Not a Book of Answers

The Bible is not a book of answers Timothy Beal

“The Bible is not a book of answers, but a library of questions.” – Timothy Beal

I am grateful to John Anderson for drawing my attention to the above quote, in a post that explores the trouble when the Bible becomes too familiar to us. Here’s a sample of what John has to say in his post:

Just as the crowd becomes angry when Jesus doesn’t affirm their expectations, so too we often go on the defensive when someone suggests the Bible means something other than what we think it means.

Here’s the glitch in this all. The Bible doesn’t mean anything apart from our efforts to interpret it. Whatever the original authors, whoever they were (and they were many different folks from different times, places, social locations, facing very different historical circumstances) intended for the Bible to mean, those meanings are lost to us now, or at least the certainty that we’ve gotten a particular text “right” is no longer possible. And yet there is a passionate certitude many feel about the Bible, albeit a certitude not mirrored by actual knowledge of its contents. Famous quotesman of the early years of our country, Thomas Paine, describes the Bible as a book that has been “read more and examined less than any book ever written.” We treat the Bible as familiar. We expect it to coincide with and speak to our problems, our concerns, to defend our causes. We treat it as familiar, but in fact it could not be more foreign.

Click through to read the rest.

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  • Phil Ledgerwood

    In his more ecstatic moments, Andrew Perriman has suggested that we take the Bible out of circulation for a while and re-introduce it much later after it has become unfamiliar.