What is the Bible? How words on a page can transform your life and our world!
The word of God can’t do it alone. It needs followers of Jesus to live out the truth of Jesus’ teachings.
I started a series on The Bible and I will continue it for 4 more weeks. I mentioned some facts and issues with the Bible that many people may never have considered.
It stems from our perspective. Where and when we live in TIME. We are fortunate in many regards to be part of the Scientific Age. It began during the Reformation/Enlightenment and has continued to today. We have benefited from discoveries that have improved our lives, travel, medicine, technology, and agriculture, to name a few. We have easy access to people from around the world, some physically others through social media. Our world is getting smaller.
But all great things have unintended consequences. In trying to compete with Science, western Christianity became defensive and established its own theories and proofs, rule that cannot be broken. The inerrancy of scripture, the need to believe in creation not evolution, the need to believe in the virgin birth….I could go on and on. These are the concerns of “Fundamentalism” which has shaped much of western Christianity these past few decades.
Christian faith does not need to be defended!
In this scientific age, proofs, facts, provable experiments, and things of reason, are fundamental to our evolution. We have gained significantly because of the scientific method. But when we think that truth is revealed through a laboratory or test tube exclusively, we have missed much of the ancient truth and wisdom revealed in stories and myths. This type of truth speaks to the heart and the mind. It may not be provable, but it can be experienced.
I often say, just because it’s in the Bible doesn’t make it factual. Science looks for facts, I look for truth. We need to stop equating truth with facts. Truth is much deeper. I have heard it said often that if you aren’t a poet, you may never grasp the Bible. Poems, stories, and myths speaker a deep truth of reality.
So in opening this series on the Bible I reflected on these 5 points.
#1 When properly interpreted the Bible creates freedom to evolve in our thinking about God, the world, humanity, heaven, and life. The reason for this freedom stems from point #2.
#2 The Bible is a Library, not a constitution. DPADTUGD, this is my acronym for Different People At Different Times Understood God Differently. We are fortunate to have in the Bible, letters, poems, and stories from different authors over many centuries who do not agree with one another’s understanding of salvation, heaven, hell, God, or satan. When I read that in the Bible it frees me up to allow the Holy Spirit to breathe new life into doctrines and dogmas of the Church. It frees me to think for myself, as well.
#3 The Bible was not written for you or to you! This is vitally important to accept if you are going to place the Bible in its proper context. Specific people wrote at specific times, to specific people or groups of people, to convey a specific message. We can receive the Word of God from these voices. It takes work and interpretation to seek the original meaning and context. We may never truly know if we reach that point.
#4 Just because it’s in the Bible doesn’t make it FACTUAL. As I stated. The American culture needs to recapture the truth and wisdom of story and myth. Helen Keller is quoted as saying, “The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched they must be felt with the heart. The Bible is full of the most beautiful things, they may not be factual but they are true.
#5 We take the Bible Seriously NOT Literally. If you take the Bible Literally you will run up against contradictions. A major contradiction exists in the opening chapters of Genesis. What is the order of creation in regards to Male, Female, and animals, created? Our Bible begins with chapter 1 not agreeing with chapter 2. In Genesis 1, the story of the 7 days of creation, you have all the plants and animals created and then the final act, the culmination of creation on day six, God creates humanity. It’s like the cherry on the top of a sundae. God creates them Male and Female, at the same time, after all the animals. Genesis 2 says nothing of the sort. It opens in Gen 2:4, with no plant, no water, no animals….only barren dry soil, so God takes the dust and blows into it the breath of God and creates a Man. Man first. Genesis 2 is the story of Adam and Eve and Garden, nowhere found in Genesis 1. Then God takes the man and places the man in the garden and adds water to the earth. Now animals and plants can be created. Man first, Adam, then animals, then Eve from Adam’s rib. Two totally different creation stories, in the opening two chapters of the Bible. Can we really take the Bible literally?
Genesis 1 All plants and Animals Created, then Male and Female at the same time.
Genesis 2 Man created, then plants and animals, finally Eve, the last of creation.
Like Jesus we take the Bible Seriously and Selectively. I’ll examine that next week.