Drive-by Scripture, 2 Timothy 3:16

All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness

Been a while since I’ve posted a drive-by scripture, so here we go, with Second Timothy, chapter 3, verse 16.

Much is made about how the word of God is infallible. In other words, the Bible is the final word and it’s not wrong in any way, shape or form.

I believe that. And I don’t believe that.

Having spoken recently on the translational issue with my post “Lost in Translation,” it should be clear that I have differing levels of regard for various translations. To some degree, even differing levels of trust.

I wholeheartedly believe that the structure of the Bible as it stands is pretty much inspired by God. The Catholics and the Protestants have a slightly different take on books that should or should not be included, but the differences are minor in the end. I believe there is value in some of the books that are not in the Protestant version, as well as some important books that are not in either Catholic nor Protestant translations of the Bible.

But at the same time, humans have had their grubby little hands all over the word of God, and mistakes, personal interpretations and the like are inevitable when human error gets brought into the mix.

But this, I think, can be a good thing as well as a challenge. While I believe that we can never truly understand God while we are in this world, tethered to our bodies and our carnal needs and desires, I believe we are meant to search for Him and seek Him continually, even if we are among the faithful.

Perhaps especially if we are among the faithful. For I believe that true faith and a closer relationship with God forces us to really think about what the Bible is trying to tell us, instead of expecting it to give us simple answers. And I think that truly coming to God forces us to question our faith, ourselves, and even the version of the word of God that we open to read.

10 Responses to “Drive-by Scripture, 2 Timothy 3:16”

  1. June 15, 2009 at 11:02 pm

    Much is made about how the word of God is infallible. In other words, the Bible is the final word and it’s not wrong in any way, shape or form.

    I believe that. And I don’t believe that.(Deacon)

    Holy Whacko Batman, I need a Beer!

  2. 2 Deacon Blue
    June 16, 2009 at 9:44 am

    It’s not whacko, TitforTat…

    That they underlying foundation of the Bible is from God, I believe. That many of the things in the Bible are oversimplifications of complex cosmological things (that ancients people could not have grasped but we can), I believe. That we are expected to grow intellectually and spiritually and be able to reconcile the message of the Bible and God’s plans for us with the realities of the world, I believe.

    And that is whacko?

    The Bible is infallible insofar as it lays out for us God’s works in the world and His ultimate plans, at least as they exist for us in the Earthbound plane.

    The Bible has also been translated and retranslated, and so naturally, the intentions and desires of men slip in there, and we are expected to realize that, adapt, deal with it, and still learn.

    Tell me, what is so whacko about that?

    What I find whacko is when people insist that if I believe in science and also believe in the spirit, that there is something wrong with me. There was a time when myths were used to explain all things. Science showed us how those things actually take place, but that doesn’t prove in any way, shape or form that the physical world and all the natural forces that drive it didn’t come from a spiritual source and that they don’t have a spiritual end.

    Science may disprove MYTH, but it doesn’t disprove a CREATOR.

  3. June 16, 2009 at 9:59 am

    Science may disprove MYTH, but it doesn’t disprove a CREATOR(Deacon)

    Youre on to something here. I ask you this, can science disprove the bible? And what is the difference between the myths of other beliefs and the myths of the bible?

  4. 4 Deacon Blue
    June 16, 2009 at 12:33 pm

    No science cannot disprove the Bible.

    For example, it can pretty much disprove that a global flood occurred. But it can’t disprove that some major flood was brought on by God to eliminate an entire population of wicked people and clean the slate so that he could continue His plans with a group of people closer to His long-term needs. The Bible tells us it was a global flood most likely because that is the kind of thing it would have seemed like to the people of the time…or would have done a better job of indicating the scope of what God had done.

    And we must remember that science sometimes PROVES the Bible when it reveals cities or ethnic groups that actually existed, after decades of people saying, “There is no evidnece of these places or people in the historical record…the Bible writers made them up!”

    There are myths in the Bible…or, as I prefer to think of them, simplifications or exagerrations for the understanding of the people at the time. Remember that the Bible is actually very light on myth. Miracles abound, sure, but MYTHS are few and far between. The Bible doesn’t try to explain rain and lighting by creating a god of storms…it doesn’t try to explain the sun cross the sky as being pulled by a godly chariot…you get my drift?

    The Bible is about something much greater than myth…it’s about creation, the will and design of the creator, and it’s about destiny…it’s about preparing us for what lies beyond this life, whatever it is.

    I get passionated about people minimizing my faith because when a scientist runs into a problem with his or her theories and people come up with sometimes wild and unprovable theories to fill the gap, they are considered good thinkers and visionaries. When a person of faith works to reconcile religion with the physical world, they are called delusional or apologists.

    I mean, isn’t something like 90% of the matter in the universe unaccounted for? So scientists create theories about “dark matter” and such. Things that answer the question, but which we are far from proving or discovering evidence of. Yet, if I postulated that perhaps all that “missing” matter is God…matter in some state we cannot perceive that hold things together and watches over everything, I would be laughed at by many of the people who would nod sagely at the concept of dark matter and say, “That makes a LOT of sense.”

  5. June 16, 2009 at 1:10 pm

    The problem isnt that you think there is a creator, the challenge is that you think its the “Christian version”. So how come it is sensible that G-d is Christian and not sensible to be Muslim or Jewish or Hindu? Is it any wonder that people who are more science based just shake their heads in disbelief? You are credible when you talk of a creator for all that you see, I think you lose that credibility when you put a name to it.

  6. 6 societyvs
    June 16, 2009 at 1:55 pm

    “You are credible when you talk of a creator for all that you see, I think you lose that credibility when you put a name to it” (T4T)

    I don’t think it takes away from the credibility though – because everyone is just trying to make the best sense of this Spirit – and Christians have some defintions they use…as do all religions really. Now the Christian version is very well rounded when compared with many others IMO – does it make true – not totally – but it does make it a foundational place to start from in the conversation on ‘creation/creator’.

    I also think the bible is inspired, a piece of writing of which men wrote as they were inspired by God to do so. Does this mean mistakes were not made…no. The key thing with inspiration is – it’s humans that were inspired and we all tell stories based on limited perspectives. Doesn’t answer of the bible is ‘right’ about everything – but I have found it’s inspiration can inspire people to greater things…and aint that what we are looking for in life?

  7. 7 Deacon Blue
    June 16, 2009 at 4:44 pm

    Pretty much what SocietyVs said.

    I would add that my God is the same God as the Jews and the Muslims, really…so let’s face it, an awful lot of the population agrees with me substantially on who the creator is.

    The key difference between me and them is Jesus. I have reasons for believing that Jesus was divinely conceived and truly is the savior. I’ve gone into those reasons before and will again, though they’d be a bit off topic here I think. My belief in Jesus, though, doesn’t invalidate the Old Testament, which really covers not just the Hebrew experience but the origins of the Arab/Muslim one (from Adam to Abraham).

    As for Hindus and others, they may be touching on some other aspect of God or may be completely off base. That’s not for me to say. Speculate, sure, but say definitively, no.

    As for Buddhists and similar folks, we must remember that those are often more philosophy than true religion. Not saying that there aren’t elements of religion, too, but they are less clear and intense and not as central to the belief system from what I’ve seen.

  8. June 17, 2009 at 11:07 am

    The Bible may be light on myth, but it is very heavy on parable. A huge proportion of it is open to interpretation – for instance, the Adam and Eve creation myth. Is that an actual myth, or a parable? Or is it actual fact? Obviously not the last, but as one of the first, it can be useful for instruction.

    Another thing I see in the Bible is a very human, non-spiritual agenda: social control and manipulation to empower certain group(s) over others. This is woven in with the spiritual, inspired, and inspirational part from start to finish, so that it is difficult to separate the wheat from the chaff. (The Bible has a lot of chaff.) That comes down to a problem of interpretation, and it seems that many people figure, regardless of whether or not the Bible is perfect, that their interpretation of it is perfect. I tend to take issue with that. I hold my interpretation dear, but I will not try to enforce it on anyone else, or pass laws accordingly. Of course, I’m not a Christian, so I’m not that attached to it and my agenda is not personally important except as a refutation of Christian bigotry, but then, perhaps that allows me to read it with a more open mind.

    Deke, this post almost seems like a response to my recent post, http://silknvoice.blogspot.com/2009/06/jesus-and-patriarchy-or-christ-and.html . Coincidence? or did you read mine and disagree?

  9. 9 Deacon Blue
    June 17, 2009 at 12:26 pm

    I’ll check out your post when I have a chance today, but no, I hadn’t read it and it wasn’t a response (or even an inspiration). Just happened to open my Bible to that page (I usually pick a random page for the drive-by scripture segment, and the passage I quoted was highlighted, so I ran with my first gut-feeling post related to it.

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Deacon Blue is the blogging persona of editor and writer Jeffrey Bouley. The opinions of Jeff himself on this blog, and those expressed as Deacon Blue, in NO WAY should be construed as the opinions of anyone with whom he has worked, currently works, or will work with in the future. They are personal opinions and views, and are sometimes, frankly, expressed in more outrageous terms than I truly feel most days.

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