Posted by: Ety W. | March 24, 2008

The Holy Bible: Word of God? Or Word of Man?

I’m guessing that no book has generated more controversy, or more argument than the book entitled The Holy Bible. Did God write it? Did men write it? Is it a book of suggestions? Opinions? Dos and don’ts? Is it historically accurate? Is it culturally relevant? Is it open to interpretation? If I am going to use it as a reference source, then it is vital that you understand my beliefs about this book.

Everybody believes something. And everyone has a basis for their beliefs, whether about God, life and death, our purpose in life, or the world in general. Most of us have an idea of what we believe, but how many of us know where our beliefs come from?

Much of the argument over the Bible revolves around who wrote it. As an authoritative source, it is often dismissed on the basis of authorship: “I don’t believe in the Bible because it was written by men.” My husband, who is an evangelist, encounters this frequently. He often responds by asking “Well, what do you believe then.” Every single person with whom he has had this conversation must inevitably resource their beliefs with something of human authorship! A little ironic if that person rejects the Bible for the same reason. So what’s the problem then?

I think it all boils down to is this: If the Bible is written by God, then when I read it I am faced with a choice. I either have to accept it as true or not. If I accept it as true, then I have to admit that I am wrong about things, and some of these things are very personal. Let’s face it, human nature doesn’t like to be wrong. Nor does it like to feel twinges of guilt. Nor does it want to change. The easiest solution therefore, is to simply declare that the Bible is written by men; it’s just their opinions. Dilemma resolved; I don’t have to face any other truth than the one I have chosen for myself.

For the true Christian on the other hand, having a book written by God Himself (through the agency of men inspired by the Holy Spirit), is both an encouragement and a comfort. By giving me specific information about my world, and specific instructions living in it, I gain a considerable amount of freedom. I am no longer burdened with having to make ethical decisions about situations, nor am I faced with the consequences of acting on my own reasoning or impulses. Granted, following God’s way isn’t always easy, but it does give me a consistent standard for living.

But how do I know that I’m right about what the Bible says? Isn’t its truth different for every person? Doesn’t it depend upon my own personal situation? Doesn’t it depend on how I’m feeling about things? Consider this illustration: Suppose you were to write me a letter about a dog named Jessica. Then suppose that my sister picked it up, glanced through it, and started telling folks that you were calling our friend Jessica a dog. Would you just shrug it off by saying, “Oh well, that’s just her interpretation.” I doubt it. I should think that you would want to set the record straight because that is not what you meant at all. You had written to a specific person with something specific in mind.

So consider this. The Bible has a specific author, who dictated a specific message to specific people. The Almighty knew exactly what He meant when He inspired men to write, and He meant what He said to be correctly understood. That being the case, wouldn’t it be prudent for a reader to not be too careless in his or her interpretations? Wouldn’t it be wise to not make assumptions about what is meant? God had specific things in mind when the Bible was written. The job of reader then, is to accurately interpret what God is saying. The problem is, that there is more than one way to approach this.

Interestingly, all the supposed contradictions in the Bible can be resolved with the correct method of interpretation. However, Bible interpretation is beyond the scope of this post. More on that, here.Content copyright 2008 by If you find it anywhere else, it’s been stolen.

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