One Bible, Many Interpretations?

by Bodie Hodge on August 22, 2008
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Does the Bible allow for multiple interpretations? And how is the Creation Museum related to Harvard, Yale, and Princeton? Find the answers from Bodie Hodge, AiG–U.S.

I thought the Scopes Trail was over, evolution is the deal here folks. I am so proud to be a Jew, a Jew who understands that the bible has many interpretations and shouldnt be read in a fanatical one sided view. Your Museum is an affront to education and crosses the same line as Christianity in the separation of church and state.
—M.P., U.S.

Seeds in India

Greetings to Ken Ham and his team which visited India last week. It’s been a life-changing experience for me at the conference. I strongly believe that God has sent the AIG team to clear [up] my doubts which were tormenting for a decade or so. I am looking forward to taking the message of Ken Ham to the millions of my Indian brothers and sisters who have to be equipped with the answers to tackle the questions posted by the outside world; especially I want to reach out to the younger generation.

—S.P., India

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I thought the Scopes Trail was over, evolution is the deal here folks.

Actually, the Butler Act, which forbade the teaching of human evolution, was upheld at the Scopes Trial, and John Scopes was fined for teaching human evolution (although this was later overturned on a technicality). The main setback to Christianity came when William Jennings Bryan, who accepted long-age ideas despite the clear teaching of Scripture to the contrary, was unable provide sound answers to questions that merely require a straightforward reading of the Word: Who was Cain's Wife? Were the days in Genesis 1 normal length days?1 (See “The Big Picture” for more on the ramifications of Bryan’s actions.)

Today, the situation has reversed, and laws in certain places forbid the teaching of creationism and the questioning of evolutionism. Even evolutionary scientists who thrive on questioning ideas and hypotheses are restrained because they cannot critique aspects of evolution. (For more, see Expelled Review.)

This also brings up other important points: one should not judge God and His Word based on the actions of fallible and sinful Christians; and how compromising Genesis leads to unbelief in subsequent generations

I am so proud to be a Jew,

The Jews were entrusted with the oracles of God; they are descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; and they were the people group to whom Jesus Christ first brought His message of reconciliation with God (Luke 3; John 1), but keep in mind that pride is a dangerous thing (James 4:6). But thanks be to God who, through the work of Christ, has made Jews and Gentiles one:

Galatians 3:28–29
There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.
a Jew who understands that the bible has many interpretations and shouldnt be read in a fanatical one sided view.

Using this philosophy of multiple interpretations, how do you know a Jew is a Jew? Perhaps “Jew” is better understood as “Gentile” so as not to have a “one-sided” or “fanatical” view. But instead of this all-is-relative approach to understanding Scripture (which is a humanistic belief), God’s Word dictates that we stick with the plain reading of the Bible, understanding it as the original authors intended it and as the original audiences would have understood it (2 Corinthians 4:2, Proverbs 8:8–9). For example, we need to accept historical narrative passages as actual history and poetical passages as poetry. We must use Scripture to interpret Scripture taking into account the language and culture of the original audience.

Further, we need to consider that the God who established the rules of logic could not possibly contradict Himself in His Word, so the “many interpretations” idea doesn’t work. God does not allow for interpretation A to be equal to interpretation not-A at the same time in the same instance. In today’s culture, many people appeal to relative truth, but truth is not truth if it’s relative—it’s merely fallible opinion. The God of the Bible is the absolute truth, and His Word is a reflection of His truth, and His purpose was to communicate this truth to us through it.

Your Museum is an affront to education

Actually, the Creation Museum is an educational institution, although the main message isn’t new. For thousands of years, people taught biblical truths such as creation in six days, a global Flood, and an earth thousands (not billions) of years old. In fact, educational institutions such as Harvard, Oxford, Yale, and Princeton once taught these truths. Are you suggesting that these institutions were an affront to education?

and crosses the same line as Christianity in the separation of church and state.

It is interesting to note that the oft-used “separation of church and state” clause isn’t found anywhere in the U.S. Constitution; it comes from a Supreme Court ruling regarding the First Amendment of the Constitution, which prohibits government and government-funded places to endorse religion. In fact, the Constitution protects the right to freedom of religious expression elsewhere.

Keep in mind that the Creation Museum isn’t a state-run organization as many natural history museums are. It is a privately owned museum with the ability to speak freely about religious issues. If you truly want to keep religion separate from state institutions, then consider challenging the religion of humanism that is promoted in state schools.

With kindness in Christ,

Bodie Hodge


  1. The World’s Most Famous Court Trial: Tennessee Evolution Case, second reprint edition (Dayton, Tennessee: Rhea County Historical Society, 1990), p. 302.


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