Worship of God – or Idolatry of the Bible?

The way most Christians treat the Bible is as if it were a book of quotations & every word was from the same Author.

Some denominations even have a doctrine that the Bible is 100% divinely-inspired and nothing in it is incorrect, even the parts that obviously contradict one another.

In fact, it is a collection of books of stories and songs and sayings/thoughts by a wide range of authors, most of whom had no concept of what the modern age calls historical accuracy. These various authors were speaking to their own age & trying to say Truth that would matter then, not facts or historical truth as we would consider it.

The old manuscripts reveal a variety of voices, styles, ways of speaking and those old manuscripts don’t all agree with one another in every detail. Any reasonably-accurate translation will reveal some of these contradictions, for they exist within even the best of the manuscripts.

For a Christian, how you treat the Bible matters, as those who believe the One Divine Author doctrine are free to take quotes out of context & mix them with other quotes out of context. This allows preachers to make a point or bolster a view that is not necessarily expressed in the Bible, or to make a bold statement where the Bible is much more nuanced.

Those who recognize the history of the Bible, the collection of books by different authors, know that each story has to be seen as making its own point & sometimes those points have been dulled or lost altogether by the passage of time, the loss of the cultural context in which the story was originally told, and the later editing by those who sought to bend the story to their own views.

It is not possible to be a Christian without having some sort of relationship with Jesus, but many Christians let their preachers / pastors lead them into idolatry of the Bible, this collection of books, rather than taking the time themselves to read the plain text of even the four Gospels to see what Jesus was reported to have said & done, let alone the Old Testament to see what the God of Abraham did & said.

If your only connection to your God is through another person’s doctrinal filter, out of context quotes & idolatry of a collection of books about that God (books which you treat devotionally but never read in context as plain text), you are seeing through a glass darkly, not face to face.

This lack of clear vision is why so many Christians buy into a mean-spirited or miserly or self-righteous religiosity that is contrary to the teachings of Jesus.

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About Tim Gatewood

55+, male, widowed (May 2016). Mobile notary public and signing agent, freelance writer, and ordained minister. Science fiction and fantasy fan, willing servant to cats, avid reader and collector of books and other stuff. Please see my websites (including this blog and others) for more info on me and what I think about the issues of the day.
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