About Jesus Steve Sweetman
So whatís a "presupposition" anyway? This word comes from the word "presuppose". "Presuppose" is made up of "pre", meaning before, and "suppose", meaning, to consider or think about. So to presuppose, or pre-consider something is to consider something in advance.
There is a place for "presupposing" or "pre-considering" things in our lives. If youíre going into a debate or into any kind of negotiations with others, you want to consider all of the possible outcomes in advance. You want to consider all sides of the issues involved.
Yet on the other hand pre-considering in some respects is not good. If youíre in a healthy argument, or if youíre trying hard to understand what someone else is saying, you don't want to presuppose or pre-consider anything. You want to listen intently and understand exactly what the other person is saying. You donít want any of your pre-thought ideas inserted into the other personís ideas.
In this kind of situation, if you presuppose, youíre bringing your preconceived ideas into the discussion, and in fact, you could be putting words in the other personís mouth, so to speak. When you bring your pre-thought ideas to the discussion table and try to understand what the other person is saying in light of your ideas, youíre mixing your ideas with his ideas and coming up with an understanding that is not his. The understanding is part yours and part his. Thus the attempt to understand him accurately is clouded with your thinking and fails. We do this kind of thing a lot in our daily communication with others. Thatís one reason why we have so many misunderstandings between each other.
Once you have fully and completely understood the other personís thinking accurately, then you present him with your ideas, and he in turn listens intently to you without interjecting any of his presuppositions.
We often bring our presupposed, pre-considered, pre-thought ideas to the table of Bible study. In light of these pre-thought conclusions, we then try to interpret what the Bible is saying. In reality, weíre putting words into the Bibleís mouth. We are not letting the Bible speak for itself. We are mixing our ideas with the Bibleís ideas and coming up with a mixture. This mixture gives us unbiblical conclusions. We in turn miss the real point to what the Scriptures say, and worse still, we often teach this wrong conclusion to others. Maybe thatís why James says that there shouldnít be too many teachers in the church. Teachers will be judged for what they teach. (James 3:1)
By bringing our presuppositions into our Bible study weíve come up with all sorts of wrong interpretations. We should simply let the Bible speak for itself as much as possible. If the Bible says, "donít steal", that means "donít steal". It doesnít mean donít steal on certain occasions or in certain circumstances. Thereís no need to put any words in the Bibleís mouth by interpreting "donít steel". You donít interpret "donít steal". You simply believe it and repeat it.