Read the Bible if you’re going to have an opinion about it

Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson has a list of books you should read. His selection concerns works of profound and lasting influence, such as On the Origin of Species and The Wealth of Nations.Topping the list -- not too surprisingly -- is the Bible. But curiously Tyson slanders the book. Why read it? "[T]o learn that it’s easier to be told by others what to think and believe than it is to think for yourself," he says.It reminds me of a comment by Fr. Tom Hopko: If you're going to h … [Read more...]

Cherry picking the Bible? Yes and no

There's been a little dustup recently about people supposedly "cherry picking" the Bible. Holy writ, goes the charge, is the highest authority in all matters, provided we can isolate certain verses and use them to support our predetermined positions.Neale Donald Walsch started the ruckus at the Huffington Post saying that -- surprise, surprise -- people actually do this! In fairness, he invoked another loaded metaphor, the buffet.Thomas Whitley responded for the Associated Baptist Press, … [Read more...]

How not to read the Bible

"All scripture is . . . profitable for teaching," according to Paul's second letter to Timothy.The apostle tells the young bishop that the scripture is useful for correction and preparation in righteousness and good works (3.15-17). But how? When we look to the story of Jacob, for instance, are we to walk away with the belief that cheating one's family, sorcery, and polygamy are acceptable behaviors?Just because something occurs in the scripture does not make it scriptural -- not in the … [Read more...]

The Bible, clear as mud

Peering through the most recent edition of the peerless Books and Culture, I came across a three-quarter page ad for Beeson Divinity School. Forgive me, but I don't think this ad works for an evangelical institution. What does it say about the perspicuity of Scripture, for instance, that the commentaries are in focus and the Bible is clear as mud?"We believe the Bible is God's word written," says the ad copy (not pictured above). "It is therefore fully trustworthy and able to teach us … [Read more...]