How did we get the Bible?
This question kept coming up during our outreach this week. It's complicated. Confusing. Important.
Evangelical conversations around the origins of the Bible tend to focus on it's perfection and defensability. God inspired human authors to produce the Scriptures. Revelation. "The Bible," Evangelicals say, "is inerrant and infallible." And I'm all for that.
But when I think about the Bible - and more specifically the doctrine of inspiration - inerrancy and infallibility aren't the first things that come to mind.
Attempting to run the right way around the circle, I start with Jesus.
We know God most clearly through Jesus. Paul the Apostle and poet called Jesus "the image of the invisible God." In Jesus we see God's character and priorities clearly displayed. He reveals God perfectly to us.
But we tend to ignore this idea when it comes to talking about the Bible, inerrancy, and inspiration. We tend to start in the wrong place, with a God who is abstract. If God had revealed himself primarily as omniscient and omnipresent and omnipotent, we would expect the Bible to be primarily precise and thorough and beyond argument.
But what if God's revelation through Jesus sets a pattern for his revelation through Scripture?
God's revelation through Jesus wasn't precise. It was full of horrible inefficiency. Decades, dusty roads, death. And people were so confused. "What did he mean? Why did he do that? Who is he again?" These questions swirl around Jesus, filling the air around him.
God's revelation through Jesus wasn't thorough either. He forgot to talk about homosexuality, abortion, waiver wire pick-ups ... all of the important things. Jesus focused on what he considered important, in both his action and teaching. But his priorities weren't ours.
And, let's face it, God's revelation through Jesus wasn't beyond argument. He had doubters and haters from the very beginning (think Herod), throughout his ministry (think Pharisees), at his death (think Romans), and to this very day (who do you think of?). He left room for doubt.
But if precision, thoroughness, and ... well ... being beyond argument aren't the priorities that illuminate God's revelation, what does?
I don't know that I know, not exactly. But I know it's messy and relational and enough.
What about you? What do you think God's incarnation tells us about God's inspiration?