If the Bible had an F.A.Q. section…

If the Bible had an F.A.Q. section… January 3, 2012

Do you ever wish that the Bible had an F.A.Q. section?

Or maybe it does, and I just haven’t found it yet. Some Christians probably have–you know, the one’s who are always saying, “The Bible clearly says that…” Yeah, those Christians must have found the F.A.Q. section.

Because, let’s be honest. The Bible is anything but clear.

It’s complicated, contradictory, and confusing.

If the Bible had an F.A.Q. section, this is what I’d like to see in it:

*What IS salvation?

*Is there a hell? What’s it like? And why would God send people there if he loves them?

*Why did God kill so many people in the Old Testament, and then turn around and tell us to be peacemakers in the New Testament?

*Gender roles…what’s up with that?

*Does God really hate gay people?

*Can I please have sex with my fiancé?

I’d like to know these things. Because I can’t find the answers in the Bible, even though people are constantly telling me that the answers are clear.

But, maybe the Bible isn’t about finding answers. Maybe Christianity isn’t about knowing everything. Maybe we shouldn’t spend our lives fighting about what’s right.

And maybe we should just focus on being more like Jesus. After all, as Robert Fischer said in an interview with Rachel Held Evans, “The Bible is not ‘The Word of God.’ Jesus is ‘The Word of God.’ Jesus is not the Bible. Ergo, ‘The Word of God’ is not the Bible.”

If we love Jesus and strive to be like him, following the leading of the Holy Spirit, then I think we’ll be okay, even if we disagree with one another on some of the details. Even ol’ Paul recognized that sometimes, “right and wrong” can be subjective.

Sure, we can have discussions (you know I love them!) about these things. In fact, I think we need to have discussions about these things. But let’s stop assuming that everyone who disagrees with us is just a heretic who hates the Bible. Let’s stop silencing those who are seeking answers with the “The Bible clearly says…” phrase.

The Bible’s not clear.

And maybe…just maybe, that’s a good thing.

If the Bible really did have an F.A.Q. section, what questions would you hope to see in there? 

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  • Christopher Williams

    I love this blog post, Sarah. Sadly, there ARE such Bibles. My ex mother-in-law once gave me one. It had some lame title like “The Believers’ Bible,” or something like that. It had little boxes on almost every page that explained what passages “really meant.” And, what it had to say about homosexuality, pre-marital sex, hell, evolution, etc. would make your hair curl. I have never felt so alienated in a family context.

    • yeah, I’ve seen those. don’t like ‘um much.

  • Christopher Williams

    I should add that the most puzzling thing about the little explanatory boxes–where the writing was actually BIGGER than that of the text itself–was that it was not at all clear what the relationship between the conclusions and the actual text was. There was absolutely no reliable scholarship cited. I believe the book was designed for teenage youth groups, to “help younger Christians understand the truth.”

  • Did God really write this book? (My answer is, “No. He just speaks to us through it.”)

    • yeah, I don’t think so either. I think he inspired it–the way a sunset might inspire an artist. But I think that it’s just a book filled with people interacting and sharing their perspectives of God. It’s beautiful, and I honestly love it more than any other book, but I don’t think it’s a rulebook straight from the mouth of God.

  • jeanette


  • I think you’ve already got the ones I would ask.

    My biggest question is – if the Bible isn’t inerrant, literally true when it claims to be literally true, etc…then what’s the value of it? I have so much trouble wrapping my mind around that – haven’t succeeded yet – but I wish I could.

    Actually, I’d also love to know if the Bible actually is inerrant, and who’s right, the conservatives or the skeptical scholars.

    But maybe, that’s part of the point? Ah, I don’t know. Thank you for this post and for being open in your wonderings.

    • ah, yes, good ones. I’ve wondered those myself.

  • Thank you for this! I’ve been thinking about my own love/hate relationship with the Bible lately, often about the same things you touched on. I wholeheartly agree we should focus more on being like Jesus and not silence others simply because they don’t measure to some sort of Biblical ‘litmus tests’.
    After working at a Bible ministry for several years (which has both helped and discouraged my view on the Bible), one of the things that has helped me with my understanding of Scriptures is learning to view the passages I have issues with through the overarching narrative of the Bible – or what main theme is running through these pages. To me it seems the Bible is communicating God’s redemptive plans for all of creation, and while this approach sure as hell hasn’t answered every question/concern I have, it allowed me to understand there is something far greater than the Church’s petty concerns over doctrine and Scriptural truth.

    • The narrative approach has been helpful to me as well!

  • love this…been dealing with people tell me i’m “wrong” for the past year or so about some things, and i’m all…why?

    • yeah, it’s not even that I mind people disagreeing with me. In fact, I love it when people share differing viewpoints. But I hate it when my thoughts are dismissed by a “You’re wrong! I’m not saying that. the BIBLE is.”

  • Oak Park Dave

    Satan quoted passages from the OT when he was tempting Jesus. Jesus said that “man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.” I don’t think that it is really all that complex. It’s HARD, but it is not complex. Follow the teachings of Jesus. Don’t be ridiculous about the eastern hyperbole (cutting off hands . . eye of a needle, etc) like I used to be at times in my younger years. What is the core of teaching of Jesus? Loving God with everything and loving your neighbor as yourself. This is not easy, but it is pretty straightforward.

  • It’s frustrating when people answer a “Why do you believe that way?” with a “that is what the Bible says.” When it reality it isn’t what the Bible says. It is what they think the Bible means. Happens a lot when talking about creation.