We have noted in this series that we believe the Bible was written by God. Our faith in this allows us to see how the Bible has one over-arching story running through it that is about a Creator-God that loves us, intends our best, and in spite our best efforts to mess that up, He makes up for it, rescues us from ourselves, and gives us access to our best anyway. It is a miraculous story that has delivered miraculous results within people who have read it consistently for thousands of years.
It takes no faith to see that it was also written by man. It is not a single book, but a library of 66 books, written by over 40 different authors (some of which have never been identified for certain). The youngest volume is about 1900 years old, and the oldest volume is about 3400 years old (and that does not count that what was written in the earliest volumes had been passed down orally for hundreds of years before that). So, just as you would not go to a library shelf and read the various books found there back to back as if it was one continuous stream of thought, you cannot do so with the Bible. It is a library.
This mysterious co-operation between God and man in writing the Bible requires that we agree that it is not a simple book. We need to understand that since it was written by humans, each volume has a specific time-bound purpose written to a specific audience that applies to them. However, since it was written by God we need to understand that there is also a timeless purpose contained in and connecting these volumes.
The specific and time-bound parts provide us with inexhaustible material - stories, poems, wisdom and insights - within which we can find ourselves and God in ways applicable to countless situations and subjects. At the same time, the larger story that weaves its way through all these volumes (he who has ears, let him hear), provides an over-arching, transcendent story within which all humans can find a glorious treasure that is described with lofty words such as joy, peace, salvation, healing, purpose, passion, and life.
Last week, we examined how Jesus exposes two ways to read the Bible: one approach leads to legalism, and his approach leads to truth and love. Scripture shows that he spent large portions of his ministry trying to win people from the former to the latter.
Today, we hear from Brent Adams, one of our trusted shepherds, who has been a preacher of the Bible almost all of his life. He has approached scripture in both ways. May his story, teaching and journey contribute to our own.
Questions? Send them to firstname.lastname@example.org and I will try to addresse it in this series.