10 Things I Wish Everyone Knew About the Bible

The 10 Commandments of Bible Reading.

Note: For several years, Peter Enns has been hosting a conversation on, as the title of his blog has it, “rethinking biblical Christianity.” In books such as Incarnation and Inspiration and The Evolution of Adam, he articulates methods of Bible interpretation that are in conflict but, he argues, in better keeping with historical Christianity. His latest book, The Bible Tells Me So: Why Defending Scripture Has Made Us Unable to Read It, pitches these ideas to a general audience. 

We asked Enns to list ten things he wishes everyone understood about the Bible. Here is his answer: 

1. The Bible doesn’t answer all — or even most — of our questions.

Many of our questions, even some of the more pressing questions we face daily, aren’t answered in the Bible. The Christian Bible isn’t an answer book but a story of how Jesus answers for us the biggest question of all: what God is like.

2. The Bible isn’t like God’s version of Apple’s “Terms and Conditions” agreement.

The Bible doesn’t lay out before us God’s terms and conditions, where failure to adhere to one clause in the middle of page 87 will cause a breach of contract and banishment from God’s graces. The Bible is more like a grand narrative that reorders our imaginations and holds out for us an alternate way of seeing reality — with God at the heart of it rather than ourselves.

3. The Bible isn’t a sourcebook for fighting culture wars.

The Bible isn’t a club we use to gain political power or a way of forcing secular culture to obey our rules. America is not God’s country and the Bible isn’t its constitution. Stop it.

ENNS_BibleTellsMe_HC4. The Bible doesn’t guarantee “success in life.”

Don’t listen to those T.V. preachers. The Bible isn’t a step-by-step guide to success, as if buried there are deep secrets for being happy, healthy, and rich. It is a book that shows what dying to self and surrendering to God are about. The Bible crushes our egos.

5. The Bible is open to multiple interpretations, not just one meaning.

The Bible is ancient and obscure, and its stories are “gapped” and flexible, which allows—even demands—readers to interpret the Bible legitimately in various ways. This is exactly what has been happening among Jews and Christians for over 2,000 years.

6. The Bible invites debate.

An extremely important lesson for Christians to learn from Judaism is that the Bible invites debate. In fact, it can’t avoid it, given how open it is to multiple interpretations. Winning Bible feuds with others, getting to the right answer, isn’t the end goal. The back-and forth with the Bible, and with God, is where deeper faith is found.

7. The Bible doesn’t “record” history objectively but interprets it.

The biblical writers didn’t try to get history “right” in the same sense an author of an academic textbook does. Instead, they interpreted the past in their place and time, for their own communities, to answer their own questions of faith. That’s why the Bible contains two very different “histories” of Israel and the four Gospels that recount Jesus’ life differently.

8. The Bible was written by Jews (and at least one Gentile in the New Testament) in ancient times.

This may sound too obvious to say, but it’s not. The biblical writers were ancient writers expressing their faith in God using the vocabulary and concepts of their ancient cultures. When we transpose our language and concepts onto biblical writers, even if we are trying to understand the Bible, we will actually distort it.

9. The Bible isn’t the center of the Christian faith.

Some form of the Bible has always been a part of the life of the church, but the Bible isn’t the center of our faith. God is — or, for Christians, what God has done in and through Jesus. The Bible doesn’t draw attention to itself, but to God.

10. The Bible doesn’t give us permission to speak for God.

At least not without a lot of wisdom and humility behind it. Knowing the Bible is vital for Christian growth, but it can also become intoxicating. We don’t always see as clearly as we might think, and what we learn of God in the Bible should always be first and foremost directed inward rather than aimed at others.

Peter Enns
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  • D.Gessner

    Unfortunately, Hollywood 99.9% of the time get it wrong where it concerns Christians and Christianity. A good example of this is the current film ‘Left Behind’ supposedly based on the 12-book series of the End Times. There are small Christian film companies all over the country trying their best to portray Christianity in film.

  • DonaldByronJohnson

    I agree with all but #2. At least parts of the Bible deals with covenants/contracts and God even divorced Israel because of bad behavior, that is, not keeping parts of the Mosaic covenant, see Jer 3:8.

    • Harold Jonston

      Yes, the fact that the Bible is divided into the Old and New *Covenants* points out that #2 is obviously an error.

  • http://OurRabbiJesus.com/ Lois Tverberg

    Regarding #1, I agree that the Bible wasn’t written to answer our every speculative question. But it also doesn’t answer many questions about God either. (Just ask Job.) Our culture is obsessed with theorizing about God and evangelicals seem to think that this really is our primary calling. But the Bible’s goal isn’t, honestly, to call us to endless theological debate.

    The central message of the Bible is, as I see it, quite blunt and perhaps not terribly palatable. It’s to put humanity on notice. We were created by a holy, loving God who is grieved by sin, and judgment will come at the end. But amazingly, we can seek forgiveness by receiving Christ as Lord and following him. This is essentially how Paul boils down the gospel in Acts 17:29-30. We can either participate in the redemption of the world, or be judged along with it at the end.

    A little harsh, but it’s solves a lot of questions for me. And it explains why the Bible really has no interest in answering some of the questions that we have.

    • Big Giant Head

      But it would seem that the author woad say that the central message of the Bible is debatable and not central.

    • http://www.fordswords.net/ Ford1968

      That’s fine as far as you go. But you beg the question: what does it mean to follow Christ?

      While I wish American Christians could focus on the gospel truth that unites us, we allow the particulars of the faith to fracture the Church (which is, itself, a sinful act). Moral certainty about what constitutes holiness and discipleship is grounded in biblical interpretation. To the author’s point, holding our orthodoxy tightly is nothing but folly. The bible doesn’t justify our judgements the way many people imagine it does.

      • http://OurRabbiJesus.com/ Lois Tverberg

        I completely agree. And I agree that there’s plenty to discuss about how to follow Christ. At least you’re discussing the thing we’re supposed to be doing, rather than speculative theories about God.

      • Jesus Christ

        And then Jesus came upon his disciples and said, “Brethren, I’ve heard it said among you that I am the Son of God and was sent to die for your sins.

        Brethren, may I asketh, who in the goddamn hell came up with that Neanderthal bullshit!!!!!!!????

        Blood sacrifice!!!!???? Are you out of your fucking minds with that idiotic caveman lunacy!!!!!!!!!!!??

        Brethren, I’d sooner lick Judas’ ass crack than be a part of your disgusting dying for sins horse shit!!!

        And the disciple whom Jesus loved the most said, ….”Well fuck you Jesus!! I always thought you were kind of gay anyway!!!

        Holy shit fellas!!! What the hell are we gonna do now!!?

        Hey, maybe Billy Ray will die for our sins. Anybody got Billy Ray’s phone number?”

        ——The Gospel of Jesus, if it were composed by a sane, rational person and not a bunch of Bronze Age religious lunatics

        • james

          Your choosing to deliberately insulting to people of faith, is very sad. Your life is meant to be good for others and for yourself, not full of venom. Can i suggest you see if any of your friends are true friends and will tell you honestly what they think of your wee rave. Cheers

        • Danny Schwertner

          Strange that this ancient book even has a counter argument for your rant.

          18 For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19 For it is written:“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise;
          the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.” 1 Cor 17-19

        • WotIThink

          You can mock the Bible but in order to do with any success you need to understand it first, and you clearly have none.

    • harriss

      amen, Lois, very well put

    • leuver68

      thank you Lois!

  • http://www.seo.kirbyworks.net/ Kirby Hopper

    These points are all the more lucid when we realize the early church was planted and thrived for nearly 400 years without a bible. If you were a Christian in say, Alexandria (Egypt) in the year 200 you might be privy to half of the New Testament writings but also be privy to that many other writings that didn’t make it into the bible yet you might consider them just as authoritative as the ones that did make the cut. It is our eternal quest for certainty that gives us Catholicism and Evangelicalism while the early church lived in doubt and uncertainty. I think if we are going to have a faith that comes near to the faith of the early church we are going to embrace the doubt and follow Christ.

    • thomasmitchel

      Good morning,
      Your statement is not exactly correct. You could not got to Lifeway and buy the collection we call the Bible. But look at Acts 17:11 and read a bit of early Church history. We had brothers and sisters who died because they possessed and protected the portions of Scripture that came into their possession.

      • http://www.seo.kirbyworks.net/ Kirby Hopper

        Acts 17:11 refers to the Old Testament. Yes we had brothers who died because they possessed portions of the scriptures but everybody’s collection was different than any body else’s so some died for what was later rejected by the church, including the works of Polycarp, Ignatius, Clement, the Didache, the Shepherd of Hermas, etc.

        • thomasmitchel

          Yes, Acts 17:11 refers to the OT. The early church continued to see that as Scripture. The canon was taking shape by the early to mid 100s with few of the books disputed. Although the list of the works the Protestants recognize was first listed without omissions or additions in 365/66, there was rough agreement on most long before that. The gospels were recognized early on as Scripture. Peter recognized some of Paul’s writings as Scripture on par with the OT (although we do not know exactly what work or works he may have been referring to). The important point, however, is that our early brothers and sisters had Scripture and recognized it as the Word of God. We also know that that took seriously and literally many of the passages that men and women like the article’s author wish to now disregard. They certainly did not believe that everyone was entitled to their own interpretation of God’s Word.

          • http://www.seo.kirbyworks.net/ Kirby Hopper

            They certainly did believe everyone was entitled to his own interpretation. How could they do otherwise if they had no EXACT agreement on what writings were authoritative. How can you not have your own interpretation if you didn’t know the works of the Apostolic Fathers would later be rejected as canonical, though at the time well-respected and highly regarded, and considered authoritative? Your conclusions from the facts of history just don’t wash my friend. Also, each of the Apostolic Fathers had their own interpretations, their own “private theologies” that were well-regarded by most other church leaders. There was no one at the time saying any of these men had no right to their interpretations. They simply disagreed with them and went public about it if they felt strongly enough about it.

    • Harold Jonston

      In fact, if you read the New Testament, you would find that they used the readily-available Old Testament as their Bible to support and preach Jesus. Until the New Testament was written they had the apostles – firsthand witnesses – and the New Testament was complete before the last apostle died. There are canon lists, and extensive quotations from the New Testament by early church fathers, from before the year 100.

      • jagiela

        They also had the liturgy, the icons and the oral traditions of the Apostles. Its when the Protestants took the Bible out of this rich liturgical environment that these insane interpretations became rife.

        The only “commandments” to remember in reading the bible is:

        The Bible means what the author intended not what we can twist his words to mean. When it comes to the New Testament, the words of the Apostolic Fathers, who knew the authors of the texts, should be heard.

        The Bible means the same thing at all times and in all places. There is no place for interpreting the Bible differently than was done in the first century or in the hills of Ethiopia. The Bible is guided by the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of Life, the Spirit of Truth- He is not going to say one thing to me and something else to you

        • http://www.seo.kirbyworks.net/ Kirby Hopper

          Here comes the Catholic way of looking at it, which does seem to square with history or at least take history into consideration, but a Catholic can not imagine a world in which God leaves the people to “see as in a glass dimly.” A Catholic suffers the same need for certainty as an Evangelical. Neither one will admit to the mystery which is the Christian faith or put himself in the shoes of a second or third century Christian who did not have a “bible” or have any assurance that his church had everything figured out for him infallibly. The whole idea of an infallible Magisterium (interpreter of God’s word) is a myth. Church history does not support this idea.

          • jagiela

            Your a bit presumptuous here. First, I’m Orthodox and not Catholic and what you miss is that the Christian faith is about certainty- its about what is and what is not. There is either a purgatory or there is not. The doctrine cannot be both true and false

            Gay marriage is either right or wrong. Its not wrong in the first century and right in the twenty first
            Its not right in this town and wrong in that one (a common practice in Protestant denominations)

            First century Christians may not have had the cannons but they did have the Apostolic Tradition from which the Bible is written. And of course, as Paul writes, Christians should hold to the traditions that they were taught whether by word or by epistle- but the oral tradition of the Church which gives the Bible context was thrown out during the Reformation because it conflicted with the lies of Luther, Calvin, Zwingli and the rest

            Finally, Papal infallibility is a modern doctrine of the Catholics first proclaimed in the late 1800s, The authority is rarely invoked and on things which are rather esocteric (the immaculate conception and the assumption of Mary body and soul into heaven)

            But nice try

          • LyingMakesBabyJesusCry

            Pretty sure, oral tradition was thrown out with the invention of the printing press. The reformers utilized the press to tell about the lies of the church, salvation came to them with the purchase of a wax dipped piece of paper? The church has been better without that hogwash.

            But nice try.

          • jagiela

            And you would be in error- the Oral Apostolic tradition of the Church remains as valid today as it was two thousand years ago. It was just another piece of the tradition that the Protestant reformers couldn’t handle. Sola Scriptura became the only thing because it allows for the twisting of doctrine and teachings beyond all recognition

            As bad as the medieval Catholic Church got, it was never as bad as the Protestants. Of course, since the Bible itself teaches us to hold the traditions we are taught by WORD or Epistle, the self contradiction of the Protestant reformation is obvious

            The Bible means what the author intends not what we can twist it to mean and that meaning doesn’t change depending on where or when we read it. That the Protestants teach doctrines that never existed in the Ancient Church is proof enough of the fallacy of the Reformation

          • WotIThink

            Catholics teach doctrines that never existed in the Ancient Church too.

          • jagiela

            Yes they do- but nowhere near as many as the Protestants who can’t seem to agree on much. That’s why there are over 30,000 different Protestant denominations and why Protestantism is doomed to failure.

            The Catholic error is to have the Pope decide everything instead of relying on the consensus of the Bishops like Orthodoxy and the ancient church did. When there is disagreement, the issue should be decided in council

            Of course, since the Protestant slogan is really “And every man a pope” we can see just how bad things are getting in the Protestant faith

          • larrd

            Every Saint a God, Every Bishop a Master, and Every Sermon in a Foreign Language are much better at keeping folks in line.

          • jagiela

            Gee even the Catholics never preached that. But Protestantism, based on a lie, spreads more lies because it fears the truth

            Yes, go ahead, follow whatever you can make the Bible say, ignore the passages you don’t like and miss the interactions between them- all the making of sound theology

          • leuver68

            30K different denominations? Are you sure that’s accurate.

            There’s a great youtube video where Ravi Zacharias is questioned by a Muslim student. Ravi gives a great answer to the question “why are there so many denominations in your faith that cannot agree?” Great answer is given, but I won’t spoil it. : )

          • larrd

            I must have missed the Protestant Inquisition in history class.

          • jagiela

            Obviously so because the Protestants of the reformation were as bloodthirsty as they come. Henry VIII for example chopped off many a Papist head

            But the real problem with Protestantism is the harmful “doctrines” it spreads which cause so much pain and suffering, to list just a few:

            That woman can be pastors

            That gay sex is okay

            That God gave Israel to the Jews

            Abortion is ok

            There are many many more but the Protestant church is self centered, preaching lies and believing whatever one wishes

          • Rebecca Healy

            For the life of me I cannot work out why a female pastor would threaten people so, but God did give Israel to the Jews didn’t he?

            Psalms 105:8-15
            He has remembered His covenant forever, The word which He commanded to a thousand generations, The covenant which He made with Abraham, And His oath to Isaac. Then He confirmed it to Jacob for a statute, To Israel as an everlasting covenant, read more.Saying, “To you I will give the land of Canaan As the portion of your inheritance,” When they were only a few men in number, Very few, and strangers in it. And they wandered about from nation to nation, From one kingdom to another people. He permitted no man to oppress them, And He reproved kings for their sakes: “Do not touch My anointed ones, And do My prophets no harm.”

            How else can you take this passage, you state that there is only one interpretation of the Bible?

            Speaking of which, do you not think these passages could cause pain and suffering if read and interpreted literally?

            “Happy shall he be, that taketh and dasheth thy little ones against the stones.” –Psalms 137:9

            Anyone who curses their father or mother is to be put to death. Because they have cursed their father or mother, their blood will be on their own head.
            – Leviticus 20:9 (NIV)

            Whoever utters the name of the Lord must be put to death. The whole community must stone him, whether alien or native. If he utters the name, he must be put to death.
            Leviticus 24:16

            “When a man strikes his slave, male or female, with a rod and the slave dies under his hand, he shall be avenged. But if the slave survives a day or two, he is not to be avenged, for the slave is his money.
            Exodus 21:20-21

            “Now these are the rules that you shall set before them. When you buy a Hebrew slave, he shall serve six years, and in the seventh he shall go out free, for nothing. If he comes in single, he shall go out single; if he comes in married, then his wife shall go out with him. If his master gives him a wife and she bears him sons or daughters, the wife and her children shall be her master’s, and he shall go out alone.
            Exodus 21:1-6

          • jagiela

            Well, you seem to forget Galatians “For the promise was made to the seed as in one, not the seeds as in many and through Christ Jesus we are all the sons of Abraham”

            You don’t understand who is a Jew- See Revalation “Beware those who call themselves Jews but are not Jews but the Synagogue of Satan”

            Nor do you understand what Israel is- See Peter’s reference to the “Israel of God”

            Finally, see James 1:1

          • AWats1

            Protestants of various types did engage in some very violent practices both with Catholics and other forms of protestants, for example Cromwell’s invasion of Ireland.

          • larrd

            So I didn’t miss the Protestant Inquisition because there wasn’t one?

          • Aril

            The reason why you missed it is because they did not call it the inquisition they only called it Protestantism. Martin Luther is the grandfather of the holocaust. He advocated in his book On the Jews and there lies for worse things to be done to Jews then the Spanish Inquisition which technically did not target Jews because they were all expelled. At least the ones that fled. For all those Christians waiting for the return of Jesus it would ironic if he actually returned several times during history but was killed by a Christian every time for being a Jew. That’s why so man Jews hate Christmas time because that is the traditional time for Christians to kill Jews in the name of the prince of peace. Yet Christians have in the last half century become more civilized but I fear that impulse is still there. That being said there have always been devout Christians who truly practice WWJD. But they are a small minority because most Christians know nothing about Jesus or the faith he solely practiced. And that is what this article is trying to point out.

          • larrd

            Martin Luther didn’t bring the Holocaust to the world, Aril.

            Neither did any Protestant official or group.

            Adolph Hitler did.

            He was a progressive.

          • Dave Zook

            When in Rome do as the Romans do, jagliela. Apparently even Paul thought that some things were right or wrong depending on which town you’re in.

          • jagiela

            And a nice distortion that is. Yes, there are issues of public morality that change from place to place- for example we are to obey the laws of the land if they don’t conflict with Christ. So yes, what is legal in a town changes

            What doesn’t change is the Christian message- that we obey the just laws of the land. So why going 95 mph might be fine in Germany its not fine in America

            How has the gospel changed? It hasn’t but nice try

          • Rebecca Healy

            (I’m not trying to be antagonistic)

            So who decides what the just laws of the land are? If we accept that laws are just and we must obey/accept the law, then abortion, gay marriage, divorce – these are all laws of the land in certain places, so to follow them if required is acceptable?

            You mention public morality, but what if some people feel equality in access to marriage and adoption for homosexual couples is a morally acceptable choice within the laws of the land, if this is an acceptable way to follow the command of loving one another as proclaimed by Christ?

            As there are contradictions in the Bible, who is following the right command, the right passage?

          • jagiela

            You really are off here. Obey the just law of the land means that in those areas where the state is left leeway (like the church is given economia) then those laws should be obeyed.

            A simple example would be speed limits. These are civil matters where the state is given leeway- there’s no biblical injunction as to what a proper speed limit would be. Now we might disagree with the state’s decision (and plenty of people did back when the speed limit was 55). However, its within the state’s authority to pick a number and once it does, we should obey it

            As to homosexuality, we do have a clear injunction that we should not engage in such behavior and a law that forced Christians to engage in sodomy would be unjust and should be disobeyed.

            Just because the state says that it won’t punish us for misbehavior, doesn’t mean we should. There are no laws saying that we have to tell the truth at all times. That doesn’t mean a Christian shouldn’t tell the truth at all times.

            If the state says “you can have an abortion” do we break it when we follow God’s law and refuse? Of course not.

          • Rebecca Healy

            I’m off for asking a question? Interesting.

            The difference is that you want to force people NOT to engage in homosexual behaviour or be able to have an abortion, even if it isn’t against THEIR specific religion. You want to legislate against free will, which I find blasphemous.

            Decriminalization of homosexual behaviour or abortion DOES NOT FORCE YOU to engage in these actions, you can easily continue to follow what you perceive as God’s law.

            The rest of us can live in a world where human rights are put first, and people get to keep the free will that was apparently gifted to them by God in the first place.

            And there is a clear message that a good Christian owns and is good to his slaves, good luck following through on that. If having slaves is immoral to you , then you have decided to pick and choose parts of the Bible to follow.

            If you think you should be able to have slaves, well I have no time for you.

          • jagiela

            Oh, dear God, the passages on slavery. Ok, let’s deal with that:

            Yes, there were slave owning societies and yes, a Christian could (and in most of the systems, may have HAD to own a slave as emancipation wasn’t allowed).

            Does this mean the Christian had to violate the Christian message? Of course not. All he has to do is treat his slave in a Christian manner- just because the law says you can beat a slave doesn’t mean you have to beat him.

            Treat your slave as a brother, love him as if he was yourself, and you’ll do fine. Your not picking between verses at all-

            Now an unjust law would be like those of Nazi Germany that demanded that you round up the Jews and help kill them. This goes against God’s teachings and a Christian would be obliged to disobey

            Now can you see the difference?

          • Rebecca Healy

            You’re missing the point.

            The fact that the bible finds it acceptable to have slaves is the point – if we have matured as a society in this regard – to a place where having slaves is unacceptable no matter how well you treat them, it shows that the whole book was written based on the values of the time in a very small circle of the world.

            God had the inclination to tell us not to wear two fabrics together or eat shellfish, but he forgot to say – having slaves is wrong? He didn’t think to say, let all the slaves be free to live a good life?

          • jagiela

            So holding slaves offends your sensibilities. Big deal. Its not weather a culture allows slavery or not that is important- its how the slave owner treats the slave that is. Which is God’s message: that we should love one another as he has loved us and that we should love our neighbor as ourself.

            Now, if a slave owner treated a slave with the love of a Christian, what would the result be? Well, the slave would be for all intents and purposes free. A Christian wouldn’t abuse his slave in any way- no beatings, no forced labor and if the slave wanted to leave, he would hand him some clothes, food and money and wish him well.

            You just don’t get the Christian message- its not about things we cannot control such as the laws of the land but of things that we can control- how we treat one another

          • Rebecca Healy

            That is absolutely wrong. It’s not that it ‘offends’ me, it is that OWNING SLAVES IN ANY FORM IS WRONG. And you don’t seem to grasp the concept of what a slave is.

            It doesn’t matter how well someone treats a slave – if they are a slave, they do not have freedom, they do not have free will.
            If they can leave if they want to, then they aren’t a slave, are they?

            If they are not paid, they cannot afford to leave so they are in essence held against their will as they do not have the facility to be independent. If they are paid correctly and allowed to come and go as they please, they are employees, not slaves.

            God gave everyone free will, did he not? So removing that right or ability from others BREAKS God’s will and IGNORES God’s message. A slave owner does not treat others as God treated him.

            It seems that YOU don’t get the Christian message, you just want to be an apologist for irrelevant writings.
            Biased ancient writings do not trump basic human rights, I’m sorry.

          • jagiela

            You really don’t understand anything and think the only problem with the world is that your not God. Well, your not so quite playing the role

            The Christian message is about love and loving your neighbor as yourself. Now, the laws of society, which you can’t change, aren’t your responsibility. Your responsibility is to treat everyone around you as yourself and love them as yourself.

            Now, go be judgmental somewhere else. You make no sense at all

          • Rebecca Healy

            I never said I was God – my very point was that YOU want to play God by taking away people’s free will. I said you don’t understand what slavery means.

            I probably make no sense to you because your understanding of anything outside your own dogma seems very limited. Although if your grammar and spelling is anything to go by, English may not be your first language, so I apologise if you really just don’t understand my point of view.

            I think it is hilarious that you call me judgmental, every single comment you have made here to me or anyone else not only shows that your default setting is to judge others, they show lack of insight and lack of empathy.

            You state everyone else is wrong or doesn’t know enough, when you have clearly not made your case. You assume your understanding is the only way.

            I actually do understand the Christian message about loving thy neighbour, that is why I don’t try to tear other people’s religion, even the off-shoots of Christianity that differ from my own understanding. It’s why I am not hateful to people based on religion, colour or sexual orientation.

            The laws of society CAN and DO change which is why there is no prohibition anymore. It is why women have the right to vote and divorce, which they did not always have. It is why marriage equality is becoming common and slavery has been abolished. And changing those laws to make a fair and just society for all IS OUR RESPONSIBILITY.

            It’s basically the reason for the War of Independence and the Civil War! CHANGING UNJUST LAWS IN SOCIETY!!!

          • jagiela

            You really don’t understand free will do you? Free will means we make our own choices We can follow God’s law or not- the choice is ours

            Now, you continue to twist the slavery argument to make things stand on their head. No one ever said that slavery was a good institution. The point was that a Christian living in the Roman Empire really doesn’t have much choice in the matter. Slavery existed and emancipation of slaves was illegal (You won’t understand but this clause was to protect the slaves. The fear was that an old or sick slave would be set “free” when he could no longer work and the slave owner didn’t want to support the slave anymore)

            Now given those realities and that the Empire was a dictatorship, the Christian had no choice but to live in that society. So what is he supposed to do? Act like a Christian whether he be a slave or free. That’s what the Apostle’s taught and that is the Christian message.

            You just want to twist the law and the faith to be an instrument of your agenda. Its not about your agenda and its about God’s agenda and that agenda is that we love one another as he has loved us.

            Its all so simple

          • Rebecca Healy

            Yes. I most definitely understand free will, more so than you it seems, you patronising letch. Free will means making our own choices. So stop trying to justify legalisation against choice.

            If this book, these divine books are coming from God, then SURELY THIS WOULD HAVE BEEN AN OPPORTUNE TIME TO DENOUNCE SLAVERY AS WRONG. And yet ‘God’ didn’t. Why Because men wrote those books based on their knowledge AND WHAT WAS ACCEPTABLE PRACTICE AT THE TIME.

            Therefore there is leeway and these books CANNOT be read and followed to the letter.

            I don’t have an agenda here except trying to deal with your crazy thought pattern, which is hurting my head.It’s like arguing with a vegetable – you don’t listen to reason and therefore will never change your mind, so it’s probably just best if we stop here. The fact you think it is simple just shows you have no idea.

          • jagiela

            Nobody is justifying anything. I’m saying that the laws of the state are irrelevant to the Christian message. You think its about society when its about the individual and the individual making the right choices that he has free will to make.

            The laws of the Roman Empire are irrelevant as the Roman Empire is doomed and the only Earthly institution that will survive is the Christian Church.

            Instead, the Christian should undertake that what he has control over: the salvation of his soul

            But that’s something you can’t understand because you want to dominant others and impose your views on everything even the Church.

          • Rebecca Healy

            I want to ‘dominant others’? Okay.

            If it’s about the individual then don’t use the bible as a reason behind any legislation.

            “The laws of the Roman Empire are irrelevant as the Roman Empire is doomed and the only Earthly institution that will survive is the Christian Church.” Yeah – I’ll make sure to let the Jews and Muslims know – they are religions of the book too – same God you know.

            And I want to give my opinion – but I am not imposing my views on anyone – and if you feel imposed upon then maybe you shouldn’t have started a conversation – you are doing EXACTLY the same thing bro.

          • jagiela

            Yep, go ahead and twist the bible to your end and criticize things you don’t understand. First, no, in Christianity Judiasim and Islam are heresies, lies from the Father of lies, Satan himself. They have no place in Heaven but then again Heaven is what it is not what you want it to be

            Second- your “opinion” is that you know more about morality than Christ, not something many Christians are going to believe (or Muslims for that matter)

            Finally, Christianity is about the individual and the individual living his life in Christian manner. It doesn’t extend to the laws of the Roman Empire except for how that reflects upon the Roman Emperor. Of course, in a Republic it somewhat reflects upon the individual. A person who votes to allow abortion is depraved and rightfully condemned for his action and beliefs.

            I think that all this is way beyond your willingness to comprehend which is why you keep coming back with the same invalid points

          • Rebecca Healy

            “First, no, in Christianity Judiasim and Islam are heresies..”

            The fact that you have said this just proves you have no real knowledge of the history of these religions, and you are obviously operating under some random cult-like off shoot of Christianity that makes up it’s own rules to live under – rules that work to remove people’s equality and oppress human rights.

            Jesus was a Jew. Half the bible is used by Jews and Christians.

            My points are not invalid, and you have yet to challenge them with logical argument, and after this it’s obvious you have no idea what you are talking about.

          • jagiela

            You just don’t understand anything- Christianity doesn’t view anything through your so called “politically correct” views (which are idiotic and nonsensical)

            Yes, Christianity views Judaism as a heresy, a lie from the father of Lies. It is nothing but false teachings and a misinterpetation of Christian literature.
            That Jesus was a “Jew” is a pathetic statement. He was a true Jew and if you ever read St, John the Divine, you would understand what is a true Jew and a false Jew “Beware those that call themselves Jews but are not Jews but the Synagogue of Satan”

            Christ was giving the real meaning behind the Hebrew scriptures. What the Rabbis teach are just lies

          • Rebecca Healy

            You cannot tell on sight who is a ‘true Jew’ or a ‘false Jew’, and as such you discriminate against all Jews.

            All of a sudden no Christian listens to Moses?

            You believe what you have conjured up or have been brainwashed with in your small community… Your belief is not knowledge, and the more you reply the crazier you sound, really.

            I started with some questions to gain a better understanding of an apologetic position on these things, you have been nothing but offensive and dismissive to everyone and obviously to me. I live a life where I dare to question, where I want to learn. You live in a bubble with your hands on your ears, eyes closed, saying ‘I am right the rest of the world is wrong!’

            You cannot ever learn, you cannot grow, because you think something and believe that your thought makes it fact. You think your facts are knowledge and your knowledge is wisdom.

            You don’t get to say ‘Christianity doesn’t view…’ as if you speak for all Christians and the one true way that all Christians view things, because they don’t. You may BELIEVE your way is the true and only way, but so does every other sect of Christianity – and a lot of them would be looking at this thread, and they would not be siding with you.

            Christianity was originally seen by the Jews as Jewish heresy. Since heresy is a belief or theory that goes against ESTABLISHED BELIEFS AND CUSTOMS, it’s a bit ridiculous to suggest that Christians can view Jews at the heretics – their beliefs and customs were already in place before the birth of Christianity

          • jagiela

            Why yes you can- a true Jew follows the correct interpretation of the Scriptures as Christ laid them out. In short, a true Jew is a right believing Orthodox Christian

          • http://www.seo.kirbyworks.net/ Kirby Hopper

            jagiela YOUR faith (and the Catholic and Evangelical faiths) is about certainty, it’s about your THINKING that your interpretation of scripture, oral tradition, history, etc. is correct beyond a shadow of a doubt. My point still stands, the Apostolic Tradition that was present in Alexandria in 125 AD was different than the Apostolic Tradition that was present in Athens in 150 AD or Capernaum in 200 AD. The church of that era simply had no certainty as to how to interpret what they had even if they had access to the same Tradition, how much less certainty when each church had a different Tradition from which to draw its conclusions?

          • jagiela

            And your “point” is as wrong as it always was. The Church was always hierarchal and had consistent and pure theology from the beginning.

            The liturgies all agreed on the theological points- something that you miss

            When there was disagreement among the Bishops, consensus was reached which is why they held the Apostolic Council in Jerusalem.

            What you miss, and all Prostestants do, is that the Church was always about far more than the “bible”. Christ founded the Church- He didn’t write the Bible the Church did

            The Church always taught that there was more than the Bible- as the Bible itself teaches. Not only are we to keep the message heard by “word or by epistle” John tells us that “all the books in the world could not contain all “. Yet the Church must “must teach all things”

            Since all the books in the world can’t teach “all things”, how does the Church do it?

            Through the liturgy, the icons and the oral tradition

            And yes- Christianity is about certainties. It is about Truth- “for ye shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free”. Doctrines are true or they are false- purgatory exists or it doesn’t. It can’t be both (it doesn’t)

            God either gave Israel to the Jews or he didn’t- (he didn’t)

            That is why the Holy Spirit is called “Spirit of Truth” and the devil is called “The Father of lies”

            Protestantism is a lie from the Father of lies- the devil himself. It teaches that we should make up the faith to fit our own ideas rather than follow Christ our God

          • Hanna Moy

            I can tell you never studied the history of theology or of the early church. It always had a pure theology? No scholar would ever say that….it is the opposite of the case, and easy to prove. Read any legitimate textbook.

          • jagiela

            Well Hanna, the theology of the Hierarchial Church, the real church the one Christ founded and not the heretical sects that kept popping up, was pure and immaculate.

            What you don’t understand is that the Church always had a rich liturgical environment to draw upon and when questions were raised the truth could readily be decided and the heretics denounced.

            Take Millennialism, a common heresy of today. The Church really only needed to examine the writings of the ancient fathers, consult the icons, the liturgy and the oral traditions to know that this needed to be denounced. And so it was, and in every church of the Apostolic Faith (Catholic, Orthodox both Oriental and Eastern) this vile heresy is denounced in every service

          • Hanna Moy

            Ok. I studied theology in university and the church fathers disagreed with one another, but whatever, if you want to pretend God handed down the answers from on high and there are no mysteries, that is your hubris and arrogance & you have a right to it. My own opinion is that for now, we know only in part, to quote Paul.

          • Rebecca Healy

            So is slavery and having a woman marry her rapist right or wrong? Is it true or false? Can a good Christian keep slaves in this day and ago or not? What is the context for this time, and is it different from the context of that time?

            Leviticus 25:44-46
            Colossians 3:22
            Luke 12:47
            Exodus 21:7-11
            Deuteronomy 15:17
            Deuteronomy 22:28-29

          • larrd

            Not sure. But we know a good Muslim can keep slaves and cut folks heads off.

            And we know a good progressive can snip the spinal chord of an inconvenient baby and be proud of it.

          • Rebecca Healy

            I don’t get the progressive comment sorry.

            I don’t have an issue with looking to the bible, but it’s ridiculous to assert that the whole thing has only one interpretation and should be taken literally

          • larrd

            Who asserted that?

          • Rebecca Healy

            Just through the thread and in general – that was not directed at you specifically

          • Mog

            Funny how his commentary completely stopped after this post

          • Cynthia Brown Christ

            What you say about Catholics is most assuredly true about conservative Catholics, who attend conservative churches (because it is true about all conservatives (or better word – fundamentalists) of any religion. They cannot visualize, or interpret. Everything to them, needs to be in black and white. Probably in most or all aspects of their lives.

            I grew up in 70-80’s in the second largest Catholic area of the United States – Chicago. (I only met one protestant and nobody of other religions until I went to college.) Chicago is a big urban area, and thus very liberal or progressive (a word I like better because it is dissociated from politics). From what I have been researching, in those days, most american Catholics and their bishops were way more progressive than they are now.)

            I was educated in Catholic schools, and at that time a fervent, Catholic. Catholic doctrine does not teach that the bible is to be taken literally. The bible is not the only place where we get answers. Just as important is tradition, and oral tradition.

            I remember loving that we were taught that there are mysteries that we can never understand. Most of the people I knew – and these people were very active and serious about their faith – believed that some of the stuff that came down from the vatican were guides rather than rules, and that if we didn’t follow them our salvation wasn’t going to be in danger.

            When I was in my 30’s I attended a Lutheran church for the first time (there was no Catholic school in my town). I was literally shocked at the juvenile, simplistic reasoning and interpretation of the bible at this place. It was like night and day.

            I’ll admit that, perhaps some things are tinted with my own perceptions and unique experiences. But I don’t often hear Catholics and Evangelists grouped into the same lot. I cannot see it to be anywhere near true.

          • Sharon Moon

            The above debate and comments make the author’s point. We Christians seem to love to tear one another down. Contesting our little kingdoms of truth.

      • http://www.seo.kirbyworks.net/ Kirby Hopper

        Yes, they had canon lists, and everybody’s list was different from everybody else’s list. If you and I were to sit down to have a “bible study” in the year 300 AD we could not do it because your “bible” might be missing 20% of our current bible and include the writings of Clement and Ignatius and mine might be missing a different 20% of our current NT and include the works of Polycarp and a couple of the Gnostic Gospels and 10 other writings nobody today has even heard about. You can’t have a “bible” unless people are agreed as to what constitutes a bible. No such agreement existed until the end of the 4th Century. The early church had no way of determining what was “biblical”, including the Council of Nicea that developed the doctrine of the Trinity. The “standard” of the early church: “It just seems right.” You mentioned until the NT was written, they had apostles. Yes, but not any church had all of them, and it was debated as to who was considered an apostle, which of an apostle’s writings were inspired, and which of their successors would be carrying on their ministry. We know what it was like for a first century church to not have apostles and scriptures because we can read about it in Paul’s letters where he had to correct their carnal thinking. They were a mess.

      • cken

        What we call The New Testament may have been written before the last apostle died, but it was not compiled until 325 AD. Many churches back then used a variety of early Christian writings most of which were not included in our Bible.

    • RP

      “Now these were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so.” So they at least had the OT. in Ad 50+.
      However the point is this: If churches could have had OT scriptures in every congregation, likely they had copies of the letters and gospels too (as soon as they could be obtained). The 400 year “w/o a Bible” time frame can also be proven to be inaccurate. The Muratorian fragment which is attributed to around 170 AD, lists most of the books of the NT, and rejects many of the gnostic writings.

  • bdlaacmm

    Love your 10 points! Might I be so bold as to add:

    11. Approach the Bible with humility. Be open to discovering you may have been wrong, wrong, wrong about something or other.

    12. Pay attention! Sometimes it’s not the flashiest or a favorite passage that’s important (at least, to you), but rather it could be something you’ve read ten thousand times without noticing what it means.

    • Cynthia Brown Christ

      Love your comment!

    • leuver68

      God rewards those who diligently seek him.

      Thank you for your comment.

  • thomasmitchel

    Number 5 “The Bible is open to multiple interpretations, not just one meaning” is incorrect as stated. There may be multiple applications, but there are not many legitimate interpretations of the Scriptures. That is simply a professing Christian’s way of saying the Bible says what I want it to say and I will do as I wish. As I was studying this week I had the occasion to read Jude 3, 4 again. In the original Greek the sense of verse 4 is that when you turn the grace of God into license, you are denying Christ.
    Number 9 is also incorrect as stated and dramatically understates the importance of Scripture. The whole idea of “I’m spiritual but not religious” is non-sense. One is neither spiritual nor religious in any meaningful sense unless your spirituality or religiosity is tied to the truths of Scripture. And be cautious standing with Pilate and saying “what is truth” in a manner to suggest it does not exist. He was standing in the presence of truth and could not see it. The Scriptures which, properly interpreted and applied, point to that truth sit on our desks and yet educated folks like this author can say “what is truth?”

    • thomasmitchelisadouche

      I also just read Jude 3 & 4 in the original Greek, and I disagree with your interpretation. Are you claiming to have supreme ability and authority to interpret scripture (the takeaway from my comment here is that you sound totally arrogant, dude… i.e., not very “Christ-like”)?

      Also, #9 is correct above. If there’s any center to the Christian faith, it’s the Triune God (not the bible).

      Stop being so self-righteous and uptight.

    • harriss

      I have read numerous posts, intellectually debating different aspects of the old and new testaments, and whether or not scripture has any validity for this generation, but have yet to see any posts related to personal life experiences regarding what its like to be led by God’s spirit, and what its like to experience the peace that passes all understanding. Those who don’t want to believe in the saving power of Jesus Christ will believe…..those who do not choose to believe, will never believe, regardless of how skilled you are in debating.

      • WotIThink

        I agree experience is important. Many people who have not wanted to believe find they do anyway due to the experiences they have. Often through experiencing the faith, in action, of others.

  • charles.hoffman.cpa

    the above-mentioned “10 commandments” are similarly flawed

    they reflect only the bias of the writer whose 21st Century perspective is pretty remote

    • Harold Jonston

      I personally would find these 10 as mostly disincentives – if I really thought that the Bible can’t answer most of my questions I would read something else. I feel sorry for the author; that is kind of a pitiful state of “belief”.

      • Big Giant Head

        agree 100%

  • Big Giant Head

    Whatever. Bad article.

    • Raymond McIntyre

      I think you might be saying more about yourself than the writer, actually.

      • Big Giant Head

        No, don’t think so.

        • owned

          when people use “God” literally rather than metaphorically, then unfortunately the conversation is already over.

          • Big Giant Head

            when people use “God” metaphorically rather than literally, then unfortunately there is no need for conversation

          • Cynthia Brown Christ

            EXACTLY!

    • Cynthia Brown Christ

      Please google the word Projection. We all succumb to it now and then!

  • RP

    The headlines and the 10 bullet points are simply Madison Ave. style ways of drawing in the reader. When you actually read the discussion on each point I personally find them very thin on substance. For example the Bible Invites Debate. The Bible does not invite debate, but debate is a by-product of flawed human beings wrestling with a divinely inspired book. Another example: The Bible isn’t the center of the Christian Faith. Yes and No. Yes the message of the Bible IS the center of Christian faith. “faith comes by hearing” stated the apostle Paul. Hearing what? God speaking – thru His Book. On and on I could go.
    What I come to conclude is I am reading a Harvard PhD trying to set all us ignorant Christians straight, and having to resort to new-car sales tactics to draw our attention what he has to say.

    • larrd

      It seems to be just another instance of a non-believer telling believers how they should believe. Bill Maher could have written it more honestly.

  • Phil Mitchell

    Peter’s Enns and Outs:

    #1. The Bible doesn’t tell me how to fix my car but it answers emphatically all of life’s biggest questions. I’m not even sure what your point is here.
    #2. I may be able to miss the clause on p. 87 but I better adhere to the main theme or I will lose my soul. At least according to Jesus. BTW, which clauses does Dr. Enns give me permission to ignore?
    #3. So I should capitulate on abortion and gay marriage? I don’t think you speak for God here.
    #4. Couldn’t agree more.
    #5. Did God intend lots of different meanings and we choose the one voted best by the Yale Div faculty? We may miss the meaning but God meant one thing. Didn’t He?
    #6. Of course it does.
    #7. All use of human language is less than perfectly objective. So in the mist of subjectivity can we still find the truth God intends for us? I live in the 21st century. Are you saying the Bible has no message for me at all?
    #8. So? The people of Jesus’ day imposed their own interpretations on Jesus’ message and got it wrong. I doubt I can be much more wrong about Jesus’ message than the disciples were in Matt. 20:20-28. Can a person in the pew ever hope to get the message right? Are you saying he cannot?
    #9. Yes it is. Pitting God against the Bible is a dangerously false dichotomy.
    #10. So we can never preach the Gospel with conviction? We are never allowed to say, “Thus saith the Lord.”? I know we are often dogmatically wrong. But can’t we be dogmatically right?

    If the author is trying to increase the authority of Scripture in people’s lives he will fail. His views will not produce more Christians committed to Christ’s Lordship, more evangelism, more missions, and more works of mercy. It will produce more armchair Christians who sit back and condemn the benighted followers of Jesus who really do these things.

    • paperfences.wordpress.com

      Thank you for leaving this comment — I was about to say some very similar things but am relieved that someone beat me to it and said it better than I could. 🙂

  • Micah Langley

    All of his points are proven, just by reading the comments on this article. The Bible, in and of itself, is full of contradictory information. It’s full of incest, rape, and murder. Then full of love, forgiveness, and mercy. Each gospel, though correctly depicts Christ’s death, argues with each other. None of them coincide. Though, it’s clear the Bible has hope for the lost and guides one’s soul to peace, it will be wrongly used to degrade people, segregate the “holy” from the lost, and used as a soap box. For example: 97.23% of these responses to this article.

    • Cynthia Brown Christ

      I vote you as the wisest commentator here!

    • leuver68

      Wish the church would focus more on the essential point, that the gospels correctly depict Christ’s death (and resurrection).

      • Randi Kreger

        How do you know this?

    • larrd

      I’d say your post pushes it to 98 percent, Micah.

  • cken

    Very well stated young man. Only about 5% of Christians read the Bible when not in church, and I venture most of them don’t understand what they are reading. Nonetheless the Bible has become THE IDOL which many Christians worship. For me personally the Bible is a good collection of ancient religious and early Christian writings and we should try to read it in the context of the culture that existed when it was written. We need also consider much of the Bible to be an allegory wrapped in an enigma. As the old story goes there are the two great commandments and all the rest is commentary. I often wonder what Paul would have said if somebody told him to be careful what he wrote in his letters because someday some of them would be considered inerrant Holy Scripture. Paul was very egotistical and quite adamant in his viewpoints, but I think even he would have objected to his letters being called scripture.

    • westcj

      Cken

      An excellent observation about Paul, he was certainly not writing scripture, he was simply writing letters to groups of people interested in the teachings and beliefs of Jesus.

      Detractors of Paul (including me) would argue that the clear intent of his letters was to “sell” the Jesus story. One of the major beneficiaries of the increased Jesus “sales” would be Paul, in terms of increased status and power within the fledgling religion.

      Paul’s letters make for essential reading but need to be taken with a grain of salt, they are by no stretch scripture. I have to disagree with your last point, I think Paul would have been over the moon with pride that his letters were deemed scripture!

      • leuver68

        Why would you consider the writings of a self seeking power hungry man essential reading? And to say most of the New Testament is not scripture. Even the most liberal bible scholar would disagree with you.

        • westcj

          Of course Paul’s writings are essential reading .When we have no eye witness accounts of Jesus’ life we must make do with what is available. While Paul never met Jesus, he does provide us with a insight into the beginnings of Christianity.
          Are Paul’s letters scripture? I suppose technically they are, given the broad definition of scripture as writing of religious significance from the bible. Most biblical scholars agree that Paul did not write several of his letters, in particularly the pastoral letters. Does this mean the forged letters are of religious significance? I very much question this.

          • leuver68

            Yes, Jesus met Paul. And authoring and writing are not always the same thing.

    • leuver68

      I think those choosing to spend the time to read it, the Spirit will enlighten. Faith, and I would venture to say, understanding, comes from reading it.

    • leuver68

      Interesting, I’ve never heard Paul described as egotistical. Although he did say if anyone thinks they have a right to boast, he more so, being an expert in the law and blameless according to it. But he said he counted those things as worthless garbage compared to the surpassing knowledge of Christ. He humbly gives Jesus Christ the glory, not himself.

    • leuver68

      Wow you begin with an egotistical condescending statement and conclude that Paul was egotistical and adamant in his viewpoints.

  • Raymond McIntyre

    The writer is quite right. Thank you!

    • Cynthia Brown Christ

      Why is there no LIKE button here? This is me LIKE ing your post!

      • WotIThink

        little up arrow = like

  • thomasmitchelisadouche

    Thanks to all (most?) of the people making comments below. I’m objectively dumber now for having read your comments. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your souls.

  • http://theoldadam.wordpress.com/ the Old Adam

    The Bible didn’t float down from Heaven with a bow tied around it…that’s for sure.

    But it is the final (not the only) authority in all matters of faith and life for believers. It is the Word of God.

  • dangjin1

    Peter Enns is wrong and a false teacher. People need to stop listening to him

  • Dan Hardesty

    9. The Bible isn’t the center of the Christian faith….Seriously? John 1:1-2, 14 “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. Andthe Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.” Looks like Jesus Christ is The Word of God made flesh. So many other Scriptures to add to this.

    • peteenns

      I appreciate you’re point, Dan. You seem to be equating John’s “Word” (Greek logos) with the Bible. Am I correct. Do you think logos = Bible here? That is a bit of a stretch.

      • Dan Hardesty

        If kept in context, then yes, and it is not a stretch. The Word was in “the beginning”, which implies either Eternity past, or the beginning of our time. The Word was made flesh and dwelt amongst us, meaning the Word is Jesus Christ. How is this a stretch? Multiple Verses back up that thought, this is no stretch or taken out of context.

        • peteenns

          Perhaps I wasn’t clear: on what basis do you equate “Word” (Greek “logos”) in John 1 with the Bible? Is John saying, “in the beginning was the Bible?” Is that what you think Logos means?

          • Cynthia Brown Christ

            You are not going to get a reply to that one. LOL

          • larrd

            Maybe you two scholars should flesh out what you think “logos” means as it is a word with a long history of differing and evolving translations within religious, philosophical and rhetorical traditions. Self-righteous clucking isn’t all that persuasive.

    • Cynthia Brown Christ

      Based on that most beautiful bible verse, it is clear to me and many scholars that the center of the Christian faith is Christ.

      Word when used in the bible does not mean word. I’d suggest looking up the original word used in greek – logos for your joy and edification – if you feel like it.

  • Steve Servideus

    A few things…

    2. Good portions of Exodus, Leviticus, and Numbers are exactly God’s version of the iTunes agreement. And in Galatians 3 Paul says that none of us can follow all the terms and conditions and that’s why Jesus had to die to give us grace.

    3. No. Anti-theist Ayn Rand’s novels are.

    5. The Bible is NOT open to multiple interpretations. The Bible has one meaning: God’s message. We must never confuse our limited understanding of God’s message with God’s message itself.

    7. What are these two histories of Israel? The four gospels in the Bible contain a lot of parallel narrative and at points parallel text. Other gospels, for instance Thomas, were not included because of their failure to overlap and be consistent with the Four Gospels.

    10. This whole article has been speaking for God.

  • Defender of Truth

    I surprised myself by agreeing … 40% of the time.

    1>True. God doesn’t even answer most of our questions,
    except to say ‘Trust Me’. That’s where the whole ‘faith’ thing comes from.

    2>True, and False. Technically true in that the Bible is
    not a EULA. Most definitely false in implying that the Bible doesn’t present a
    covenant between God and people. Only Orwellian Newspeak could re-interpret the
    Bible as the Suggestion. To view the Bible as an obsolete culture’s fairy tales
    which nevertheless hold clues to an underlying lesson, you must choose to
    ignore what it actually says, you must choose to ignore the intent and the
    spirit of the words written there. While some of it is openly poetic or
    allegorical, the vast majority of it is on the order of ‘if you do this, I will
    do this’.

    3> It’s cool that you’re not politically conservative,
    but don’t imply that because I am, I am guilty of the attitude in your third
    commandment.

    4>True. Really quite very True.

    5>I believe the Bible is divinely inspired. All scripture
    is ‘God-breathed’ (according to scripture). God is truthful and trustworthy.
    While you may see errors or conflicts here and there in a work written by
    dozens of authors over thousands of years, the point of the Bible, the words in
    the books, the Message that God conveys to us, is consistent – fallen man,
    loving Father, redemption through faith in the blood sacrifice and resurrection
    of Jesus Christ. That isn’t ‘open to interpretation’, that’s what it says. You
    can reject it if you choose to. God created you with that ability.

    6>True some, junk some. Feuding over anything isn’t love.
    Jesus calls us to love each other. I don’t want to argue about it, I just want
    to do it. Sometimes that is very, very hard.

    7>meh

    8>True. But I am still amazed at how very similar we are
    to these ancient people.

    9>True. I don’t worship the Bible. I worship Jesus. I
    trust the Bible to teach me how to worship if I let the Holy Spirit actively
    lead me.

    10>True!

    • leuver68

      Well said! I am a Christian, conservative, and was too surprised that I agreed with these. Or most of them. But I guess I took it for granted that these were all already understood to be true. Take for instance #10. Are people speaking for God? Is this a prevailing problem?

      Or #1. Did someone say the bible answers all our questions? Certainly it answers the most important question.

  • allassac

    I have done my fair share of translations. As soon as you translate a text once, you loose some of the meanings. So imagine texts that we found in pieces, written in different languages and translated back and forth over centuries…. There is NO way we can tell today ” the Bible says”. Too much was lost in translations and by cultural interpretations.

  • Brent Von Horn

    The writer of this has taken at least 10 steps in the right direction. These concepts have not always been accepted, or even the subject of allowed discourse. To question the validity of even a single word in the bible would have gotten me killed in years not too far past. I’m very glad to live now, when (and where) we can exercise free speech and creative thinking.

    • larrd

      In years how far past? 500?

  • larrd

    Since we are made in God’s image, learning of the nature of God through reading the scriptures is learning of the nature of ourselves. Better knowing the nature of ourselves should indeed help provide success in life and ultimately direction for society.

    Unless of course you think it’s all hooey.

  • Austin Rumpel

    So much arguing, weird how much time we spend arguing with each other and not doing what Jesus did.

  • westcj

    Ten very sensible points made by author, that apply equally to believers and non believers 10/10

  • leuver68

    I read these thinking I already know this. No surprises here. But maybe the author is not talking just to the faithful. He did say “everyone”.

    The bible says all scripture is God-breathed and good for correction and for teaching. Not the center of our faith, but essential for spiritual growth.

    The bible does not say it answers all our questions. It does say that without faith it’s impossible to please God.

  • jimmyray

    #1 rule of bible study Don’t go to the bible to see what it says, go to learn what it teaches.

    It is the glory of God to conceal a thing: but the honor of kings is to search out a matter. Proverbs 25:2

  • Richard Daniels

    Points well taken and some that seem to be your interpretation. I would argue on point 1 that the Bible does answer most of the crucial questions of life in the grand scheme of eternity, though it may not address all specific issues of life on earth from our perspective.

  • godless

    The church thrived and survived for 400 years with out a bible because people were largely uneducated and believed anything anyone who was mysterious had more guile andor more educated than they. After then it was a matter of survival for people to live as they believed and such. If you step back and look at its cycle of growth its the same as a child born into or living in a severely abusive home with physical mental emotional and sexual abuse rampant. It comes along reluctantly, and hides away its other parts, that they don’t want damaged into secret so the abuser can not take them too, then when its older it becomes angry and rebellious showing flashes of it more and more in until it can break free but not all the way and tries to be its own and then until it gets big enought to really fight back and then bigger and can escape from its opressor, but the damage has already been done to its psyche it becomes then the same as its opressor, as damaging as it and paranoid jealous and viciously conniving and underhanded. Handing its victim a piece of bread while demanding their home your life and adoration, invading every space inside untill now its victim is the same and it repeats.