In my discussion on yesterday's post about hell I quoted various scripture that indicate hell is a real place, just as I believer that heaven is a real place. (John 14:3)
But what I want to discuss today is a point brought up in a comment yesterday about interpretation. Let's look at what the word actually means:
- to give or provide the meaning of; explain; explicate; elucidate: to interpret the hidden meaning of a parable.
- to construe or understand in a particular way: to interpret a reply as favorable.
- to bring out the meaning of (a dramatic work, music, etc.) by performance or execution.
But what we need to be careful of is the meaning in #2 above. Notice that it uses the word 'construe' or to
'interpret favorably'. This is where many of us can be misled.
We were talking about Rob Bell yesterday, but this applies to any author who is discussing a biblical subject. If anyone is taking a passage of scripture and explaining it in a way that makes them or us feel better about it, we have probably changed the meaning to suit our own desires. Just because the subject and idea of hell is very uncomfortable for many of us and we don't understand it, doesn't mean that we can choose to just not believe it. Nor does it mean that we can make up our own definition of hell. This is true of any subject in the bible, not just hell.
If you are a new believer and you struggle to wrap your mind around some of the difficult concepts in the Bible, you are not alone. We all wrestle to understand the ways of God, but we must be careful to not try to put God in our box of understanding.
Faith is all about accepting what we do not understand, knowing that one day in heaven God will reveal it all.