Thursday, 06 September 2012
I hope my title piqued your interest. :) I have been listening to sermons by Greg Boyd recently. He is the pastor at Woodland Hills Church. One thing He says over and over when discussing theology is, "You don't get life from the Bible, you get life from Jesus." That is a very profound statement.
Too often, Christians argue over theology, doctrine, etc... These things matter. The tradition I have been raised in does matter, but I'm guilty of thinking too highly of my personal theology than I should. There really are contradictions of fact in the Bible. I promise they are there. They don't add up to great theological problems as much as some would think, but they should still be discussed.
The very beginning of Mark holds one such contradiction.
“I will send my messenger ahead of you,
who will prepare your way”
3 “a voice of one calling in the wilderness,
‘Prepare the way for the Lord,
make straight paths for him.’”
So this doesn't seem out of the ordinary at first. It's a quote from Isaiah... or is it! The weird thing is the Bible says "as it is written in Isaiah", but the quote is actually from Malachi (Prepare the way... is from Isaiah though). The Bible misquotes the Old Testament. If the Bible was a research paper it would get some points taken off. :)
There are other "contradictions" as well. They are mostly discrepancies in the order of things between the gospels, for instance; the two creation accounts, the order of events at Jesus' baptism, and what happened when the tomb was found empty.
I'm not bringing this up to say we can't take the Bible seriously. You should take the Bible seriously. I bring this up to explore the reasons why contradictions like these don't really matter. I do believe the Bible is inspired by God. I also believe that the description of facts doesn't make the Bible inspired. The Bible is inspired because the ideas and thoughts and theologies add up to a picture of God that is worthy to be worshiped and followed. We get life from Jesus not from the Bible.
These issues become unimportant when we remember that the Bible doesn't give us life. When we remember what gives us life (Jesus) it allows us to openly engage and discuss deep and hard theological issues. My hope is that the Christian community could engage issues openly and honestly. Not so we can prove each other right or wrong, but so we can all come together as one body to learn deeper biblical truths. Because the Bible does actually matter. It matters a great deal.