Our mental views of God shape our attitudes toward God. Misbeliefs about God hinder engaging with God to pursue spirituality. If you think there may be a God, I am convinced you will not regret pursuing more of a connection with your Creator than regretting having a closer relationship with your partner, children, or friends. In this series of Posts the Bible is referenced because that is from where views of God are often formed. What if you discovered that God never meant for the Bible to take the place of a personal relationship with our Creator?
- Sincere people have different views of the same biblical passage or topic, so it is important to acknowledge that our interpretations may be wrong. The Bible can be used to justify racism, gender inequality, or controlling personal beliefs. God has always worked through human means available so the Bible was God’s attempt to communicate to as many people about God while not condemning those who misunderstand it or never had a chance to read it.
- Insisting the Bible is without errors can lead to worshipping a Book and not who the Book is about. It is not as if the Bible came together from writer to publication. God can still have a hand in the Bible and God can be revealed to us, though God did not interfere with the freedom of writers to grow in their understandings of God. We also cannot prove God inspired others to select over time which Books should be recognized as supposedly infallible. God didn’t promise an inspired Book but God’s spirit to discern what God is really like (Jn. 14:16).
- Suggesting the Bible has errors can be troubling to many. At least we must recognize that often it is our interpretations that we are proclaiming are not in error. It can be freeing though to not get bogged down in debates over God because the Bible supposedly says so. The main message is clear and all are free to seek God’s help in being more the person they desire.
- On the other hand we don’t question the historical reliability of Julius Caesar’s exploits in the Gallic Wars though the manuscript reliability of all ancient literature is far less than the New Testament. And the Bible gains credibility by not making its own heroes always or rewriting events to make a story more believable. Women had very little credibility during this time, so if you are going to make up a resurrection story you don’t report a woman being the first eyewitness unless Mary was.
- The Bible was never meant to be a Book of rules rather than consideration for wisdom and reflection on one’s individual situation. When Jesus said turn the other cheek, He wouldn’t advise a woman to allow an abusive husband to continue to beat her. The Bible didn’t have assigned chapters and verses until centuries after written. Read the Bible as stories about God’s relationships with others as you discern your own relationship with the Creator.
- Declaring the Bible isn’t infallible doesn’t make everyone’s opinion correct. We all can agree murder, lying, or adultery is immoral. We know terrorist’s views are wrong because they violate the freedom of others to believe as they choose. When Old Testament passages are complicated or seemingly contradict what we think a good God is surely like, we can know God best through the person of Jesus.
God, not a Book, was meant to guide one personally in understanding God. We do not have to assume the Bible is without errors; we do not have to assume the Bible is without truth about God. If there are certain characteristics of God claimed by others according to the Bible that you don’t agree, reject them! Don’t allow others’ understanding to keep you from exploring your own views. Enjoy the Bible as a story about your Creator. As you get to know God, God will guide you in your spiritual journey to be more the person you deep down desire to be.