What Does “Biblical” Mean?

Chuck Queen Biblical Doesn't Mean a Darn Thing

Chuck Queen wrote a helpful post recently, sharing his own experience of interacting with someone who insisted the Bible was clear – but didn’t accept its “clear” teaching on certain matters. The quote above is from that post. Click through to read the rest.

I’ve said it often before, but it bears repeating. One should never say that fundamentalist Christians are “Biblical” or “inerrantists” or “literalists.” They are selectively Biblical, selectively literal, and the Bible’s inerrant meaning is always in fact what they are convinced it means, but other inerrantists often disagree, and so the claim to inerrancy is not about the Bible but themselves and their own interpretation of it.

Why is it important to emphasize this? Because otherwise it grants them a high ground in arguments that they don’t deserve. It puts one on the defensive, leaving them to ask why their opponent “doesn’t believe the Bible” or isn’t consistent, when their own stance is open to criticism in the exact same way for the exact same reasons.

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  • John MacDonald

    I find the scriptures hard to read because it is so easy to find apparent contrariety and nuance in them. For instance, Paul writes “But each in his own turn: Christ the firstfruits; then at His coming, those who belong to Him (1 Corinthians 15:23).” At face value this seems to mean Paul thought the end of the world had begun, and that Christ was the first to be resurrected, followed by those who were asleep in Christ. This echoes what Paul says elsewhere that if Christ is not raised, then the dead in Christ perish “And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished.… (1 Cor 15:17-18).” This seems to be the thoughts of an exclusivist religion only considerate of those in Christ.

    But Wait!

    Earlier in the same letter, Paul said “For as in Adam all die, so in Christ ALL will be made alive. (1 Cor. 15:22).” And so here there seems to be a more inclusive message.

    I tend to think by watching T.V evangelists like Kenneth Copeland and Joel Olsteen what you find is an ironing out of wrinkles in the text to present a one size fits all evangelical message.

    • Pseudonym

      I’ve thought for a long time that any philosophical text worth reading (especially an ancient anthology written over the span of 500+ years) probably should present more than one perspective on difficult topics.