August 27, 2021

Taking Scripture Seriously

The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul; the decrees of the Lord are sure, making wise the simple.
Psalm 19:7
We often forget the real meaning of the word perfect. When I say someone's a perfect stranger, I don't mean that their beauty is flawless or that they're omniscient. I mean that they're a complete stranger. When the psalm says that God's law is perfect, the word used is complete—the law of the Lord is complete or whole. It brings wisdom. 
Some people seem to think that believing that the Bible is inspired also means checking your brain at the door. The Bible is inspired means that it's infallible. Believing that the Bible is infallible means I cannot engage with it, lest I appear to be questioning it.

The truth of the matter is that the Bible is filled with contradictions. And it's fine with that. Those contradictions show us that, even thousands of years ago, important issues were debated. The patriarchs, historians, and kings whom we so revere didn't all agree. When we use the Bible as a weapon to condemn others, as a means of humiliation, or to prove ourselves right, we're denying that the Bible itself allows for diversity of opinion. Ever since Moses received the law, God's people have interpreted its words... and they haven't always agreed.

To believe that scripture is inspired by God is to take it seriously. To believe that every word is to be taken literally does not ask for any engagement on our part, and actually encourages us to simply ignore the parts that don't make sense to us. I find that it's better to take it seriously than to take it literally.

All scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness.
 2 Timothy 3:16
Prayer after thinking about today's devotion:
Blessed Lord, who caused all holy scriptures to be written for our learning: Grant us so to hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them, that we may embrace and ever hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life, which you have given us in our Savior Jesus Christ.
 Book of Common Prayer
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After your own thanksgivings & petitions, close with the Lord's Prayer.
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