Father, Son & Holy Bible?

The Bible is indispensable for you and me. There’s life in its pages, life that cannot be found anywhere else. Let’s get that out of the way right up front. The Bible is a gift from God.

I wonder sometimes if we haven’t elevated the Bible above where it ought to be, if we haven’t made more of it than God intends for it to be to us.

As a species, we have this tendency, you know, towards extremism. Anything that’s good, we idolize. Anything that is uncomfortable, we demonize. Anything that is questionable, we outlaw. We seem inclined to over-simplify issues, and I wonder if we haven’t done that with the Scriptures.

I heard someone confess, recently that "... he no longer regards the Bible as inerrant, dictated by God, historically accurate in all of its claims or even internally consistent with itself." (Others have asked similar questions with different details. This is the list that came before me, so I’m reflecting on this list.)

Believers have bled and died over those four points points: Is the Bible:

Dictated by God?
Historically accurate in every detail?
Internally consistent?

We’ve always been taught (or some of us have) that these are true, that the Bible is all of these things. But is it really?

Since I’ve grown up with a very healthy respect for the Bible, my first reaction was something akin to offense that anyone would even question these attributes. I’m not fond of offense in myself, so I try to examine my offenses when they occur.

And two thoughts occurred to me as I thought about this topic:

1.  We’ve always assumed (I have always assumed) that these attributes were true about the Bible. Assumptions are dangerous things. And

2.  These are not attributes that the Bible actually ever (as far as I can discern) claims for itself. The Bible does not, within its pages, ever claim to be inerrant (though it is “God-breathed” or God-inspired”) or dictated by the Almighty (in fact it claims the opposite), or historically accurate in every detail (much of it does not even aspire to be an historical record), nor does it claim that it is completely consistent within itself (though, in fact, it is remarkably consistent, it is not perfectly so).

And all of this leads me to consider these tentative conclusions:

If these are not attributes that the Bible ever claims for itself, then they must be attributes that people, human beings, have thrust upon it, and this must have happened after the Bible was written.

These sort of claims are not likely to be attributed to the Scriptures by secular people, or by contemplative mystics. These are the sort of claims that are more likely to come from a religious spirit.

I would rather not embrace conclusions that spring from a religious spirit, not even when those conclusions revere things (the Bible) that I hold in very high esteem, not even when they’re (presumably) made with good intentions.

None of this will challenge my love for the Scriptures. None of this will diminish the hours I spend in its pages, drawing life from it as Holy Spirit gently and consistently breathes it into my soul.

But I believe I’ll attempt to not attribute to the Bible things that the Bible does not claim for itself. If nothing else, that strikes me as a violation of the command to avoid adding to the Book.

1 comment:

20Music said...

I'm enjoying reading your writings. Papa has challenged me in many of the same areas as you. So, it's refreshing to read, not just things that I agree with, but things that confirm what has been said to me before. Anyway, this is a really touchy subject. And before I start my rant, let me say that I'm agreeing with you although I may put some things in different terms. The way I've grown to see it (to date), is that the scriptures are perfect, and they are perfectly the work of God. This poses a problem for us, because we have our own ideas and qualifications that we wish to impose upon the scriptures as a litmus test. But this only results in us stumble on the very thing that is well designed to prove how prideful we are (when necessary). Christ/the Word can be salvation or a stumbling block.

For instance, at one time I looked for the scriptures to be chronological. It was a problem for me when I first realized that the different accounts of the days of Jesus was all mixed up and that it was hard to tell what order the events actually happened. The writings were severely incongruit, and It caused me to question the accuracy & validity of the accounts. However, later Pappa began to show me that the Spirit rearranged everything in a genius way!! I began to see that there are mysteries hidden in the order of things. One miracle has one set of details which leads to another event with its specific details. It began to appear to me that no account (or parable) is an isolated event. I'd always heard each parable/journey/encounter/miracle preached as an isolated event. But now I was seeing that every circumstance leads ever so masterfully to another, so as to broaden the scope of things that the Spirit can communicate using these details. The order of the writings was the focus, not the chronological order of events, and this was no mistake. It was pure genius!!

Also, I had to realize, experientially, that It is possible to touch the scriptures but never encounter the Life that is meant to be expressed to us through scripture reading. So, if we are reading just to get knowledge, we will miss the whole purpose of the writing. Furthermore, there are many mistakes that happen in the translation process. But this too, is a testament to Papa's genius. Their are many rich truths that Papa has hidden in the fog of poor translation... Allow me to explain... When we, with our hearts, really seek to know Him and not just "about" Him, He will lift the fog of poor translations, and allow us to see into His heart more clearly/deeply. Even poor translation (some malicious & some innocent) only plays into His big picture and plan. He wants us to be clear on His intentions and will, but there is a progressive unveiling that is taking place as Christ is building His church. So, even the "mistakes" and misunderstandings are only allowed until the appointed time, of His choosing. In fact, this very point and pattern is illustrated in various events within the scriptures. His ways and Wisdom are so far beyond our logic that it's ridiculous to compare.

When we find that we have controversies with Him and His way, we only prove how prideful we are. Christ/The Word becomes a stumbling block. The Word can either grant us light or offend & insult our "intelligence". So, every "mistake" and "contradiction" is the wisdom of God at work. He even uses His enemies to further His own good intentions. The earth is the Lord's and all that is in it, the cosmos and all that inhabit it. Visible or invisible, it all belongs to Him. Controversy can't throw the Creator's good intentions off balance. It only proves His greatness in the end.

Much Love