9 more to go

This is post #991 on the blog by Blogger's count, and I'm a little stunned that it's on this topic, but what are we to make of Scripture, anyway?

The boys at Fide-o have been ransacking iMonk over his (sorry, Michael) somewhat amateurish attempts not to say, "The Bible is inerrant", and I have a couple of things to say about that topic.

The first thing is this: any philosophical description of how we read the Bible is like trying to describe how you ride a bike. You know: you just ride. There's an extraordinarily complex set of interactions between physical laws and bio-mechanical and bio-sensory systems, but in the end you peddle the peddles and the bike rolls forward. I am sure it can be described mathematically. I am equally sure that the math equations will not assist my son in going without the training wheels.

The second thing is this: a text is what it is. The Bible is a text in translation, and unless you can read the Greek and/or Hebrew, you had better understand what the translators did and intended to do to the text before you crack it open and just peddle the bike. For example, why does the ESV use the word "talents" in Mat 25, but the NLT says "bags of silver"? Is one mistaken? Is one better than the other -- or do we have a situation in which you have to do more than stare at the words to understand what is being said?

The next thing is that the source of the Bible is, by an excessive amount of its own internal testimony, the "word of God". The metaphors: all God's. The poems: all God's. The straight-up assertions: God said that. The reports of other people's lies and sin: God made sure we received them. And in that, it's the Holy Spirit who makes sure this is happening. Paul says it's "God-breathed"; Peter says it is "wisdom given"; the Prophets say, "thus saith the Lord"; Jesus said, in reference to what Moses wrote down about the 6th day, "he which made them at the beginning made them male and female ... said, 'For this cause shall a man leave father and mother'" -- meaning what Moses wrote, God said. Whatever is in the Bible, that's God's communication. So listen up -- that speaks to authority and truth value if nothing else.

And the last thing to be said about that is that God isn't careless about His publications. What we have is sufficient to equip, clear enough to be understood, and reliable regarding its representation of what God had put dow the first time. You can cite Scripture on that, or you can check the historical record which points to an extraordinarily-clean record of transmission through archeological evidence.

If you don't like the words "inerrant" and "infallible" and "unbreakable" and "inspired", go fly a kite. Don't pretend you have a more-informed view when what you have is an objection to what some people do with the informed view. I'll agree with anybody that an inspired Bible which is unread and unobeyed is a useless Bible -- and for many Babdists, that's what their Bible is. But just because people use the doctrine of inerrancy to hide their ignorance of what is inerrantly taught by Scripture, or wield inerrancy as if it was the way to flush out drunks and post-millenial semi-presbyterians, that doesn't give us a license to invent a new doctrine which muddles the issues.

Whoever you are -- TR, Rc, rC, rc, RC, BHT, TP, PhD, or LL Cool J.