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Bible: The Rule Book

I think that we established some things, at points I think we raised more questions, either way we are making progress. The next point that McLaren makes is pointing out how the modern church also takes the bible as a rule book.

For the most part I think this makes sense. The first books ever considered as important were the first five, the Torah. For the most part if you read through this, it is full of rules. Sure it’s narrative and it tells us a story about Israel but it also tells us every single rule that the Israelites were expected to live by. I think that maybe this concept of the canon was transferred over into our Bible as we see it today.

If anything, the bible shows us all these rules and then explains how those aren’t the point. Jesus fully broke some of these rules but did he break them just to make some more of his own? It’s interesting because I find most Christians use the bible to back up every moral claim they have to make. It’s always controversial ones too that they have to use the bible. You don’t need to use the bible to tell me that murder is wrong, or I shouldn’t steal. You don’t have to use the bible to show me that adultery is wrong either. Yet it’s almost as if we use the bible to support every conviction we have. I’ve heard it used to show us why it’s WRONG to date non-Christians, drink alcohol, kiss before I’m married, and get a tattoo or a piercing. Yet for some reason I’m not convinced. I don’t even see the bible itself making those kind of claims.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that any of those things that I listed above are good or bad or sinful or not sinful. I’m not even saying that morals can’t be found in the bible or that Jesus didn’t teach us tons with his words. Yet once again, I don’t think the point of the Bible is to give us a new list of rules to show us how we need to live. Maybe this will sound real Pentecostal of me, but I think there is high value in living by the Spirit.

Romans 7:6
But now, by dying to what once bound us, we have been released from the law so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit, and not in the old way of the written code.

Galatians 5:18
But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under law.

I’m not really sure how all this plays out, or how we should live by the Spirit as opposed to the law. Obviously the law isn’t the bible, but I think there are parallels. I don’t think that we are freed from the law to live by a new law either. There has to be something that differs between law and spirit, even the new law and the spirit.

If the bible is given to us to give us a bunch of rules of how we need to live our life than I think we have a lot of problems. Especially if we try to use contextual arguments to try and explain why women should be able to teach and show us their hair. The purpose of the bible is not to give us new rules that set a new standard for living. Instead I think the bible points to something beyond that…

3 thoughts on “Bible: The Rule Book”

  1. Nathan,

    I think a lot of your concerns about the “point” of life vs. the moral laws given in scripture vs. the Spirit’s power and influence in the Age to Come are important. Many have been addressed in church history from various points of view. Your questions here are particularly in view when you look at Luther’s “Two Uses of the Law” or Calvin’s “Three Uses of the Law”, which I’m sure you could find if you Googled for them.

    I’d like to add another quote to your list:
    “Romans 8
    1Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, 2because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death. 3For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in sinful man, 4in order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit.”

    How does living in the Spirit relate to the law? The law destroys sin in humans so that by living according to (in the power of) the Spirit they fulfill the requirements of the law.

    All this said, the Bible is still not primarily a moral rule book. It is God’s communication to His human race, to restore them to fellowship with Himself, for one.

    Once the consummation has occured, the Bible will certainly take on a different role.

  2. dude i think you might be forgetting what we learned in hermeneutics class. The bible is not to be taken as a rule book at all. Living the Christian life is about living in covenant, with the realization that nothing we do will make us righteous and it is only through grace that we might be saved. Remember the story of when God made his covenant with Abram, God was the only one to bind himself to that covenant, so it is with us, it is not up to us to hold up our end of a supposed bargain through which we will be restored, if we were expected to do anything the covenant would be invalid as soon as we were done making it. that is what is so wonderful about our election, its not about rules or law books or keeping out end of the bargain, it is about living in total submission to the Lordship of Christ, realizing that “in him all things hold together” and living in thankfulness for that in whatever we do.
    peace yo

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