David Williams on Why Christians Shouldn’t get so Worked up about the Bible

David Williams on Why Christians Shouldn’t get so Worked up about the Bible May 18, 2012

David Williams is continuing his “Credo” series, which is a look at what the apostle Paul said is really important for Christians to believe in according to 1 Corinthains 15:3-5.

David’s point is that Paul didn’t get all worked up about “the doctrine of Scripture”–meaning, nailing down how it came to be, how it works, how to read it correctly, and basically making it the entry point of Christian theology. In fact, no one got really worked up about it for most of the history of the church.

To paint with a very broad brush, it was not until the Reformation that the Church began anxiously wringing her hands about getting “the doctrine of Scripture” (whatever that is) “right” (whatever that means).  Prior to that time there had always been (as, in fact, there still is) a variety of views, interpretations, conceptualizations, and enumerations of the Scriptures within the Church and generally speaking, Christians were not out to excommunicate one another over their differences on these matters.

David’s point: It’s really about Jesus–always had been–not the Bible.

Check out the entire post here.


David, as a campus staff member of InterVarsity at NC State and Meredith College, has begun a fundraising initiative,the “share HOPE project,” for renewing the university at home and fighting poverty abroad. Donations are matched dollar-for-dollar.

You can get complete information here

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  • Theophile

    But without the Bible all we have is “apostolic authority” which basically has become doctrines and traditions of men, something Jesus didn’t care for.

    • Theophile, I am not sure I totally understand your comment. Sure, Jesus criticized the Pharisees for espousing some halakhic traditions which, as He pointed out, actually created loopholes in the Torah. But I think it’s a bit of a stretch to deduce from that that Jesus was against tradition, per se. “Tradition” is simply something that is handed on and Jesus certainly intended his disciples to hand on His stories and sayings and their recollections about His career.

      Anyways, I am not sure what you mean by “without the Bible.” Do you mean “without the specific, fixed anthology comprising the Protestant Canon” or what?

    • I’d turn that around and say that without “apostolic authority” we don’t even have the Bible…

  • James

    If Williams is right we shouldn’t get too worked up about whether Adam is historical or not. Trouble is, many evangelicals make a particular (literal) interpretive method the litmus test of orthodoxy. By the same token, books like Peter’s on Adam make non-literal interpretations the reigning orthodoxy. Maybe we all need to give up hammering out a better doctrine of scripture. On the other hand, maybe it is more important than ever that we get it right.

  • gingoro

    I’m not convinced that Pete has made or is attempting to make non-literal interpretations the reigning orthodoxy. One would rather doubt that Pete takes the crucifixion account non literally. It seems to me that Pete is pushing to expand the amount of non literal interpretation rather than the accepted idiom that everything is literal except for “obvious” non literal constructs like the parables.
    Dave W