Seminary Rules for Interpreting Scripture

December 2003

Dear Friends,
One of our readers, Jeff Schneiter, stumbled across a list of eight rules on interpreting Scripture that seminaries teach their students. This list illustrates how the denial of the clarity of Scripture is part and parcel of the collectivist attack on Biblical individualism, and the positively medieval exaltation of ecclesiastical power.

Principles of Biblical Interpretation for the 21st Century

1. Scripture is full of paradoxes and apparent contradictions that cannot be explained, reconciled, harmonized, or systematized by the finite, human mind.

2. Apparently contradictory statements in Scripture must each be given equal weight and authority in interpretation.

3. Each passage of Scripture stands alone and must be interpreted by itself. One passage of Scripture cannot be used to interpret another.

4. There are no passages of Scripture that speak more clearly than other passages. Each passage is equally clear. Each passage is equally unclear.

5. The true and full sense of Scripture is manifold, limited only by the number of apparently contradictory passages a reader can find.

6. The supreme judge in all controversies of religion is a seminary professor.

7. Should seminary professors differ from each other, the supreme judge in all controversies of religion is a church council.

8. Church councils do not differ from each other.

John Robbins
The Trinity Foundation
December 17, 2003

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