Tuesday, June 4, 2013

The Bible: Inspiration & Intimacy

Peter said, "No prophecy of scripture was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God." This tells us the prophecies in scripture were not fabricated by humans & that they were accurately recorded. Very interesting is the fact that Peter only says the prophecies of scripture are accurate. He makes no such claim regarding the rest of scripture.

Paul said, "All Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable.." But there are translations of this that read this way, "All scripture, inspired of God, is profitable.." The verb for "is" before the word inspired does not appear in the original Greek. Therefore the 2nd reading is actually more accurate.

Some will point out that the word inspired actually means "God breathed." Well God breathed into Adam but through the freedom of his flesh he did not maintain perfection. Jesus breathed into His disciples but through the freedom of their flesh they still made mistakes. Scripture is also said to be God breathed yet it had to pass through the hands of free flesh to be physically written down. Did God suspend the way He relates to all of mankind by violating the freedom of those men who wrote the scriptures when "inspiring" & "moving" them?

Scripture Inspiration Possibilities:
1. God only flawlessly inspired about 40 men in all of history. God gave us the same Holy Spirit the New Testament authors have & an even better relationship to the Spirit than the Old Testament authors had. However God will never ever inspire anyone as perfectly as He did those who wrote the scriptures therefore we must rely on the superior scriptures over His inferior living Spirit inside of us despite the fact that Jesus told us to rely on the Spirit to lead us to all truth & made no command to rely on the scriptures. God also ensures that we will all always have inferior communication with Him despite the new covenant declaring us equally given His Spirit "without measure."
2. God never flawlessly (robotically) inspires anyone but He does inspire them & they write & speak freely from His inspiration. Like any human they can flawlessly record something someone else told them but may not always do so.

#1 strikes me as God violating free will, treating the New Testament writers as His all time favorite people, & as honestly unscriptural.
#2 strikes me as God maintaining free will, loving all of His children the same, & as scriptural based on God's character & dealings with people as recorded in scripture itself.

Jesus wanted us to trust Him. Yet I think there is no doubt that most Christians read scripture & trust in the validity of it more than they interact with God & trust Him, trusting Him to speak to them accurately. We are all seen as having been given a smaller measure of the Spirit than those who wrote the scriptures when scripture itself says that we have the Spirit without limit. We all, including the writers of scripture, always have the freedom to walk by the Spirit or by the flesh, to speak & write from our renewed mind & to realize not all of our mind is renewed.

Some will argue that following the Spirit over the scripture is dangerous. To them I say it is easier to get someone to follow you into falsehood by saying, "the bible says.." than it is by "God told me.."

Jesus never prophesied about a perfect book being compiled to teach us about God & guide us in our lives. He prophesied about the Holy Spirit described many times as THE gift of God to guide us to ALL truth & relate to us like a friend & a father. HIS Spirit is HERE & NOW!

The Letter Kills...
"The letter kills & the Spirit gives life." Why? because the letter is dead & the Spirit is living. The letter has truth but that truth is not alive without the Spirit. But here is the big question..

What does the letter kill?
The answer...

Your relationship with God.

Instead of being real & talking to God ourselves & asking Him for answers, allowing Him to point us to scripture if He so chooses, we instead choose to go to a book & read it, honestly often hoping we won't encounter Him there. It is like having the chance to interview someone you admire but instead you blow him off & just study his autobiography. It is like reading love letters from your spouse on the edge of your bed while refusing to be intimate with him or her. Just as those who begged Moses to relate to God for them, we beg the bible to relate to God for us. The scriptures kill intimacy with God. They don't always do this & can aid in knowing Him better but it is beyond easy to make the bible God & live without ever even touching the hem of His robe. What we want is to believe the bible, to believe things ABOUT God. We don't want to believe IN God, we don't want to trust Him. We like ideas about God because we want to know ABOUT HIM without KNOWING HIM.

We, in our shame, our fear, our laziness, our apathy, we don't want God to really know us. So the bible is the perfect solution. I don't have to talk to God. I don't have to be honest with God. I don't have to love God. God doesn't get to really love me.. I just treat Him like a text book maybe because I'm trying to get a grade in a class, maybe because there is just something uncomfortable about us getting to know each other more.

So in the name of a "relationship" with God we reject relating to God. We pick up a book about Him & say, "oh that's cool.." "boy I should get on doing that.." Inside we think, "I've gotta remember this." We fight for our idea of TRUTH for our WAY of LIFE without ever getting to know The TRUTH, THE WAY, THE LIFE.

So are we going to let the bible be our safe & sterile substitute for the man Christ Jesus? Are we choosing book over brother, facts over Father?

I don't care if you claim to walk under grace. Grace is A GIFT. HE IS THE GIFT. Until you engage God you're just walking under a religion, gathering facts, feelings, & forewarnings. The "facts" make you feel right & smart & superior ready to shut down anyone who disagrees with you. The feelings are a fact, they are fun, they are peaceful but are you partying alone? Are you resting WITH God or resting to get away from relating to God? The forewarnings could be used for wise compassion or they could just be facts+fear.

So do you just want the love letter or do you want the love?
Would you rather open a book about THE Father or fall into YOUR Father's open arms?
Why not decide now?

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