What is the Bible to us, and why is it important?
Why do we use the Bible as the primary source of wisdom to guide our church? Isn’t it rather dated, and reflecting mostly the values and biases of the ages in which it was written? Can’t we somehow find something more inspiring which is a bit more contemporary?
At our church the Bible is considered the primary and most authoritative way in which God speaks to us. It was written by various writers from roughly 3000 BC to about 90 AD. Many of the older parts, such as Genesis, Job, and the Psalms were originally passed on through oral tradition, and predated their written form by several hundreds of years. Yet in both the oral and the written forms, and through each of the writers, we believe that the Holy Spirit inspired the entire process to insure that what we have in our hands is the word of God and God’s principal way of revealing his will to us.
Human nature does not change with technology or with cultural differences. The fundamental dealing between God and man is no different today than it was when God spoke to Abraham, or when the prophets cried out against the sin of Israel in the Old Testament. How we deal with God, or marriage and sexuality, or money, or the authority of one person over another has not changed in all of human history. We are counseled by David’s great Psalm 51 of the need for repentance from sin, Jesus’ words at the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5-7 for practical applications of our faith walk and having a right heart, Paul’s Epistle to the Romans describing how we are saved by faith and not by doing good works, and much more. The Bible shows us the path to salvation, first through the people of Israel who he called to have a special relationship with him, and now through Jesus Christ who calls all to know God through Jesus’ atoning death, and through his life-giving resurrection.
We at Holy Trinity find the Bible to be God’s revelation to the world. We are not free to ignore it, change parts of it which we find uncomfortable, or to come up with tortured interpretations of the Bible which allow us to accommodate it to the cultural fads of the day. As the second epistle of Peter reminds us, the Bible can sometimes be “hard to understand,” and people can “twist to their own destruction” the scriptures. We dare not do that!
We believe it takes disciplined reading, study, and prayer to deal properly with the Bible and to help us to plumb its meaning today. The Bible can speak equally to an uneducated man with only 8th grade schooling, or to the scholar with advanced college degrees and letters after her name. For a Christian to be faithful to God, approaching the Bible with a discerning and inquiring heart and taking it seriously is a must, not an option.