The reason I wrote the first blog about this subject was because of a tendency I have seen to write off the Bible because “You know the Bible has changed and been re-written over the years by many different people right? You do realize this right?” In other words you are foolish to put too much stock in its pages.
I cannot tell you how many times I have seen someone post this on comment sections about anything that has to do with Christianity. I know, why read the comments, it is the bane of our existence?!
But I wrote that last one to point out that actually we have extremely accurate Bibles that highly reflect authorial intent which Christians believe were God breathed.
But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. 2 Timothy 3:16
But I didn’t address the other line of argumentation fully which is also used just as often: that the Bible is just not that “clear”. Well I have mentioned this in passing a few times and after having read yet another article about how we all need to chill because the Bible is not that clear. I felt the need to stand up once again and defend Gotham. Not that Gotham needs my defending, nor am I Batman but the church has a history of good theology and I don’t want that to go away with a flood of misinformation. Louder voices on the internet are not always good ones.
So in my response I wish the Christians would admit about the Bible though difficult can be understood with study and practice. Maybe not to full complete understanding or liking but that is why humility is important in knowing God. I may not understand everything fully but let’s stop tossing babies around in bathwater.
Relevant Magazine had an article about things people need to admit about the Bible and they are right ; to undermine the scriptures is a great way to undermine the Christians faith which is very relevant to enemies of God. So I will respond to their five points.
Point 1 The Bible is not magic but a collection of Books with different Genres. Good, true point.
Point 2 The Bible isn’t as clear as we’d like it to be. Um sometimes it isn’t but I think that this is more of a passing blip than a point. It is awfully clear on many things. It is awfully clear on many things that people do not like. Just because we do not like something doesn’t mean it becomes unclear. Let’s not let the little ambiguous ones undermine its authority. It’s little foxes that spoil the vineyard afterall. Well we are at it let’s talk about the one you think are so ambiguous that you think we should create a principle that actually undermines its authority. See I have seen this point but people don’t want to discuss it.
The example used the point of violence as God commands against it but at other times uses it as judgment. Why is God so inconsistent? It must be unclear. Well to understand this point apply your first one. In one way God is commanding obedience for his people to act as judgment on the nations, and in another he is commanding no personal vendettas. God says vengeance is mine. It is not inconsistent for him to carry out such vengeance with the hands of his people who he actively governs over. See distinctions which come about through study shouldn’t make us conclude that the Bible is too difficult to make assertions, but that is always what this line of argumentation wants to argue.
Jesus often spent a lot of time quoting from the Old Testament saying it is written for his line of reasoning. It as is if he put a lot of stock in what was recorded in ink. Jesus even combated his own temptations with the words of scripture, but Satan tried to do the same. Jesus didn’t throw up his hands and say “You are right Satan we are both using the same scriptures, it is just so unclear!” No, he seemed to believe that the words long written down had meaning when properly understood and applied.
This point should be the Bible doesn’t always ask easy things of us; but a lack of understanding does not mean a lack of clarity.
Point 3 The Bible was inspired by God not dictated by God. True so what are you getting at? It seems since this was not fleshed out into any real reason, that this is simply to undermine the authority because “You know God didn’t directly say it? This is that same argument that “You know it’s not in red letters so Jesus doesn’t believe that!” The Bible does give testimony on what its readers should believe about it.
The Bible acknowledges that many people will rise up and misuse the word and that false teachers will abound. The answer is not to throw up our hands in hopelessness. No, the answer is to study to show yourself approved.
Remind them of these things, and charge them before God not to quarrel about words, which does no good, but only ruins the hearers. Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth. 2 Tim 2:15
Point 4 We all pick and choose the Bible we Believe, Preach and Defend. Well, some may I guess, but largely as a whole no we don’t. But as you have displayed, the weak Bibliology that is being build on this premise will conclude from the flimsy foundation you are building with points 2 and 3.
People will do this if we continue to uphold a view of the Bible that is so grounded in man’s own ability to comprehend God. But when we ground our view in the Bible’s own testimony, that it does come from God then there will always be someone to point out that the Bible does in fact say something worth listening to. If this is really the truth about Christianity then we are a stupid people indeed. In fact if my Bible is simply the version that I like then who is to say who is right, or if anyone is? And for that matter why not go find one that is a little better, perhaps the book of Mormon or the Koran? See, if we have this little regard for the Bible than we really have no right to use it to make lists of 5 reasons that others should pay attention to.
Point 5 God is bigger than the Bible. Again true, to the point of obvious. But this is usually meant to mean that being spiritual is as and if not more important than understanding God’s revelation. But then if you are not willing to submit to his own revelation about himself, if you are not willing to acknowledge that his delivery system was also for a reason, than who is now even bigger than God? Well, you are. All world religions believe this. They believe God is bigger than the pages of scripture so they inevitable leave them to find him elsewhere, and we get another religion. So which one will you let define your God? I will rely on the revelation that he gave from his disciples inspired by God himself. You can rely on your world experiences if you want to.
We live in the internet age where everyone is welcomed a comment. Ok sure, even I am using that privilege. But just because somebody writes something doesn’t make it true, just as my own words are subject to scrutiny. I used to tell my students in ministry no speaker, no writer, no pastor, no blog, nobody is better than the word. Every speaker, writer, blogger, pod-caster whatever on matters of Christianity, God , Theology, everyone is this area is only as good as they are submitted to the word. Even Paul didn’t just say “Well because I say so!” he commended the Bereans who went out studied what he said. Don’t let someone convince you of something just because they are eloquent or they have a platform. Search it out, submit to God and he will lead you into truth. Solomon said it this way
It is the glory of God to conceal things, but the glory of kings is to search things out. Proverbs 25:2
If the truth sets you free, it shouldn’t lead into a bondage of ambiguity. Because the author is right about this thing; everyone does have their version of the truth. The question is does it reflect God’s or not? Is it submitted to God? People waver, people change, people fight, people argue, people disagree, but that is people not God’s testimony. James gives a warning on this matter in his third chapter.
Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness.
The clarity questions is really about accurately reflecting God’s word or not. So take the time to make sure you are.