Friday, March 2, 2018

What does the Bible teach?

There are so many Christians - Catholic and Protestant - who toss out Bible passages as arguments, explanations, even weapons.

They seem to think that a specific verse taken in isolation is good enough in any situation.

Then there are those who trot out "The Bible doesn't say anything about that" or "Show me where Jesus said anything about that" arguments, usually to justify some activity that is questionable, or even outright sinful.

But both approaches miss the point of what the Bible is.

The key is not what's in - or not in - the Bible, but what the Bible teaches.

We have to look at the overall message, not just what one particular verse or story says.

Moreover, the Bible is not just one book. It is a collection of books. It is poetry, short stories, history, apocalyptic literature, and more. Its books employ metaphor, allegory, hyperbole, and so many other literary devices. Its various parts were written by a number of individuals who were inspired, yes, but who had to express that inspiration in various ways colored by their own knowledge and talents.

So to understand what the Bible teaches you need to read it constantly and comprehensively.

Just because Jesus didn't say something about a specific issue does not mean that the Bible has nothing to say about that issue. And while some verses seem to condone something, the overall message of the Bible may reject it.

In the beginning was the Word - many words - and there are enough of them to keep us learning and growing for a lifetime.

Pax et bonum

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