The Church's Weird Relationship With The Bible
Hello you all! I have been working on this blog post for a couple of months, and for quite some time I really didn't want to publish this post because I felt like it was so nuanced and too complicated to decipher. I also felt as though many people would take it the wrong way and try to use this message to turn it into something that it wasn't. However, I received a confirmation from the Lord to publish this post and to allow you all to read about this complicated topic. I pray that you all read this slowly and carefully. Please take the time to digest this, and allow yourself as much time as you need. It's very heavy, so please consult the Lord with this after reading what I have to say.
Okay, so from the title y'all could probably guess that this post is going to be about the Bible and the church's weird relationship with it. As I have been reading my Bible, and having conversations with the Lord; He has been speaking to me about the way that I (and the church) should start seeing the Bible. The church, and also myself at one point, sees the Bible as being essentially equitable to the trinity. Many people see the Bible as the literal words of God; and it is in some verses, however, most of the Bible is written from a human perspective with human thoughts, emotions, and details attached to it. So because human beings wrote the Bible, it is inherently flawed in certain and specific ways. They were writing about their experience with God, so it is true what they were experiencing, however, they do not speak for God. God was speaking through them within the realm of their own stories and experiences, but the human writers do not speak for God Himself.
The Bible is literally a collection of stories that human beings wrote about their experience with God. I do believe that these stories are true, and do believe that God wants us to hear about them (and know them), but I don’t believe that God wants us to prop up these stories to a place that is on the same level as Him. So basically what I am saying is, if I were to write a story about my life and my experience with the Lord, that is a story that could be placed in the Bible. However, if one were to read my life story, no one would ever think that what I had to say about my experience with the Lord would trump their own, or was the only way to experience God. Nor would anyone try to prop my words up above God’s words; or even try to equate my words to His. And don’t get me wrong, God DEFINITELY speaks to people and tells them to relay messages for Him (like quite literally what I’m doing right now). But if I say something wrong because I interpreted something wrong, and God Himself later speaks to you and corrects what I said, I would like to hope that y’all would follow what God said over me. Because my friends, I am not God! I have nowhere NEAR as much wisdom as God and He is the only one who can truly speak to your situation! I myself can TRY to speak to you as best as I can, but only God can get to the heart of your problem.
So with that being said, why was the Bible written by human beings and not God or Jesus? This move was an intentional one by God so that people would have another reason to reach out to Him. Since the bible is intentionally flawed because of its human nature, people have to speak to God for clarification and understanding of the scripture. If God wrote the Bible (which was intended for all Christian and Judiasm-kind to read) then people would feel as though they wouldn’t need to form a relationship with the Lord because they had already received all the words from the Lord that they needed for their life. God loves us and wants each and every one of us to have a relationship with Him, so having humans write the Bible was a perfect solution.
And speaking of the Bible, there are many scriptures and passages in the Bible that tell the believer that God should be our main leader in truth and not the Bible. And those many passages can be seen in the books of Romans, Galatians, Ephesians, Hebrews, and 2 Corinthians. In many of these passages, it even goes as far to say that a person following the law (without the Spirit) is under God’s curse!
'Now, however, we are free from the Law, because we died to that which once held us prisoners. No longer do we serve in the old way of a written law, but in the new way of the Spirit. '
Romans 7:6 GNTD
' it is he who made us capable of serving the new covenant, which consists not of a written law but of the Spirit. The written law brings death, but the Spirit gives life. '
2 Corinthians 3:6 GNTD
By speaking of a new covenant, God has made the first one old; and anything that becomes old and worn out will soon disappear.
Hebrews 8:13 GNTD
The old rule, then, is set aside, because it was weak and useless. For the Law of Moses could not make anything perfect. And now a better hope has been provided through which we come near to God.
Hebrews 7:18-19 GNTD
Those who depend on obeying the Law live under a curse. For the scripture says, “Whoever does not always obey everything that is written in the book of the Law is under God's curse!”
Galatians 3:10 GNTD
Now, it is clear that no one is put right with God by means of the Law, because the scripture says, “Only the person who is put right with God through faith shall live.” But the Law has nothing to do with faith. Instead, as the scripture says, “Whoever does everything the Law requires will live.”
Galatians 3:11-12 GNTD
But before the time for faith came, the Law kept us all locked up as prisoners until this coming faith should be revealed. And so the Law was in charge of us until Christ came, in order that we might then be put right with God through faith. Now that the time for faith is here, the Law is no longer in charge of us. It is through faith that all of you are God's children in union with Christ Jesus. You were baptized into union with Christ, and now you are clothed, so to speak, with the life of Christ himself.
Galatians 3:23-27 GNTD
For Christ himself has brought us peace by making Jews and Gentiles one people. With his own body he broke down the wall that separated them and kept them enemies. He abolished the Jewish Law with its commandments and rules, in order to create out of the two races one new people in union with himself, in this way making peace. By his death on the cross Christ destroyed their enmity; by means of the cross he united both races into one body and brought them back to God.
Ephesians 2:14-16 GNTD
All of these verses (and many more that I honestly didn’t feel like finding again and putting in here [But if you want to learn more read Galatians 2:15-3:29]) show evidence that God wants our focus to be on Him, and not on written works made by human beings. And don’t get me wrong, God DOES want us to read the Bible. However, He wants us to read it through the filter of His Spirit; because without the Holy Spirit scripture can be taken out of context and used as a deadly weapon to harm people. Satan notoriously uses scripture to justify lies and sin ALL THE TIME. And that can be seen in our current generation, when people use scripture to be homophobic, transphobic, racist, misogynistic, ableist, and so on and so forth. I've even seen people use the bible to argue for a SQUARE earth. That's right, not flat, but square! So clearly the bible can be used to justify anything. And this twisting of scripture can also be seen within the Bible itself. During Paul’s ministry, there were people that took his writings and twisted and contorted them to mean that Christians were free to sin after becoming Christians. Paul continually renounced these claims and Peter also saw them and renounced them too.
Look on our Lord's patience as the opportunity he is giving you to be saved, just as our dear friend Paul wrote to you, using the wisdom that God gave him. This is what he says in all his letters when he writes on the subject. There are some difficult things in his letters which ignorant and unstable people explain falsely, as they do with other passages of the Scriptures. So they bring on their own destruction.
2 Peter 3:15-16 GNTD
We know that the Law is good if it is used as it should be used. It must be remembered, of course, that laws are made, not for good people, but for lawbreakers and criminals, for the godless and sinful, for those who are not religious or spiritual, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers, for the immoral, for sexual perverts, for kidnappers, for those who lie and give false testimony or who do anything else contrary to sound doctrine.
1 Timothy 1:8-10 GNTD
Paul’s ministry was not the only one that was affected by a twisting of words to condone evil, but this happened to Jesus as well, by the devil himself! In the book of Matthew, Jesus was in the wilderness and was being continuously tempted by the devil. [Trigger Warning: Mention of Self Harm] He had been fasting for 40 days and the devil was trying to get Jesus to fall and harm Himself; potentially to the point of death.
5 Then the Devil took Jesus to Jerusalem, the Holy City, set him on the highest point of the Temple, 6 and said to him, “If you are God's Son, throw yourself down, for the scripture says,
‘God will give orders to his angels about you;
they will hold you up with their hands,
so that not even your feet will be hurt on the stones.’”
7 Jesus answered, “But the scripture also says, ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’”
Matthew 4:5-7 GNT
These verses show us that not even Jesus was free from people (or the devil) who used scripture to try to get Him to sin. And the verses also help to show that blindly following the scripture, without having it filtered through the Holy Spirit can lead us into death. Either spiritually or physically. I have personal experience with this; and blindly reading the bible without consulting God, or reading it without His heart in mind would cause a lot of distress for me as a queer person. But when I read the bible with His heart in my mind, and with a knowledge that He loves me and accepts me for who I am, then I could truly see the scriptures for what they were. And this is why we as Christians need to have a spirit of discernment when we are reading through the scriptures. We need to test the scriptures to see if what we are believing sounds like the character of God. If you read a scripture and what you get out of it feels like anxiety, dehumanization, depression, or an attack from the enemy; then that is not the message of the passage! God gives us the fruits of the spirit; and those fruits are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control. When you read the scripture and are seeing those fruits after reading it, then you have grasped what the message is trying to say to you.
My dear friends, do not believe all who claim to have the Spirit, but test them to find out if the spirit they have comes from God. For many false prophets have gone out everywhere. This is how you will be able to know whether it is God's Spirit: anyone who acknowledges that Jesus Christ came as a human being has the Spirit who comes from God. But anyone who denies this about Jesus does not have the Spirit from God. The spirit that he has is from the Enemy of Christ; you heard that it would come, and now it is here in the world already.
1 John 4:1-3 GNTD
Put all things to the test: keep what is good and avoid every kind of evil.
1 Thessalonians 5:21-22 GNTD
Another reason that God wants us to cling to Him instead of the bible is through very practical reasons, such as mistranslations, spelling mistakes that cause huge changes, and linguistic errors. There are MANY different translations of the bible, in many different languages. Just in the English language alone, there are more than 450 translations. With all of those translations simply in English alone, there are going to be mishaps. And the bible was originally written in many different old-timey regional languages! Things said during those times are going to mean different things now, and many people aren't going to understand the true meaning of many things. And take African American Vernacular English or AAVE for example. Many terms in AAVE mean one thing in our dialect, but when white people get a hold of a word, they change its meaning of it for public consumption. Like, take the word “basic” for example. When Black people originally used this word, it meant a basic girl that moved like everyone else in terms of style and personality. But when white people took this word, it meant a basic white girl who wore uggs and drank pumpkin spice lattes. So words even in contemporary society change their meaning from culture to culture, and we as humans can never fully know or understand what they meant back in those times. I mean I know we’ve all played a game of telephone and saw how vastly things can change when words filtered through people. And again, I still believe in the bible, and I know that the things in it are true. But even if the whole bible was a parable, it still has great information on how to trust in God and behave in the way that He wants us to be.
The final thing that I would like to say to bring all of these points home, is that the gospel of Jesus Christ (which is Christianity) is quite literally the act of trusting in God over the written law of the Old Testament. The gospel is a group of people leaving the confines of what they knew within a book of laws, and joining in on following the spirit. The gospel states that you have to believe in Jesus in order to receive your salvation. It is no longer the requirement of following laws to get into heaven, you simply just have to believe in Jesus. And that my friends, is quite literally the act following the spirit and not the law (meaning the bible).
My dear friends, I understand that this lesson is hard to swallow and difficult to understand at some points. But for the past year, God has been telling me to anchor to Him, and to allow Him to be my foundation. For a while, I believed that this included viewing the Bible in a way that was close to Him. But when God said He wanted me to anchor to Him, He meant to Him and to Him alone. The Bible has many things within it that can be misunderstood and misinterpreted; and when you anchor to the Spirit, the Spirit is the only one who can make complicated things simple. God can simplify the extraneous and remove the erroneous. It took me a while to fully adjust to this way of thinking, but when you see how firm a foundation God is, then this way of life becomes easier than the other.
So with all of that being said, one might ask, "How are we supposed to view the Bible now?" And this question took a while for me to find the answer, but I believe that I have it now. The Bible has described itself as being a double-edged sword. So I wholeheartedly believe that we should treat the Bible as such. And you may ask now, "So what does that mean?" It means that the Bible should be treated as though it is a weapon. And not to be simply used as a weapon to harm other people. It's written to be a double edge sword, so that it can cut away the impurities within oneself and also call out the impurities within others. For so long, much of the Bible has been twisted and contorted as a way to harm minority communities, and to hurt people who stand out in life and at church. But I believe that the Bible should be used as a way to teach people how to behave and to give examples of real life applications of these teachings. Much like how a textbook in a classroom is used. The text has a lot of information that is good and true, but sometimes the book can have spelling errors and mistranslations that can be explained by filtering it through the teacher, that is God.
And I know this message sounds kind of ironic coming from a blog titled: The Bible Is Inclusive. But that just goes to show that I truly used to hold this book in the same position as God. I held it up too high, and for a while, God didn’t say anything to me about correcting that because I had other things that I needed to work on, that was more pressing. But now God has opened my eyes to this truth, and I’m very grateful that He shared this information with me; so that now I can grow deeper in Him.
So in conclusion, God is our ultimate goal. God is who we should cling to and lay our foundation on. He is more than enough for us. Even in places where the Bible isn't accessible, God can and will speak to us, because He loves us that much. And when you cling to the Lord, He will guide you and direct you into wisdom and understanding.
But as for you, Christ has poured out his Spirit on you. As long as his Spirit remains in you, you do not need anyone to teach you. For his Spirit teaches you about everything, and what he teaches is true, not false. Obey the Spirit's teaching, then, and remain in union with Christ.
1 John 2:27 GNTD