Many people try to close down any discussion about the meaning of a Bible passage by saying, “Well, that’s just your interpretation.” It’s as if ‘interpretation’ of the text is entirely personal and subjective. You have your interpretation, and I have mine. End of.
But, often, the meaning (interpretation) of a fact is just as important as the fact itself.
Consider the ‘fact’ of a driver flashing his headlights. What does that mean? Well, in the UK it usually means, “You go first” (and yes, I know that the Highway Code says something different). But in France it will probably be taken to mean, “Watch out, here I come!” And the difference in meaning could be a matter of life and death!
And the Bible itself teaches us, not only fact for us to believe, but also meanings for us to understand. In the Gospels are related many facts about Jesus’ death, resurrection and ascension. In the Epistles those facts are explained. ‘Jesus died’ – that’s a fact. ‘Jesus died for our sins’ – that’s interpretation. And that interpretation, too, may be a matter of life and death!