You're Doing It Wrong!
We all know of scriptural interpretations that, although some people advocate, are clearly unorthodox. These ideas include: universalism, that virgin in the bible doesn't actually mean virgin, and that hell isn't for real. These issues are always going to persist no matter what evidence is given to disprove their validity.
But what about the subtle things? What about things that are not exactly heresy?
My dad's always told me that the devil will never try to fool us with a three dollar bill. Why? Because we already know there's no such thing. Instead, the devil (a master of counterfeit) merely distorts God's truth. Don't forget that in scripture he "masquerades as an angel of light" or like I shared yesterday loves to use the line "did God really say?"
This subtle manipulation of truth is why, I believe, God has given to the church pastor-teachers. Until Jesus returns, there will always be a need for someone qualified to rightly divide the word of truth.
Let me give you some modern examples of wrongly dividing the word of truth.
1. The idea that God will give us whatever we ask. People use Matthew 7:7 for this idea. Wrongly dividing the word of truth here leads to a view of God that's more akin to a gene in a lamp. The person rightly dividing the word understands that the whole of God's word is truth and that scripture interprets scripture thus 1 John 5:14 comes into play. Whatever we ask "according to His will..." God's promise states that if our request is according to His will, we will receive. We must remember that God is still sovereign over all things.
2. Claiming promises that God didn't speak to us. Of course, the scripture says that all the promises of God are "yes in Christ Jesus." But what does that mean? Paul's word to the Corinthians is that God's yes means YES! That's all. It doesn't mean that God promises to give Cannan to every Christian. It doesn't mean that if we walk around Jerico seven times, the walls will fall. It does, however, mean that whatever Jesus says He will do for us as New Testament believers He will perform. In other words, His "yes" is YES!
The problem with wrongly dividing the word is that we end up creating doctrines that are of man. We end up claiming things about God, life and ourselves that are not true. The problems should be self-evident.
Here is where reason and discernment come into play. Please understand God is a God of reason! The scripture doesn't ever tell us to disengage our brains. Instead, the spiritual words we read must be "spiritually appraised." We do this when we (using reason and discernment) compare what we read against the rest of scripture, which I remind you is also inspired by God (aka spiritual)!
I hope you will see that this is one more reason why the pastor-teacher must be qualified to carry out the task at hand.