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Going Without Biblical Inerrancy


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Since somet time I'm trying to read the bible without applying the concept of biblical inerrancy. But I must admit I'm getting a bit lost. I have no education on how to read the bible like this and I don't have reference points for myself.

 

Some things I came up with where these points:

 

- When Jesus and his disciples argue against the law of Moses, they don't consider this law to really originate from God. It was merely a jewish tradition on how someone can be justified before God. Jesus sort of obeyed the law in many ways because else nobody would have accepted him among the jews and he would not have been considered a teacher in the eyes of the public, but he was big on choosing only the good from the law (charity), and not its bad parts (stoning). If one wanted to accept the law as divine, then Jesus would have had no authority to break the sabbath, for example. But he broke it and he purposely called himself the son of man to make himself like man, to show not his divine authority but the authority of man.

 

- Tied to this is the question of Jesus' sinlessness, his understanding of sin. If we just adopted the point of view of the law, then Jesus was not sinless as he broke the sabbath, didn't obey the high priest, didn't stone the adulterous woman and didn't seem to offer sacrifices. But when we adopt a law-free view of God and the faith, then Jesus was sinless in terms of simple goodness. His heart was on the right spot, he was kind and helpful to the needy, spoke truth to power and offered himself on the cross as a symbol of his unselfishness. When that is sinlessness, then the law has no point really and produces only a "righteousness" of judgment, not of faith and love.

 

- The parable of the talents can be read not as something about God but as something about the situation on Earth, that Jesus was using irony really. Those who are rich on Earth always get more riches, and those who have only little, get taken away what little they have because they can only hide it in terror of the masters, and using it for themselves they may also not do, they are supposed to put it in the bank for bad times. It makes no sense in light of Jesus' sacrifice to assume that he has servants who cut to pieces those who hate him (again, the cross, father forgive them for they know not what they are doing).

 

These are just some things I found. Biblical inerrancy can't lead to such insights and instead presumes that the bible is a manual that shows everything plainly. But this is wrong, the bible is a book like all the others, containing prophecy, law, stories, myths, regulations, chronicles, psalms, poetry, wisdom literature and others.

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Speaking generally, I would not distinguish between an inerrant Bible and one with errors. I have found the contrast - at least for me - is between the Bible as text (or words) and the Bible as the Living Word. It seems to me that all faiths have an "ejector" button that seeks to throw us out of the word as text and into the Living Word. For Christianity, it would be found in such words as "The letter kills but the spirit gives life".

 

"They search the scriptures daily for in them they think they have eternal life, but it is those scriptures that testify to Me." (John 5:39)

 

The Living Word can be found anywhere.

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"They search the scriptures daily for in them they think they have eternal life, but it is those scriptures that testify to Me." (John 5:39)

 

That is a wonderful and very helpful line of scripture, but in this there is already hidden the problem of using Christ to double phariseeism only. We can assume that Christ came to crush the letter and to bring life, but the bible can be read such as to support a Christ who just fulfilled the bible bringing new chapters to it. I think we should see a "gone" in the christian things, that Jesus spiritually put an end to an old system and to bring a purity of life and existence as in bread and wine. Christianity's worst mistake would be to bury this purity and instead to use it to fit into the old system.

 

This is why I'm opposed to seeing Jesus as the lamb of God. He laid down his own life, he was not sacrificed. Jesus as God's lamb is like a perversion, it puts Jesus back into the mosaic thing, back into the corrupted and ungodly horror of Abraham wanting to sacrifice Isaac. That's a real issue, friend. Jesus' death, instead, must be seen as a trick God played on Jesus' opponents, and as a means by which the bottom of religion, which is hell, is closed down. No more condemnation and wrath - Jesus took it all upon Himself. But this must be coupled with a manly Jesus who Himself decided to go to that Cross, together with His Father God and with the Holy Spirit. He was not put on that Cross by God. That would be a wrong point of view perverting the idea of love and freedom.

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HI again,

 

As I see it, the word as text is just the pointer to the Living Word. Too often we think that Christ was only manifest during His earthly ministry, yet the divine manifest Christ is from all eternity ( as suggested by the Prelude to St John's Gospel)

 

For me, seeking the reality of Christ within any theology born of pouring over the Biblical word as text is a second best to seeking Christ in each and every moment, in each and every human being we meet.

 

 

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Skyseeker,

 

In my opinion I think viewing the bible as the inerrant word of God cheats people of the deeper richness of the bible. I think to understand the bible as a compilation of many different human thoughts and understandings of God & the universe, always affected by their culture and societal mores of the day, is a far richer way to understand the various authors.

 

I think the rigidness and certainty which many people read into the bible is just a modern way of being a rigid, certain Pharisee from Jesus' day.

 

Paul

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  • 1 month later...

As a believer in a higher power and the goodness of Christ, it seems that faith has to start somewhere. For me, it was the Christian church, with all it's flaws that served as the launch pad for my journey. It had all the right emotional pull for a child and offered some good stories to give meaning to puzzling concepts. But the doubts started during high school, maybe a little sooner. My high school had a LOT of Jewish kids. During my years in Young Life and the 4 Spiritual Laws (remember?) I was always one foot in, one foot out. Emotionally I wanted Christ and all he offered. But wait a minute, the rest of the folks are going where? No way. Oh, and my dad who never went to church.....nicest man I ever knew....where's he going?

 

I've been involved in and a member of two churches in my adult life. One I left because it didn't work for me anymore. It was a huge church with many wonderful members and a vibrant fellowship. I had a brilliant Sunday School teacher that I adored listening to. But one day he mentioned that when he got to heaven, if Hitler was there, he was giving back his ticket. Or some such comment. That one sentence caused me to leave the class in disappointment. I have this inner compass that tells me God is big enough for everyone. Nobody is perfect and we all need help. I'm know there are categories of evil that are beyond the ability to understand. Maybe I am hoping God can redeem the world, all of us, no matter what.

 

I am now a member of a very small church that talks about being love and justice in the world. I think we would be considered a progressive Christian Church. I am anxious to read more on this forum and also the weekly writings that are a part of membership. I've read (scanned) Bishop Spong's book "Eternal Life". I couldn't sleep after finishing the last two chapters. No skimming there! I have so many questions, but will save them and hope to hear what others are feeling, saying, experiencing in the journey.

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  • 1 year later...
  • 3 weeks later...

I personally cannot accept the inerrency of the Bible. It is a set of writings by different people of different times and perhaps some of them were inspired by God, perhaps some not. I don't think some of the authors (Paul when he wrote his letters, as an example) ever envisioned their writings being included as sacred scriptures, true for all time.

 

Its not really possible to understand the Bible without a lot of knowledge of the times it was written in and other background knowledge. It is always up for interpretation - and by some who want it to serve their own ends.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Skyseeker, you are bringing us a very keen perspective. I like what you're saying. I would offer my perspective concerning the notion as Jesus as the lamb of God. Jesus took on the mantle of Lamb of God when he accepted John's baptism. If Jesus were God's sacrifice, then that would imply that Jesus died for God's sins. It's the sinner who makes the sacrifice. We are the sinners, but rather than offering a lamb, Jesus substitutes himself as God's lamb for us. Whether you believe all this is a different story! But that's how I read it.

 

Now as far as inerrancy and stuff, I lean toward what the moderator above wrote:

 

"As I see it, the word as text is just the pointer to the Living Word"

 

It is the relationship with the Holy Spirit (the helper, the advocate) that helps us here. Jesus knew how to cut through the horse puckey and find the true spirit of the law...something that's written upon our hearts. He also claimed to fulfill the law. So if Jesus is fulfilling the law he must be sinless because in a sense he becomes the law.

 

Matthew 5:17

"Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them."

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