Defend the Bible? I would as soon defend a lion! Unchain it and it will defend itself.

-C H Spurgeon

 

2Timothy 3:14 But abide thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them.

Isaiah 40:8 The grass withereth, the flower fadeth; but the word of our God shall stand forever.

Psalm 33:4 For the word of the LORD is right.

The blogs I have been writing has really been inspired by what God was telling me and flowed out of issues I have been dealing with. This time around, I thought it well to address a topic that has come up in countless conversations we have had with friends from very different backgrounds and vocations. A common concern among people, including Christians, is how relevant certain passages of scripture are in today’s society and age, as well as, how to apply them to our daily, technologically driven lives. A passage of an old prophet splitting a sea and ushering (not unlike at church, no) a few thousand people over to the other side (not the side of the dead, no) has no bearing on how to raise a toddler or deal with the emotional needs of your teenager, for instance. Many people argue that scenes and stories we read in the Bible have no authenticity and they point out the severe lack of evidence to verify certain things in the Bible actually occurred. It has been suggested that the stories we read in the Bible today are merely camp fire stories passed down to us from generation to generation in order to encourage good behaviour and socially acceptable conduct, hence, according to them, the story of Moses is actually a fairy tale that people from Biblical times told their children solely to bring across a concept. This suggests the Bible is a handbook – a good moral code, and not the living Word of God, written by men who were inspired by the Holy Spirit. This outlook serves only to encourage distancing ourselves from both reading and contemplating Scripture, which automatically ensures that we also will not apply Scripture. Doubting Scripture will encourage the belief that it has no authority in our lives.

I realise many people choose to err on the side of caution when referencing scripture in daily life, because of their idea that the Bible was written by humans, who make mistakes and most likely (according to them) wrote from their own perspective and interpretation of a particular happening or conversation. In other words, how can they be sure that the account of Jesus healing the lame man (Mark 2:1-12) did in fact happen the way depicted in Mark? It was written by Mark who witnessed it and wrote it in his own words, which sprang from his unique vocabulary, way of thinking, and writing style and might have lost some validity along the path of personal interpretation. Recently I came across a quote from a book, “There is no body of ancient literature in the world which enjoys such a wealth of good textual attestation as the New Testament.”  F.F. Bruce. I can also refer to the many prophecies we find in the Bible which have been fulfilled many years after, an example is Daniel 9:24-27 promising that Christ would come as Saviour to Israel[1]. I honestly believe that most of the doubt our generation experiences regarding the validity of the accounts of Jesus’ life on earth is due to the church system of employing man-made traditions and religion in the form of do’s and don’ts. These are, in my opinion, severely restricting growth and creativity.   We get taught in church that God loves us, sent His son to die for us, and that we shouldn’t curse or gossip for fear of God’s wrath and punishment. When someone we love dies it is most probably because we need to be taught a lesson, due to the fact that at some time, previously, we did not heed the voice of God. We simultaneously receive the image that God loves us unconditionally and that we can experience this love only when we abide by His conditions set out in His word. This idea I find very weird and contradictory. We get told that when bad things happen it is most likely God’s punishment because we are somehow out of His will. The majority of the conversation we have had regarding validity of Scripture has revolved around the disappointment in the people of the church more than the actual content of the Scripture, the doubt and confusion is usually an outflow of the hurt and disappointment caused by leaders and teachers who misunderstand God’s heart and love for His children and who failed to live the life of righteousness they were professing. I would, now, take a moment to highlight that God is not a control freak and He does not stand behind you with a whip waiting for you to fail or falter. On the contrary, it is He who counsels and guides us.

Psalm 73:26 My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.

Isaiah 58:11 And the LORD will guide you continually and satisfy your desire in scorched places and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail.

Notice that it was not God who placed you in a difficult situation, but He is the answer.

Luke 11:28 But he said, Yea rather, blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it.

 

Most of these conversations have included very big and complicated terminology and dogma and required you to partake of complicated intellectual games, of which I know almost nothing, honestly, but even having all the knowledge of doctrinal history and precedents, people still need to encounter the love of the Father, and if they do go to church and receive only a code of conduct for behaving appropriately, that very set of rules will also serve as the measuring rod used to point out to them how much they are in the wrong and need to change in order to be worthy and deserving of God’s love. I think we are, too often, reading Scripture and thinking “what can this do for me?” and whilst praying we think “what can I get from God.” We set the Bible up to a standard it was never meant to meet. God is not a go-to when times get really tough and we have exhausted every other option. The Bible should be effective for realists and liberalists, optimists and pessimists, applicable wherever you find yourself in life.

“What if God is actually fine with the Bible just as it is? Not the well-behaved version we create, but the messy, troubling, weird, and ancient Bible has something to show us about our own sacred journey of faith. Sweating bullets to line up the Bible with our exhausting expectations, to make the Bible something it’s not meant to be, isn’t a pious act of faith, even if it looks that way on the surface. It’s actually a thinly masked fear of losing control and certainty, a mirror of our inner disquiet, a warning signal of a deep distrust in God. A Bible like that isn’t a sure foundation of faith; it’s a barrier to true faith. Creating a Bible that behaves itself doesn’t support the spiritual journey; it cripples it. The Bible’s raw messiness isn’t a problem to be solved. It’s an invitation to a deeper faith.” The Bible Tells Me So by Peter Enns

People have not been misguided by false accounts in Scripture, but by their own lack of vision and understanding of who they are in God and who God is for them and who He is in essence. We are consistently trying to appease a very vengeful God, a misgiving of who God really is. I want to point out to you that the wrath of God was satisfied in Jesus, and that His intentions toward you are purely good and lovely. He loves us. This is what makes me believe. He first loved me and no error of man can refute the good work He has done in and for me. My faith causes me to hope and believe in His love, which eradicates the need to perform for His approval. So, in basic words, my answer looks like this, “He loves me, I know this to be true. My heart is full of hope for my life and reverence towards Him. I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ.

2Timothy 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness

2Timothy 3:17 That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.

Yes the bible is a book of moral codes, but it is also the very living word of God, inspired by the Holy Spirit, written by man. I will defend the hope that is in me, but the Truth needs no defense.”

1Peter 3:15 but sanctify in your hearts Christ as Lord: being ready always to give answer to every man that asketh you a reason concerning the hope that is in you, yet with meekness and fear.

[1] http://www.christiananswers.net/q-eden/edn-t003.html

Many of the quotes and scriptures I used I found on this page by Henry Morris and Martin Clark. Have a look for a very interesting read.