Wednesday, July 19, 2017

The Bible

Each morning I write about whatever happens to come to mind.  Most often I write out of my own experience and understanding. Sometimes I rant and rave over something that rattles my mind or “irks my soul.”  Sometimes I seek out other informative and hopefully authoritative sources to support what I am trying to say.  I have learned that my experience and my understanding on any given subject is limited. If I know anything at all it is because I have been carried on the shoulders of the giants who have pondered, along with me, the imponderables.  

This morning, after reading (as I attempt to do each morning) a portion of the Bible, I found myself thinking about this book (actually 66 books) and how it has shaped my life and faith and the history of the world for thousands of years.  Since early childhood, when I first heard the story of Zaccheus climbing up a sycamore tree to get a view of Jesus passing by, the Bible has fascinated me.  I became an ardent student of the book at about the age of fourteen and that study  has continued for nearly sixty years.  At the age of 17, I read Robert McAfee Brown’s book, The Bible Speaks to You.  (This book is still available through Amazon and I highly recommend it to all).  It helped me deal with the Bible with intellectual integrity as well as with reverence. 

The Bible has been used in many foolish ways.  Some interpret it literally, others see it as a book of magic, still others as the actual “Word” of God.  These views have become a stumbling block for many and rightly so.  Such views are not intellectually sound and cannot stand up to close examination.  The story is told of a fellow who thought the Bible was a book of magic and one day in distress, he opened it to find God’s message for him.  He read, “And Judas went and hung himself.”  Not satisfied with this “word from God” he randomly opened the book again and read the following, “Go, and do thou likewise.”  The literal view cannot be rationally defended.  There are two stories of Creation in the book of Genesis.  Does God not remember correctly? There are still some in the modern world who believe the Bible demeans women, suggesting “If there is anything they (women) desire to know, let them ask their husbands at home.  For it is shameful for a woman to speak in church” (I Cor. 14:35).  But this is not the last word, for the Bible also says in Galatians 3:28, a letter written some years after the Letter to the Church in Corinth, “There is neither Jew nor Greek…slave nor free…neither male nor female..for you are all one….”  And there is much more that can be said….

The Bible is not a stumbling block if viewed properly. The stumbling blocks have been erected by those who misuse the Bible and abuse it!

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