Jon’s Bible

August 20, 2005

BibleNoelle wrote,

OK, so someday, I’d like to hear from someone on why people put so much faith in a book that has “versions”. If it’s the word of God, and people go to war over it and live their lives according to it, and quote it all the time, shouldn’t it at least be pretty static?

Noelle, the notion that the Bible or “the word of God” is static is probably something you learned from church. Let me throw a wrench into that and let’s see what happens. Here are some random thoughts, a sort of stream-of-consciousness of how I see the Bible:

John Wimber, the founder of the the Vineyard movement, used to say: “The Bible is like a menu at a restaurant. Don’t eat the menu — get the food it points to!”

Is the Bible “the word of God”? There are some Bible-believing Christians who question that and say instead that the Bible is a record of the word of God to people in a specific place and time. Which opens the question: What is God saying to me, here and now?

Let’s do a search for the exact phrase “word of God” (in the New Satanic Version). Interesting.

The different versions are, of course, translations. We are translating all the time. I am taking my thoughts and translating them into words. You are reading my words and translating them into your own thoughts. Ah, languaging. (I think I will have to give Waking Life another try.)

Since when is the word of God static? The Bible itself says, “the word of God is living and active.”

Funny, I was just going to write about how the Bible does not have to be static to be a good foundation. I did a search on “foundation” and found that the Bible itself refers to something else as the foundation of our faith… or rather, someone else.

When God met me when I was eleven, this guy told me, “Jesus is the center of the Bible. The Old Testament points forward to Jesus and the New Testament points backward to Jesus.” And this Jesus… well, he has some unusual ideas and practices which I would love to follow, but am also afraid to follow. But the strangest thing is that he doesn’t say “Follow my ideas” like any old revolutionary. He says, “Follow me.”

Jon Reid

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As an American missionary kid who grew up in Japan, I'm a child of two cultures, while not fully belonging to either. This gives me a sightly different view of the world.

10 responses to Jon’s Bible

  1. Inherent meaning of historical biblical texts = static
    Crazy Human Language = very dynamic
    humm…I haven’t spoke in the King James vernacular for quite some time now.
    “This is what thou has spoken unto thee” – Rob

  2. Ya, see, that’s my problem. With the telephone game of mankind working against us, maybe he didn’t say “follow me.” Maybe he said “follow that yellow duck.” Wouldn’t *that* be tragic, if we all missed our ride on the downy feathered great duck’s back on the way to the great pond beyond…
    Not that the Bible isn’t a good book, full of valuable life lessons….

  3. That God’s word would be corrupted into saying something other than what the author intended it to say presupposes the idea that a creator made man and then went on his merry way and couldn’t care less about what his creation became after he was done with creating it. If it’s a God like we believe in, He takes an active participatory role in human history and influenced the bible to be written to say what He wanted it to say. That’s what makes it “the Word of God” instead of a book about god. It’s His message to us instead of just a history book.

  4. You know, Randall, aside from the whole “can’t prove the existance of God” thing, I think that’s the most logcal explanation to my argument that I have ever heard. Congrats! You are the first person to make me nod and say “good enough. I’ll buy that.”
    Ask Jon, that’s quite a feat!

  5. We should all go back to Greek. For a long while I was planning on learning Greek so that I could exclusively use my Greek New Testament and pick myself up a Septuagint Old testament.
    Of interest of course is the lineage of our current “bastardized” Bible. Before you get in a tiff about what I just said know that modern Bibles such as the NIV are really a conglomoration of Biblical editors picking and choosing from various textual sources. Thats why the last chapter of Mark is included in the NIV, because traditionally KJV had it. Ideally we would use the original texts but none still exist. The best we have are said to be the Alexandrian textual sources, however, KJV NIV and most Bibles you will see are largely Byzantinian sourced. Anyways for more info check out: http://www.skypoint.com/~waltzmn/ and be sure to look at the intro page before becoming overwhelmed.
    Oh and if anyone says KJV ONLY then ask them WHICH KJV version they are using, if its 1769 laugh at them, real KJV ONLY people are still using the old 1611 version (with its old english phrasing and punctuation mistakes). See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/King_James_Version Although really if they are claiming KJV ONLY then they should realize the lineage of KJV is Vulgate -> Tyndale -> Geneva -> Bishop’s -> KJV with KJV being only based from the Bishop’s Bible and not directly sourced from Vulgate.
    Man I’m long winded tonight. But this is stuff I’m way interested in. As for me I stick with NIV because it is accurate in all dogmatic manners, and cuz I’m too lazy to switch.

  6. i guess i’m confused as to how “i don’t think the bible is a trustworthy source” yields itself as “one of the reasons i don’t believe in God.”

  7. Oh no, that’s not really one of the reasons…. It’s just a point, or rather, a question.
    For me, it’s pretty simple. I just don’t believe. I have tried. Really hard, actually. And it comes down to the fact that I just don’t. I may or may not regret that when I die, but it’s all I’ve got at the moment.
    However, I love to ask questions and my friends who are Christians are very gracious with me in helping me understand some of the things that I just can’t wrap my head around. I feel comfortable that I won’t offend anyone too much by being curious about your beliefs and getting answers to the things thet roll around in my brain. Jon’s posse is great for that.
    I don’t judge based on religion (ok, that’s a lie – those heaven’s gate people are creepy), so I hope no one takes offense. I just want to know why you believe what you do and try and understand it better.

  8. If anyone gets offended by someone questioning their beliefs, then they must not be very secure in them in the first place, so ask away! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  9. There are many wonderful changes in my life, which are easy for me to explain but apparently different for others to comprehend — than when I chose to believe in something else for a while.
    And whether or not these [changes] were based on principles deep within my mind, or how strongly I felt at the moment..
    I believe what I do now because I have experienced the truths that have been spoken to me. And personally, I don’t think it can get more powerful than that. ๐Ÿ™‚

  10. I meant to type “difficult” not different. blahahaha!
    And Jon, I really like this entry, especially the translation portion.
    //lost in translation.