Concrete Faith and Jackhammers
Is the Bible inerrant?
I don’t care.
Not in the way evangelicals are trying to prove (cling to) their belief on the subject.
The Bible is not God. The Bible is not part of the Trinity. The Bible is not perfect, not divine, not the authority in my life.
Holy Spirit is.
Not the Bible.
Yes, of course, God can engage me through the words and stories of the Bible. But God is not confined to the Bible. God is not constrained by the Bible.
God also engages me through: Nature. Music. Movies. Novels and blogs and short stories. People. Pets. Birds nests and beehives. God engages me through just about anything or anyone if I’m paying attention.
The Bible is a record of humanity’s maturing understanding of God. It is a collection of spiritual truth, a dialogue with many voices sharing their experience of the sacred and divine. Those voices sometimes argue and sometimes agree, and I like that. It reminds me of… real life.
The Bible is true. I don’t need history or science to prove it to me. I know the Bible is true because its stories resonate with my soul. I don’t need apologetics or doctrine to convince me. All I have to do is read it for myself.
Its words and stories get under my skin, bond to my blood, and settle into my bones.
The Bible is not a science book, not a history book. It’s a sacred book. It’s absolutely true, and I know it. It is not historically accurate. It is not scientifically sound. It doesn’t need to be. The Bible speaks to my spirit and to my heart, not to my logic or mind. It penetrates to a far deeper place in me than my thoughts can access.
The Bible does not line up with astronomy. It cannot tell me anything about biology or chemistry or physics. I don’t want it to. The sciences answer what and how. The Bible answers why and who. So I’ve stopped expecting the Bible to answer questions it isn’t meant to address.
Sometimes I read the Bible for answers. Sometimes I go away with more questions. That bothered me before. It doesn’t anymore. Now I see more questions means I’m still curious, still searching, still… humble. More questions means I don’t get it, means I have doubts, means I have faith.
Because faith is not the absence of doubt, just like courage is not the absence of fear. You need fear to realize you have courage. You need doubt to realize you have faith.
I do not gauge faith by intellectual adherence to a set of beliefs. My faith could never be that concrete. Because that kind of concrete faith will be broken up with any jackhammer of failed theology or cognitive dissonance. And that’s inevitable when you insist on asking the Bible questions it does not answer.
My faith is mysterious and uncertain. It relies on a Person and a relationship, not on principles or dogma.
My belief is confidence in the goodness, the grace, and the love of God.
When you’re beholden to a book, you’ve got to always have it with you. Your nose is always in its pages and you miss the smell of any rose. You miss the glory of any sunset. You miss the beauty of connection with another human because you cannot see them when you’re focused on a page, when you’re quoting its words instead of listening to theirs.
God does not indwell the Bible. God indwells us.
Jesus never handed out a scroll of sacred texts. He gave us himself. Jesus never promised the Bible. He sent us the Holy Spirit.
The written record we know as the Bible is important. But, as with every good book, the story settles into the hearts of those who read it, and they carry its truth wherever they go. It’s the spirit of the story that lives on in people. It’s the Spirit of God who lives in us.