Note: I wrote this because, in a previous post, I attacked an article written by Relevant Magazine titled 5 Things I Wish Christians Would Admit about the Bible for listing 5 things almost no Christians actually believes about the Bible. In the spirit of putting my neck where I built a guillotine, I thought I should write my own list of Five things I Wish People Would Admit about the Bible, that I think most people will probably argue with or at least try to ignore.
1) The Bible, as it stands today, is not inerrant. There are contradictions in the Bible (Jesus’ lineage for example). There are also verses that are in some manuscripts and not others (see John 7:53-8:11). I do believe it was God Breathed at its original writing, but we’ve had 2,000+ years to cut, paste and insert into it. All of that being said, it is a testament to the Holy fear people have had in doing so, that so few errors have entered it. As an example, the Church has known for a long, LONG time about the contradiction in Jesus’ lineage, but were unwilling to either remove one, or change the other to make it match.
2) Because the Bible was written in human languages, it has inherited the problems of language. All language is abstract, arbitrary, and ambiguous. No word can replace an object, and therefore we must recognize that any word written in the Bible is only as useful as the intent God meant to speak into those words when they were being written, and the only way to do that is to be filled with the same Holy Spirit that wrote the words originally.
3) The New Testament Law replaces the Old Testament Law. The Old Testament remains to teach us lessons, but is not for implementation or prescription. The Old Testament remains to teach us how frail, sinful and foolish men are, but that is all. The sabbath day no longer need be kept, the tithe is no longer commanded, etc, etc. Further, the Old Testament law was not God’s law, but was a bargain God made with man to teach them how bad they were at even living up to a crappy law. Jesus spoke in Matthew 19:8, “Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so.” And again, the sermon on the mount was to show that the Old Testament law was not God’s will for man, but was man’s will for a law they thought they could uphold.
4) The Bible is very clear that God is a righteous God that demands righteousness, but is also interested in being that righteousness for us. It seems to me that most Christians are either interested in seeing the Bible as a book that tells us what and what not to do, or they are interested in saying useless euphemisms like “Jesus preached relationship not religion.” The truth is that God is very much concerned with our actions, but also knows we have no ability to carry out right actions, or rather to be righteous. The Old Testament effectively says this over and over and over again, with the best of people realizing they are the worst, and God not ignoring their sinfulness. The New Testament exists and proves that God wants us to be righteous through His righteousness, not in some ethereal heaven beyond, but right now, today, through Jesus’ shed blood and His resurrection.
5) A person can be a Christian without ever reading the Bible, and/or while believing “heretical” doctrines that either twist the Bible or ignore it. Mark 9 has a man doing miracles in Jesus’ name, and He tells His disciples that “no one who does a miracle in my name can in the next moment say anything bad about me, for whoever is not against us is for us.” Almost all of the epistles are the Apostles writing to churches who are clearly believing/practicing heretical ideas, but the authors never seem concerned with the overall salvation of the church so much as them growing in Christ. The Bible is important for its pointing out heresies and misalignments in our lives, but we must be careful of not throwing out the Spirit with the ugly vessel it chooses to work in.