Love God, love the Bible
Recently fellow believer, good friend and all around swell guy, Dan “The Dangerseeker” Baker, lived out that moniker again by trusting God for some unusual conditions on a job prospect in spite of the current tenuous climate of employment and got them. He apparently refused more than one offer until the company finally made him that colloquial “one he couldn’t refuse”. I know people who would think him foolish for using spiritual finesse and simply accept the first offer received, but then they don’t know two things. One, they don’t know The Dangerseeker, who I know has followed the ways of God most of his life. Two, they don’t know God Himself.
From this perspective, I recently found The Dangerseeker had written an interesting post at his blog called “Bible Idolatry, Errors and Pastor Sam Hinn“. The post is based upon a church experience of his in which he listened to a preacher and “began to get very uneasy as he continued to exalt the Bible and blur the lines between what was God and what was the Bible. Finally, He held the Bible high in the air, quoted John 1:1-2 and said, “This is God, right here!” I, of course, have my own issues with the whole positional office concept of pastor, preacher, apostle, etc. For an individual with ecclesiastical credentials to stand before an audience and declare such a thing as truth is not only dangerous to the spiritual well-being of the people listening but presumptuous to their own position within the church. Plainly, in my opinion, it’s wrong on many levels.
The Dangerseeker then launches into the gist of his post to explain the error of “Bible-Idolatry”; elevating the Bible to a position and authority co-equal with God. In his efforts to “un-deify” the Bible there is one distinction he makes with which I take issue, and that simply because the terms should be clearly identified and defined. In the post he mentions a previous post he wrote “Dealing With Misquotes and ‘Warts’ In Scripture” which should be read and understood, the point being that Scripture is filled with seeming inconsistencies and paradoxes. He mentions several in both posts, but my issue is that they aren’t necessarily errors.
The Bible is a book which is a collection of books by many different authors, but a peculiarity of the Bible is its underlying Authorship (Intentional capitalization). 2 Timothy 3:16 is a verse Christians typically refer to concerning that. Combined with other verses and theological reasoning, Authorship of the Bible is accepted as being God. All 66 books of the Bible are considered consistent with each other as sacred canon or authentic. It’s accepted, therefore, that the message, content and spirit of the Word of God (synonym of the Bible) speaks as God, consistently and without error. In John 17:17 Jesus refers to the Word of God as truth, and Psalm 19:7-14 gives further support to this.
Essentially, to accept the Bible as having even one error would be a slope too slippery to overcome. Webster’s defines error as “an act involving an unintentional deviation from truth or accuracy”. From this one can see it being essential to the Christian faith that should the Bible even contain one verifiable error there would be nothing to stop a deconstructive flood from destroying the edifice of faith passed down through the generations of man since the beginning of time. As mentioned before, all scripture is given by inspiration of God. Therefore hypothetically, if errors were made in the Bible, the question becomes who made them, the human writers themselves or God Who inspired the writers to write. Either way, it becomes a problematic quagmire for a believer.
Consider but one of The Dangerseeker’s more difficult verses mentioned as the following:
Who was the father of Shelah? According to Genesis 10: 24, “Arphaxad was the father of Shelah, and Shelah the father of Eber.” Yet Luke 3:35-36 tells us something different, “the son of Serug, the son of Reu, the son of Peleg, the son of Eber, the son of Shelah, the son of Cainan, the son of Arphaxad,” Luke says Cainan was the direct father of Shelah and that Arphaxad was his Grandpa! Both accounts show that Eber was Shelah’s son, so we know that they weren’t skipping generations. Is this just a simple mistake? No, once again it is a case of the Bible using two different Old Testament texts. Genesis uses the Mosaic (Hebrew) Text while Luke quotes directly from the Septuagint (Greek) Text of his day. One of these two passages is in error.
One of the possible explanations of this inconsistency is that the Luke 3:36 mention of Cainan was simply copyists’ mistake. Essentially, though, the original text stands on its own without necessarily being in error, that is as previously defined, deviating from the accurate or truth.
In his book, The Revelation of God and His Word, Charles Green well states, “In the Bible, God’s purpose is to train us in a correct and holy lifestyle and give us instructions concerning His salvation – the gift of eternal life.” (pg. 16). Scripture is a historical narrative, but it is one with that purpose from the mind of God. The beauty of the Bible is that there are events and people which illustrate that point, both in the literal and the metaphorical sense. One of the many paradoxes of Scripture involves the beautiful paradox of the Gospel itself. Songwriter Michael Card alludes to it in the lyrics of his song To The Mystery, Because the Fall did devastate, the Creator now must re-create. And so, to take our sin, was made like us so we could be like Him.
It is possible to love the Bible and to love God, even though these loves are different from each other. Loving the Bible doesn’t have to be worshiping it, because the Bible is the expression of the Author not the Author Himself. So as I had mentioned in the beginning, although unbelievers are unaware of these two things, Christian believers have both an awareness of God and an awareness of His ways and know the distinction. The Bible acquaints the believer with Who God is, but isn’t God. This is the reason the preaching message The Dangerseeker heard that day was in error rather than any passages from the Bible.