The Bible is NOT the WORD OF GOD: a polemic against Christendom

Is the Bible the Word of God?

The bible is not the WORD OF GOD. And if we believe it as such, then we have made the bible into an idol. The bible has become the Church’s idol. It is the Golden Calf of our day. The ancient Hebrews had taken the God of their forefathers and formed him into their image. They made him take on their identity because they could not grasp to what extent the WORD OF GOD was present with them. Yes, indeed it has been said for thousands of years that the ancient Hebrews were fools for doing so, but my dear friend so are we.

Just as the Hebrews, we have made the WORD OF GOD into our image – the bible. And by doing so have not elevated God, but relegated him to the lowliest place. Our misappropriation of authority has inevitably resulted in our inability to distinguish between what we THINK God requires of us, and what God ACTUALLY requires of us. This misappropriation has resulted in our use of superfluous language.

The bible is not the WORD OF GOD. However, our elevation of the bible to almost divine status has seemingly resulted in the Church believing it is to be the moral authority over the world – as though they speak for God. We have equated the language of the bible with the Words of God. This has seemingly resulted in the bible being used as a weapon of power to oppress others. Incredibly, the Church’s oppression has not been limited to the secular world, but has even been used as a weapon to oppress its own people.

But, Jesus never oppressed anyone!
When we assert that the bible is the WORD OF GOD we are diminishing what it means to possess the WORD OF GOD. The bible is a book. Just like any other book it contains words, propositions, stories, ideologies, and philosophies. But it contains something that is far greater than any other book that has ever been written. It contains testimonies. But not just any testimony. It contains testimonies about God – not just about any God, but the living God. It contains testimonies about who God is, and who man is; and who man is in light of his discovery of God.

God has revealed himself in history. Scripture testifies to that revelation. Scripture is not revelation in and of itself. Rather, it is a testimony to the revelation that has occurred. The bible is what we learn from; it is what we abide by; and it is what strengthens our faith.

The Bible is not the WORD OF GOD. It has no special powers and it is not magic. Sacred scripture means nothing if it is not alive inside the individual. Embodied, fully embraced. This does not mean that we take apart or dissect the bible in such a way that we are able to extrapolate metaphysical truths about the world around us. That is not the intent of the bible. Rather, the intent of the bible is to provide context for who we are as human beings, who god is as God; and how God has acted throughout history. It is a testimony to our lord Jesus Christ.

The WORD OF GOD is a moment that a human being encounters. It is Jesus Christ in his full glory and revelation. The WORD OF GOD occurs through a compilation of acts that bring forth the WORD OF GOD within the individual – prayer, reading and meditating on sacred scripture, fellowship, and worship.

Encountering the WORD OF GOD changes us – it makes us whole. It gives us strength and power. Words on a page do not give us strength; they do not give us power. It is only when we embody those words on the page that we truly become like the WORD OF GOD. It is what Jesus did. He did not come to abolish the law but to fulfill it. That means he embodied the law. He was sinless, he was perfect. He embodied the law in the truest, purest form of what is meant by “the law”. Likewise, we must embody scripture. It must become a part of us, our lives, and our identity; for the truth of God was not found in words or propositions or abstract ideas, but in the truthfulness that exists when we live out the WORD OF GOD on the world stage.

The bible is not the WORD OF GOD. The WORD OF GOD is Jesus Christ.

 

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  • Andy Smith

    Eric – it looks like you’ve adopted an interesting view here! :) I agree with some of the things that you say, but others sound like a pretty standard neo-orthodoxy. I’d be interested in hearing/reading more of your thoughts. – Andy

    • Eric English

      Andy, thanks for the reply. I am definitely going to do a follow up on this as I have had much interest.

  • Rev. Richard Haden United Methodist Church

    Very well said. Thank You. I get really concerned when Christianity is represented as those who use proof texting to rationalize their agenda. I have long believed that the admonition to not take God’s name in vain has nothing to do with saying curse words.

    When we use God’s name to do evil we ARE taking God’s name in vain. I believe that in the Hebrew Bible (usually called the Old Testament, the New Testament, and in parts of Christian culture that creating God in our image abounds.

    • Eric English

      Rev,
      Thank you for your comments and follow up observations. Right on brother!

    • Anonymous

      This is a very intriguing article and I strongly agree with you, Rev. Haden.
      I am currently taking a Christianity class and we’ve been focusing on how Christianity has been liberating or oppressing throughout different events in history. By learning about how it has affected people, it seems that there never was an event we learned about where His name HASN’T been taken in vain, as you described.
      I have learned my whole life that taking the Lord’s name in vain is just when, as you said, people are cursing. I never heard from the pulpit that people use passages from the Bible to oppress people. However, even the very people I learned this from use the Bible themselves to oppress others. They may not be “taking the Lord’s name in vain” per their standards, but sadly they don’t realize that they really are. It’s saddening to see people who you think should be supportive and good examples only turn out to be the exact opposite, especially in the church.

      Anyway, thank you so much, Brian, for sharing your views! :)

  • Lara McGregor

    It’s called, Biblioidolatry. Worship of the book. In this case, Bible.

    Well said. The 66 canon books today came to us through the machinations of the Catholic church. The religion of which was Pagan first. And of course the Vatican is constructed atop a Pagan graveyard.

    Then Vatican 2 occurred and a new “Catholic Version” was born. So that the church exercised it’s authority in two realms and unbeknownst to many. The Protestant, who continue with the Canonized 66 books of the “Holy Bible” and the Catholic 73 canonized New American Bible.

    I have actually spoken with Christians who do not believe anyone can find God unless for the Bible. I guess they have yet to read the scripture that states God can not be found in buildings constructed by man. When that is the case he certainly can not be found in books bound and printed and canonized through mortal man’s council election.

    Great article! I hope it spreads far and wide into every online Christian forum on the net.

    • Eric English

      Lara…Thanks for the thoughts regarding the article. Help spread the word by sharing the article if you liked it.

  • http://www.thinkredink.com Pam

    “I am NOT a book!” (Jesus, the Word of God) “If what you believe isn’t true, do you want to know it?” (Don Harris) http://www.ThinkRedInk.tv http://www.IamReadyToKnow.com

    • Eric English

      If it wasn’t true I would have known it, and thus not written about it. But thanks anyway.

  • Chad

    One way they make a god out of the books/scrolls of scripture is to make their interpretation twist the scriptures to fit their own image or view of God.

    Without a relationship to the true Word of God we will interpret the scripture through our training and others views and mix good with evil in our thinking and decieve ourselves and others.

    Becomming innocent again is impossible but the power of God can make up for our lost state to reveal His truths from within bearing witness to our spirit and guiding by the Word of God dwelling within. If we keep His 10 Commandments He will dwell inside us and tell us what to do and where to go etc. Scriptures let us know we are on the right track as a witness.

    • Eric English

      Amen!

  • Jack B Nimble

    Thin ice. That’s what you have stepped out on to in this post. Beware; Hell’s flames lick higher and higher.

  • The way/ truth hmm maybe for you the light

    everyone like to play with fire now and again but in the end is only what counts

  • RaGe ToCa

    Google the video of Chinese Christians who receive a shipment of bibles – also look for a video of a tribe who receives their bibles when a plane lands on their land – the bible IS the word of God – There are many millions of things that God has said and done but we’re not recorded or written about – but what we do have in the 66 books is Spirit and Life

  • Perry Stiltz

    Paul and the other writers never claim that their writings are the ‘Word of God’. John says that Jesus is the Word of God(John 1.1,14; Rev.19.13), and Paul says that it is ‘Christ in you’ (Col 1.22-25). If you strive to read it from the perspective of the first century church (who probably doesn’t have any new testament letters), then equating the New Testament to the ‘Word of God’ is nonsensical. This is explained in further detail: http://www.toanunknowngod.com/414258074

    and

    my article: Jesus vs the Bible

    http://www.toanunknowngod.com/414824702

    • http://ericsenglish.com/ Eric English

      Jesus being the Word of God and the Bible being the Word of God are two different claims.

      • Perry Stiltz

        I agree. The apostles John and Paul would also agree. One gave His life for us, and the other one records it for us.
        Thanks for your article.

  • Rodney McCarthy

    I think many misunderstand God and the bible. We are speaking about spiritual things, they are not understood the same way we understand chemistry, or algebra. Spiritual things are understood by revelation.

    For example Hebrews 4:12 is one of my favorite verses from the bible, and to understand it thru the mind, you would think that the verse is describing the bible (the scriptures), but it is not. The bible of itself (or by itself) does not have that power, but “The Word” does have that kind of power.

    Philip and Paul both experienced the word in their lives as did the Old Testament Prophets. To Phillip the word came to him and said join yourself to the chariot. To Paul the word said “Why are you persecuting me”, and to Jeremiah the OT say “The word of the Lord came unto Jeremiah” on several occasions.

    The bible is clear, we cannot seek God, nor can we come to Jesus unless God draws us. God initiates, he is not waiting to see what you would do, nor does he look down the corridor of time, to see if you would choose Him, and THEN draw you.

    These are manmade doctrines, manmade doctrines corrupt the ecklesia, and they travel from the mind of one man into the mind of another man, totally apart from the Spirit of God. The tree of knowledge in full display.

    God controls everything, even evil. No matter how uncomfortable that makes us it is true. Let me give you an example.

    One day David says to God. “I want to build you a house.” God says “No!” “But you will have a son in the future who will build me my house”.

    Is this true?

    Yes it is, and who was this promised son, this son of prophecy, this future son, this spoken word son, this god prophesied son.

    This son, was Solomon… Now watch God fulfill his own word of promise, His own prophetic word to David.

    One day David was overlooking his kingdom, and while on his rooftop, he sees a beautiful woman, bathing herself. David says “who is that woman” his servant says that is Bathsheba, the wife of your servant Uriah. David says “get her for me”.

    Then they have relations, (fornicate and commit adultery)…And from this union surrounded by sin and deceit, comes the God promised, prophesied, spoken word, son, named Solomon.

    So do we have a problem with God using sin to complete His words? Do we have a problem with God creating evil for His purposes?

    How about Moses, Moses kills a man, so he can meet God at the burning bush. Consider this man that Moses killed, this man was at the right place at the right time. What if this man had chosen to take a different path to work, or had an extra cup of tea, or went to visit the pharaoh that day. No that man had to be just at the right place at the right time to fulfill God’s plan and promises.
    Consider Romans CH 9:

    Paul sets about with a wonderful description of God’s plan and sovereignty. The Jews understand Paul so well they scream “Who then can resist His will, and why does God then blame us”.

    And what does Paul say to them as a reply. Does Paul say “My brothers I am so sorry, you have misunderstood my point about God’s sovereignty”.

    NO! Paul retorts, “Who are you to answer back to God”.

  • Rodney McCarthy

    I have a good friend who went thru a messy divorce, his wife left and didn’t want to walk with God. He moved out into the country. All his past church going so-called christian friends treated him like an outcast.

    One day he is walking in the rain, and falls in the mud, he gets up, and God speaks to him and asks him “what are you going to do now?” He says well Lord I’m going to clean myself off….The Lord replies “That is what I do for you everyday”.

    The Lord then asks him a question. He says — (Named withheld)… ” What would happen to you if there were no churches, and no bibles” he replies I don’t know Lord… The Lord says “would it change my relationship with you, if you couldn’t go to church, or read a bible…He said I suppose not…

    That day my friend saw the difference between religious Christianity, and relationship with God….

    This is the problem I think for many people, they have never experienced Jesus like that in a real way…

    All they know is a book, and a set of doctrines…The Jewish people of Jesus time, had a perfect text, from the finger of god, to scribes who were meticulous about making copies without translating the text, as we have to do for our bibles.

    Still they did not see clearly what was spoken about in the OT text.

    Jesus came and only two people in the temple were expecting him.

    Do you think our doctrines are any better than theirs…

    They knew the culture, they knew the customs, they knew the original languages, they knew all the clues of the scriptures, and some of them had even memorized the text of.

    So…WE JUST DON’T ALWAYS KNOW…WHAT WE THINK WE KNOW…

    Remember spiritual truth is revealed, NOT learned…

    Theologians can’t help you…It doesn’t work that way…

    It doesn’t come from learning, and spread from the mind of one man into the mind of another…

    Algebra does that, not spiritual truth.