Friday, September 07, 2007

Some things in the inerrant scriptures aren't true!

You read the title of this post right! The God-inspired, inerrant, infallible scriptures contain lots and lots and lots of statements and actions from people that are simply false and wrong!

Now, I know that if my posting of a Marylin Manson & Alice Cooper video the other day didn't drive anyone away, my above statement probably did! But if you know me well enough, you'll hopefully stick around long enough to see what I'm talking about. :) This is sort of a follow-up to my last post (It depends upon what the definition of "this" is...) and some comments that were left there.

I'll start with a true story. In a newsgroup one time a certain man from Australia told of how he'd ordered some merchandise from overseas. His mailing address included "NSW, Australia." I'm not sure what country he ordered from, but the person in that country who packed his order took the liberty of interpreting "NSW." This person probably didn't even think twice about mailing the package addressed to "North South West, Australia." That would make sense to him, according to his preconceived understanding of the meaning of those letters.

But look again and think about it. Does it really make sense? Can you look at a map (any map, not just a map of Australia) and point to a location known as North South West? It makes no sense whatsoever! Fortunately, when the package arrived in Australia, the postal workers there were keen enough to find and correct this error. They probably got a good laugh out of it as they changed "North South West" to "New South Wales." :)

The point is that we often bring our preconceived notions and ideas into our "interpretation" of the things of life... including our Bible reading. I mentioned one example in my last post. ("This is the day the Lord has made"). Another example, which I mentioned in the comments of that post: We rip Job's words right out of Job 1:21, "The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away," and we even sing a song about it. Now, we do read in the following verse, "in all this Job did not sin nor charge God with wrong," but... even though he didn't sin nor charge God with wrong, were his words correct? In all of Job's afflictions from Chapter 1, was it God who took away?

James B. Richards has a very interesting and insightful message on all of this. This link will take you to a MySpace page on which you can hear the message, "Don't Blame God." In this message, Richards talks about how this passage in Job has been grossly misused in the midst of tragedy in the lives of people. I won't get into the full content of the message, but early on he says, "How many of you know there's things in the Bible that are not true?" He goes on to reassure, "I believe in the inerrancy of the word of God..." But here's the thing: Just because someone in the Bible said it, doesn't mean it's the truth!

How about if we took any or all of Job's words and built doctrines around them? After all, it's in the Bible, and the Bible is the inerrant word of God, so whatever Job declares must be true! What's more, Job "was blameless and upright, and one who feared God and shunned evil." Wouldn't that add to his credibility? But in the end, after Job has complained, and upheld his views of his own righteousness and integrity, and made a huge, essentially self-righteous speech before God and man, "the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind" and rebuked him for all his foolish talk! The Lord says, "Shall the one who contends with the Almighty correct Him? He who rebukes God, let him answer it."

Job's response in the end: "Um, duh, doh, uh, uh, um..." (Or as the New King James Version words it, "I have uttered what I did not understand.") (Job 42:3)

There are other things in Scripture said by credible people that are worth questioning... or at least worth taking a look at in context. In saying this, I don't mean to imply that I've got a handle on it all, but what I'm trying to do is point towards the direction of thinking about things and not just soaking in everything we hear or that we've been taught. This type of thinking and scrutinizing doesn't come automatically, but I believe the Holy Spirit is faithful to give us wisdom. Perhaps this can be something to pray about often.

I'll bring up a few more of these scriptures in an upcoming post, including David's many words in which he seems to put a lot of hope in his faithful keeping of God's law, and Jesus' words that I believe always need to be understood in context.

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