The Bible

   As a Christian, I rely on the Bible to tell me what God is like and about the life of Jesus. However, the Bible isn't the only way God has to communicate with us. Given that God is the ultimate source of everything each of us experiences, there really isn't any limit to the avenues He could employ as a communication medium, which may include reason, login, the imagination, emotion, revelation, nature, dreams and other states of mind, events in our lives, and other people and their observations and ideas. Many people are very afraid to learn about God from any source outside the Bible, yet they must realize, at some point, that the purpose of the Bible is to lead each of us into a close relationship with God. It doesn't make sense to focus on a lover's writings and ignore other communication once we become aware of Him sitting next to us. To accept communication from God outside the Bible requires faith in the pervasive reach of God and in His willingness and ability to protect us from going astray. Maybe the greatest fear of many a Christian is that he will consider some inspiration or teaching or suggestion as coming from God and then later suspect that he was tricked by his arch enenmy, the devil! Given that the devil is supposed to be more formidable an opponent than even the most powerful humans, this is a troubling prospect. The only escape is to accept and remember that the jurisdiction of the devil is always limited, while God's is complete. Remembering to turn to God when there is trouble is, in my experience, a reliable escape from fear. What a Christian should be more afraid of is cutting off avenues of communication with God, which blinds him and prevents him from receiving help and other gifts, both for himself and to share with others in need.

   But what about the perpetual debate over whether the Bible is perfect or not? When I consider that the Bible was written by many people, none of whom claimed to be perfect, and who therefore may not have perfectly understood what they were writing, dictating, copying or translating, it seems unlikely that every word is perfectly optimum. Even if it were, though, as it goes through the fog of my own interpretation, it wouldn't matter even if it had been perfect because I would surely misunderstand or fail to understand many things anyway, as I already know I have. The fear driving the debate is that if the accuracy of any part of the Bible is called into question, by that same process the rest of it could be made to unravel until nothing sure is left to hold on to. To address this fear I would point out that it is God who requires our trust, not the Bible. If we know we can trust God, who is aware of our deceptions, misunderstandings and ignorance, and who is in a position to correct these shortcomings, then the Bible becomes more of a way to facilitate our reconciliation with God than representing the reconciliation itself. My own observation from reading the Bible is that there are some things which, on my best days, shine out as invaluable truth, while other things I have not yet understood, and still others seem, as far as I can tell, to be poor illustrations at best.

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