But here is my question then. How do you know your not reading your own interpretations into these verses, or for that matter other verses? And how can you be sure that he isn't using the correct 'exegesis' when reading these verses? Is it because they clearly do not agree with what is currently known about the world?
Your humble student.
This is a great question and there are a couple of scripture versus that must be acknowledged before I expand into an explanation and a disappointing conclusion... you'll understand.
First the verses:
Does that say; scripture must never be examined, unpacked or understood on a deeper intimate level?
All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
This is pretty clear. Scripture has meaning. That doesn't mean scripture can't be misunderstood or even misunderstood dogmatically but it does say simply that two people who agree to have contradictory meanings to scripture because it suits private needs are mishandling the Word of God.
Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.
Now let's see if we can reconcile a contrariety (not to be confused with a contradiction):
Wait wait wait. What is going in here? Is this telling us to be prepared for different beliefs within the church? That's the only reason I'd see for factions, especially when Paul clarifies that they are because of divisions.
For first of all, when you come together as a church, I hear that there are divisions among you, and in part I believe it. 19 For there must also be factions among you, that those who are approved may be recognized among you.
I have some disappointing news for you, Javabean. We see through a glass darkly. So what do we do? The beauty of scripture is what it tells us about what and how to understand and where to start.
For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.
This one is a mouth full but we're on the home stretch and I pray God gives me the right words to tie it all together for you:
What just happened in all of that? Here is what happened and why proper teaching is so important for the body:
9 Whom shall he teach knowledge? and whom shall he make to understand doctrine? them that are weaned from the milk, and drawn from the breasts.
10 For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little:
11 For with stammering lips and another tongue will he speak to this people.
12 To whom he said, This is the rest wherewith ye may cause the weary to rest; and this is the refreshing: yet they would not hear.
13 But the word of the LORD was unto them precept upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little; that they might go, and fall backward, and be broken, and snared, and taken.
14 Wherefore hear the word of the LORD, ye scornful men, that rule this people which is in Jerusalem.
We build off of the basics. What are the basics? They are the things that are repeated and expanded upon repeatedly in scripture. Do you want to know what's important to God? Make an effort to discover what He talks about the most. There are issues that are clear in scripture, not because they are simply laid out but because they are turned over and repeated.
My brethren, let not many of you become teachers, knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgment. 2 For we all stumble in many things...
Now what about other verses? Are there things in scripture that are often and easily misunderstood? ...yes there are... but they always reside in those verses that hit on issues that are peripheral.
Javabean, I never expect in this life to have a perfect understanding of everything that scripture says but I understand the important things because God, in His mercy, through condescension came to communicate His heart to an obstinate people in repeated and clarifying ways.
With a grasp of these broader truths it's easy to see that those verses that NoeL plucked out as troublesome verses are no longer troublesome. They were written to communicate God's heart to an obstinate people with understandable language. There is nothing inaccurate about those versus because they are perfectly clear in meaning to any person who respects ordinary language.
(If you get a chance read all of Isaiah 28. It really is a lot to take in.)
I truly expect this to produce more questions but I hope this gives a big picture perspective why those verses aren't as bothersome as some think they should be. Look back at those verses again and this time read the verses around them and I believe they will be even more plain in their scope.