W.I.S.H. – Weekly Insights for Spiritual Health 08-25-2021
Read: Deuteronomy 34
Who wrote the Bible? People, probably men. Not God? No, God did not write the Bible; God inspired the Bible. Inspiration does not mean dictated. Inspired literally means “God-breathed”; the Bible says that humans are God-breathed and we are certainly not perfect. Traditions rise up and get solidified, but traditions are not fact. Tradition says that Moses wrote the Torah (first 5 books of the Bible), but the Bible really doesn’t say that. Near the end of Deuteronomy the death of Moses is recorded including details of his burial. Is the Bible inspired? Yes, though people disagree on the exact nature of what inspired means, and whether all of the collected books of the Bible have the same kind of inspiration. For example, when a prophet says, “thus sayeth the Lord” – that’s a very high level of revelation. When you are reading the Psalms, which are spiritual poems of faith, they often reflect the thoughts of the poet, good and bad, and are the poet’s words, not God’s words. It reminds me of a Martin Luther quote, “The Bible is the word of God, not the words of God”.
The word “Bible” means library. The Bible is a collection of books written by different people, at different times, at different places, and under different circumstances. Sometimes the Bible has timeless verses of truth, and other times the words reflect a particular situation and circumstance only.
Some Christians believe the Bible has an inerrant and infallible level of authority, and many Christians believe that it does not. What you believe about the Bible is not what makes you a Christian; what you believe about Jesus Christ does. The United Methodist Church believes in the “primacy of scripture” meaning that the Bible is our prime source for our knowledge of faith and of God; the Bible is our first source and lead source for determining doctrine. It is our primary source, but it is not our only source. United Methodists have long affirmed what theologians and historians call “the Wesleyan Quadrilateral”. We draw our knowledge of God and of God’s word first from scripture, but also from reason, tradition, and experience. We value all four, working together to provide us with an understanding of God and faith.
As a serious student of the scriptures I‘ve found all four sources to be necessary and valuable for a healthy faith. We will need these tools as we enter the promised land.
Pastor Rob Nystrom