How do We Test Interpretations of the Scriptures?

Any interpretation of Scriptures that creates hurt, oppression, or destruction of any kind to people’s well-being, is a wrong interpretation, regardless of how long standing, traditional, historical or exegetically respectable it is. The final fruit of all appeals to Biblical authority must be love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Agreed?
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I believe 1 John 2-4 context gives us some clues how to test the spirits when it comes to interpreting the Scriptures or the Bible. 1 John 2 tells us that we have the anointing within us that teaches us concerning all things. We have the Holy Spirit teaching us all things and guiding us into all truth. 1 John 3 tells us that if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence toward God. That tells us that God is not the one condemning us. Any spirit that condemns us is not from God, but from Satan. Satan is the accuser of the brethren. Any teachings that bring fear into your heart, no matter how popular or how well-meaning the teacher/preacher/writer is, are not from God.
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“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” 2 Timothy 1:7

The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of truth. He convicts us of righteousness, reminding us that we are the righteousness of God in Christ.

The Holy Spirit bears witness that we are all God’s beloved sons and daughters – that is our true identity. “For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but the spirit of sonship by whom we cry out “Abba Father”. (Romans 8:15)

The Holy Spirit also bears witness to the new covenant of grace in which we live, where God writes His laws of love, faith and liberty on our hearts, and He remembers our sins and lawless deeds no more. (Hebrews 10:15-17)

Therefore, any teaching we hear or read that is in line with the gospel that brings peace in our conscience and assurance in our hearts concerning our reconciliation with God through Jesus Christ is from God. Such teachings would declare that God is love, and God is good, and He has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in Christ Jesus. He has made us accepted in the Beloved. He sees us holy, blameless and above reproach.

Any other teaching that brings fear and condemnation is not from God. Examples of false teachings include: we must confess our sins or read our Bible or pay tithes or do any other work in order to be right with God or to score points with God, hellfire torture and damnation doctrines, etc.

Jesus said, “Come to ME (not a church organisation or building, or pastor or deacon or guru), all you who are weary and heavy laden (by legalism and religion), and I will give you REST.”
(Matthew 11:28; words in parentheses are mine)

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(Adapted from Yahoo Answers)
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(Post updated on 12 January 2011)
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