>This may be one of the weirder posts I ever do. Which, if you know me, is interesting, because I’m pretty much a weird guy. But here it goes.
I have disrespected the Bible, and for that I am truly and deeply sorry.
It’s easy in the course of graduate school work to see the flaws in the book we call the Bible. Stuff doesn’t make sense, there are some suspect editing choices, stories that contradict each other, gaping holes…it’s so tempting just to dismiss it as a human book trying to capture the Divine.
But we can’t do that. There are two ways to look at the Bible: either it is the inerrant, inspired Word of God, breathed down to writers who copied down the exact words of the Almighty, or it is the words of man with the Spirit of God as the guide and inspiration, but ultimately just a collection of religious thoughts of the day and stories. Stories with a good intent, but stories nonetheless.
Since 2 Timothy 3 reads “All Scripture is God-breathed,” I’m going to go ahead and throw out the second option.
We so often try to cram God into our little mind-shaped boxes, to make Him fit and make sense in our understanding of Him. When we read something in the Bible that makes NO sense (try Genesis 6-9, the flood story. Big ball of contradictions.) we immediately think that whoever wrote the Bible messed up or there was an editing issue (which there was) or a translation problem (also likely)…but we never, even for a moment, consider that maybe we’re just too dense to get it. We take great pleasure in reading about how stupid the disciples were; they had the chance to see Jesus’ work firsthand and they still messed up. But we never think we could be guilty of the same mistakes.
Our interpretations of the Bible have evolved over time with what we learn from archaeology, history, language, sociology, anthropology…we’ve been wrong before (see: Church, Women’s Role in) and we’re going to be wrong again.
As we move along, gain more knowledge, we will be able to more clearly see the timeless truths in front of us. The Bible isn’t going to suddenly “fix itself” because of how much we learn…it’s pretty much going to stay the same. As it has for years upon decades upon centuries upon millennia. Our interpretations will change however, and hopefully through responsible work and scholarship, we will move closer and closer to the Truth God desires us to find in His book.
But the problems lie in us, not in the Word of God.
So for being dense, arrogant, self-centered, disrespectful…any number of flaws…I apologize Bible.
We should spend more time together.
“And we have the word of the prophets made more certain, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts. Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation. For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.” 2 Peter 1:19-21