What, Then, Is the Bible?

As I see it, the Bible is at the crux of Christianity. Unfortunately, it has been misused, misinterpreted, whittled away by Higher Critics, and whittled apart by legalists.

Many who do not claim to be Christians declare the Bible to be mythology. One person wrote a comment recently railing about the “66 books that King James assembled,” then proceeded to rip the apostle Paul: “do not take Saul’s word as the ‘Word of GOD’ it is NOT!!” This individual, therefore, is discounting two-thirds of the New Testament.

Still others treat the Bible as a how-to for living. Do this, this, and this and you will have a successful and happy life. For some, the happy life is linked to eternity; for others it is your best life now.

Recently postmodern, emerging church-goers have brought a new set of criticisms. For a summary and my critique, see Rebutting Postmodern Thought. You may also be interested in A Look at Postmodernism—Part 10a and A Look at Postmodernism—Part 10b. Also relevant might be my critique of the postmodern view of God: A Look at Postmodernism—Part 9.

So maybe I shouldn’t write any more today … just let you go read those old posts. 😉 It’s tempting.

But I want to emphasize what I view to be key. The Bible is revelation—not myth nor propositions, though it contains stories (most historical) and laws. As such, it is what God wants us to know. Some of it seems trivial or outdated or inapplicable, so it’s easy to ignore or discount those passages. But appearance is not actuality.

Rather than ignoring the passages that seem to have no relevance, it seems to me to be more important to pray over those diligently. After all, as Christians we have the Holy Spirit who will guide us into truth.

But here’s the key for understanding the Bible: it reveals God—His person, His plan, His work in the world. In other words, it’s not really about us, though it involves us, because His plan includes Salvation and His work includes His sacrifice on our behalf.

In addition, the Bible needs to be seen as a whole. While I might isolate one passage for meditation or memorization, while the Holy Spirit might call to mind a particular verse for my encouragement or admonition, I nevertheless must understand those in light of their context and in light of other verses and passages on the same subject.

I’ve heard analogies used to help people see the Bible—it’s a map, a manual, a love letter, and so on. The truth is, it is unique.

It is God-inspired and God- (not King James 😉 ) collected. He is the author, the interpreter, the major player, the central theme. He gave it to us for our instruction, reproof, correction. From it we can know Him and the power of His resurrection and the gift of His grace.

Without it, we are left to our own wisdom, which amounts to foolishness, and our own understanding, which is clouded by the deception of our hard hearts.

Published in: on August 13, 2009 at 11:45 am  Comments (2)  
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