Most of us have heard the remark from others that, "We can't all understand the Bible alike. We must simply agree to disagree on certain things". This may sound logical, but why does it? In some instances, to agree to allow someone’s wrong opinion be kept, could cost them their soul. Let us look at this from some very sensible directions.
The Bible is a book written directly by the inspiration of God. There are no mistakes in it. Most of the very important points for our learning are written in plain understandable words, which when read with an open mind and no predetermined ideas, can be readily understood. Agreed, there are a number of items written in symbolic ways and some parables (which are understood to put forth a truth embedded within a metaphor). All of this says the same things to you and I, and everyone else. Precisely.
So, where do the disagreements come from? Through the ages since the Holy scriptures were written, numerous people have been eager to take a single phrase and consider it, alone, as understandable and authoritative. And when some different view is shown, they tend to ignore it and determine that they cannot understand all the Bible.
When two individuals read the same thing from the Bible, and contend that it has different meanings, one or both misunderstand it. When there is one meaning behind a statement, you can only understand it one way. Any other way is misunderstood. So it is very unwise to simply try and agree to disagree. Rather, both should study all scriptures related to the disagreement, discuss them in an humble and peaceable manner. If there is no firm preset opinion on the subject from either party, the answer can normally be reconciled. But where there is stubbornness or overconfidence, it might never be so.
Let us look at some glaring examples where there has been disagreement for many years. It is amazing how strongly some believe something when it is very obviously contradicted by scripture. Let us take for instance, the things required for a person who has reached the age of accountability, in order for his/her sins to be forgiven (and never remembered against them again).
Under the Old Testament laws, man could never have his sins totally removed and not remembered again. They had their sacrificial offerings to be made in order for God to roll their sins forward for one year, then they had to do the same thing again the next year. They died with their sins still charged to them, until the Messiah came to sacrifice himself which would then abolish all of their sins forever.
But under the perfect law of liberty perfected by Jesus sinless life and the sacrifice of his life on the cross, those living now under his law can receive remission of all their sins, never to be remembered against them any more. However, one is responsible for any future sins which may be imputed to him.
Sounds simple enough does it not? But it is a thing which has more misunderstandings surrounding it than perhaps any other subject in the scriptures. There are innumerable people who have taken a passage or two and, although it does not say so, contend the remark contains all one must do to have their sins forgiven. let us examine this idea for a moment.
"For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:" (Ephesians 2:8 KJV)
Now, does that mention that faith is the only thing required for salvation? The only sense in which it could possible mean such is if one understands what faith entails. Faith, as in this sentence, does not mean simply believing something. It means if you have faith strong enough in Jesus as the Son of God, to accept his teachings and that of his inspired apostles and writers, to obey all of his doctrine. Then you are saved, but still it is by grace because man cannot save himself and is helpless except for Jesus. Do we think that all the rest of Jesus teachings were simply whistling Dixie?
Jesus' law came into effect on the first Pentecost after his crucifixion when the majority of Jews had gathered in Jerusalem to celebrate their holiday. The Holy Spirit which was promised by the Lord, came down and sat upon the apostles as a 'flame of fire' and then entered into them. This empowered them to preach the Gospel in all the various dialects of those Jews from different locations. All the apostles were preaching to different portions of them, but Peter's words were recorded to be presented to all prospective Christians forever. Now, right here, each reader is encouraged to open their Bible and read the entire second chapter of Acts.
Keep in mind this, that until the day this occurred, all the Jews and any proselytes in their religion, had been living under the Law of Moses! To accept this law of Christ was to forsake, abandon, the old law. This new law was the one in which Jesus broke down the middle wall of petition allowing Jew and Gentiles to be one in Christ. Pay close attention to the sermon Peter preached. And when those Jews who believed what Peter had told them (note: they believed right there that Jesus was the Son of God) they were pricked in their hearts...would you not be, if you learned that you and your people had caused the death of the Son of God? And they called out to Peter and cried, "What shall we do?". Now understand. Peter had just received the Holy Spirit and was being guided into all truth. (John 16:13)
Read carefully and see what Peter told these people, knowing they had accepted his teaching them that Jesus was the Son of God and had acknowledged that simply by asking the question. So, there was faith, acknowledging their belief, and then Peter commanded them (with the authority of the Holy Spirit) to "Repent and be baptized, every one of you for the remission of your sins...".
Now, what is so difficult to understand about this scenario? Even those who had a hand in crucifying the saviour had to believe, confess (acknowledge), repent and be baptized for the remission of their sins! And what denomination did that place them in? There were none to put them in. No, The Lord added them to his church. Re-read verses 38 through the rest of the chapter and then argue with Peter, saying he didn't know what he was talking about. Now if, one does not understand that episode, his mind had to have been preset, or he has to have much help to misunderstand it.
Those Jews on the day of Pentecost, accepted, with firm belief, that Jesus was the Son of God. That is faith. But it was that faith which convinced them to obey anything else necessary to be forgiven of their sins. Now, if this needs any additional facts to convince you go to (Acts 8:26-40) Now, read it all so you will get the full episode, but pay attention to the conversation when the eunuch asked Peter what would hinder him from being baptized. (v.36ff)
Keep in mind, this is only one subject which is so badly misunderstood. There are many more. But remember, one may not take a singular phrase from the Bible and consider it to mean one simple thing, unless there are no other scriptures which show anything additional.