The Bible as Diverse Anthology

A key idea I’ve emphasized here and here is that whatever we mean by Scripture’s divine inspiration, it cannot mean that the biblical writings are somehow not genuinely human writings. As I said earlier: Written in ordinary human languages and idioms, making use of conventional genres, employing scribes, relying on prior sources, edited by individuals and communities, …

Continue reading The Bible as Diverse Anthology

Advertisements

The Bible as Ancient Literature

We often think of the Bible as a single book, but it’s really more like a library of books from the ancient world. Or, perhaps a better way to put it, the Bible is an anthology of ancient literature. I don’t know what comes to mind for you when you think of “literature.” Merriam-Webster defines it as “writings …

Continue reading The Bible as Ancient Literature

The Bible as Inspired Scripture

“All Scripture is inspired by God…” It may well be that no words in the Bible have had more read into them than these words. These well-known words are from 2 Timothy 3:16.  For the moment let’s leave aside whether this is the best way to translate the Greek text. And let’s bracket off the question …

Continue reading The Bible as Inspired Scripture

The Bible, the Gospel, Jesus, and “The Word of God”

Ask Christians today what they think of when they hear the phrase, “The Word of God,” and they’ll probably say, “The Bible.” For many Christians the two are even synonymous: “The Bible” = “God’s Word,” and “God’s Word” = “The Bible.” The idea is that the Bible as a whole is a divine message for …

Continue reading The Bible, the Gospel, Jesus, and “The Word of God”

The Bible is clear: God endorses slavery.

There are at least seven passages in the Bible where God is depicted as directly permitting or endorsing slavery. Two of these are in the Law of Moses: God permitted the Israelites to take slaves from conquered peoples permanently, and the Israelites could sell themselves into slavery temporarily to pay off debts (Exod 21:2-11; Lev …

Continue reading The Bible is clear: God endorses slavery.

“All Scripture is inspired by God” doesn’t mean “All Scripture is equally important”

I think most Christians assume that the Bible is a monolithic entity, like a seamless cloth or a fissure-free rock. We may know that there are in fact 66 books, but we view these as essentially different chapters of the same, single book. We may know that there were different human authors in different time …

Continue reading “All Scripture is inspired by God” doesn’t mean “All Scripture is equally important”

“The Word Made Flesh”: On Doing Theology Afresh

A Jew, a Greek, and a Roman walk into a church. No joke. Imagine it: a Jew, a Greek, and a Roman walk into a church, back in the first century. Let’s say it’s a gathering of believers in Ephesus. And imagine that they happen to do this on the day a brand-new opening to …

Continue reading “The Word Made Flesh”: On Doing Theology Afresh