Accepting the Bible

Praising the Bible is not acceptance of the Bible, and idolatrously attributing the divine attribute of inerrancy to the Bible, when the Bible itself condemns idolatry, most certainly isn’t acceptance of the Bible. Only accepting what the Bible actually says, even if it doesn’t agree with your claims, assumptions, and doctrines about the Bible, is accepting the Bible.

Before we can discuss the Bible, work on such matters as Hebrew linguistics are crucial. Most people who discuss the Bible nowadays on the internet and in churches are discussing English translations, which depend on the work of scholars such as linguists. Young-earth creationist groups like Answers in Genesis reject such scholarly work, and thus the literal meaning of the Bible in the original languages, when it suits them to do so. A classic example is the reference to the dome in Genesis 1:6-7, which they insist is not a dome even though linguists consistently disagree with them. We are not free to simply change the meaning of words in the Bible the way Answers in Genesis does. We must start with the words, and if the words of the Bible do not match the world as we observe it, then we must accept that. We may differ about what to do under such circumstances. But twisting the Bible to mean what we want it to, and then saying we are believing the Bible and taking it literally, should not be accepted as an option by any Christian. That is why I am so dismayed that Ken Ham remains so popular in a wide variety of sectarian fringe groups within Christianity.

So don’t believe those who say that they are “looking at modern science through the lens of the Bible” while their opponents are “looking at the Bible through the lens of science.” Unless you accept the work done by scholars to clarify the meaning of Hebrew words both lexically and in terms of their meaning in the context of their setting in a particular historical and cultural context, then you aren’t looking at the Bible at all, in any meaningful sense. It is your own cultural, linguistic, and theological standpoint that you are looking through, and chances are it will be so opaque that you will rarely be able to actually glimpse the Bible through it.

Young-earth creationism, playing fast and loose with the Bible, deserves to be called a false teaching. The Bible warns about false teachers who will “tickle the ears” and say what audiences want to hear in order to lead them astray. Why is it that most of us Christians tend to assume that it is those that we disagree with who are having their ears tickled, but never ourselves?

  • Dr, David Tee

    “Unless you accept the work done by scholars to clarify the meaning of Hebrew words both lexically and in terms of their meaning in the context of their setting in a particular historical and cultural context, then you aren’t looking at the Bible at all, in any meaningful sense”
    This is a variation of what the Roman Catholic Church did in the Darg Ages. Only the priests could ‘interpret’ the Bible. It was a heretical position then and it is still a heretical position today.
    Neither God nor Jesus taught such a thing. There is NO scriptural basis for that kind of thinking. Dr. McGrath is wrong and seeks to brainwash people. He wants power and control over others by saying only the elite can tell you what the Bible says. Just rubbish.
    Jesus said ‘My sheep hear my voice.’ Notice he did not say, they hear the scholars’ voice.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

      OK, so then presumably you have no need of a Bible in your language in order to hear Jesus’ voice, since linguistics and Biblical scholarship are involved in the translation process. I know, I have worked with a Bible translation organization and know several other people who are on the mission field doing the same.

      The truth is, you seem to have a mistaken notion of what the Reformation accomplished. Martin Luther didn’t just make Scripture paramount, he also recognized the need to debate and discuss what should or should not be in Scripture, recognizing that ultimately it is we, the church, that has to decide, just as has always been true – without the church you don’t have a Bible, no canon of Scripture, no list of texts that have that status.

      The Reformers also wrote commentaries, recognizing that people needed help in understanding the texts that they were putting in their hands in their own languages.

      So don’t pretend to be standing the line of the Reformers. If you think you are, it is only because you know as little about church history as you do about the Bible.

      • Dr. David Tee

        You are changing your context as that is not what you said and I quoted your words exactly. You are not qualified to translate anything as you think cultural context over-rules or indicates what God said. Culture is secular and pursues secular ideas and desires, God’s word is the light unto the world telling people what they must do
        You cannot say the Bible is the word of God only to turn around and say that culture trumps it. You destroy any authority the Bible has and allow unbelievers to remain unbelievers.
        The church does NOT get to say what is in or isn’t in the Bible. That is heresy. God says what is in. It is up to the church to listen and obey. You try to raise the church as an authority over God’s word and there is NO biblical teaching for that move. You are saying the church is greater than God and that is sin.
        No Without GOD you do not have scripture or a church, you have things backwards and assume authority that is not yours to assume.
        So Luther’s anti-semitism is good teaching for the church? Calvin’s warlike nature is good for the church? Zwingli’s fallible ideas are good for the church? Sounds to me like you are replacing God with these men and putting other humans above God and His word.
        Where do you think true christian men get their teaching and insight from? Other men or the Holy Spirit? If you said ‘other men’ then you have demoted the Bible down to fallible and human levels making it vulnerable to all subjective opinion and useless as a divine work of revelation, authority and direction.
        I am not standing in the line of the Reformers. I am standing with God

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

          You are, it seems, standing on your own, as the lone voice of truth. Alas, what you seem not to realize is that you have deified yourself. When you are convinced that you alone are right and everyone else is wrong, you are commiting a form of idolatry worse than bowing before an image of another entity, because you have come to treat yourself as God, so sure are you that what you think is what God thinks.

          I would encourage you to actually learn where the Bible comes from. Or just open the nearest Bible to the table of contents and begin to ask yourself, “Where did this table of contents come from? Who came up with it? When? Where? Why? How?” Perhaps you will begin to ask questions that may lead you to understanding.

          • Dr. David Tee

            I see you need to attack the messenger again, finding some fault or making some false accusation to provide you with the excuse for ot listening to the truth.
            I have not deified myself the truth I speak comes from God and He alone is right. It is not my fault you do not want to listen to the truth.
            I do not care where the table of contents come from, they are not inspired nor have any influence upon the word of God. It exists merely to make things easier for the reader to find certain books.
            Questioning the table of contents does not lead one to better understanding of God’s word and it is a waste of time to worry about such unimportant details. It is a distraction that takes one’s mind away from the truth.

            • rmwilliamsjr

              re:
              I do not care where the table of contents come from, they are not inspired nor have any influence upon the word of God. It exists merely to make things easier for the reader to find certain books.

              nonsense.
              the TOC defines what you think is the Word of God.
              is Bel and the Dragon the word of God?
              how about the 3 books of the Maccabees?

              or the Epistles of Clement?

              the TOC, the canon, and there are about 12 of them. defines what is and is not considered the Word of God, i’d think you find that important.

              the church did create the canon, if it was just affirming the choice God made, then why are there more than 1?

        • rmwilliamsjr

          re:
          Calvin’s warlike nature is good for the church?

          you really need to keep speaking in big terms of generalities and non specific “big spiritual ideas” because when you enter into the mundane world of facts and data you demonstrate a serious deficit of knowledge and post nonsense that can be fact checked.

          generality=Zwingli’s fallible ideas are good for the church
          false fact=Calvin’s warlike nature is good for the church

          another specific fact where you are wrong=
          re:
          Where do you think true christian men get their teaching and insight from?

          1 Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled[a] among us,2 just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word. 3 With this in mind, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, I too decided to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, 4 so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught.

          http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Luke+1&version=NIV

          clearly Luke consulted MEN and solicited their knowledge

          yet another falsehood about history=
          re:
          The church does NOT get to say what is in or isn’t in the Bible.

          the canon was determined several times (there are roughly 12 canons) all by various church councils. nowhere is there any record of God handing down a list of which books were to be included and which excluded from any Bible.

          • Dr. David Tee

            SIGHHHH! The only one without any factual content seems to be you. Calvin’s warlike attitude towards wht he considered immorality is a very good description but i probably just put zwingli’s atitude on calvin and calvin’s on zwingli.
            As for Luke whom do you think lead Luke to the men he talked to and helped him see what was truth and error before he wrote? When it comes to the Bible you do not even come close to the truth.
            Metzger once said, that the church did not pick the books and made them authoritative but picked th ebooks that were already the authority. I paraphrased him as I am doing it from memory but the gist is, the church didn’t decide what was scripture and what wasn’t, they picked what was already scripture and put them in one volume.
            The arguments i see here on this website can be boiled down to we want everything to be human so we can reject it and replace it with our ideas.

            • rmwilliamsjr

              re:
              The only one without any factual content seems to be you. Calvin’s warlike attitude towards wht he considered immorality is a very good description but i probably just put zwingli’s atitude on calvin and calvin’s on zwingli.

              yes, you are confusing Calvin and Zwingli. Zwingli was a soldier who died a soldier as you would have discovered reading the wiki

              quote:
              On 9 October 1531, in a surprise move, the Five States declared war on Zurich. Zurich’s mobilisation was slow due to internal squabbling and on 11 October, 3500 poorly deployed men encountered a Five States force nearly double their size near Kappel on 11 October. Many pastors, including Zwingli, were among the soldiers. The battle lasted less than one hour and Zwingli was among the 500 casualties in the Zurich army..[75]
              -=-=-=-

              but more importantly is your cavalier & dismissive attitude towards the facts, not just of history but of the Bible itself, as you demonstrate with no regard for the problem of the canon.

              you seem not to care to be accurate or correct, only Right.

              such a poor attitude for one claiming to be a Christian, unconcerned with the truth but only with your own Righteousness.

              sad. hypocritical. dangerous.

              facts and those little truths do matter.
              whether it was Calvin or Zwingli is not nearly as important as whether we care to research and study to try to be a little bit more right and to properly handle the data of history. fixing our thoughts when they are wrong, listening carefully to others to see why they believe as they do, these Whys are those pesky little facts you dismiss so readily.

              • rmwilliamsjr

                does anyone expect Dr. David Tee to admit his factual error in confusing Calvin and Zwingli? don’t you just hate it when the facts get in the way of a good argument?

                • Ken Gilmore

                  I expect it around the same time as he tells us why he listens to those godless astronomers who tell us that there is no solid firmament above us, contrary to what Gen 1:6-8 tells us. Then there’s the little matter of his ‘PhD’…

                  • rmwilliamsjr

                    the notion of a solid firmament separating heaven and earth is incorporated into the story of the Ascension itself. only in a system where breathable air was available all the way up to heaven. and the presence of heaven being very close to earth, does Jesus rising up make sense.

                    what interests me is the connection of the 3 temptations in the wilderness and the return of Christ from beyond the clouds, both seem to be embedded in a flat earth system, where everyone can see something if it is sufficiently high.

                    in any case, few Christians have not accepted a spherical earth revolving around the sun, both cause issues with the Bible’s matrix of understanding about the world. the question is if these elements are being used to teach a message or whether a geocentric earth is part of the message from God.

                    are they anthropomorphic, common sense, naive observational, accommodation to man’s limited but growing body of scientific descriptions of our world? or are they information from God to be believed as elements of faith as the YEC propose, in the face of contradictory information from looking at the world?

    • Joshua

      You do understand that the Bible is not actually written in English, right?

      You do not have to be a priest to know Hebrew, Greek or Aramaic. I know Greek, but I’m a computer programmer. But you do need to know Hebrew, Greek and Aramaic to be free of scholars.

      Of course, you still need them to learn the languages in the first place.

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/ Bob Seidensticker

    The water above (in a dome) and the water beneath was actually the Sumerian model of the cosmos.
    Escape from”>Escape from the Creation Conference

  • SamDoum

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