So when I reviewed the topic on Tim’s blog, I wasn’t really sure I had anything to say about biblical authority and inspiration… especially since I read the list of John’s creative titles as though they were actual topics we had to choose from. But then I started to think about it a little more and I re-read the information and I thought, I guess I could say something… and I guess it’s kind of a long something.
(For those who are confused, there are a group of us writing blogs today on this week’s topic of biblical authority and inspiration… called Gridblogging… it’s the way of the future).
Anyway, I think that my previous post The Simple Life was on this topic a little bit, and I think it alludes to my confusion. It seems to me that the more that I journey through this life with God and the more that I learn, the more I realize that I don’t know anything. It’s a cliche to say that God is big, so maybe I’ll just start by saying that I’m really small. I mean, really small.
It’s tempting to believe what our society tells you… who wouldn’t want to believe that you yourself are the most important, you have to make yourself happy first, make sure that you are content, make sure that you are comfortable and your needs are met, and then maybe you can think about others. I tend to think that I’m pretty important when I’m living life that way. The world revolves around me, I’m number one, my ideas are right, so on and so forth. Of course I’m not thinking that consciously, but if I really reflect, I know that in my heart those thoughts are there.
But in reality I’m just this tiny little blip on a huge planet with billions of other people and we’re all doing so many different things… how do we know what is right? How do we know what to do?
It was when I was in college (hard to believe that I can say that) that I first heard discussion on the fallibility of the Bible. Introduction to Christian Theology was a tough class for me, being a follower for only 10 months (you mean there are three persons, but they are all God??). Anyway, I had to look up what the word fallible meant. Since then, I haven’t really thought about it too much.
Reflecting now (and making my way back to my confusion) I can see that when I first started to believe, I read the New Testament (didn’t get through the OT until this year) as a pretty straight-forward, black and white book. A lot of it was very comforting and I highlighted those parts; a lot of it was really frightening and I usually skipped over those parts.
Through discussion and reading, I then went on to learn that there is a lot of history behind the things that Jesus says and that certain phrases that he would say would have specific meaning to his audience and that Paul was writing actual letters on certain issues to specific churches. This made the book seem a lot more rich and a lot more real, but also a lot more confusing. So how do I know what applies to me? Should I cover my head as Paul says, should I sell all my posessions as Jesus tells one guy? Should I do this, do that, what should I do?… Oh yeah, grace through faith not works… BUT faith without works is dead… so is that a contradiction?… Who was Paul talking to, who was Jesus talking to, what context, what story behind that, is Jesus even being straightforward or is it just sarcasm to turn the Pharisees words on their heads… will I ever understand anything or do I already understand but just not want to admit it: is “Christian scholarship the Church’s prodigious invention to defend itself against the Bible, to ensure that we can continue to be good Christians without the Bible coming too close?” (Kierkegaard)?
It’s hard to know what to think when there are a lot of other people out there with some thoughts on the matter as well.
I’m living for God because he’s revealed himself to me over and over, not because a book told me I should. I see the Bible as what you might call a history book, telling the story of Him and his people and I think that it reveals a lot about God’s character, which is really good for me to know since I’m wanting to live for Him and all. Obviously I have some questions about some things, and I’m not sure how to read some other things, but I’m going to go on with my life believing in the infalliblity of God. When I have questions, I’m going to ask Him. When I want to know how I should act or what I should do, or what something means, I’m going to ask Him. I mean, he’s God. He’s the one who created this place right, and he’s overseeing it, so he should know… after all “God is big”…
(but how do I know that He created the world and that he’s overseeing it… didn’t I get that from the Bible… and how much of that is falliable?)