It all started with a conversation, no…an argument, no…a debate, no…a conversation.
The conversation was with a friend over a topic that is a deeply contentious issue in our current culture. We disagreed. I have a fairly diverse friend-group so these types of arguments conversations happen quite often. What made this conversation unique was that our disagreement was not political in nature but biblical. In short, he thought the Bible was clear about this particular thing. I was less than convinced.
The Bible is Clear
The trouble with speaking about Biblical clarity is that the Bible, so often, isn’t clear. There is a difference between “using” scripture and “loving” scripture. When people begin a sentence with “The Bible is clear…” this is often a giveaway that they are about to “use” scripture to defend a certain political position or serve a cultural agenda. This, however, is nothing new. Christians, throughout history, have opposed or supported certain agendas that we are embarrassed of today because they thought, “the Bible was clear.”
For example, Christians opposed things like:
and a heliocentric model of the universe,
all because “the Bible was clear.”
However, I must point out that there were also Christians who appealed to scripture to support these things. These issues should serve as a reminder that rhetorical claims to the Bible’s clarity on a subject do not necessarily make it so. Furthermore, even just a quick moment a self-analysis reveals that we all approach the Bible with varying levels of subjectivity. Put differently, the Bible is not self-interpreting. We all, to at least some degree, do the work of interpretation.
So when someone says:
... middle of paper ...
... see that:
Jesus reveals God.
Scripture witnesses to Jesus.
If you think I’ve slipped on a banana peel and lost my mind, I still love you.
If you currently feel the creeping desire to pick up your lap-top, phone, or tablet and throw it at me, let me remind you of one of my favorite quotes from John Wesley:
“Though we cannot think alike, may we not love alike? May we not be of one heart, though we are not of one opinion? Without all doubt, we may.”
After all, this is the purpose of Scripture: It witnesses to the love of Christ.
In the end, the purpose of Scripture is not to make us of one mind but to take our heart, marred by sin, and to replace it with the heart of Christ. The word of God (the Bible) is a plowshare that opens up hearts for the Word of God (Christ) to reach.
If we can just grasp this, then perhaps, we are reading the Bible right.
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