Bonding with the wonders of our own mind

I read a little paragraph in Stein today that stirred me up. It reminded me of something I have often said about pet doctrines. Here is Stein:

On numerous occasions, however, passages are difficult to understand not so much because of the text itself, but because of the popular and erroneous interpretations associated with it. Rather than modify or give up these precious interpretations, we prefer to force the text to fit them. In actuality, however, no biblical text can be forced to fit an interpretation. The text has meant, means, and will always mean exactly what the author consciously willed it to say. As a result we can never force a text to mean what the author did not mean. It means today what the author meant when he wrote it. And this cannot be changed. We can, however, consciously or, more often than not, unconsciously misinterpret the text to fit our own views, but in so doing we do not change the meaning of the text but only place on it an alien meaning.

Robert H. Stein, Difficult Passages in the Epistles, p. 47.

My theory is that we have a lust for our own thoughts. When we birth them, we look them in the eyes, we coddle them, we coo to them, we bond with them. The more novel, cute, and unique our thoughts, the more they delight us. So pet doctrines are birthed and brought into the world.

The only thing that is worse is when we grow so fond of our intellectual offspring that we simply must show them off to all. What is even better is when “the great scholar”, Dr. HuffnPuff, says something similar to us, or (praise be to God) he agrees with us. What a wonder our thought-child is then!

What dreariness it is to discipline our minds to think God’s thoughts after Him! Or…

What safety and blessing there is in excising from our hearts the delight for novelty and simply learning to delight only in Him and in His Word.

Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

P. S. I was so glad to see Dr. Stein agreed with me. He is making great progress, don’t you think?