Are some modern-day pastors misunderstanding and misinterpreting various stories in the Bible? That’s the claim by a theology professor who says there are a number of stories in the scriptures that well-meaning preachers have a history of misapplying.
Eric J. Bargerhuff, a professor of Bible and theology at Trinity College in Trinity, Florida, told The Christian Post that there are, in fact, 14 stories that aren’t properly understood by some pastors and believers — a topic he covers in-depth in his new book, “The Most Misused Stories in The Bible: Surprising Ways Popular Bible Stories Are Misunderstood.”
“I’m trying reclaim a literal, grammatical, historical, cultural hermeneutic that seeks a plain-sense meaning of scripture following the rules of grammar, with attention to the genre and literature we are seeking to interpret,” Bargerhuff told The Post.
And the stories that the professor covers are some of the most well-known and revered stories in the Bible. From diving into Jonah and the big fish to David and Goliath, the book pledges to help readers “fully understand the meaning” behind each.
An official description of “The Most Misused Stories in the Bible” reads, “Providing fascinating historical and scriptural insights, Bargerhuff helps you sort through modern-day distortions of 14 well-known Bible stories and grasp their original meaning and purpose for us today.”
For instance, the professor said that some pastors use David and Goliath as a story aimed at inspiring people who might be fearful over life’s obstacles — this is specifically based on the fact that David was smaller compared to the giant Goliath.
But Bargerhuff said one must remember that David wasn’t actually scared, and that the story isn’t really about overcoming fears; instead, he said it is about David’s trust in God and how that relationship helped him triumph over lions, bears and, ultimately, Goliath.
“The main point of the story is not about overcoming fear and facing your giants as much as it is about trusting in the power and character of God to deliver,” Bargerhuff said, explaining that, in his view, too many people have found themselves stuck in a pattern of interpreting the Bible in “a way that meets a more of a felt-needs approach.”
“As a result, we come to the text seeking to master it instead of allowing the text to master us,” he told the Christian Post. “I’m trying to get people to look into these texts and let God speak on God’s terms without us trying to manipulate the text to make it say what we want it to say for our own personal felt needs.”
Read more about “The Most Misused Stories in the Bible” here.