Bible- The Christian Britannica Encyclopedia (66 volume set)
This is my first post of many for the upcoming posts on the Bible. I’m more looking to spark a conversation to reveal more truth than simply trying to tell you what I know. I did this earlier about church in the last days of Dec, I’m sure you can check it out on the archives if you’re interested. I think though that this might turn a lot more heads if anything.
Before I start, I just want to make mention to read the comments on each of these posts. There has already been some good posts, I particularly like Andrew’s about faith, on the last post. So keep yourself updated and stay critical to everything that is being said and make up your own mind on the issue.
I’m going to start by taking apart McLaren’s rant about the bible in A New Kind of Christian. From that I hope to work out some posts that will make myself and all of us think. After going through his little nugget, I will expand much further beyond his paragraph.
“That oft quoted passage in Second Timothy doesn’t say, ‘All Scripture is inspired by God and is authoritative.’ It says that Scripture is inspired and useful-useful to teach rebuke, correct, instruct us to live justly, and equip us for our mission as the people of God. That’s a very different job description that we moderns want to give it. We want it to be God’s encyclopedia, God’s rule book, God’s answer book, God’s scientific text, God’s easy-steps instruction book, God’s little book of morals for all occasions. The only people in Jesus’ day who would have had anything close to these expectations of the Bible would have been the scribes and Pharisees. (McLaren 52)
As I try to deconstruct each ideal of the bible we have I don’t mean to disrespect it or devalue it in anyway. Rather I hope to find the place that it should really hold in my life. This isn’t just a search for information so I can win debates; it’s a very personal journey, one that I’m going on because I need to know for myself. Each one is obviously a generalization, and I’m not pointing fingers or saying everyone does it, I’m just summarizing what I’ve seen. In deconstructing these ideals I hope to construct one that will be more practical to the believer’s life.
The first ideal of the Bible that McLaren points out and that I’ve seen a lot of; is us treating the Bible like God’s encyclopedia. I don’t know how many seminars and youth presentations and sermons I’ve heard using the bible to prove archeological facts, geographical facts, scientific proof and other attempts for knowledge in this area. Don’t get me wrong. The Bible is the most amazing history document on the face of the earth. For some reason though I don’t think it was meant to show us the things we are trying to dig out of it. Was the bible written for a go to guide to prove all our scientific and geographical data? Or was it written for something different. Should we look to the Bible as inerrant and infallible on something that it was never meant to show? There are numerical discrepancies and environmental discrepancies. If we look at the Bible as infallible, we have to overlook this. If we don’t, if we allow it to become what it was meant to be, then these discrepancies don’t mean an absolute thing. It’s quite hard to take scientific facts that we hold has fact in any of the amazing Greek epics, so why do we try to make these claims with the Bible?
Is this right to say? Can we toss out the Bible as an encyclopedia? I’ll leave you with this.
“In matters of science ask the scientist. In matters of religion, ask the Bible.”
–Donald G. Miller (not the Donald Miller that wrote blue like jazz and is coming to Tyndale in a few weeks, one that writes on biblical challenges.