Saturday, September 5, 2009

Beacon Touchpaper #14: "The Author's Perspective"

"All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness." (2 Tim 3.16, ESV)

Many people look at Scripture in a manner akin to any other historical texts - as documents written by men of old, in days unlike ours, and therefore of interest possibly but certainly not relevant. Unfortunately, that's because they don't see the real authorship behind it.

A decision made last week by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America has only proven similar: they voted to allow practising gays as clergy, a case that sparked the same worldwide debate as occurred last year when the Anglican Church faced similar issues. One advocate said, "We live today with an understanding of homosexuality that did not exist in Jesus' time and culture. We are responding to something that the writers of Scripture could not have understood." Except the Corinths of 2000 years ago were exactly the same as the Brightons, Amsterdams, Seattles, etc of today, of course. The writers may not have understood how modern culture will look and act today necessarily, but the Author of Scripture most certainly would. Nothing takes God by surprise.

The Bible is more than a book, more than a guide, more than just a manual; it is God's revelation to us of Himself, it is prophetic, it is inspired through man (as opposed to the common assumption that it was written simply by man), it is His living Word... it is literally "breathed out by God".

The Bible is 66 books, written by 40 different authors, over 1500 years, in 3 different languages, on 3 different continents - way too many factors to allow for conspiracy or coincidence! And yet this collection of books shares the wonderful common storyline: of a glorious plan to create and rescue a people made to glorify and enjoy God forever. That has never changed. "Times they are a changin" as someone once said, but Jesus Himself affirms, "Scripture cannot be broken" (John 10.35).

In which case, ask the following when talking to others about the Bible: Do we understand the Bible in the light of our own lives and surrounding culture? Or do we understand our lives and surrounding culture in the light of the Bible?

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