With the church-wide controversy about gay marriage and whether gays can legitimately be ordained, it is good to hear some steady voices through the discussion. The following quote from an article by Rev Dr. Brian Peterson, Professor of New Testament, Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary displays one of those steadying points of view.
We need to avoid, as much as possible, confusing the authority of the Bible with the authority of poor translations, incorrect assumptions, partial knowledge, or contested interpretations... I do not believe that doing so constitutes the abandoning of the Bible’s authority. Honesty and the commandment not to bear false witness against others requires that we not confuse our disagreements about the meaning of these texts with faithlessness, heresy, or the denial of Scripture’s authority.
It is easy for us the forget the gulf of time that separates us from the ancient Hebrew of the Old Testament and the Greek of the New Testament. Not only does language change in syntax and grammar, but the actual meaning of words may change over periods of time - the word 'gay' being an example of this. So our translations are our best shot at getting to grips with language that is now superceded. Our cultural bias and our inevitable lack of understanding of life in a previous age also impact on our interpretation of our scriptures.
So in all our discussions, let us try to remember these things and work to speak and think with grace and consideration and work to avoid the slide into arrogance that can so easily happen.