Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Not all Scripture is created equal

John states his purpose for writing his gospel in John 20:31. It written so that those who read will have sufficient evidence to believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing this they will have life in him.

The purpose for writing the book of Job is very different. It is written to address the problem of evil, not necessarily to give a pat answer. We would be foolish to expect the words of Job to carry the same weight as the words of John. In fact, God repudiates the words of Job’s friends and to some degree the words of Job himself.

The book of Proverbs has still a different purpose. It is a collection of wisdom. It is not a book of promises. It is not book of formulas that can be applied in a mechanical fashion to one’s life. One must have the wisdom to know when and how to apply these wise sayings.

For example Proverbs 26:4 says not to answer a fool. The very next proverb (26:5) says one should answer a fool. This is not a contradiction. Sometimes the wise thing to do is to remain silent. Sometimes the wise thing to do is to speak up. One must exercise wisdom to know when to do what.

There is a similar contrast between Proverbs 10:15 and Proverbs 18:11.

These are not mistakes. These are not inconsistencies. These are true statements that require wisdom to know when they apply to different situations.

Does this mean that we are free to dismiss portions of the Bible we find inconvenient? Of course not. Neither does it mean that we apply all parts of it in the same way disregarding its original context and purpose.

Pastor Rod

“Helping you become the person God created you to be”


Ralph Schumann said...

It would seem that a more "adult" understanding of the Bible necessitates an active, discerning approach to scriptural analysis. Taking everything "literally" can not only lead to the misguided extremism of fundamentalism, but also seems to be intellectually lazy. Despite the natural human desire for "instant gratification", it seems unreasonable to expect that the mysteries of creation and salvation would be handed down to readers of the Bible in easily digestible, bite-sized, self-evident pieces.

Pastor Rod said...

Unfortunately, Ralph, many readers of the Bible think of it as a collection of "easily digestible, bite-sized, self-evident pieces."