In response to my post, Reading Romans One, Kevin recently posed this question:

Do you not believe that God can protect His Word and keep it so that when we read it we can clearly see what He means?

1 Corinthians 6:9-11 Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers nor male prostitutes, nor homosexual offenders, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor slanderers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. And that is what some of you were, but you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

 

Hi Kevin,

 

Thanks for the question. Yes, I believe God can protect the Bible and keep it so that when we read it we can clearly see what He means. The problem is, He chooses not to. Otherwise, He would be writing it in Canadian English for me today, or in American English for you today, instead of relying on scholars of ancient languages to do their best in translating it for us. God has not changed His methods. Instead of doing miracles for us all the time, He uses frail men and women to bring his Kingdom to earth. He expects us to use our own intellect to reason through these issues.

 

The Bible is full of numerous apparent contradictions, and promises that have never been fulfilled. For example, Jesus stated, “Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. (Mark 11:24) Yet, some of Jesus own prayers were not even answered (think of his prayer in Gethsemane, and John 17). Versions of many of the stories of Jesus differ between the gospels. God commanded, “you shall not kill”, yet throughout the Old Testament we read stories of God commanding His people to kill others. The list could go on and on.

My point is that God does not protect the Bible from contradictions that make it “not so easy” to see what it means. It is because of this that we have Bible scholars and theologians today. Because of this, I have to get to know Him intimately, not just His book. Because of this, I have to get to know the Word. And when I say, “the Word”, I am referring to Jesus, not to a book. In John chapter one we find out that Jesus is the living Word of God. It is through Him that all other things make sense, not through the Bible.

Now, Kevin, you’re probably thinking that I have little respect for the Bible. The truth is, I still believe the Bible is the most significant book in the world today. It is still useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness. Through this book God has chosen to give has His message of salvation, of mercy, of grace, and of justice. Through this book I get to know Him, His attributes, His kindness. Through this book I get to know the true Word, His Son, Jesus. It might be infallible (meaning it will not fail me, or God), but the Bible never claims to be inerrant. It never claims to be greater than the God it tells the story of. I choose not to worship the book. I choose to worship my Creator.

To go back to my original point, the Bible is a book written by men. To be sure, these men were inspired – just as I might concede that Chuck Swindoll and Rob Bell are inspired preachers, or Jeremy Camp is an inspired songwriter. The Holy Spirit worked in the scripture writers in the same way he works in men and women today… His methods haven’t changed. So, just as I consider carefully the words of Spirit-filled men and women today, so I consider carefully the words of Spirit-filled men and women of Bible times. I take the words of Jesus as authoritative. I take other scripture as inspired, but filtered through the world view and prejudices of the writers. I consider what Paul wrote in the purer light of the words of Jesus.

www.nakedpastor.com recently posted this thought-provoking cartoon:

BIBLE MAN! He comes from another world, another age, inerrant King James Version in a 100% genuine bonded-leather shell. He means business. Do not cross him. Do not transform him. Do not modify him. Do not redact him. Do not criticize him. Do not analyze him. Do not twist his words. Believe everything he says, without question, without pause, without doubt. He will not share your brain with philosophy, science, mathematics or history. He demands total and unequivocal allegiance. He will dominate your world. THIS IS FUNDAMENTAL: DO NOT RESIST!

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