Thursday, April 29, 2004

Scripture

Three or four blogs in one night will be a record. However, I either write while its on my mind or I soon forget. Most of the comments of salvationist.org seemed to stem from my view of scripture.

A year ago this time I memorized that: We believe that the scriptures of the Old and New Testaments were given by inspiration of God and that they only constitute the divine rule of Christian faith and practice.

While I hate to proof text
2Ti 3:16 All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching the truth, rebuking error, correcting faults, and giving instruction for right living,
2Ti 3:17 so that the person who serves God may be fully qualified and equipped to do every kind of good deed. (GNB)


These statements are all true. I ask what is the purpose of scripture? I see the purpose of scripture is to enable people to follow Christ.

But what is scripture? A written word from God written by people.

Is there more? Scripture is a collection of stories, poems, histories, testimonies, visions, theology, and on occasion a direct quote from God. All this written over the course of a thousand copied and recopied and reinterpreted and translated by many different people in many different times.

Just words? Scripture is just words, words, thousands of them, until they are read and God reveals himself through those very words. But the words have never been the goal. God using scripture to reveal has always been the goal.

But I thought scripture was the truth? Does scripture ever claim for itself to be the truth? It claims to be true but not as you and I understand truth. To the modern true means correct facts. To the premodern true right or leading to right living. Only One is ever spoken of as THE TRUTH. The goal of scripture is to encounter the Living God.

Far too long I have seen the bible treated as a god. A book of facts to digested. Many sermons simply proof text attempting to turn a book of story and poetry into an encyclopedia. Don't we see that the story reveals more of God then the encyclopedia ever could? In the story is where God's story interacts with our own. In the poetry the cries of God's heart are heard by us and our cries are heard by God.

I open scripture and read to meet God. The minute scripture becomes the goal in and of itself have we not added a person to the Trinity?

But some will say "fine but scripture is always true. The commands of scripture are timeless. Scripture does not contradict scripture or science." I have heard these from fellow Salvationists. First, read Gen 1 & 2. They contradict. That does not mean God did not create the world, it was never intended to be a literal account of something we can not understand.

A genealogical study argues for an earth about 7000 years old. Science tells us the earth is millions of years old. Which is right (factual)? Probably neither it isn't the point.

Scripture is rich in metaphor and story and poetry. All I ask is that we bathe in this and stop treating it like an encyclopedia.

Scripture is the rule (guide) for all we do. Mostly scripture allows us to meet with God. After meeting we follow. This meeting and following is the point, the goal. Nothing more is expected but anything else is damning.
All I know is what I see in Scripture, history, and experience all filtered through my reason. I see a God who reveals himself more every day. God is more then our minds can understand.

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