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

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 a 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.

 

Comments

  1. Andy Smith says

    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 says

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

  2. Rev. Richard Haden United Methodist Church says

    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.

    • Anonymous says

      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! :)

  3. Lara McGregor says

    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 says

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

  4. Chad says

    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.

  5. Jack B Nimble says

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

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