It has been a while since I have done any “deep” posts so this post will start a series on how I view the Bible and how that might differ from some mainline denominations today. The first two post are about how I personally view the Bible and other related Christian text. The third post is about how some of these belief are contrary to how others, mainly evangelicals, view the Bible. I will finish up with some of the things related to the Bible that I feel are the most misguided and in some ways harmful to bringing other to Jesus.
I apologize in advance for the length of some of these posts. I try to keep all my blog posts below five hundred words or so. I have failed to do that in this series. Before I begin I want to again tell you that I am not trying to prove anyone wrong by this series. I am simply reiterating what I believe. But, I do think I have a slight understanding of what Luther might have felt when he went against the Pope and the Catholic Church. I am just one very small insignificant person who happens to disagree with some pretty big Christian denominations today.
One of the things I have heard frequently from the comments on this blog is that others are relieved to see that they are not the only ones to believe things about current day Christianity. I hope this round of discussions helps some in that regard.
Getting started the statement that gets me in the most trouble with some current day Christian denominations is that I believe that the Bible was written by men for men. I have frequently been verbally chastised for those words. Some seem to even believe that I am not a Christian if I believe these words! But I think the reasoning behind these words have a very sound foundation backed up by the words of Jesus. So let’s start there.
- By Men — The Bible was written by men. In other words the Bible is a human document and is therefore not 100% perfect. Some say that God controlled every word written by the various writers of the contained text. They believe that the writers could not possibly have written even a single word that God did not want them to write. If that is the case then why didn’t God just write the book himself and drop it from heaven. Of course this is what the Mormons believe about the Book of Mormans. I don’t know of a single Christian denomination, outside of them if you consider them Christians, that does not adamantly think that belief is a very false statement. By the same logic I believe that to say that God controlled absolutely every thought of the writers means that he took over their bodies and minds to accomplish that feat. God gave man free will to do and think as they desire; to me that includes even the biblical authors. So the Bible was written by men.
- For Men –– The Bible was written for men. I don’t understand why this statement is controversial in some Christian circles. The Bible was certainly not written for God. He does not need a reminder of who he is. Jesus did not bother to write a book while he was on this earth; he evidently didn’t think that was the best use of his time. Instead he chose to spend his time “showing” us how to live. With maybe the exception of Paul’s letters it was almost 40 years before the authors who ended up in the Bible even started putting down their thoughts. Part of the reason for this was because most of them thought that Jesus was coming back within their lifetimes so a written record of his work was not necessary. When they realized that they had misunderstood the time-frame they penned their various very personal versions of what they believed Jesus intended to teach us. I certainly thank them for not waiting too long to do this. Matthew, John, and Peter (through Mark) were among the select humans that actually lived with Jesus during the three years of his ministry. Their personal and very human insights into the nature of Jesus is invaluable to us today these many centuries later.
- Inspired by God — After the shock is worn off from the first two things I always add but much of it was inspired by God. I’m sure that much of what the writer penned was inspired by God. But again, much of it was also personal words and views of the writers. They might have been very heartfelt words but they were their words. God did not totally control their thought and minds. Having a human aspect to the Bible is one of the things that make it so interesting. To see these very different human views of God helps us to gain insight that just one author might not be able to provide.