This is the fifth post on this series about the Bible. If it is not obvious by now I want you to understand that I put my Christianity on Jesus Christ not on a book about him. I will try to keep this brief as it is really a wrap-up of the past posts.
About the Literalists:
- Panic – In some cases I see almost total panic in people when I say not all the words in the bible are literally true. This belief is so ingrained in the foundations of their faith they cannot imagine it could not be true.
- Irrational – Some say if you doubt any words in the Bible are not literally true than you must doubt all of them and therefore the Bible would be worthless! Nonsense..Living with that sort of belief makes life itself totally unlivable. There is nothing in this life that man has touched that is 100% accurate. This is like saying that I must throw out everything I know about George Washington, and I have read a lot about him, because someone wrongly wrote that he chopped down a cherry tree.
- Acceptance? – Eventually the literal and absolutely true belief will be totally disproved even to the current day doubters. What will happen to those who tied their Christianity on that belief? Will they lose their faith? I just pray that when that day comes they will realize that Jesus should have been their total focus all along not a book about him. What would happen to me if the Bible proved to be totally inerrant as they claim? I would be very surprised but it would not cause me to take my eyes off Jesus as the absolute center of my faith.
- At Jesus’ Feet – To be able to read stories from those who actually sat at Jesus’ feet is just so valuable in our walk with Christ. It helps us to understand why he came to earth and became one of us! He did that to teach us how to live and how to love the God of the New Testament.
- A Brother’s Narrative – There is one person who wrote part of the biblical text that most likely spent almost his entire life with Jesus and that was his brother (or maybe cousin depending on which theologian you might follow). It saddens me that James did not provide us more info about Jesus’ earlier years. But, then again maybe he did and it was not uncovered during the search or canonic documents. If not, I guess he chose to concentrate on just what he thought was the most important of his brother’s messages. To hear James say that faith and works are one and the same and that faith without works is a dead faith is good enough for me.
- About the Founders – To be able to read all the stories in the book of Acts about the first few years of Christianity is very enlightening. It certainly helps us to understand how Christianity got started and how some of its beliefs were formed primarily by the Apostle Pau. But, all of those things that occurred during these early years were not necessarily meant to apply to future Christians. Some are just for lessons learned and taught at the time of the writing and should be understood as such.
- Early Conflicts – To see how Paul dealt with some many of the problems in the early church is interesting. But again we cannot assume that all the solutions he proposed apply to all circumstances today. One size does not fit all.
- Keep your eyes totally focused on the lessons of Jesus. Everything else is simply a distraction.
- To tell others about Jesus and how he lived his life. That is the purpose of the Bible.
- Tell other about Jesus and how he taught us to live. That is the purpose of the Bible.
- Tell others about Jesus and what he commanded us to do. That is the purpose of the Bible.
- Use the Bible stories as lessons in these matters and don’t become fixated on the words themselves. When you do that you may end up treating words as idols and that is definitely not what Jesus intended.