Disclaimer: About This Blog

THIS BLOG IS: my personal journey of how I am rethinking some of my spiritual beliefs.
THIS BLOG IS NOT: intended to point fingers at people who I think are wrong.
I do not believe the final judgement will be based on how many correct answers we get on a theology exam. I believe many people throughout history have had genuine relationships with our Lord and Saviour Jesus, despite holding questionable beliefs and practices. I make no claim to having it all figured out or being your judge. If we end up disagreeing over these topics I pray we can find a way to demonstrate grace.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Playdough Scripture 2 Timothy 3:16

OK... I may not be popular for this one... :)

I'll try to explain my concern.

2 Timothy 3:16 (Playdough Version)
"All Scripture (the 66 books we call the Bible, some of which were not even written before 2 Timothy, yet including these and all New Testament books which would be compiled into a canon a few hundred years later by the early Catholic Church) is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, (and the Bible is the only inspired and authoritative word of God)"

My concern here is how this verse is frequently used as the main proof that the Bible passed down to us is word for word God's words. It is often presented as a simple proof without acknowledging the stuff I added above in red.

It may be true that God moved the pen for every word of our Bible. But I don't see any verse in our Bible stating that this was the case.

And even if the Bible ended with the line "Every word in this volume of 66 books is God's inspired words", would that prove on it's own that it is true? If the Da Vinci Code ended with "Everything in this book is 100% true"... would making that claim make it so?

Young's Literal Translation gives a different look to 2 Timothy 3:16:
"every Writing [is] God-breathed, and profitable for teaching, for conviction, for setting aright, for instruction that [is] in righteousness,"
But I'm still not sure what that means. Every writing? Which writings? That's what I'm concerned with. Did Timothy know which books would be included in the canon that came together over a few hundred years of the early church?

OK... so what I am left to hold on to? I think the early church confirmed that these books were the best books describing the life of our Lord, and the life and teachings of the early church. There are other early christian writings that may also shed light on the early church. But there was reason for enough doubt and they were excluded from the canon.

I believe the 66 books we cherish do point us towards knowing the Word of God. Jesus is the Word of God. I believe it is possible that God spoke clearly to the authors as they penned the books in the Bible. I hope all of it is 100% accurate. It would make sense that a loving God would want to preserve an accurate written account of who He is. But even if it isn't 100% accurate, I am thankful that I hold a book that reveals to me who God is, and that He wants to relate to me in a personal way. In that relationship I can hear God's words to me.


Anonymous said...

While I'm pretty certain that the larger context of that 'verse' implies that Paul was probably specifically referring to the Torah, The point of the Torah, I believe, is simply to move us towards, into and *deeper* into Christ.

You've lost no popularity-- with me anyway!

Jonathan said...

Yes Paul may have been referring to the Torah, but saying "which are able to make you wise for faith in Christ Jesus"(vs 15)... it could have been referring to some early christian writings that may or may not be in our canon - I don't know.

Thanks again for the comments.

Anonymous said...

Sure. I can appreciate a healthy "agnostic" response to questions concerning the text.

Paul could very well have had other writings in mind...

Jonathan said...

Good. I don't mind if you think you know... and I'm sure Paul knew what he was talking about here... but I don't know if I can know for sure. :)

Ike said...

I think it is The Word of God.

Jonathan said...

Thanks Ike. I also think Jesus is the Word of God (John 1, and 1 John 1). And I'm thankful I have the Word of God in me to help interpret the written words of God.

Hans-Georg Lundahl said...

Every writing - includes Maccabees (I and II at least), Tobit, Judith, Wisdom and Jesus Ben Syrach.

Ideally it would include also Henoch, which was quoted by St Jude. BUT there are discrepant versions of that book, which is why it is not in canon. Anything found in all of them though, or anything quoted by some other Holy Writer in a well established way ... you get it.