepresented by the news media. While acknowledging that the reporter’s direct quote was technically accurate, they protest that their statement was given a totally different slant and emphasis because the context was omitted… Misunderstandings can certainly arise when people hear only part of what was said and base their understanding on it. The same is true of the Bible."[16]


     As far as the Bible is concerned there are three basic types of context we need to understand.


  1. Immediate context.
  2. Entire book context.
  3. Context of the whole Bible.

     We must remember that every word in the Bible is part of a verse, every verse is part of a paragraph, every paragraph is part of a book and every book is part of the whole Bible.[17] If we pay attention to the context of each verse we will save ourselves from mishandling God’s word.

     The examination of the context of a verse or passage may not be a short task. It may require discipline and time. All too often we desire the right interpretation NOW! We must learn to be patient and to handle God’s word with respect and care. This will help us from being led astray.

     People can make the Bible say just about anything they want to by simply ignoring the context. An extreme example of this would be something like this: “Did you know the Bible teaches that there is no God (Psalm 14:1b)?” A brief examination of the immediate context would expose the truth and the error of this interpretation. The Bible does not teach that there is not a God, but the “fool has said in his heart there is no God.”

     Let me explain the above further. If a single verse or passage is “interpreted” in isolation there may be numerous possible interpretations. As we broaden the context step-by-step the incorrect interpretations become evident. First we move from the verse to the paragraph. This may reveal some of the incorrect interpretations right-off-the-bat. Next we move from the paragraph to the chapter and more false interpretations will fall off. Then we build the context to the book and then to the entire Bible. By the end of this process the correct interpretation will become evident. As I mentioned earlier this may take some time but we should be willing to be patient when we seek to “rightly divide the word of truth.”


     "Instead of superimposing a meaning on the Biblical text, the objective interpreter seeks to discover the author’s intended meaning (the only true meaning). We must recognize that the meaning of a passage is fixed by the author and is not subject to alteration by readers. Meaning is determined by the author, it is discovered by readers."[18]


     There are two ways to approach interpretation of Bible verses. One is that of the practice of exegesis (drawing the meaning, the authors meaning, from the text itself). The other is called eisogesis (superimposing a meaning onto the text that is foreign to it).

     An example of exegesis would be a person faithfully, prayerfully and thoroughly examining a text to discover the meaning. The interpreter would check out the context from the verse in question moving one step at a time thru the entire Bible. He or she may take the time to look up the meanings of Greek or Hebrew words used in the passage; historical settings and determine the genre of the passage (i.e.. poetry, proverb, historical narrative, apocalyptic etc.).

     As people who claim to love God we must not practice eisogesis! If we find ourselves having to toss the rest of the Bible aside to hold on to our interpretations we are not rightly handling God’s Word. We must seek to discover from the context the original intended meaning of the authors. If we find by study that our interpretations are in conflict with the context of a passage we must surrender to the truth and leave the error behind.

It is true that almost anything can be “proved” using the Bible. A humorous example is that we can string along three verses to “prove” that someone ought to commit suicide. The Bible says that Judas “went away and hanged himself (Matt. 27:5).” Jesus said “Go and do likewise (Luke 10:37)” and also “What you are about to do, do quickly (John 12:27).” How do we know that the Bible does not really teach that we are all to go out and kill ourselves? By examining the context of each verse sited. It really is that simple. There is nothing wrong with quoting verses to “prove” a point provided we understand them according to their contextual meaning (under the correct circumstances proof-texting can be valid). Before listing any verse in support of a position, we should first check the literary context to insure that the passage is about the same subject and really does have the meaning that “proves” the point.[19]

     If Latter-day Saints and Born-again Christians really care about each other we should not shy away from discussing what we believe the Bible teaches. We should not “bash” each other as if the other party was simply stupid but at the same time we should patiently and respectfully engage in detailed discussion about what the Bible does or does not teach. These types of conversations can be both healthy and fruitful. Examining the context takes time but it is well worth the effort! Context Context Context!!!


The important role of the Holy Spirit and Prayer in the process of Interpretation

     From the time I first committed myself to Jesus, spending time studying the Bible has not been a problem of mine. God has but it on my heart and made it a hobby. I love to spend hours and hours studying God’s Word. After all, He put forth the effort to have it written, why should I not spend time to hear what He has to say?

     Before jumping into a study it is important to invite the Holy Spirit into the session through prayer. We must ask him to guide us to make responsible interpretations and applications of the text. As we do this His word becomes alive and personal to us and has the power to change and shape our lives. An easy way to know if an interpretation is truly of the Holy Spirit is if that interpretation is in line with the context.

We must remember that we do not need any special “Holy Ghost” goggles to understand God’s encoded secret message. He inspired His message to be understood just like we write letters to friends that they can understand (although our letters are not inspired). It is also important to remember that even an unbeliever can correctly interpret God’s message in the same way he can read a letter I wrote and understand what I meant.

     If we are in the habit of reading a text and waiting for the Holy Spirit to supernaturally give us the meaning we are not using the Holy Spirit correctly. We are to humbly recognize that the Holy Spirit inspired the text, and be diligent and responsible with His writings. I don’t believe we are to use the Holy Spirit like a child uses his “Captain Crunch decoder ring” do discover the hidden treasures on the back of the cereal box! God meant what He said and he said what He meant.

     We must be careful not to substitute prayer for diligent exegetical work.


"We pray that we will do our work well, that we will be sensitive to the Spirit’s direction, and that we will be obedient to the truth of what we discover. We openly admit our bent to sin and error and our finitude; we ask for openness to receive what God has revealed and a willingness to learn from others throughout the history of interpretation.[20]


     Issues that concern factual matters in interpretation cannot be settled by an appeal to prayer or the illumination of the Holy Spirit. One cannot know through prayer that Baal was a fertility god worshipped by the Canaanites or that the Jews of Jesus’ day regarded Samaritans as hated half-breeds… One must study history and culture to discover the nature of the “head coverings” in first-century Corinth (1 Cor 11:2-16). Today the Bible interpreter is privileged to have numerous, excellent tools that provide facts and information about the ancient world and the biblical texts. Capable interpreters become acquainted with such research tools and use them to the best of their ability."[21]

     When we have done our jobs, faithfully and responsibly interpreting the Bible we must again appeal to the Holy Spirit for proper application for our lives. After all, God did not just write the Bible so we could have a technical understanding of Him. He desires to have a very personal relationship with us. The Bible is a love letter to his supreme creation. A husband who rightly understands intellectually that the Bible teaches that he is to “love his wife just as Christ loved the Church (Eph. 5:25)” must pray for the ability and power to effectively apply this principle. A Christian who rightly understands in his mind that God is all-powerful must pray that he would be humbled by this fact. A defender of the faith who knows that the Bible teaches he is to correct false teachers in meekness and fear (2 Tim. 2:24-25; 1 Peter 3:15; Jude 3) has to pray how to effectively share the truth in love.


How do we put all this into practice?

     While in Bible College I had a good friend from India. He opened my eyes to the fact that we really have it easy here in the United States. In India and much of the rest of the world Christians have to live in secret. In recent years many Christians have been killed for their faith in countries like India. In one such case terrorists in India set off a bomb at a Baptist hospital killing many inside. Real persecution like this is something we do not experience much of in the United States, we really have it easy. One of the blessings we have as Americans is the seemingly endless access to Christian books and resources. Almost every house has at least one Bible, if not more. Sadly, these Bibles generally gather more dust than fingerprints from use. We are truly spoiled. While we have this grace and freedom we should take advantage and read, read, read!

     Sam (my friend from India) gave me a message by Pastor John McArthur on how to study the Bible. The message presented a simple way to study the Bible in a practical way. Reading the Bible straight though is great if you have been blessed with a photographic memory, but if you don't have a photographic memory the majority of the details will be skimmed over or simply forgotten. Pastor John wisely suggested reading the same book of the Bible over and over every day for a month. The benefits of practicing this are indispensable. Shorter books like Ephesians (only six chapters) can be read easily all the way through every day for a month. Larger books (like Matthew or Genesis) can be broken down into smaller chunks of five to ten chapters. The point is to read and re-read the same material over and over again. Some of the benefits of practicing this are as follows:


  1. Key words and repeated phases of the book will become evident as you see them over and over again.
  2. The structure and outline of the book will become visible to your mind.
  3. Large chunks of scripture will be committed to memory in context.
  4. The Author’s intended themes and flow of thought will become visible.
  5. The context will be known for individual verses ensuring correct interpretation or application.

     First we must invite the Holy Spirit to illuminate the Scriptures for our hearts and minds. Step two is to read and re-read a single book of the Bible during a month. Do this with a pencil and note pad handy to write down key words, phrases, ideas, themes, structure etc. Also write down some of your initial thoughts, impressions and or interpretations.

Step three is where the homework begins. As mentioned above we are blessed in America to have many Christian books and study aids; it would be a shame not to take advantage of this unique blessing. Below is a brief list and descriptions of some of these study aids.


  • Commentaries: God has blessed and gifted many people with the ability to explain and comment on the Bible in ways that speak to the hearts and minds of man. Generally speaking a commentary is a book that covers one or more books of the Bible verse-by-verse. They often offer historical background, explanation of themes and purpose of writing. A good commentary will explain difficult passages in simple terms so that we can apply them to our lives. There is a wide range of levels in commentaries that meet different needs. Devotional commentaries are simple and provide good spiritual food for daily living. Technical commentaries challenge the mind and dive into the “nitty-gritty” meat of the texts. They can vary in size from just a few pages to thousands of pages.
  • Bible dictionaries (this is different from what is found in the back of the LDS Scriptures) and Encyclopedias: As mentioned earlier the Bible in many ways comes to us second hand. It was God’s word to its original audience before it became God’s word to us. It was written to people of a different culture and time but is timeless when interpreted and applied correctly. Bible dictionaries and Encyclopedias are extremely valuable interpretational tools. Names like Hitler, Niche, Stalin or Michael Jordan, George Bush and Madonna mean something to us today because they are well known in our culture. Names and titles like Festus, Herod, Caesar or Agrippa meant a lot to people in New Testament times but escape our field of immediate understanding. These names and titles are mentioned but not explained in the Bible because the original readers knew who they were. Where do we 2000 years later find explanation of these people? We open up Bible dictionaries and encyclopedias and read all about them.
  • Greek and Hebrew word studies: As is well known, the Bible was not written in English. Greek and Hebrew were the primary languages God chose to have His written Word penned in. Correct or incorrect interpretation can sometimes be determined by looking up the meaning of the original Greek or Hebrew words. Understanding the meaning of an individual word can sometimes cause the Word of God to “come alive” and significantly impact our lives.

     Examples of these and other great tools are easily accessible at Christian bookstores, churches (non-LDS) and on the Internet (bible.org is a great website).

     If we desire to understand the Bible and apply its teachings to our lives we must be diligent and responsible. If we read and re-read the texts we will accomplish a basic grasp of the material. If we take the next step (and I recommend doing this) and read commentaries with other tools we will be deeply enriched in our comprehension of God’s Word to man. By doing this our lives will be changed and God’s Word will be effectual in our hearts and minds.


Does the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints correctly use the Bible?

     Over the years I have had many conversations with Latter-day Saints. For the most part they have been good experiences and have created fond memories and friends. Before these encounters (if they are planned) I spend considerable time in study and prayer asking the Lord for grace, mercy and His presence. I do this because I truly love the LDS people and only have the best of wishes for them.

     Every LDS missionary I have met has told me that they love the Bible and the teachings found in it. As our discussions progress they quote from the Bible on a regular basis to demonstrate that it teaches what they believe. When my LDS friends quote the Bible I like to ask them why they believe they have correctly used the verse or passage. After they give their response we open up the Bible and examine the contexts following the rules for communication described in this chapter.

     The remainder of this book is dedicated to examining LDS teachings in light of the Bible using solid guidelines for interpretation. If you are LDS I encourage you to continue to read this book. It is in no way “bashing” but it is challenging. The Christian world does not believe that the LDS Church properly interprets the Bible. I do not say this to be mean or insulting but rather because I love and care about your eternal future. Please read this book in the spirit in which it was written. With compassion and concern.


[1] Joseph Smith History, 1:12

[2] "Why So Many Versions?," accessed December 12, 2016, https:/​/​bible.org/​article/​why-so-many-versions.

[3] Dr. William W. Klein, Dr. Craig L. Blomberg, and Dr. Robert L. Hubbard, Introduction to Biblical Interpretation (n.d), 155-156.

[4] Ibid, p. 156

[5] Ibid, p. 81

[6] Ibid, p. 4

[7] Ibid, p. 5

[8] Norman Geisler and Ron Rhodes, When Cultists Ask (n.d).

[9] Introduction to Biblical Interpretation, p. 5,6

[10] Ibid. p. 172

[11] Ibid, p. 7

[12] Ibid. p. 86-87

[13] Ibid. p. 86-87

[14] Ibid. p. 86-87

[15] Ibid. p. 82-83

[16] Ibid. p. 157

[17] Ron Rhodes, Reasoning from the Scriptures with the Mormons, p. 178

[18] Reasoning from the Scriptures with the Mormons, p. 177

[19] Introduction to Biblical interpretation, p. 160-161

[20] Introduction to Biblical Interpretation, p. 85

[21] Ibid, p. 86

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