I’d love to hear how you guys view the Bible.
What is it? The traditional view is that God spoke explicitly through Biblical authors, making Scripture the tangible Word of God.
Do you agree? Or do you disagree with the concept of inerrancy? Do you think the Bible is simply a collection of observations?
Or is it something in between?
Let me know!
I think it’s important to have a biblical understanding of what exactly truth is. And when I say that I mean that in reference to the two types of thinking that we have to wrestle with: this western, platonic, gecko-roman mind that we all come equipped with, and an ancient, eastern, biblical understanding about how one thinks.
To a westerner, truth is something that is static and defined. It just is. It comes from our ability to use words to make definitions and through such makes truth concrete. Until of course, we find something that makes that previously concrete truth not so true, in which case we have to pick it up and go place it somewhere else. If you do that for a few thousand years your western understanding might start viewing truth as relative.
The eastern view of truth is that it’s something that’s unfolding. It’s not relative, but it starts in a place, and from there it grows. The conversation starts getting a little bit bigger. We get from in Leviticus saying “do not Murder” to in the Gospel of John, where it’s written “Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.”
I think this is an important distinction because a lot of times I hear the conversation being something along the lines of “well it seems like the God of the Old Testament is a little more hacked off than the God of the New Testament” or “This passage in Deuteronomy 21 is horrendous and it’s stuff like this that makes me despise religion”
I would suggest that even though the idea of inerrancy might be a little too western to try to fit into a biblical context, it’s important to recognize the history that the Bible is intertwined with and how Powerful and God-Breathed and appropriate it appeared in that context. Take Deuteronomy 21:
“When you go to war against your enemies and the Lord your God delivers them into your hands and you take captives, if you notice among the captives a beautiful woman and are attracted to her, you may take her as your wife. Bring her into your home and have her shave her head, trim her nails and put aside the clothes she was wearing when captured. After she has lived in your house and mourned her father and mother for a full month, then you may go to her and be her husband and she shall be your wife. If you are not pleased with her, let her go wherever she wishes. You must not sell her or treat her as a slave, since you have dishonored her.”
I honestly doubt someone reading that for the first time is going to hear the gospel in that. Or any material remotely close to it. But it’s important to understand that in the patriarchal culture that we’re referring to in Deuteronomy, it was custom that when a Nation comes and conquers another, the victors always claimed EVERYTHING as property. From the gold to the jewels to the livestock all the way to the men and women themselves. And without that understanding, we would miss that Deuteronomy 21 is suggesting something madly progressive: The conquered are still human beings made in the image, and deserve to be at least treated as such. That woman you’re desiring? She may be conquered but she’s still human. And you should at least give her respect and let her mourn.
Consider it this way: in our education system why don’t we just skip from 4th grade multiplication to multivariable calculus?
I think that the answer to this question is intertwined with what we’re looking at here in scripture. There’s an arch. We’re moving forward. We need to get from being asked to just stop killing each other to “Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.” and I don’t think that this process can happen overnight.
I would suggest that God knows that he needs to take us by the hand and guide us every step of the way. And sure the journey is a little bloody at sometimes. But in the end we see Heaven crashing into Earth and God’s plan for creation lived out.