Thursday, December 06, 2012

Where did I come up with this stuff?

About every 4 or 5 years, I clean out my personal archive. That is a two-drawer filing cabinet that I have carted from appointment to appointment for years. In it are the collected thoughts and scraps of inspiration that have driven the back of my consciousness from seminary forward. There are old lecture notes. I have magazine clippings. Some of that stuff is ***dare I say it*** older than my firstborn child.

Which is why some of it is leaving my possession. I remember collecting these tidbits of wisdom along my journey. I valued its insights or information for one reason or another along the way. But as I look at it now I am asking myself, "why hold on to this?" Much of the information I don't look at. Occasionally I will pull out a folder and rummaged for some morsel of information that I need. But most of the rest was gathered in a time for a purpose and I have moved passed both of those.

But I found a scrap of writing (an assignment for a class in seminary) that I wanted to share. It is a summary of my view of Scripture. And I wanted to share it here. Not because I want a reaction. Not because I want you to see how "brilliant" I am. (I'm not.) I just wanted to store it here in the space of the electronic ether.

You know, I struggle with the question of the authority of scripture. There are a lot of great philosophies that other people have written. There are other directions that I have wondered if maybe there was some compatibility with the Christian scriptures.

I keep coming back, though, to the Bible as the only place I can find hope in truth. There is a lot of stuff in there that seems to hit home at times. I can't really explain how, but when I'm in a certain mind set, I will read something, without looking for the answer, that will hit me between the eyes and answer what I'm dealing with.

Now, I know you could say that it's reading my emotion into or that people have translated the words to fit the times we are in. I've dabbled in the Greek and the Hebrew a little and the translations are not far off from the oldest texts at times. 

You want to know what I think it is? The Bible was written by people. It was written by people to people with specific needs in their lives. The writers were writing because they had some kind of experience that enabled them to get through similar situations. Then, they wanted to share that story when they heard about some others going through something like they had to go through.

They had no intention of manipulating people. If you think about what may be considered the most manipulative parts, it doesn't hold up that they were trying to manipulate people. People like Isaiah or Jeremiah sound like they were trying to lead people to some decision or result. But the people rejected them. They didn't listen to what they had to say. Or Paul. Paul was writing to people from jail. They could live however they wanted to live and not worry about him finding out or doing something about it.

I think the Bible is still around because those writers made sense to their audience. The reason we know they made sense to their original audience is because it makes sense to us. 

The Bible might seem incomprehensible at times. Genealogies and prophecies are deep stuff. But at the same time, they are fountains of helpful stuff. 

I still question from time to time how reliable it is or authoritative in my life. But as long as it makes sense to me, I'll keep reading it.