We have to question God’s role with the Bible when reading passages that contribute horrific violence to a supposedly good God. I Samuel 15:3 says God told Israel: “Now go, attack the Amalekites… put to death men and women, children and infants, cattle and sheep, camels and donkeys.” There are many, many passages like this in the Old Testament.
It is suggested the Bible is God’s infallible or inerrant words to us.
Why would a good God morally think or say the exact words above that command violence? Besides, how would God control the minds and words of the writers so not impacted by cultural influences that suggest it is sacrilegious to not speak of God being all-powerful and controlling? God’s freedom-giving nature doesn’t support God performing a lobotomy on OT writers. Something else must be going on.
It is suggested the Bible is inspired by God, though God didn’t necessarily override less than perfect views such as the earth being flat than round.
God inspiring the Bible implies God approved or motivated immoral views that contributed so much violence in God’s name. It is suggested God accommodated certain views, such as animal sacrifice, to freely bring to a better understanding of God’s desires. But, why would God accommodate rather than disclaim genocidal-like behaviors. Something else must be going on.
It is suggested the Bible is God-breathed to possibly avoid using words like infallible or inspired.
2 Timothy 3:16 is the New Testament passage most frequently referred to suggest the Bible is God-breathed: “All Scriptures is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.” The challenge is God-breathe is subject to wide interpretation, thus not clarifying God’s possible role with the Bible.
I suggest the Bible simply represents God’s desire for a recording of coming alongside Israel climaxing in the life of Jesus in getting to know what God is really like.
We can’t prove whether the writers did or didn’t have perfect views of God, but it seems a moot point. The Bible can’t be an authoritative or definitive guide of what God is like exactly because we disagree what it says. Literature is always subject to interpretation, so even if you believe the Bible is God’s infallible words to us, our interpretations can never be infallible. We must approach the Bible with an open-mind and some uncertainty.
So, how can we read the Bible?
God joined us here on earth with the communication means available so we may grow more in understanding what God is like and would do in situations. A Book can’t replace our relationship with God and others. God never intended for us to check our moral conscience at the door in considering what a loving God is truly like. Read the Bible with an open-mind motivated by love. Different opinions can stand side by side as we continually evaluate the most loving approach in circumstances we face. Is it better we threaten or force our supposed inerrant or inspired opinions on others in the name of God?
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