What are the absolute truths of the Bible? In other words, what is not subject to interpretation, or are there some passages or themes that everyone interprets the same?


Great question!

I imagine that at one level, just about every passage of Scripture has some element of interpretation going on.

Some read the Bible literally, meaning that everything occurred just as one reads at face value.

Others see various layers, and wonder about how archaeological finds, linguistic insights, historical context and so forth inform the intended meaning of the texts–assuming that there is any agreement on the interpretation of the archaeological finds, linguistic insights, historical contexts themselves to begin with!

Even the notion of themes is tricky. Most would agree that God has a habit for caring for the poor and the oppressed. However, what the _implications_ of that habit for _us_ is, is another story. Jim Wallis, for example, sees matters vastly differently than does, say, Glenn Beck. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jim-wallis/what-glenn-beck-doesnt-un_b_511362.html and http://blog.beliefnet.com/gospelsoundcheck/2010/07/jim-wallis-glenn-beck-and-lifest.html is a place to start. Here’s a funny take on their bickering: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wy8v1Q1VWuI

And while one wants to think of God as all-loving, there is a healthy share of texts which might call that into question.

This is why I love being a systematic theologian. My “gig,” so to speak, is to figure out why we say we believe what we do, and whether it can actually carry the water home. Is it consistent? Does it make sense according to the world in which we live? Where are the weaknesses, and can we work through them (not always, by the way)?

If you have specific texts in mind, that might be a way to do a “case study.”

Thank you for raising this one up!