In a previous post I asked the question “why didn’t God write a book?”. One possible answer to that question came from a Quaker friend. He said that if God had written a book then man would have a relationship with a book and not with God. God want us to come to him not to a book about him. But that did not end my questions in this area. I still wonder what if God were to write a book what would it look like? Here are some of my conclusions about that. Of course I am painfully aware that I certainly don’t know the mind of God. That is something that man can never really know. Our minds are just too puny for that task. But that doesn’t keep me from speculating some of the possible answers to my questions. So here goes.
- If God were to write a book there would be absolutely no mistake that it was from God…. With our current written text know as the Bible theologians throughout the ages have constantly shown doubt about the authors of almost every book of the New Testament. We just can’t seem to decide, and there seems to be little evidence, of the true authors of the documents that make the Bible.
- There would be no hidden messages…. Compared to Him God knows we are all very simple minded people who need simple minded instructions on what God expects from us and what we can expect from God.
- It would be a book that is constantly changing…. ( I can just hear the jaws drop on this one 🙂 )It would be a changing book in that would it would give us different messages as we move along our road of life and our journey with Christ. It’s messages would be as clear to a four year old as they were to a life long follower of Christ.
- There would be no need for all the theologians around today… There are literally thousands of theologians around today to help us understand the Bible. But, one of the problems with that is that no two seem to have the same answers. So it depends on which is our favorite flavor of theologian as to what we think the Bible says. If God were to write a book this field of occupation would disappear. There would be no need for us to rely on others to know the meanings of a book written by God.
I believe that the Bible we currently use to try to understand the nature of God is an awesome collection of works. Yes, they do give us a basic understanding of the nature of God at least from the perspective of those who penned the words. And quite frankly, without that book we would be hard pressed to know much of anything about the mind of God. But being a book produced by inspired men and not God, the Bible is often misunderstood, misquoted, and misused. Being a collection of works written by different men at different times it is not a very unified document many pieces of text seem to say completely different things. If God had indeed written a book none of these problems would exist. It would be perfect as God is perfect.
God did not intend us to have a relationship with a book but a relationship with him.
This is a continuation of the last post to finish up some of my fundamental beliefs about the Bible. I have not come to these beliefs on a whim. They are the result of many years of thoughtful prayer and study. I am also not trying to prove anyone wrong. Everyone should come to God in their own ways. So let’s get on with the final four areas of my beliefs on the Bible.
- Some words of the Bible have much more significance to our lives than others— The words of God himself through Jesus’ lips are the most important. Every other word is secondary at best. This is a major sticking point for some. It has to do with a concept that I have coined “the slippery slope”. I will get more into that on the next post. It just seems like a no-brainer to me that the words from God himself should take front and center in the Bible text. To say that there are no words in the Bible that are any more important than others seem nonsense to me.
- The Bible contains words from God — But is not THE Word of God… Many call the Bible the word of God but I personally along with other Christians agree with John’s opening in his gospel. Jesus is the word of God, not a book assembled by man even if much of its writings were inspired by God. To give a book that status is making an idol of it. To put every word and circumstance mentioned in the biblical text in the literal grouping just doesn’t seem to make sense to me. When Paul insisted that women were not to be over men in any circumstance he was speaking first century words. When he told people to be happy as slaves owned by others he was speaking first century words. These words were not intended for eternity. Yes, much of the Bible was written under the inspiration of God but it is at the same time a very human document.
- The Bible contains stories passed down from one generation to another, allegories, and parables. To insist that all the words in the Bible are absolutely without error and are absolutely literal is beyond my understanding. I am convinced that even the writers of the books of the Bible were not willing to put that status on all their own words. The Apostle Paul even made it a point in one of his letters collected in the Bible that he was speaking of his own accord. I wish he had done that more frequently. Since I don’t put much study on the Old Testament I will not be discussing those books here. But even the New Testament of which much was written up to forty years after the fact certainly contained things that were remembered but not necessarily totally factual. In many places Jesus himself identified his stories as parables. I believe that the use a parables and allegories was a very common occurrence in many of the biblical writings whether the authors said they were or not.
- Not all the inspired words from God are included in the Bible. I have done some studies of some of the text that was considered but finally excluded from the official bible when it was formulated by King Constantine’s council. The books of Thomas and Barnabas in particular I am convinced were also written at least to some degree with inspiration from God. There are probably several others in that category. We Christians should consider all the writings of the time to see where we can deepen our understanding of God. I also believe that God continues to give inspired words through some of us Christians even today. All of us must constantly be listening for those inspirations in our daily lives. But it seems that “listening” is a difficult thing for many of us to do today. Moses in the Old Testament did not believe he was worthy to relay words from God but God used him as a mouthpiece all the same. So I believe that God’s continues to give simple men personal revelations from time to time.
Next time I will discussing some others beliefs when it comes to the Bible and where they disagree with my current view. May all the glory and power go to my lord and savior Jesus Christ.