I have angered more than my share of people when it comes to my beliefs on the Bible. Many of these just within the last couple weeks. So, I have decided to try to clarify what I believe when it comes to this wonderful Book we've been given, and what the Word of God means to me.
The Bible was inspired by God. It was written by the hands of men, but by the Holy Spirit. But, I believe this can be said of many of the words written today. Most of the bloggers I've come to "know" through their writings about our Lord, and Christianity - their words come from somewhere... someone... something. I like to believe that this somewhere/someone/something is the Holy Spirit. God wants his Word heard and read and believed. And He wants it relevant and active and alive.
But, back to the Bible itself...
This was written many years ago. Times change. True, the actual Word of God does not exactly change... but the situations and people do. As I explained to someone else earlier today... take stoning in the Bible. They loved stoning people back then. God commanded people and animals be stoned. It was necessary to maintain a Godly order. In today's day, at least in the US (a "civilized" country), the death penalty is allowed in some states, for some crimes (murder). But if we tried to stone someone? That is not allowed. That is considered cruel and unusual punishment. It's inhumane... even to do to someone who rapes and murders several people. In Biblical times, it was acceptable (and ordered) to stone a girl who was not a virgin at the time of her marriage. It was also acceptable to stone a bull if it killed gorged someone. Or, if a female is raped in a town, and she doesn't cry out, both she and her rapist are to be stoned. These events would not be acceptable now in our society. And, I wouldn't want them to be. So, while the general idea that order should be maintained, the way in which this order is maintained has changed. Additionally, what we consider to be a threat to order has changed.
This is why I say that the Bible is to be used as a guide for how to live, not a how-to manual. I do not disbelieve any part of the Bible... I just believe that some of how people conducted themselves in those days do not apply word-for-word in our day. The Bible is a description of how the different people back then came to know and understand God. It's a description of their journey. Just as now... bloggers and authors and pastors and each of us have the opportunity to give our own descriptions of our journey... of how we come to know and understand God. The basic components are often the same, but the details will differ because we are a different people than those of Biblical times.
And this is why I say the Bible is NOT the only Word of God.
For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. (Hebrews 4:12 NIV)
The Word of God is inside each of us. We just need to listen. Yes... read the Bible. It helps to open us up to what God wants and what He is saying. But we can't just read or listen to scripture. We need to listen to GOD. We need to let him into our hearts and minds and soul. We need to hear and feel and believe what he speaks when he speaks directly to us - not just when he speaks through a centuries old Book.
I truly believe that if we only focus on the Bible, only listen to the words held within that Book, we do not attain a relationship with God. All we give ourselves is a relationship with a book. Personally... this is not what I want. I don't want a relationship with a book. I want a true, deep, meaningful relationship with God. And for this, I need to do more than simply read. I need to hear the "alive and active" Word of God speaking within me.