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Rick Warren is an evangelical leader, best-selling author, and founding and senior pastor of Saddleback Church in Southern California. Along with his wife, Kay, Warren founded Saddleback in 1980 with[…]

It is a handbook for life.

Question: How should the Bible be interpreted?


Rick Warren: I think the Bible should be interpreted the way it tells us to interpret it – that you take poetry as poetry; you take history as history; you take doctrine as doctrine; you take narrative as narrative.

I believe that the Bible is two things. It’s a handbook for life. And the reason we have so many problems in the world is we don’t read the owner’s manual. I think when in doubt, check the owner’s manual. It was given for our benefit.

Because I believe the Bible teaches God is love – it doesn’t say He has love. It says He is love. It is the nature of His character. That means that God will always act towards us in love. Always. Always acts toward us in love.

So when He gives us a rule, when He gives us a principle, it’s always for our benefit. And the problem is often we want to say, “I know more than God. I know what will make me happy more than God does.” Well you can believe that, but I’m not willing to gamble that I know more than God. If you say, “Well I don’t understand why God says this in the Bible.” Well that’s kind of obvious.

For you to try to understand God would be like an ant trying to understand the Internet. We don’t have the brain capacity to understand God. If we could, we’d be God.

And there are a lot of things in life that we just won’t know the answer to until we get to heaven. We’re just not going to know, and so we have to live by faith. And I believe the Bible by faith. By what do you doubt it? Do you doubt it by faith?

I mean, it’s like there are more manuscripts that prove the Bible than; there are some episodes of Shakespeare; we only have three existing copies on Shakespeare plays, but nobody doubts they were written by Shakespeare. And yet sometimes we’ll have thousands of copies of, say, Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, and people doubt it was written by Moses. Well it is selective prejudice.


Recorded on: December 11, 2007