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Friday, May 18, 2012

The Biggest Idea Of All

How does a banker do banking “as unto the Lord?” How does a car mechanic repair cars in alignment with Christ (pardon the pun)? How does the president of a company, or the President of a country, "think like Jesus" about issues and policies?

It starts with ideas. Fundamental ideas. Decision-guiding ideas. Commitment-shaping ideas. Rooted in the biggest idea of all: that the Bible is the Word of God in print, and that the Scriptures are totally true, for the totality of life.

I take an old-fashioned approach to the Bible. By “old-fashioned,” I mean an approach that has been around for centuries. An approach whereby Scripture is held as divinely inspired. By “inspired,” I mean “Holy Spirit originated.”

I believe inspired means the human writers put stylus to papyrus in such a manner that the words they wrote expressed the thoughts God Himself would have written had He been holding the pen. Not that God dictated the words, necessarily, but He guided the human authors to express thoughts with particular meanings. That's not to say the human authors always fully understood what they were writing, but the Writer behind the writers did.

 
I realize the meanings of words change over time. I also realize certain words have different shades of meaning to different people. But I also realize that the words put to print by the human authors of the Bible, in the days they were written, had particular meanings in the mind of God. It is this meaning that's the point.  

Why is this so important? Because if I am going to make authentic connections between the biblical worldview and my daily work, then accepting the Scripture as divine communication with intended meaning (regardless of the opinion of my wife and kids) is essential.

I’m very burdened to say that biblical “truth” is increasingly subjective these days, blurred and individualized beyond recognition. It is no longer a matter of endeavoring to understand what the Writer meant by the words the human authors used. Rather than discovering what the Bible means to the Writer, it has devolved into, “What does this Scripture mean to me?” 

Asking “how does it apply to me?” is very different than “what does it mean to me?” That kind of hermeneutic wreaks havoc with one's ability to integrate authentic Christianity with one's work, and it is particularly harmful when one's work affects the direction of a nation.  Bookmark and Share

5 comments:

  1. Well said! We must ask what was the meaning of the author under the inspiration of God - to the original readers. But is it not a wee bit discouraging that even while we would agree that this is the issue rather than, "What does it mean to me?", we have a myriad of interpretations on just about everything, even only among those who hold to the authority and inerrancy of the scriptures? We want to say "the Christian Worldview" believing there is a singular view, but since the application of our faith has led people down such different perspective-paths, we inevitably ask, "What are the implications of this passage to you?" So while we can hold to the view that there really is a RIGHT interpretation of a Bible passage (though I doubt we will ever all agree about that), we still need to understand that its impact, implication, significance, and relevance might differ from person to person, making the question - "What does it mean to you?" still relevant.

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  2. Thanks, Dave. I like your "What are the implications of this passage for you?" alot.

    I also like the way Mark Twain put it, when he said (as I recall), "It's not what I don't understand in the Bible that bothers me. It's what I DO understand!"

    Onward and upward.

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  3. Being that I am from the "younger generation" I can tell you, you are VERY correct when you say that biblical “truth” is increasingly subjective these days, blurred and individualized beyond recognition.

    I feel that so many of my friends have lost the vision or truth that the bible is to be the plumbline of their life. I honestly don't understand how they can believe that what they think and come up with on their OWN is a better way to live! But believe me, they do!

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  4. Selina,

    Agreed. It’s not the "fine tuning" issues of Scripture that really concern me, such as whether or not a woman should wear a hat in church, but bigger things, like whether or not cohabitation prior to marriage is still a sin.

    It's not just the young people. When I heard the President of the United States recently make a public statement in support of "same-sex marriage," and then go on to appeal to the Bible and his "Christian faith" for support (as in, "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you,") it prompted me to write this week’s post.

    As the Apollo 13 astronaut famously understated his catastrophic development in space: "Houston, we have a problem."

    Thanks for writing.

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  5. PS to Selina:

    Here is a link to the news report I referenced above: http://www.worldmag.com/webextra/19481

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