Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The Holiness of the Bible

I was listening to NPR Radio this morning on my rainy drive into work, and they were discussing the accused terrorist who attempted to blow up the Northwest Airlines jetliner on Christmas Day. As they interviewed the Iman that taught him, the Iman commented that the accused bomber was a student of the Holy Book of Islam, the Q'ran. It made me think about the Bible, and how it is perceived and even worshiped in many Christian churches.

I will admit that in my belief the Bible is the "inspired" Word of God. It was written by men, written in the context of their times. I do have issue with the statements that the Bible is the inerrant Word of God, or the literal Word of God. I find that hard to swallow. But today, as I was listening to this, why do we call it the "Holy Bible". Frankly, it's a book. The item itself is not what is important: the content is. But again, why such reverence for it? When I was younger, my grandmother taught me to be gentle with the book. As I became a youth and was involved in youth groups and youth Bible studies, I would highlight or write notes in the margins.

But my point is that, like the Muslims, many Christians seem to look at the book itself - the paper, the ink, the binding - as Holy in and of itself. Yet, to me, that's a touch of idolatry. We should not hold the book as "Holy", but the God who's content it is about. In that light, who cares if it is the Inspired, or literal Word of God. It is just a guidebook.

One other thing: I don't think God wants us to hold the book called the Bible in such reverence. But I think, if we look at the opening of John's Gospel, God intended the Word to be Christ, and the message of love and redemption. "In the beginning was The Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." The holiness is not the book, but Him who inspired its writings. And the holiness is the Son of God.


Anonymous said...

All this tells me you're a moderate Christian and not a fundamentalist. Not news.

BobFrost said...

The Bible not without its errors, but these are primarily errors in translation - not in inspiration. As you suggest, many are errors in isagesis - reading into scripture things that were never intended. For that reason, I look for a 'softer' evangelical approach - one that takes into account that there are only three things that really, truly matter: faith, hope and love, but most important, love.

John Prothero said...

Recently, in our Sunday School class at our Lutheran Missouri Synod church (only mentioning that as a point of reference) were studying various denominations and how they interpret scripture. The LCMS believes that ONLY the scripture is sufficient, but the Methodist's believe that outside experience and scripture helps in interpretation. I tend to think of the latter for myself.