I have a bachelor’s degree in Bible and a master of divinity. I taught a college course in Biblical literature. I still have a high regard for scripture but not for those who use it amateurishly to bully people.
I grew up in the conservative, evangelical, Bible focused communities. I preached for them for a long time until I grew past it. The following is a conversation I wish I could have with some of the people I encountered there. But it doesn’t usually happen because they shout or use some other form of intimidation once they’ve been challenged. I’m not presenting this discussion for their benefit because they won’t understand it. It’s for those of you who sincerely long for truth and perhaps search for God.
See if this is familiar to you:
“I follow the Bible!”
Really? You speak as if it is a deity in itself. I thought Christians followed Jesus.
We do that by following the Bible. We believe the Bible is the inspired Word of God.
Because it says so in 2 Timothy 3:16.
Yes, it does. But if you’re trying to convince someone that it’s inspired, this statement doesn’t get the job done. It’s the tightest bit of circular reasoning I’ve ever heard. By the way, what do you mean by “inspired?”
It’s Greek for “God Breathed.”
Actually, it’s Latin but never mind.* I don’t want to do one of those tedious “word studies” you guys are famous for.
I believe the Bible is inerrant. Everything we need can be found in the Word of God.
Yeah, well, I have a problem with the word “inerrant.” It’s an absolute term meaning it is without any flaw whatsoever. But the Bible on your bookshelf is a flawed translation of a series of manuscripts that scholars have pieced together. None of them think they did it perfectly. And I haven’t even gotten to the theological contradictions, yet.
There are no contradictions because the Bible is inerrant.
Okay, whatever. But if the Bible is inerrant, why do you leave out so much? You’re pretty bad about picking and choosing what you insist everyone should obey. Most of you don’t insist that women should have their heads covered. You don’t stone children for being disobedient. You don’t have slaves. I don’t see many of you fasting or honoring the Sabbath or marrying your dead brother’s wife. I’m not saying you should do those things, by the way…
You’re very clever with your words. But the Word of God reigns supreme.
Okay, well… I have another question. You like to quote the verse Rev. 22:18-19** where a person should never add to or take away from the scripture, don’t you?
Then I don’t understand why you guys are so wordy. Why do you have so many arguments, debates, and sermons? What’s with all the commentaries? Why do so many of you come up with additional doctrines and creeds? If the Bible is enough, then why isn’t it… enough?
You obviously don’t believe in the Bible.
I’ll stop here and shift this conversation back to normal folk.
Do you know why you can’t understand them? It’s because they’re crazy. It’s way past time to stop letting them hijack your minds. You believe in Jesus? Fine, but don’t follow the crazy people, no matter how dedicated they seem or how many Bible verses they quote.
*The Greek word in the text is θεόπνευστος, and it does indeed mean “God-breathed.”
**Also in Deuteronomy 4:2 and Deuteronomy 12:32