Warring Over the Bible

“All in God’s timing.”

“God has perfect timing; never early, never late.”

“Learn to wait on God’s Timing.”

“Trust in God’s Timing”

Type “God’s timing” into your browser and search for images and you will see a lot of posters with expressions about timing. I guess we all question the timing of things that happen in our lives.  I do too.  As we leave Chapter 7 where Pastor Hamilton in his book Seeing Gray in a World of Black and White discussed Christian denominations, you wonder where he is going next.   He has just taken two Christian denominations and tried to show a dichotomy and how Christian denominations should be able to overcome their differences.  Now he turns to opposing views about how Christians view the Bible.

I just finished the Bible this morning, from Old to New Testament. I have had a hunger to read it since blogging about Dallas Willard’s book Hearing God.  Maybe a chapter on “The Battle over the Bible” is good for me right now.  God’s impeccable timing.

Let’s start with why do people read the Bible? Pastor Hamilton states that some see it as just a collection of ancient writings that describe the faith of the Israelites and then the first followers of Jesus.   Maybe they read it as a history book.  For many years I saw the Bible just like that, a book on the shelf, just like any other history book.  Others see the Bible as the Word of God, every word chosen by God with the writers of the book serving as scribes or secretaries. There are no errors; there are no real inconsistencies.  They declare that the Bible is totally true and trustworthy. This is the “inerrant posture” and people who think this way just don’t believe that there could ever be any error in Scripture.  They see the Bible as a Perfect Sacred Book.  Some see the Bible as a collection of “timeless truth”, with advice that transcends cultures.  Maybe these folks see the Bible as a self-help guide.  Of course there are those who see the Bible as a collection of documents written by human beings who are fallible, capable of erring in their use of facts and their use of interpretations.  They see the Bible as a story book, probably fictional in nature.

We could go on and on, expressing all the views that people have about the Bible but the fact of the matter is this: it is the most owned book in the world; the average American home has 4 Bibles. It is also the most read book in the world, a whopping 3.9 billion copies sold over the last 50 years.*

However, is it the most understood book in the world?

That is hard to pin down but probably not. I have been in so many Bible studies where people seem to struggle coming up with answers.  I have read so many passages that baffle me and others.  I have had so many discussions with people who are all over the place regarding their views about God’s word.  In my own personal study, as I have matured, the Bible is maybe more meaningful today than it was years ago in earlier readings. Maybe I am beginning to understand the Bible more; some would say I am a maturing reader of God’s word.  It is not for me to say.

In the next few days, Pastor Hamilton will describe how people feel about the Bible as a battle. The two warring camps are the modernists [more liberal in their approach to Scripture] and the fundamentalists [more conservative in their approach to Scripture].

As I did with opposing ideas regarding Christian denominations, I will comment on opposing ideas about approaches to the Bible.

Let me give you a hint before we begin our discussion. Pastor Hamilton will be searching for a middle ground regarding Scripture. He knows that there is some value in the modernist approach and there is some value in the conservative approach.  Can we find a way to bridge the gap between the two?  Can we see some gray in this world of black and white?

As I opened this post with the tip of my hat to God’s timing, I guess I am a little qualified to thrash out how I feel about God’s word; I have just finished reading it in 134 days. But what did I read?  Why did I read it?  What does it mean to me now?

More importantly, what does the Bible mean for you? Are you actively reading it today?  If you are, why are you reading it today?  What are you seeking from the Bible?  Are you not reading it today?  If not, why are you not reading the Bible?

Remember, it is the most purchased book in the world. The Business Insider statistic I used put the total at billions of copies but purchasing the Bible and reading the Bible are two different things.  Reading the Bible and understanding the Bible are two different things.

Maybe your Bible is opened and read daily and that is great or maybe it looks like the image I placed at the top of this post.

*From The Business Insider, 2012

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