Sunday Morning Musings: When I was a child we used to be drilled on finding Bible verses in the hope of speeding up our abilities to be able to find things in the Bible. This game was in complete agreement with Biblical teaching that recognized the “Word of God” as a weapon of great repute. As the writer of the letter to the Ephesians says: …to stand firm against the enemy, take the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God (6:17). To be clear, the Christian Church as equated the Word of God with the Bible. (Of course, this is a whole other topic since the writings quoted were written before the Bible came into existence.)
Despite the above fact, for the sake of these musings I will equate the two as has been often done for my argument today is abusing the Bible when it is used as a weapon. Strangely enough it happens far too often and this past week has been no exception. The President of The United State speaking though staff stated that it was considered Biblical to separate children from their parents. Sadly, there were those that retreated to the Bible to refute such a contention. To me, that is like meeting violence with violence – or like saying “if you want to sword fight, well, let’s do it.
The Bible is not a weapon and should never be used as such. Nor should it be considered the only way that God has spoken or continues to speak to us. To discuss the creation of “The Bible” and when it was determined to be God’s only word, would require a history lesson about canonization and include the Westminster Catechism of the 17th century, so we shall not go there in these musing. Rather let’s spend what space is left discussing the Bible in general and its use.
Two ideas come to mind when discussions are had talking about the Bible. They are infallibility and inerrancy and are often related. The former reminds us: “To confess that the bible is infallible is to confess that the Scriptures are incapable of teaching any error.” Whereas the latter states: Since the authors could not err when writing Scripture, the bible contains no affirmations of anything that is contrary to fact. Inerrancy is a quality of the original text of the bible. Translations may err, but the original manuscripts penned by the prophets and apostles do not (Ligonier Ministries).
Such a statement about inerrancy does allow for “misinterpretation” which many seem to ignore choosing rather simply to say: “if it is in the Bible it must be true because God wouldn’t lie”. And since the Bible is God-inspired, why would any of the many writers lie to us reader? Yet, that fact in itself is a problem since we also know about “unconscious bias”. Nor does it take into account the fact that “history is too often written by the winners” to paraphrase Sir Winston Churchill.
I am not suggesting that we no longer read the Bible, but do suggest that we not use it as a weapon to defend our point of view. I am also hope that we would include other writings as sacred texts that can also contain “the Word of God”, that is to say, they contain important truths about our relationship with “God and how these truths are revealed to us.
Only when we begin to broaden our perspectives about God; about how love is more important than defending our points of view can we ever hope to live together in peace and harmony.