Sunday, March 29, 2009

The Bible

A true account of God's relentless redeeming love toward all mankind through Jesus Christ to all who believe, inspired by God's own Spirit.

NOT a rulebook, guidebook, or roadmap. NOT a weapon of fear and condemnation against men and women. NOT given to restrain or restrict freedom and liberty. NOT the living Word of God (hint: John 1). NOT given to self-righteous men in order to control and manipulate the weak and needy.

These are just some thoughts swirling around inside my little head lately, they are slowly starting to take shape...

14 comments:

Bino M. said...

Right on!

Joel B. said...

I was reading this in my feed reader and I felt like saying "right on!" so I came here and Bino already said it, so I'll say "ohhh yeah!!!" :)

SLW said...

I don't know that I can walk with you on this one. Some of what you said makes sense, but if all of it does, one would have to wonder why God inspired all of the Word the way he did.

Specifically:

from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
2 Timothy 3:15-17 NIV; and

Psalm 119.

Maybe I'm reading too much into swirling thoughts, just a couple of my own in response, I suppose. :-)

jul said...

slw, thanks for adding that. Actually that's one of the first verses that came to mind after I wrote this. They are definately still swirling thoughts!

Joel B. said...

Hi SLW,

I think all of Jul's words in this post can be true, and the integrity of the scripture you brought up can remain in tact, all at the same time.

We of course have to remember how the Bible came to be. It's not always been a book of 66 books that we can just pick up and read at our leisure. Most of the billions and billions of people who have ever lived have never had a Bible!

Up until the printing press, most people who were Christians didn't even have a Bible. Somehow God's church survived, and I believe it's always been because of the Living Word (Christ), not the written word. I'm thankful for the written word, and indeed when Paul wrote those words he was referring to the Old Testament, which contained God's words that looked ahead to the New Testament. And we now have the writings of the Apostles that help us understand so much more.

But Jesus told the Pharisees that they looked to the scriptures because they thought that in the scriptures they would find life, but yet they wouldn't come to Him that they may truly have Life.

Thankfully, we (really, a relatively limited number of people compared to the population of the world) have the Life of Christ and the written word. But so many people have turned it into a rulebook, a guidebook, a roadmap, and have missed the indwelling life of Christ. We somehow can't see that even without "the Bible," God's church thrives, all because of the true Word, Jesus.

All that to say, the scriptures that Paul referred to are indeed useful in many ways... but really, how much of those Old Testament scriptures does the church use properly (rightly divided) in the context of the New Covenant?

My own swirling thoughts... didn't mean to go so long. :)

SLW said...

Joel B,
I agree with you by and large, but would add that the literacy/physical copy problem you cite was why Paul instructed Timothy to dedicate himself to the public reading of the Word.

Theoretically, the indwelling Christ should be sufficient to guide us from here to there. The problem lies in how susceptible we are to self-deceit, worldly influence, and the snares of the Devil. The objectivity (granted, the umpteen commentaries and denominational doctrinal creeds diminish the argument) of the written word serves as an anchor to our soul. It may not be a sword against flesh and blood, but it is one against the wiles of the Devil.

Rather than a roadmap per se, I look at the written word as a description of the things God wants to inspire in my life between now and then.

Joel B. said...

I guess I basically got off track of what I really meant to say. :)

As for the use of the scriptures that we do have, "instructions" are indeed a part of the whole picture, and we don't ignore that. But that's not really the gist of what this life in Christ is about! It's a love story, of a Godhead (the Trinity) who has an eternal triune relationship, and who decided to expand that relationship to include human beings... and so He created them in His own image. These humans weren't created to live by scriptures or instructions, but through the Eternal Word Himself. Man then fell, and God did all the work to restore the relationship.

In this grand love story, through the Last Adam, we've now been made alive to God through Christ. I believe the biggest use of the scriptures is not "how to live the Christian life" (roadmap, rulebook, guidebook), but rather to point us to and help us renew our minds to the reality of the restored Life and relationship we have in Christ.

Again, just my thoughts, but I think "the Bible" has often blinded us to, or even replaced, "the Living Word."

SLW said...

Yes Joel, amen, I can see that!

Sheila said...

Let the redeemed of the Lord SAY SO! Uh-huh...oh yeah...so tell us, what do you REALLY think, beautiful Jul?? :-)

I'm thinking of you a lot, praying that you walk in divine health and strength and joy, this pregnancy!

How are you??

Blessings...

jul said...

I'm pregnant Sheila, that's how I am! That means I have to eat constantly whether I want to or not but I guess you could say I'm still good (not feeling as well as I'd like on many days though)! Thanks for all your prayers! Are you coming up here to be my nurse after the baby's born? I mean, if you really love me....haha.

dogimo said...

They always tell me the bible is the Word, and Jesus is the Word Made Flesh. I don't know why that just makes sense to me. Rationally I can take step back and ask "but what does that mean?" But I never really do, because it feels right! The bible is the same Word spoken through eternity, the same Word incarnated as our savior. And so reading the bible sometimes, I feel like I am sitting on Jesus's lap, and he is telling me stories! And more than stories: wise sayings, poetry, jokes, tales of tragedy and battle and triumph and sacrifice. Yes, some rules and road-maps in there too. Much of it told in parable, as we know is the Word's wont. Much of it, steeped in mystery. But the whole thing told with love for me, and with trust in me that I'll trust in Him to guide my understanding of it.

Man, that's a good book.

dogimo said...

Hm. I think I oversubtled myself on that. What I meant to get across is, as good as the book is, it's the person on whose lap I'm sitting, who's reading me and reading to me - that living presence is why the bible is such a comfort and a refuge and an inspiration.

There's nothing quite like being read to!

Sheila said...

Honey, (um...sorry. It's a southern "thang"...I have to "honey" you.)

If I could come up there and stay a couple of weeks, and wait on you hand and foot, and snuggle your baby and play with your kids...I would.

Bring your self and that baby down south, and let me cook out for you while you sit with your feet up on my sofa and drink sweet tea. What do you say?? We'll wallow in grace together.

jul said...

You don't have to apologize for honeying me haha! Well if you can't make it up here sometime, I'm sure we'll make it down there eventually. I'd love to wallow with you, but at the moment I'm craving lemonade more than tea, so you might have to make an adjustment. I learned to love sweet tea during a summer spent in western PA though, not really southern but they made good stuff!