True or false: We can always know God’s will by reading the Bible.
True! you say. Of course that’s true. After all, doesn’t 2 Timothy 3:16 say that “[a]ll Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness”? Even more significantly, didn’t Jesus quote scripture?
Yes, he did, and that’s what’s getting me all befuddled. But maybe I’m jumping ahead of myself.
Last week I discussed how a large majority of single Christians are engaging in premarital sex. Yet, I always thought the Bible was quite clear on this topic—God’s against it. How do these unmarried believers handle what appears to be a black and white issue?
It seems there are two possible approaches. Either they still believe that engaging in extra-marital sex is sinful—and end up feeling guilty—or they reinterpret the Bible and claim that there’s no problem.
Which parts of the Bible do you believe?
As good Evangelicals, we like to say, “All of it!” We believe the Bible to be the inerrant, holy word of God, and we “take it literally”—it means what it says. How often do we hear someone say something along the lines of, “We can’t be picking and choosing which verses God really meant.”
Yet, we do that all the time.
You’ve probably heard of A.J. Jacobs’ book, The Year of Living Biblically. (If you haven’t read it, please do—it’s a fun book and I recommend it.) Then there’s Rachel Held Evans’ A Year of Biblical Womanhood. I have not yet read that one yet, although I intend to. Both of these authors point out that we don’t really do everything God says to do in the Bible. Most of the time, we don’t even try.
The bird was soaring far over our heads, so high that I could barely identify it, but its sturdy, broad wings and dark body sandwiched between a white head and tail gave it away. I watched the Bald Eagle as it moved effortlessly across the sky. I knew its “eagle eyes” were scanning the ground for prey—an unwary gopher perhaps, although it would prefer a fish. How could it stay up there so long? Didn’t it ever get tired?
The Bible talks about eagles—they’re mentioned 29 times. Of course, the eagles in the Bible aren’t Bald Eagles. Israel is currently home to nine species of birds in the “true eagles” genus Aquila, and two more hawks have “Eagle” in their common name. Who knows which bird the authors of the Bible had in mind?
I hope you had a lovely Thanksgiving, and that your heart is overflowing with gratitude for all God’s abundant blessings! Now that we’re all sitting around munching leftovers and perhaps taking a day off, I thought that it might be time for a bit of fun.
A little over a year ago I posted a little quiz asking, “How well do you know your Bible?” Since then I’ve continued to collect interesting quotes, and it’s time for Bible Quiz, Part 2. I admit, this one is a bit harder than the last quiz. Still, I have the utmost confidence in the Biblical expertise of my readers.
As with my last quiz, the answers are at the end, but no peeking until you’ve finished the test.
This is my final (for now) post on science and Scripture. For the others, see “Words and Works 1” and “Words and Works 2”.
In Part 1, I mentioned that when science and Scripture do not agree, either our scientific theories are wrong, or our interpretation of Scripture is faulty… or both. We are limited human beings trying to understand the words and works of an omniscient God. Of course we fall short.
Part of my ability to eliminate conflict between scientific discoveries and the Bible comes from how I view Scripture. I alluded to this last time when I mentioned the presence of metaphors, such as Jesus being the vine and we being the branches.
Far more important, to my understanding, is the fact that the Bible was written over thousands of years ago, by people with a far different worldview, living in a culture that bears little resemblance to mine. If I simple read it at face value, I’m going to miss a lot.
This is Part 2 of my thoughts on science and Scripture (see Part 1).
Last time I mentioned that the Bible has been used to “prove” scientific “facts” that we now know to be false. For example, Psalm 104:5 states, “He set the earth on its foundations; it can never be moved.” Yet, of course we now know that the earth rotates on its axis, revolves around the sun, and the entire solar system revolves around the center of the galaxy which is itself hurtling through space.