Consequences of Making the Bible Holy

Consequences of Making the Bible Holy August 20, 2015

Consequence of making the Bible holy 2

By treating the Bible as the place to find all of the answers, we have taken away its power to lead us to ask deeper questions. By using the Bible as a weapon, we have weakened its ability to heal. By making the Bible holy, we have stripped away what makes it sacred.

Words from a post by Alise on the blog Knitting Soul.

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  • I agree with the concept behind this statement, but being bilingual, I realize that the last part is simply repeating itself. “Holy” has a Germanic root in English and “sacred” is the French/Latin root. Both mean the same thing. So the writer of this meme is stating, “By making the Bible holy, we are stripping away what makes it holy.”

    I don’t think this is what is meant here, unless the writer has a different nuance for the meaning of “sacred.” It was said poorly.

    • Matthew Funke

      I’m not sure what the original author meant — perhaps something like, “By making the Bible perfect, we are stripping away what makes it holy”?

      • Perhaps. I’m assuming the original writer wrote it in English. It’s the same with the words “faith” and “belief.” The word “faith” is Latin in its etymology. “Belief” is Germanic.

        • arcseconds

          These words may have once meant the same thing, but now they clearly do not. ‘Faith’ has implications of some personal commitment that goes beyond an indifferent consideration of the evidence.


          ‘I have faith that England will win’

          ‘I believe that England will win’

          Do not mean the same thing. The first would never be uttered by a supporter of the Australian cricket team, and we might expect it of an England supporter even if the Australian team is clearly stronger. Whereas the second could be uttered by a pessimistic Aussie.


          “I believe the sixth digit of π is ‘9’ ”

          “I have faith the sixth digit of π is ‘9’ ”

          Do not mean the same thing either. The first is an ordinary propositional claim expressed a little uncertainly. The second is a very strange statement, which we would never expect anyone to seriously utter, which might only belong in the mouth of a cartoon neo-Pythagorean.

          EDIT: I agree that ‘holy’ and ‘sacred’ have very little, if any, semantic difference in ordinary contemporary English, but again the etymology doesn’t decide this. ‘Awful’ and ‘awesome’ have similar etymologies and at points meant much the same thing, but now mean very different things.

          • louismoreaugottschalk

            but then there’s ‘blind’ faith.
            is there ‘blind’ belief?
            never, in my life, have heard of anyone speaking of it!

          • arcseconds

            Well, exactly. Very often ‘faith’ means something like ‘unwarranted belief’, with the implication that it is emotively held (note that this is a narrower definition than the one I gave above).

            ‘Blind belief’ is already faith in this sense, so the more specific term is used.

          • louismoreaugottschalk

            substance hoped for/ evidence not seen.
            Hebrews 11:1
            this is the first scripture that I ever memorized.
            IMO the act (is it an activity of mind, heart, spirit given as
            employment of the holy spirit?)
            can one speak of and experience an interim period of faith
            Or a ‘brooding’ period
            before there is any supernatural intervention or event.
            somewhere in Scripture,
            I forget where, faith is compared to & more precious than gold.
            I’d like to know what anyone thinks about that!

          • Cecil Bagpuss

            Louis, I think this is what you were referring to:

            Such trials show the proven character of your faith, which is much more valuable than gold—gold that is tested by fire, even though it is passing away—and will bring praise and glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. (1 Peter 1:7)

            An apt saying indeed!

          • louismoreaugottschalk

            thank you!
            much appreciated!

          • arcseconds

            So there couldn’t be such a thing as a ‘blind, yet warranted belief’ if ‘blind’ means what we normally mean in these contexts (thoroughly free of relevant information). If it’s warranted it can’t be blind. An unwarranted belief might not count as faith if the believed is pretty indifferent to their belief, but if they’re really indifferent they’re probably more open to changing the belief on better information, so we have less need for a phrase to pick out this situation.

            An important exception is people who aren’t that invested in the content of the belief, but just don’t want to admit they’re wrong. We probably wouldn’t say such a person has faith in Australia winning, but we might say they have a lot of faith in their own statements.

    • Jennifer Keating

      I wonder if the writer is taking holy as “holistic,”
      or whole, by which is meant, “Taking certain verses as the Whole (Letter)
      of the Law is to take away the Spirit of the Law. By making it Literal, we have
      taken away the Love.”

    • Pete Brazier

      I think perhaps the difference in meaning between the two words is less important than the context. I suspect the implied meaning is on the lines of – by setting the Bible apart (a literal interpretation of making it holy) we become distant from it and lose sight of what made us set it apart in the first place.

      Also, whilst the distinction is by no means black and white, there is a sense in translating from the Old testament Hebrew that holy is nearly always translated from Qodesh, which directly relates to that separateness, whereas sacred is in some translations often translated from other words like Matsveah which is a spiritually significant monument or stone.

      I think what is being suggested here is a sense of ‘sacred’ as immanent by God’s choice as opposed to holy as transcendent by human choice – I love the English language, but sadly I think we lack the words to say that concisely – what substitute for holy do we have that doesn’t imply separateness?

      • louismoreaugottschalk

        what comes up for me is the sacredness of the relationship
        & the holyiness (wholeness?)
        of a bond with the creator that will never &
        can never be separated.
        this is why we are all one
        & why one should not worry about anything IMO!

    • louismoreaugottschalk

      Wow, I think you might have hit upon an irony that wasn’t intended,
      profound in its innocent implications,
      a paradox that deserves deeper contemplation!

    • Alise

      Hi Timothy! Thanks for the discussion.

      You’re right – I probably could have said that a bit better. I think there’s a lot of an idea that “holy” is all set apart and perfect. Holy, in my mind, connotes something that is untouchable.

      Sacred, on the other hand, makes me think of something that has a sense of mystery and mysticism, but that we’re invited to participate in.

      I think mostly I just feel like the word holy has been corrupted by evangelicalism and for me, it’s a word that is very off-putting. So even if sacred means the same thing, it doesn’t have as much baggage with it.

      • I certainly didn’t mean to criticize what you said, especially since I agree with the meaning behind it. I just see things with a different eye having lived in Germany for 10 years.

        For instance (as I said above), in German there is no difference in meaning between the words “faith” and “belief.” Both of these words are translated the same “der Glaube.” We assign different nuances to them. Sometimes “faith” has more of an aspect dealing with trust and “belief” has more to do with knowledge. However, these aspects don’t mean anything in German.

        I always had to tell English-speakers when coming to Germany to realize that there wasn’t this difference. Sometimes they would listen to me. Other times they wouldn’t. For instance, I had this young girl give her testimony and she listed 3 things that were important to her in her spiritual journey. Two of these things were faith and belief. After she said this, she just looked sideways at me and then I had to explain to the audience in German that problems in the translation.

        As I stated previously, I do agree with this sentiment. I hold Jesus to be the Word of God, not the Bible. The Bible can point us to the Word of God.

  • ccws