My goal here is not to destroy the bible or make it seem useless. Quite the contrary, I love the bible. It is an awesome book with an awesome history.
However, it is not a book of law by which people can use to judge and condemn others. It is not a book that people may use to keep others from the work God has called them. It is not a book that people can use to justify evil actions or to force laws upon others. The bible is not God. It has no authority apart from God. And it is not the Truth. It bears witness to the Truth. However, itself is not the Truth. (As a Christian, I bear witness to Christ. However, I am not Christ.)
This is important. We are followers of Christ. Or at least, if we call ourselves Christians we should be. Shouldn't we? We should always place Christ first above all things. Should we not?
However, people have elevated the bible as the authority on God. It seems to me that God would be the authority on the bible, don't you think?
You are right by what you say. If I say the bible bears mistakes, then I am saying that I also bear mistakes. By this, I am saying that I am wrong. I am. I'll admit that. I am completely wrong. If a person read my words and did not pray over them, would they not be foolish? I don't want people to agree with me. I wish for people to claim Christ as their Lord.
The question is, how do we know truth when we hear it? How do we know truth when we find it?
For those of us who are Christian, we know truth. It is in our heart. Christ lives inside of us. We just need to turn to Him. How do we do that? We pray. We keep the communication lines open and be ready and willing to accept whatever Christ may reveal to us. God will never change. However, we will. And just because we think we know something, does not mean we actually do.
I accept the possibility that every word I say is wrong. I trust that Jesus will guide my path for He is my King. The one thing I know is true is Jesus Christ. By this, I know that He is my savoir, my judge, and my Lord. By this, I know that I need not worship any other than Christ, including the bible. I also know that when I do make a mistake, it is Christ who corrects me and sets me straight.
That's the whole point though. For Christians, we are followers of Christ. We are not followers of the bible. Christ lives inside of us. He doesn't live inside the bible.
please expand on your statement, "there are many Scriptures that contradict".
To say there are many contradictions I suppose is a bit extreme. I will admit. I do not know of many contradictions. And it is true that many contradictions come from misinterpretation.
Misinterpretation is a large part of my point though. I will explain this as best as I can.
In order to read the bible, a person must interpret it. They read the text. It comes into thier mind and flows through something called perception. This part of the brain interprets information that it collects.
When we say the bible is "authoritative," we are not just giving authority to a book, we are giving authority to ourselves. How so? A book is just a book. It is nothing unless it is read. Sitting in a cave somewhere, it does nothing. However, when a person reads it, then it has meaning. Then it becomes alive.
If I read it, then I am adding to it. I am adding my perspective or interpretation. I cannot help this. What I read must pass through my perception. And so, scripture is always victim to my own perception (and hence, my free will).
Let's say then, I read a scripture and take it to another Christian. I say, "You must do this because this is what the bible says." By this, the bible is being used as law and authority. It is being used to enforce a rule upon someone.
Who has the authority? Some might say it is God because God wrote the bible. God did not write the bible, men did. Some will say, "Yes but the bible has been inspired by God." This is true, however, to be inspired by God and written by God are two different things.
And so, God inspired the bible. Who then has the authority? Well, it is not God, because God is not exercising authority. He may have inspired the bible, but God is not the one coming to the man and judging him. The man reading the bible is exercising God's authority on another man. The man is saying, "This is what you must do as this is what the bible says."
The man is giving himself authority to enforce the bible as law upon another man. He is holding that man to the standard of the bible. And not just any standard, his own interpretation of the bible. He is saying, "This is my interpretation of the bible, and this is what the bible says you must do."
When a man gives authority to the bible, he is giving himself authority. He is acting just like the Pharisees did in the time of Jesus. They would constantly approach Jesus and say, "This is what the law says." And Jesus would have to correct them by showing how they misinterpreted the law.
Then Jesus gave His life to bring mercy and grace upon everyone. Paul had a thorn in His side. God did not take it away. Rather, He told Paul, "My grace is sufficient." Jesus is sufficient. Jesus is good enough for Paul. Despite the law, Jesus is good enough for Paul. Is Jesus good enough for you, me, and everyone else?
God made sure the bible was not made authoritative. God made sure no person could say, "This bible is the authority." How? Simply this, He did not preserve the original texts. They have disappeared. They were not made Holy and locked in a sactuary somewhere. There are many bibles in many languages. Which bible is the right bible? They don't all agree. Which language is the Holy language? Which one is the most authentic? Which one can we say without a doubt has the exact words of God? Which one is the right one?
There are over 212 books of the bible. Only 66 made it into the bibles we use most. There is even a book of revelations by Paul the apostle, and a gospel according to Thomas. The gospel of Thomas was found with the dead sea scrolls along with the book of Isaiah. So what about these books?
No bible is right, because only Christ is right. The bible is not a law. It is not a tool to tell people what clothing they can wear to Church, or to tell them what Music they can listen, or how to live thier life, or how to worship God. We follow Christ and He is our leader. Christ tells us all these things.
The bible is a tool for encouragement and uplifting. It is a guide to help us draw closer to God. Not by force, but by love.
Often times, people will box the bible into a book of law. "This is what it says. It can say no more or no less." This mentality is harmful. A friend of mine may read something different in a scripture than I do. He may take a totally different interpretation than me. So who is right and who is wrong? Neither. It just depends on how God is speaking to us. By saying it is only one way limits God. There is only one God. However, this one God loves variety. He never creates two things exactly the same.
Some people fear this talk because if they can't use the bible as a book of law by which to judge, then they feel out of control. They feel like they have no standard or direction. This is all the better for it is in this time we draw closer to Christ and truly walk with Him.
People also worry that if you can't cram the bible down other people's throats then they will go out and do whatever they want to do. Of course they will. And those that are Christian will be corrected, directed, fathered, and sheparded by Christ. Don't you think? Do you think Christ will be faithful to His people? Or do you think we need to be the father and shepard God's people for Him?
That is why I do not like what Paul said about being the father of the Corinthians. I understand what you saying in your response. He was like a father over the Corinthians. However, I disagree with Paul. He may have acted like a father figure, but who is he to tell anyone to follow him? He is a brother, not the father? Should he not have told his fellow Christians to follow Christ?
1 Corinthians 4:15 (NLT)
For even if you had ten thousand others to teach you about Christ, you have only one spiritual father. For I became your father in Christ Jesus when I preached the Good News to you.
Matthew 23:9 (NLT)
And don't address anyone here on earth as 'Father,' for only God in heaven is your spiritual Father.
1 Corinthians 4:16 - (NLT)
So I ask you to follow my example and do as I do.
1 Corinthians 11:1 - (NLT)And you should follow my example, just as I follow Christ's.
I am certainly not going to follow Paul's example. I did that once and it got me in trouble. I am going to follow Christ's example. I do not follow Paul, I follow Christ.
I know Paul was a follower of Christ, however, he was still a man and a sinner. He had a thorn in his side. Should I follow the sinful ways of Paul too? Christ was the only man who did not sin. And so, I can never go wrong following Christ's example.
This also presents another problem. Why would God tell Paul to write such things? It doesn't make sense. Why? Because God did not tell Paul to write such things. Paul was a man and a sinner just like me and all other men. He was just a man. And we all are wrong. We all are less than God. Just as every preacher inserts his own thoughts, Paul did the same. And so did Peter, and so did John, and so did Matthew and so did Luke.
That explains why we encounter this contradiction:
Matthew 28:2 (NLT)
Suddenly there was a great earthquake, because an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and rolled aside the stone and sat on it.
Luke 24:4 (NLT)
They were puzzled, trying to think what could have happened to it. Suddenly, two men appeared to them, clothed in dazzling robes.
Was it one angel or two? I have heard many arguments on this scripture including the one established in the book, "The Case for Faith."
They all try to pass this off as nothing. "They still agree. There was one angel and two."
Neither Matthew or Luke was there. Rather, it was Mary and Mary. This means that Matthew and Luke had to hear the story from one of the Marys. Most likely, Luke and Mark got the story right, they just mixed up a few details.
This brings me to my last discussion. The bible bears witness to the truth. The bible bears a message. The message of the bible has been preserved by God through the Holy Spirit residing in men. The bible has been inspired by God. He did not write it, however, He did inspire it. Because of this, the bible is good for teaching, edifying, guiding, encouraging, and even for fun.
However, the bible is not a law and cannot be. It does not agree even in details. If the bible were meant to be a law, it would be preserved in an ark in a Holy Temple where no man could touch it. Rather, the bible is written in many languages and many versions to address the needs of all people across all cultures. It is a wonderful book full of wisdom, counsel, and advice. It helps us and guides us.
The bible does not rule us. Christ is our King. May He always be our King, Lord, Savior, and God. All Hail Christ!!!! Jesus Christ is Lord!!!
I know this is long, and you may want to skip over some parts. Please don't skip over parts as you may miss the overall message.
If you still disagree, then I respect that and you're still cool by me.