Saturday, May 3, 2014

The Authority of the Bible

Back to faith issues. 
        Believing in the Bible as the inerrant Word of God was never a problem for me growing up or going to Bible College.  Everyone I associated with believed it, and I was taught all the passages from the Bible that claim it is God's Word.  With that presupposition, all of my Biblical studies make sense and draw me closer to this loving, omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent God.  This gave me a deep sense of security and meaning in life, and obvious life goals to chase after.  I read the Bible daily, and with all the college and church classes I took I'm sure I read the Bible through several times.  Reading it usually brought peace and meaning.  Occasionally I was confused, but I would just go on to what I could be confident in/fully understand.
        But as the years have gone by, I have NOT always been surrounded by those who believe this way.  I now find that I have friends and acquaintances who believe very differently.  Some believe that a different "bible" is the holy scriptures that we should live by, but it's different from my Christian Bible.  Some don't believe in any bible or God.  I've also read books and articles written from other perspectives.  And just watching the news we see so many "religions" out there, all claiming they are the way to truth and righteousness.  They have their teachings and traditions that they are just as convinced are true as I was about mine.  Their parents/teachers taught them a different way, and they trust them as much as I trusted my parents/teachers. 
        So who is right?  How can we be sure that the Bible we are reading today is, in fact, inerrant?  How can we know how to interpret scriptures written so many years ago to different peoples of a very different culture? Man has learned so much more about the world over these thousands of years, and it brings questions about creation, dinosaurs, the age of the earth.  Man has become much more civilized, so that the Old Testament ways seem so barbaric and oppressive....how could God command the slaughter of women and children, entire nations?  Multiple wives?  The oppression of women?  Things we look at as evils today were daily life in the Bible.  I've heard many explanations, but none that hold water. At least not for me.
        The Bible is God's Word because the Bible SAYS it's God's Word is not a good argument.  "All Scripture is God breathed" (2 Timothy 3:16) does not define what books are Scripture. 
        Trust me....I WANT the Bible to be everything I always thought it was.  It is the foundation of what I have lived my life for.  But I don't see it.  I used to tell others who had this problem to immerse themselves in Bible reading and prayer and the Holy Spirit would reveal Himself to them.  Yet, when my doubts started kicking in, I realized that immersing yourself in anything will cause you to be swayed by it...that's how Cults get followings. 
        I sometimes have the "What if's".  What if those who canonized the Bible were not "pure", and had wrong motives, either putting in something that didn't belong or excluding something that did?  What if those who have translated the Bible made mistakes?  What if the common interpretations that we have are incorrect?  Shouldn't we be ALWAYS searching and "checking" our work?  Do we just take what was done so many years ago as "right" and never challenge it?  What if God is waiting for us to wake up and look closer.  Doesn't Paul say somewhere "don't trust me...look it up for yourself!"? 
        This is why I don't think questioning is wrong.  We should always be searching.  Text books have changed over the years because man has learned more and realized that he was wrong in some things.  Maybe the cannon of Scripture needs to be revisited.

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