I had already left the false teachings, but thought maybe the inerrant Bible would be a common ground for my father and I. Words like grace, faith, and love all had odd meanings to him. Maybe I could show him some of the wonderful things I had discovered in the writings of Paul – that which had opened my eyes to grace, freedom, and love. After all, he had taught me to always check things against the Bible to see if they were true.
A brief and awkward conversation surfaced a shocking discovery. My father questioned Paul’s writings, believing only the Old Testament to be true Scripture. Not what I was expecting, but it certainly explained a lot about the works-based training I’d been raised under.
Interestingly enough, this made me realize I knew nothing about the origins of the Bible. I knew nothing historically about the book, but yet I believed in its inerrancy simply because I’d been told to as a youth. I began to ponder over this for many weeks.
What is the Bible? Is it really inerrant? Why does it seem to be one of the most misunderstood, misinterpreted, and misrepresented books of all time? These were questions that stirred in my mind.
The Bible had always been a sacred book – maybe even an idol. As a child, I handled it carefully as if lightning would strike if I damaged it in any way. We used to sing a song during devotions, “The B-I-B-L-E”. There is a line in this song that goes, “I stand alone on the word of God.” My childish mind envisioned myself standing on my Bible. I snickered at this thought, but my emotion quickly turned to shame and terror. God had seen me laugh in my heart. Would he punish me for thinking such wicked thoughts? After all, he had killed those men who caught the ark of the covenant. The Bible was sacred.
Then, several years ago I began to realize something that I’d never noticed before. Well, I suppose I did know it, but I never really thought about it. The Bible is ancient. Now this may seem like a pretty obvious and simple statement, but the truth is, millions of people act like this book was written yesterday. Not only that, but they read it as if it is written directly to them. Some even act like it will give them super powers and quote it like magic spells.
I’m not sure how to explain it but one day the “blinders” came off. I began to read the Bible without any preconceived notions. I considered the audience, the time period, and the culture. As I read the Bible I began to see it from an entirely different perspective. I read the same words, but they had new meaning. Things that hadn’t made sense before now did. I thought of how I used to read the Bible, as if it was written directly to me — an approach that caused me to take a great many verses out of context — a manner causing confusion and conflict. With new eyes, I read the New Testament. The “good news” written therein I began to see as truly good news. Maybe this collection of writings wasn’t written to me, but yet it could still have a profound affect on me.
So even if the Bible is inspired by God, I don’t know this. It is entirely possible that it has mistakes. After all, the writings in the Bible are translations of translations of ancient texts. Still, I have not thrown out the Bible. I do believe it is a very important book. I think despite any errors it may contain, as a whole, it can reveal some vital truths. My search for truth started in the Bible, and I continue to look in it for answers. After all, I have found hope, love, and grace in the Bible. These are things that have changed my life.
So, have I decided that the Bible is just a collection of old documents? Maybe.
“But …”, someone protests, “the Bible says …
“… the word of God is living and active …”“
Yes, it does say that … and much more. Here is what I am coming to find about the Word of God.
The Word of God is living and active. But is it the Bible? No, I think not.
The Bible tells us that …
“… the Word was God … became flesh and made his dwelling among us.”
“… they will call him Immanuel” — which means, “God with us.”
Immanuel is Christ, the Word, God.
The Bible also tells us that …
“God is love.”
Ah! Love. Christ. Love coming to earth in the form of man — coming to fulfill the promises to the Jews and to show mercy to all mankind. Divine love living in flesh. Bringing love and peace, not fear and judgement.
“For I did not come to judge the world, but to save it.”
“You had nothing to do with it.
Being saved is a gift from God.
It’s not the result of anything you’ve done, so no one can brag about it.”
“He brought an end to the commandments and demands found in Moses’ Teachings so that he could take Jewish and non-Jewish people and create one new humanity in himself.
So he made peace.”
“There is no fear in love.
But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment.
The one who fears is not made perfect in love.”
God desires us to become one in him – one in love. Love unifies. Love brings peace. The good news … love … love unconditional.
“He came with the Good News of peace for you who were far away and for those who were near.”
Here is what Christ, the Word of God, said as written in the Bible. I believe it is also written on our hearts.
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.”
“Love your neighbor as yourself.”
Love the Divine Love with so much of your being that it becomes part of you. God loves you, you love Love, you love others, they love others. Love never ending.
The Word of God isn’t a book. Of course, the Bible contains words about God, maybe even from God, but I don’t think as a whole it is the Word of God. The Word of God is Christ. Christ – the personification of love. The Word planted deep within. Love that endures forever.
“Christ is all, and is in all.”
“The true light that gives light to every man …”
“I was found by those who did not seek me;
I revealed myself to those who did not ask for me.”
“His love endures forever.”
What joy to find the true Word of God! May we all find it – Love!
As Paul said to the Ephesians:
“I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. … Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.”