Honesty about the Bible

February 17, 2010 at 11:00 pm (Christianity)

I’ve started my next book: “Jesus, Interrupted: Revealing the Hidden Contradictions in the Bible (and Why We Don’t Know About Them)” by Bart D. Ehrman. I bought this at the same time as the other Jesus book, by E. P. Sanders, as I wanted the truth about Jesus and these two authors seemed to be widely regarded as prominent New Testament scholars. Ehrman has many books that sound interesting, but the reviews indicate that there is a lot of overlap between them, so I thought I’d just buy the most recent one.

Here are a couple of quotes from the first chapter:

“One of the most amazing and perplexing features of mainstream Christianity is that seminarians who learn the historical-critical method in their Bible classes appear to forget all about it when it comes time for them to be pastors. They are taught critical approaches to Scripture, they learn about the discrepancies and contradictions, they discover all sorts of historical errors and mistakes, they come to realize that it is difficult to know whether Moses existed or what Jesus actually said and did, they find that there are other books that were at one time considered canonical but that ultimately did not become part of Scripture (for example, other Gospels and Apocalypses), they come to recognize that a good number of the books of the Bible are pseudonymous (for example, written in the name of an apostle by someone else), that in fact we don’t have the original copies of any of the biblical books but only copies made centuries later, all of which have been altered. They learn all this, and yet when they enter church ministry they appear to put it back on the shelf.”

“The views I set out in this book are standard fare among scholars. I don’t know a single Bible scholar who will learn a single thing from this book, although they will disagree with conclusions here and there. In theory, pastors should not learn much from it either, as this material is widely taught in seminaries and divinity schools. But most people in the street, and in the pew, have heard none of this before. That is a real shame, and it is time that something is done to correct the problem.”

I have to agree with Ehrman that it is “amazing and perplexing”. Why is there such a huge divide between what is taught in church and what is taught in college to prospective church pastors?

The historical-critical method is, let’s face it, a rational method looking for objective, factual truth. It’s like science. There is no wonder I am attracted to books like this; it’s no secret that I have been after literal truth. When I read Sanders’ book, it was so refreshingly thought-provoking, I thought even then, why haven’t I ever read stuff like this before? Why don’t churches promote this type of knowledge? Why don’t these books get pushed in Wesley Owen? Aren’t churches missing a huge opportunity to reach out through this research to people who have been conditioned to use their minds and won’t respond to traditional platitudes?

We are a long way from an Islamic equivalent of this research, never mind its dissemination. But unlike the Quran, large chunks of the Bible were never meant to be written by God; inspired by God, sure, but not necessarily perfect. Even when in the grip of evangelical faith I was able to see that the New Testament is mostly letters from one person to another(s), and I could never entertain the notion that the writers of the letters ever meant their words to be taken as God’s. Ehrman says that the knowledge he is presenting in the book does not destroy Christian faith; he lost his own faith over the problem of suffering, and it was nothing to do with his developing an honest, objective picture of the Bible.

At a time when I’m struggling to hold onto my regard for religion, reading something like that puts another nail in the coffin. I feel like people are being cheated out of truth. I can’t see any justification for knowingly peddling myth (here, the myth of Bible inerrancy) as literal truth.

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22 Comments

  1. hennamenna said,

    Now THIS book I DID read in it’s entirety some time last year when it came out. I found it fascinating and thought provoking-however at the same time I felt somewhat cheated.

    Although I chose to convert to Islam-while knowing very little about the religion I grew up in-what I did know was almost completely obliterated after reading this. I felt sad and angry-like I said, cheated-and at times found myself feeling very defensive towards the author-making up excuses that somehow he was angry at Christianity and wanted to tell the world what HE thought so everyone would walk away questioning the church and their belief in the “fantasy” of the Jesus being taught to them( despite the historical validity behind most of it)

    On the other hand, it reaffirmed my belief in Islam and did clear up a lot of questions for me. Not that that’s any consolation nowadays with the uncertainty and doubt I have in my “new” religion?!

    Anyway, I do find it amazing how much the average Christian really doesn’t know about their own religion and Jesus in regards to some of the things he tells us in this book :/ I have since gone on to keep what I found beneficial to me and let go of the rest. Like you, this book did leave me with a sense of “where have I been and what have I been reading all this time-why not this stuff?”

    I think a person can read book after book, until the day they die, each with it’s own take on it and never fully be able to make sense of it all as long as there is something within them that seeks out the “literal truth” Every book-every author starts with their own interpretation of it…some people may read Aslan’s book and be totally convinced and others may not(did finish it by the way and found all the comments here about it FASCINATING and kept me coming back each time) and some people may read Erhman’s and the same would happen…I think it depends on the person and what they choose to take from the authors perspective-of course any historical points aside because even in the case of historical fact-if a person WANTS to believe something they will believe it.! No matter which way you’re going with it-causing me to believe that neither of these books-and countless others-will MAKE or turn a person into a believer or not of whatever religion it is about.

    Fascinating reads though and definitely worth reading- if not for anything but just to know.. 🙂

    I look forward to seeing what others have to say about this book and your thoughts about it in the end-when finished.

    🙂

    • Wrestling said,

      Hennamenna – I haven’t read much beyond the first chapter yet, but thanks for sharing your thoughts about the book! It sounds like it’s maybe a bit controversial and even sensationalist, then? I’m hoping that it will give me understanding beyond Jesus himself to the actual early Christian community – what did they believe, how did their ideas develop.

      “even in the case of historical fact-if a person WANTS to believe something they will believe it.!”
      So true… and this may be behind the denial of scholarly research… but it depresses me because I have always been a literalist; when I believed in religion I thought it was literally true (although I accepted there were metaphorical parts in the Bible) and that it stood up to objective analysis. I guess I at least want to know if my beliefs stand up to objective analysis or not, I don’t want to be sheltered from that information by pastors who think it’s in my interests to “just believe”.

      I’m sure if I find the book interesting, you will hear about it!

  2. susanne430 said,

    Thanks for sharing this. The author is at a university about 45 minutes from where I live. 🙂

    Bart D. Ehrman is an American New Testament scholar and textual critic of early Christianity. He is the James A. Gray Distinguished Professor and Chair of the Department of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

    • Wrestling said,

      Susanne – cool! So if I have any questions, can you deliver them to him for me in person?! 😛

  3. LK said,

    OH This sounds super fascinating! This sounds like the Christian equivalant to No god but God…except that Ehrman seems to have left the church. He is not well liked in my home church I can tell you that.

    There is A LOT they don’t teach you that I learned in my studies. A question I often ask myself is “Would I believe in Jesus and his stories if I didn’t grow up Christian?” I think they would be very hard to accept from the outside. But my thought now is this: Do these stories hurt anyone? Does their truth cause any illness or harm? No. So why not let their message live on in a form of truth. This might actually be what Aslan means by myth=truth.

    And the church did at one time believe the Bible was the word of God. Even when I was a child I was taught that. They changed their tune about 10 or 15 years ago. They still say “Word of God” in church but you are taught now that the Christianity is a progressive, ever evolving religion that needs to change and thusly so does its scriptures. At least where I am from this is what they preach and this is the reasoning for all the edits.

    Youve given me so many wonderful books to read! This and the history book you previously read have moved to the top of my list.

    • Wrestling said,

      LK – I guess a lot of traditionalists won’t like Ehrman. But he does say that he didn’t leave the faith over any issues with the Bible. His last chapter talks about how faith is still possible, so I look forward to that one!

      I think it’s still possible to believe in the historical Jesus, stripped of the legends. After all, his status was never dependent on the outlandish miracles.

      I agree with you that a lot of myths can be harmless and should be left alone. Not all of religion’s teachings are harmless – I found this out to my cost during my 3-year pentecostal adventure – and so I am pretty ruthless now about working out the consequences of believing things. But not all myths are harmful. Perhaps some myths are better for us than the literal truth! Who knows.

      I wonder where the Bible being the word of God came from. Maybe from the time of canonisation? Before that, it was just documents, surely? But that’s going waaay back. Maybe this shows that people always need to sacralise texts, maybe they need a source of authority like that.

      • Black Sheep said,

        “I wonder where the Bible being the word of God came from.”

        I think it’s from the Jewish reverence of the Torah. Most conservative Jews will say that the Torah (Genesis to Deuteronomy) was spoken to Moses directly by God. This is similar to the reverence of the Quran by Muslims, and conservative Jews have much the same “laws” regarding treatment of the Torah.

        Here’s a short article which outlines the proper handling of the Torah, as per Orthodox Judaism:

        http://www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/518721/jewish/How-is-a-Torah-scroll-handled.htm

        There are two “Torahs”. The written and the oral, and they are both considered the Word of God. I find this interesting and pretty compelling, because if Torah is the actual written and/or spoken Word of God, and later as John states, Jesus is the Living Word of God, then logic would say that Jesus was considered (by John) the Living Torah. If you think about this abstractly enough, it can be an eye opener, because the concept of Jesus actually *being* the Torah made flesh brings to me at least a whole new way of looking at the Gospel message, and of understanding some of the more “illogical” doctrines that are found there. Probably something for later discussion, but also something to ponder.

        • Wrestling said,

          Well, yes, I understand that the Torah is believed by Jews to be the law of God, although Christianity is not centred on the Torah. I guess the puzzle is in how the New Testament came to be viewed like it is.

          Please, feel free to elaborate on how Jesus-as-Torah makes sense of the gospel. I don’t get it!

          • Black Sheep said,

            Sorry it took so long to get back to you. I guess I’m feeling a bit more conversational today!

            “Christianity is not centred on the Torah”

            Maybe not Christianity as we know it today, but since the earliest Christians were Jews who held the Torah in highest regard, perhaps that sense of reverence was carried forward. Also, perhaps mistakenly, the whole Bible as the” Word of God” got confused with the Torah as the Word of God. I’m talking the part that’s considered literal and actually God-spoken, not just God-inspired, as is the rest of the Tanakh (OT) and the NT. The literally spoken word of God should really apply just to the Torah if we are to honor Jewish tradition.

            “Please, feel free to elaborate on how Jesus-as-Torah makes sense of the gospel. I don’t get it!”

            It’s a mind bender to be sure. When I read about “the Word” (memra or mimra) of God, and what it meant in traditional Judaism, and put it against John 1’s opening statement, THEN thought about how the Torah is seen as God’s Word made text, things started to click.

            Here are some things to start you off:

            “In John’s Gospel we find another connection of Memra as being not only the Word of Yahweh and the Light of Yahweh, but the Light of Torah. This teaching did not originate with John but was well understood long before. In Proverbs, for example, we find this same teaching in the following synonymous parallelism:

            For the commandment [mitzvah] is a lamp,

            and the Torah is light [Memra]

            (Proverbs 6:23)

            What John does clarify is that not only is the written Torah the Torah of lovingkindness, the Torah is also the written expression of the Memra-the Word of the LORD.

            Further, John shows, Yeshua is the fullness of the Torah being the Living Torah-the Memra in flesh. Not only is the Torah the expression of God’s lovingkindness, or grace, but with Yeshua the lovingkindness, or grace of God, is in flesh. The lovingkindness, of grace, of the written Torah that came through Moses is now complete in the lovingkindness and faithfulness of the Messiah Yeshua.”

            http://hebraicroots.net/pipermail/list_hebraicroots.net/2007-October/000223.html

            More:
            http://www.hebrewroot.com/Articles/Living_Torah.htm

            http://www.jknirp.com/jast.htm

            Let me know if you want more; maybe we can email exchange to keep these blog postings more on topic!

            • Wrestling said,

              “Also, perhaps mistakenly, the whole Bible as the” Word of God” got confused with the Torah as the Word of God.”

              Sounds plausible, especially since it was Gentiles who were compiling the NT who might not have understood the distinction.

              “For the commandment [mitzvah] is a lamp,

              and the Torah is light [Memra]”

              I think I understand. So the commandments in the book are just a lamp made to display God’s word/light. And Jesus also did that. Got it, I think. Thanks!

  4. Black Sheep said,

    I know what you mean, WWR. I’ve told you before that you mirror my own wanderings, but mine started around 13 and by the time I was 15 I was “over” religion. I was basically a deist until my mid-late 20’s when personal and spiritual (some would call prophetic, I guess) experiences began to come at an alarming rate, and with extreme lucidity. I haven’t had any experience like those 2-3 years since.

    Now, I don’t attend any church (never have), nor was I raised Christian (although in my pre-teens my mom became “born again”). Dad was agnostic/atheist (but open minded) until his late 50’s (even then I’m not sure as I didn’t ever hear him profess anything, nor had anyone else–except my mom heard “admissions” from him now and again, and he had radically changed in attitude towards God and Jesus).

    I think it’s great that you’re open to reading all sides of the story. I would also say (and I’m sure you know) that some, if not many, skeptical works are very lean on facts right along with the dogmatic religious stuff. So to counter a little bit of that, I’ll point you to this guy’s site;

    http://www.markdroberts.com/

    More specifically to your most recent posts, this page:
    http://www.markdroberts.com/htmfiles/resources/biblequran.htm

    He’s one of those that Ehrman is baffled by. Harvard educated, PhD in theology, and “wrestled with religion” while studying. But he came out of it not ignoring the facts as told, but with a greater understanding and appreciation for the Bible and Jesus, as told in the Gospels. He wrote a very well-done mini-book that speaks in layman’s terms about several issues that Ehrman brings up and has a very extensive blog about a number of subjects, all having to do with this investigation you’ve undertaken. I hope you spend some time reading it, because mixed in with the pastoral stuff is a lot of good rebutting of some of what you’ve read. You can be the judge of who better represents your views.

    As I said once before, I’m not trying to preach, but maybe offer some balanced retort to some of the works you’re reading. Faith and religion don’t have to be irrational, nor do either have to “ignore the facts” and re-interpret things to make them “fit” or workable. Sometimes it’s our preconcieved idea of what we want them to be that have to be re-adjusted. If the *reality* of what a particular religion says or expects doesn’t rise to the level of what we think should be reflective of the divine, then we should discard it, and I disagree with anyone who suggests otherwise.

    But I have found that the Bible and Christianity come closest to what I expect the divine to represent (with mostly objective standards), and so have embraced that. And I’m constantly reminded by events in my life that seem “God-directed” that I can’t superimpose my own standards on the divine no matter how much I’d like to.

    I hate to just throw websites at you to read, but others who have actually produced readable stuff do so much better than I at expressing things. I can internalize them and be convinced by them, but I do a terrible job at expressing the same concepts to others, so I just say, “Go here and read what I read”. LOL. I Hope you don’t mind.

    And remember, “those who wander are not always lost”. 🙂

    • Wrestling said,

      Black Sheep – thanks for this interesting link!

      I really didn’t know I was reading a book by a skeptic. This author was prominent on Amazon – maybe that says something! Or maybe he’s just a charismatic writer who communicates the topic well to the public, and happens to be skeptical.

      The page you linked to discusses his book “Misquoting Jesus” which sounds a good deal more skeptical than the one I’m reading. As the author of the page says, Ehrman’s idea about divine inspiration of scripture actually sounds more like the Quran than the Bible. I particularly like this sentence from the page: “Some modest uncertainty about the words might, it seems, cause one to lean more upon God and less upon the words themselves.” I completely agree with that! That is the whole point, to me… we clearly need to stop sacralising the words and focus on the message, using every means we have to determine accurately what that message is.

      If I’m annoyed at anything in the way the Bible was presented to me in church, it’s the over-analysis of the words – which are IN TRANSLATION for a start, and usually plucked out of context – with some vague notion that whatever’s understood from them is what’s meant to be understood. Completely unsubstantiated and dangerous, not to mention unsatisfying. I would go as far as to say that the words of the Bible are idolised.

      I want to tackle the Bible in a way that I’ve never done. I’ve had to get rid of all my Bible translations, which were nowhere near accurate enough after reading transparent translations of the Quran, and use the much more word-for-word NRSV and ESV. I want to understand the meaning, not consume the translator’s interpretation in nice flowery language. And now, I’m educating myself about what scholars know about the Bible, so that when I read it I will have a better idea how to understand it.

      “And remember, “those who wander are not always lost”.”
      Thanks for that thought!

      • Black Sheep said,

        Hi again, WWR!

        “I really didn’t know I was reading a book by a skeptic.”

        I wouldn’t call Ehrman a skeptic per se; he is a well respected scholar. But I do think that his views are unadmittedly biased based on his experience of faith lost. There’s nothing wrong with that (other than he may not be aware of his bias), but that’s why I offered another view from another respected scholar whose work, while accepting standard scholarship, reveals that his conclusions are different than Dr. Ehrman’s.

        “If I’m annoyed at anything in the way the Bible was presented to me in church”

        I’m thankful I resisted the suggestion that it was important to find a church. I suppose it’s very good for some people; I’ve always been a “go it alone” person. That’s not to say that there aren’t great pastors, bishops, and leaders in churches, or that there aren’t some seriously devout and “real” Christians found there, but my personal experiences in general haven’t been that spiritually renewing.

        “I want to understand the meaning, not consume the translator’s interpretation in nice flowery language. And now, I’m educating myself about what scholars know about the Bible, so that when I read it I will have a better idea how to understand it.”

        I commend you, and I agree–I still haven’t read all the way through my Bible, although I’ve probably read all of it in bits and pieces. 🙂

        The translations you’re now looking at I’ve heard are really good, because they use not only the right context in terms of language, but they also use cross-referenced material which wasn’t discovered until relatively recently to reconstruct a lot of the cultural context that was lost after the fall of the Temple and the resulting diaspora. I use the NASB, which is probably very similar to the ones you’re using.

        If I could make a suggestion, that before you start a study session (reading the Bible with your new-found discoveries), ask God earnestly to help you understand what it’s really saying. You probably won’t get your answer as you read, but sometime when you aren’t thinking about a particular passage it will hit you. If you get that AHA moment (again, not AS you read, but after you’ve internalized it and moved on to another passage), likely that’s His answer. It’s how it works for me, anyway. (Well, not exactly but I’m hesitant to explain it. I want to because it’s what convinced me, but I know it’s kind of , umm, weird, so I don’t usually talk about it…ugh…).

        ‘”‘And remember, “those who wander are not always lost”.”
        Thanks for that thought!”

        You’re welcome! 🙂 It was my motto for 15 years, and I think it fits you, too.

        • Wrestling said,

          I do see what you mean about Ehrman. This book is much less formal than Sanders’, even the dramatic title shows that he’s all about debunking. But I don’t accept any author’s personal views uncritically, I just want solid information from this book really. A lot of it is already exactly the same as the info I got from Sanders’ book. Which is reassuring.

  5. sanil said,

    I for one won’t be forgetting all these things when I’m a pastor, and I’ll be passing them on to my congregation. However, since I’ll almost definitely be in a Unitarian Universalist setting instead of a Christian one, that’s really not unique and will probably not be all that new to the congregation.

    From what I’ve seen in some friends, though, it’s not so much that it’s forgotten as it is that they don’t see a place for it. More conservative students might not believe it anyway or will see the historical critical method but still believe that everything in the Bible is inspired and perfect, so they won’t worry about it. Some don’t want to pass on information that could cause people to stop believing (as Ehrman did). Some see two worlds of information – you can understand from a scholarly view that these are written by people and there’s a lot that we can’t be sure of, and a lot of evidence that they were adapted from other ideas..but from a faith perspective you’re supposed to ignore all that and just focus on what they say about God, or else what are we doing working in the church? And finally, I think the biggest concern is that seminarians think their congregations won’t want to hear it. If you mention some of these things in a lot of churches, people get scared and angry. A lot of people simply decide it’s not worth the risk.

    I think separating the two worlds is going to lead to trouble as we learn more and more. Once upon a time, only scholars knew about things like historical criticism. Now, thanks to people like Ehrman and Karen Armstrong, it’s becoming public knowledge. A lot of people (unfortunately) dismiss them as anti-Christian and won’t read them, but eventually that will change and already a lot of people both religious and non-religious are studying these things. If we don’t allow the discussion to be raised in church and give people a way to examine them in a way that embraces faith, doubt, and the search for truth, they will only be able to study them with non-religious people and situations, and then they WILL be more likely to abandon faith. For me, seeing the historical information only enhances my faith, and I want to share that with others.

    • Wrestling said,

      Sanil – I sort of vaguely gathered you were in seminary from your blog, and I thought you were UU. That’s interesting. I’ll have to read more of your back posts to learn more!

      All of the reasons you suggested for why pastors don’t reveal this stuff make sense. I suppose I shouldn’t be annoyed at what was presented to me in church – I could have questioned more if I’d wanted to, but that wasn’t what I wanted at the time.

      “If we don’t allow the discussion to be raised in church and give people a way to examine them in a way that embraces faith, doubt, and the search for truth, they will only be able to study them with non-religious people and situations, and then they WILL be more likely to abandon faith.”
      So true. And I think there should be a place within churches for people who take history and science seriously. I don’t think they should be made to feel like apostates!

  6. Achelois said,

    I began re-reading Misquoting Jesus on Friday as part of my Lent studies this year. I really like the book. Bible was taken as the literal and unaltered word of God, which is true, but even those who claimed that knew that the Bible we have today is copy of a copy of a copy of a copy…

    Nevertheless, I always believed that even myth (if Bible is full of myths) comes out of some reality. Claiming that Bible is a complete myth does not make Jesus a myth. It does out Christianity in an odd spot but it doesn’t make Jesus evaporate.

    I’m going to do a post on the book when I finish reading it and my focus will be how this book, Misquoting Jesus, can put Islam in an odd spot as well because whenever the Quran refers to Jesus or Mary, the descriptions can be found in apocryphal or canonical texts so if the Bible is a myth, Quran becomes a myth too.

    I do really like the history he gives on how Texts were canonized. Funny thing is the apocrypha of the West is still canonized in Ethiopia, for example! The apocrypha of Ethiopia is read in the Coptic churches. Bible is therefore, IMHO, quite subjective, just like how Quran was in early Islam.

    • Wrestling said,

      Achelois – perhaps I will learn from this book why the Bible or NT specifically came to be viewed like that. It doesn’t make sense because none of its authors were like Muhammad, receiving revelations and writing them directly down word-for-word.

      I don’t think he’s saying the Bible is complete myth, just that it’s not complete history either.

      I always felt uneasy about people reading apocryphal texts, which shows just how steeped I was in this idea that the Bible is 100% the accurate word of God.

      I look forward to your post on it… I was thinking as well that it gives Islam some difficult questions to answer, or it would if many Muslims were interested in reading anything like this!

      • susanne430 said,

        Here are my unscholarly thoughts on why the NT became viewed as it was. You’ll notice that the NT takes place mostly among the Jews at least in the Gospels. And the OT for sure is very Jewish. So here are these people who have the Scriptures (the OT) and in them they see God’s promises for future restoration and glory. They see prophecy about their coming Deliverer or Messiah (Hebrew) or Christ (Greek for Messiah).

        Jesus comes on the scene proving to be no ordinary man. Is he the one? Is this the Messiah from God? Some are convinced, some are not. Jesus’ ministry on earth ends, he is crucified, risen from the dead and appeared to hundreds of people before returning to heaven with instructions for people to share the “good news” (gospel) with people throughout the world.

        So they did.

        Paul was the first missionary to the non-Jews (Gentiles) and while forming house churches throughout the region, he wrote letters to the people of Corinth, Galatia, Ephesus, Colosse, Rome, Philippi, Thessalonica. These letters were passed from church to church and copied and preserved as instructions from a man inspired by God. (Not as Muhammad is believed to have received revelation word for word, but the message was inspired.)

        As time past false gospels and false prophets started cropping up. Some people said Gentiles must first be circumcised or obey Moses Law and Paul addressed these false teachings in Galatians for instance. Peter and Jude wrote about false prophets and warned the believers to not be persuaded by those who would distort the good news of Jesus.

        Luke states in the gospel that bears his name that he collected and compiled the stories and teachings of Jesus. Remember at this time MANY people had followed Jesus and could verify if these stories were accurate or not. Matthew’s gospel was written more for a Jewish audience – his own people. You’ll note he often refers back to the Jewish scriptures and shows how Jesus fulfilled a certain prophecy.

        Mark’s gospel focused on the suffering servant and how Jesus came to earth not to be served (Jesus never took for himself special privileges or exceptions of the rules; he lead by example even washed people’s feet!). Jesus came to serve and give his life as a ransom.

        John was likely the last written of the four gospels and you notice it is different than the other three. He’d seen Jesus’ divinity attacked by groups that had popped up. He was an old man and wanted to record the life of Jesus for future generations.

        So the Bible wasn’t one book like we have today. There were letters to churches and recollections of apostles (those who’d seen the risen Christ) that were compiled so that we would know the story of our Lord.

        I believe God preserves His word – this is why I reject that the Scriptures were corrupted by Paul or anyone else as some people have told me. I’ve seen the power of the message of the Bible – JESUS SAVES – and how it changes lives.

        We believe the Spirit of God (aka the Holy Spirit) inspired men to write what they did for instruction and for sharing the gospel (good news) with others. And we also believe He guided them in canonizing what they did into the Bible that we have today. In truth, *the message* of the Bible is the most important. Not necessarily the Bible itself. Some people get into worshipping holy books more than they worship the God of the holy book and so we should realize the Bible points us to knowing GOD which all boils down again to *relationship* with the Lord.

        Jesus came to restore that fellowship with God. He came so we might have relationship with God. Paul says we are adopted into God’s family. How much better relationship can you have than this? This is why we say grace is truly amazing!

        • Wrestling said,

          Susanne – but in Christianity, God can inspire any believer, no? Any believer by the power of the Holy Spirit can potentially prophesy. So what was so special about Paul’s and others’ writings that they needed to become scripture? It’s this scripture part that I’m not getting.

          “Some people get into worshipping holy books more than they worship the God of the holy book and so we should realize the Bible points us to knowing GOD which all boils down again to *relationship* with the Lord.”

          Exactly!

  7. Aurangzeb said,

    My friend, I read your post and your concerns and doubts etc etc are… well…, childish. 😛 Please don’t mind it ok? my aim is not to hurt your feelings or to discourage you but to tell you how people are distracted.

    In almost every religion, it is known and believed that satan (aka fallen angels or devil or lucifer) said to God (ALLAH), that he (the devil) will lead God’s People astray but only those who are purified by you would survive.

    Satan (or lucifer) is not sleeping, satan is always working to lead people to the hell. And he is constantly struggling.

    Now look around yourself what is happening? All the evils are influenced by the satan one way or the other. And satan would not come to you or me to say “hey you follow me and leave your religion and I shall give you diamonds”… that would be stupid isn’t it? So, he does go, goes to the leaders of a country and influence them, and promise them the worldly comforts. Have you heart of Illuminati? Freemasons??? Even I’ve heard from a guy who used to or had contacts with the people who talked to satan that one of the satans said, “darwin’s theory was personally taught by lucifer and whoever learns that theory makes lucifer happy”….

    This world is not simple as it seems. You need to search for the truth. and when you find it, spread it.

    Thanks! 🙂

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