When it comes to the Bible, you have to decide whether or not you believe that God wrote the Bible and people helped, or that we wrote the Bible and God helped, sometimes.
Growing up I was told that God wrote the Bible and people helped. This view was reinforced by pastors who held up that book and called it “The Word of God”, even though it was quite obviously the words of Moses, and Joshua, and David and Jeremiah, etc.
But, curiously, the Bible never makes this claim to be written by God. It is quite transparent about who wrote what, usually. Yes, there are certain passages where Jeremiah or Isaiah or Moses might say, “Thus saith the Lord”, but everything before and after that is quite obviously not dictated by God.
Even more obvious is that the titles of these books usually bear the name of those person who supposedly wrote it – Ezekiel, Daniel, Hosea, Joel, Micah, Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, etc.
The real challenge for those who hold to this view is that Jesus shows up and very boldly challenges a lot of those “Thus saith the Lord” passages and flat-out contradicts them. Where Moses says that God brings rain on the just but sends drought on the unjust, Jesus affirms the exact opposite; that God brings rain on the just and the unjust alike, and that because of this truth we should also love both sets of people, too. [Because this is who God is].
Where Moses says “An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth”, Jesus says we should love our enemies, turn the other cheek and bless those who curse us.
Where Moses says “You shall fear the Lord your God and serve Him, and shall take oaths in His name.” [Deut. 6:13], Jesus says that we should not swear at all and that swearing oaths is “from the evil one.” [Matt. 5:37]
Where Moses says that those who commit adultery should be put to death, Jesus says, “Neither do I condemn you. Go and sin no more.”
Just consider the audacity of writing a book and then calling it “The Word of God” for a minute. Can you imagine anything more blasphemous?
The Gospel of John does us a favor by pointing out that the “Word” was with God, was God and became flesh to dwell among us. Notice that at no time in this sequence is the “Word of God” ever written down. Never.
The Word is not a Book that we wrote about God. The Word is Christ. The Word became flesh and we have been trying our very best to get it into a Book ever since.
Simply put: The Bible is not a book written by God. It’s a book written by us about God. There is a huge difference.
The Bible does not claim to be our hope. It points us to Christ who is our hope.
The Bible does not claim to be our authority. It tells us that Christ is our authority.
The Bible does not claim to be the foundation of our faith. It reveals to us that there is one foundation and this foundation is Christ.
The Bible does not claim to be infallible or inerrant. It shows us that Christ [and Christ alone] is our source of Truth.
There is no life in the Bible. Jesus said so. He warned us that we could search the Scriptures and never find life in those pages. Our only hope is to come to Christ – directly and personally – to find our life hidden in Him alone.
A dead religion of laws and rules bound in a book is only useful to those who want to manipulate and control people using fear.
A living relationship with the One who fills everything in every way is what we’re invited into here and now. But you just might need to close the book long enough to step into that reality and experience the living Christ for yourself.
But, doesn’t the Bible tell us that:
“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” [2 Tim. 3:16-17]?
Actually, no it doesn’t say that.
The word “Scripture” is in your English translation. But, if you look at the Greek text you’ll notice something alarming: The word “Scripture” doesn’t appear in that passage.
The word translated “Scripture” in your English Bible is actually the Greek word “Graphis” which is not the word for “Scripture” but the common word for “Writings”.
The text actually says: “All the God-breathed writings are useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness…”
This begs the question, then, “What are the ‘God-breathed writings'”?
The answer is: “Any writing which is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness..”
That can be something from the Bible, or from Rumi, or from Buddha, or Brene Brown or Anne Lamott, or anyone whose words inspire you, teach you, correct you and lead you into a deeper connection with God and Christ.
So, for example, if you’re driving down the road and a song comes on the radio that touches you deeply, speaks a profound truth to your soul, that is an “inspired” song. God uses those words and that moment to communicate something life-changing to transform you more into the image of His Son.
This doesn’t mean that God wrote that song.
It doesn’t mean that the song is inerrant or infallible.
But it DOES mean that the Creator of the Universe used those words to speak a profound truth into your heart at just the right moment, to lead you nearer to Himself and bring healing and life to your soul.
That’s inspiration. That’s how God’s Spirit uses anything, and everything, to communicate Truth to us in everyday our life.
This is the Word of God which is living and active and sharper than a two-edged sword. It’s not a Book. It’s the living Spirit of Christ.
Christ is not bound by any book, or held captive by any religious text.
Neither are you.
Keith’s new book, “Jesus Undefeated: Condemning the False Doctrine of Eternal Torment” is available now on Amazon.