I’ve cracked the Bible. No, I really have. I’ve cracked it open and figured it out. I figured out why it’s important and why YOU should read it. And it may not be why you think.
If you’ve been around me within the last 2 years it’s no secret that I have reevaluated the validity of the Bible especially as it relates to Jesus and the standards that He set. The Bible is the last sacred cow of the church and once it dies a new level of freedom will be introduced that will take us, as the Body of Christ, into all new levels. Now hear me, I’m not saying the Bible needs to die, that would be foolish, but our perception of it (which is the real sacred cow) needs to die.
I’ve taken a long time to really spell out what I believe about the Bible, if you’ve never done so I would encourage you to. It really brings things into focus when you put words to it. I’ve allowed time and maturity to sink in a little farther and to allow some distance between this subject and the issues of the past. After all the rumors and slander that was spread I now feel ready and released to share my real, raw, uninhibited opinion of…dun, dun, duuuun…the Bible.
Here’s my case, each point builds on the one before it. I’m not Bible-bashing here, I’m making a case for why the Bible is one of the most important books ever written. Keep that in mind as you read on. Lastly, in writing this I wanted to keep it as brief as possible and I wanted to avoid as much “Christianese” as possible. I wanted to speak in a real language that everyone, including those who don’t go to church and know our lingo, can understand. I’ve also done my best to make it logical so as to take religious paradigms out of the picture. Ok…buckle up…
1. The Bible itself is not holy or sacred by itself
This means we should probably take the “Holy” part off the front of our Bibles. The reason being is that something truly “Holy” can never ever be used for evil. And yet we see the Bible used all throughout history and the world today as justification for all sorts of evils. Does this make the Bible evil? Of course not, just as money, art, and music are not evil or good, they are merely tools and reflect the wielder.
We also think that doing things like throwing our Bible on the ground or disrespecting it in any way is a bad thing to do. It’s God’s Word, after all, right? No. I think most would agree that it’s not the book that is valuable, it’s what is inside that carries real value. Our treatment of it should be normal and level-headed, not spooky like some Eastern magic.
2. Not everything in the Bible is 100% solid
Face it. It’s not. If you are able to step outside from your deeply ingrained indoctrination just for a few moments you will see this to be true. A collection of letters, documents, and lawbooks assembled over 4,000 years by authors spanning multiple continents, cultures, and languages do not all match up. And it’s ok. The validity and worth of the Bible is not based on its perfection. We as people are not perfect but our value is not based on that, it’s based off of who we are and what is inside of us. I won’t go into the extensive historical, logical, theological errors to prove my point but they are there and you can do a simple google search to find more than you wanted to know. You can live relieved that your salvation is not found in believing in a perfect book but in a perfect Man.
3. The Bible was put together by men.
Paul did not write his epistles with the intention of having them one day be part of the Holy Writ. They were letters to a certain people for a certain time. The Psalms were simply praise hymns and prayers by a Poet-King and others. The law books were recorded for the guiding of a people. All of those parts of the Bible are important but they were chosen by men, like me and you, and men, not God, decided they were holy. It was a council of smart, well-intentioned but imperfect humans who created what we know as the Bible.
Have you ever wondered why the Book of Enoch was never in the bible? Do you think a guy that walked with God would have something good to say? Apparently not. And yet we are stuck with Ecclesiastes instead where we read ad naseum that everything is meaningless. Really? That’s really what God wanted us to know through that book of the Bible? Or maybe the author was a king suffering from depression who, after having everything he ever wanted, realized that life was still not what he thought it would be. Now that makes a little more sense.
In our search for meaning through faith and life we so quickly leave logic and reason behind. Faith always bolsters reason, not detracts from it. It is unreasonable to think a meaningful but random collection of letters and writings culled from dozens of other meaningful letters and writings make a Holy Book.
So why is the Bible important? What makes it stand out.
It is not how it was created nor it’s holy overtones that give it value.
I’ve already hinted at the answer.
Truth gives it value.
The Bible is, from my limited and short experience, the largest collection of wisdom and truth to ever be found. It’s not that God breathed perfection into it, He breathed inspiration into it. God only inspires truth, whether through breath or impression. The parts of the Bible that are valuable are so because they reflect truth, principles, and morals that can be proved through life, nature, and history.
This same truth can be found all over the world. From Socrates to Frankel to Marx to Godin. I’m not putting the Bible on the same level as those guys…but yet I am. Truth is universally obtained and Christianity doesn’t have the corner on truth (yet) at least in a philosophical sense. Truth exists outside of Christianity, the Bible, and a certain belief system. It’s like saying gravity is a Christian concept. It’s not, gravity just is. This may be stretching some of you but bear with me, I’m really on your side I’m just taking the long way around to show it to you.
Truth can be obtained by anyone looking for it whether they know Jesus or not. Governments take care of their people and last when they are founded on truth and principles. Business and success run on principles that are found throughout philosophy, psychology, and yes, even the Bible. Families succeed when they are based on the truth and principles found in life that are also reflected in the Bible. It’s not that the Bible is the answer to life’s questions, it’s that Truth is. And the Bible carries Truth in large, potent doses.
This is why we can read Emerson and be inspired. This is why we can read ancient Chinese proverbs and have them still bring wisdom into today. This is why we can ingest self-development books and be changed when we apply them. This is why we can read books on business, investing, family, psychology, and relationships and be moved into something greater. It’s because they all, in large or small amounts, are revealing Truth.
The Bible brings us such deep truth because it is the closest description of Truth we have. Emerson can only take us so far. The laws of the Universe are set, we cannot change them anymore than we can jump to the sun. But within those laws we have the ability to learn, adapt, and grow. We can learn what those laws are all about and Who they are all about.
It is my opinion that Truth is a person more than it is a system of principles and invisible laws, although I believe it is both. Truth is found as a Man named Jesus, although I suspect He has a different name where He comes from. All wisdom, knowledge and truth are wrapped up in a Being comprised of Three forms. When we tap into real knowledge we tap into that Being. When we find truth we are really discovering a facet of one or more of those Three. It is they who are holy, not a book or a collection of letters. Who they are is holy. Glimpses of that holiness can be found all throughout what we know and see. It so much simpler than setting one book above the rest. However, in the same it places the Bible in very high esteem because it does contain so much wisdom and truth. It’s not complete and inerrant in it’s grasp on truth but it comes closer than any other I have ever seen. For that it should be valued, read, and heeded.
So where do I stand?
I don’t believe the Bible is perfect. It would be illogical and foolish to suggest so. I don’t believe that has all of life’s answers, although I would bet you could find answers to vast majority of deep questions within it. I don’t believe it is the exhaustive end-all for knowledge, wisdom, and how we should do life. Lastly, I don’t believe it is (necessarily) a picture of God. I believe it is a picture of Truth which is picture of God. It may be semantics to you but I think it makes all the difference.
However, I do believe it carries wisdom not found anywhere else in the world. I believe the principles, moral code, and truth found within its pages can guide not only all individuals, but all families, all communities, all nations, and all peoples into all truth and peace. I believe it has immense value and everyone should invest serious time into reading it and applying what it teaches. I believe it should be protected and revered as a book with knowledge to build, progress, advance, restore, and grow into all that we should be. Lastly, and most importantly I believe that it is a book that by and large leads us to God. Within it’s pages we find hope for living and a reason beyond ourselves. It describes Him whom we seek without knowing His name and gives the answer to the question we could never find the words to ask.