If We But Understood

Scripture-1I’ve been reading around a lot lately. By that I mean, I’ve been reading a lot of different things from a lot of sources, Christian, Hindu, Buddhist. I seek truth and somehow it’s one of those things that you know it when you see it.

It has made me puzzle a bit about scripture.

We certainly do revere it, and no doubt we should. There is so much wisdom to be gleaned from texts written from times so far ago.

If you begin to delve into how

scripture became such, well, it’s a bit jolting at first. I mean to learn that what we consider scripture today was not always so considered is a bit unnerving. It must be one of those things that fundamentalists avoid thinking about.

In terms of Christianity, scripture was, well, more or less what some group or other said it was. Various “churches” relied on different writings as sacred. Don’t get me wrong, there was a lot of agreement of course, but on the fringes, there was lots of disagreement. It was nearly four hundred years in before the “canon” was officially set, and of course Protestants today don’t agree about what Catholics call The Apocrypha.

We don’t consider things like the Gospel of Thomas, Gospel of Mary Magdala  and a few others “scripture”. We (not us of course, but church elites) have decided this for us, determining that such tracts are from heretical sects “stamped” out by the “true” church.

But all this tends to depend on how you view the bible. If you are that strange thing called a fundamentalist then you believe that the bible is the “word of God”. They mean by that that although humans wrote the bible using their own language and idioms, God made sure that the essential “facts” were all there. In other words, nothing is in the bible that God didn’t want in it and nothing is not in it. Which is all very weird when you think about it.

This means that God made sure that the people who were deciding what was and what was not scripture must have been led by the Spirit to choose just the “right” ones. I mean, after all, there is that Protestant thing about some books not being scripture, so doesn’t that sort of mess up the whole “spirit-guided” theory as to what IS the bible?

I suppose other religious groups faced and dealt with the same problems.

All this, of course, depends on our conclusion (and it is one we surely made), that God said all he had to say about “things” a very long time ago. Because I don’t hear any Magisterium or their Protestant counterparts, sitting around debating any “new” stuff.

This seems to me to be just flat-out wrong.

The bible is a collection of writings, made by almost all  men, and anonymously for the most part. Surely they were inspired to speak of God as they saw him, and as they saw God interacting in his creation. That seems to me a fine definition and an accurate one. Given that they were inspired by God, they gave us wonderful wisdom of the love of God, and His greatness.

But is God no longer interacting with his creation?

If He is, and certainly I can think of no one who would argue otherwise, then is he not inspiring others to write of their understanding of His workings in the world? Surely every theologian and every biblical scholar thinks they are writing truth. Surely this is true of every hymn writer, and every “inspirational” writer.

Are they too scripture?

Well, perhaps not all. Some are in it for the “job” and the money and the power. Some are sadly misguided. Some are deeply immature in their faith. But we all agree, mostly at least, that some people have an ability to lift us to the heavens with their prose or poetry. Some speak so beautifully that we are forced to see God more clearly, more deeply than before. Is this not scripture?

We all can point to those who do this for us. Richard Rohr, Thomas Merton, Walter Brueggeman perhaps. A Jon Sobrino perhaps? I suppose it might be hard to decide but clearly we can all point to those who speak truth about God and us.

Is this not as beautiful as a psalm?

How Great Thou Art Hymn

Lord my God! When I in awesome wonder
Consider all the works thy hand hath made,
I see the stars, I hear the mighty thunder,
Thy power throughout the universe displayed;

Then sings my soul, my Saviour God, to Thee,
How great Thou art, how great Thou art!
Then sings my soul, my Saviour God, to Thee,
How great Thou art, how great Thou art!

When through the woods and forest glades I wander
and hear the birds sing sweetly in the trees;
when I look down from lofty mountain grandeur,
and hear the brook, and feel he gentle breeze;


And when I think that God his son not sparing,
Sent him to die – I scarce can take it in,
That on the cross my burden gladly bearing,
He bled and died to take away my sin:


When Christ shall come with shout of acclamation
And take me home- what joy shall fill my heart!
Then I shall bow in humble adoration
And there proclaim, my God, how great thou art!

Then sings my soul, my Saviour God, to Thee,
How great Thou art, how great Thou art!
Then sings my soul, my Saviour God, to Thee,
How great Thou art, how great Thou art!

Is this not scripture, God-breathed and valuable for teaching? (2Tim 3:16)

1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Daniel D. Lieurance
    Aug 30, 2013 @ 13:03:28

    You need to write much more than you do.


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