February 13, 2011

Biblical Insight

The Lead recently called attention to three essays on the On Faith blog of The Washington Post. The author of the essays is American Baptist pastor Jennifer Wright Knust, who is also an Assistant Professor of Religion at Boston University. Her three-part series concerns sex and the Bible, and she argues that, contrary to the assertion of so many Christian authorities, the Bible is neither clear nor consistent concerning sexual ethics. Knust is the author of a new book, Unprotected Texts: The Bible’s Surprising Contradictions about Sex and Desire.

Holy BibleKunst’s posts are compelling, though her arguments are hardly new. Kunst did remind me anew of the absurdity of treating the Bible as a rulebook for living. The Bible can be the source of useful insights, but its messages are often Delphic. This inspired my latest aphorism, which I have added to my page of aphorisms on my Web site. No doubt, some will find this offensive, but there is more than a grain of truth here:
If God had wanted to give us clear instructions for living, he wouldn’t have given us the Bible.


  1. Where, exactly, does it say He gave us the Bible?

  2. 1 Chronicles 29:14b—“for all things come of thee, and of thine own have we given thee.”

  3. That's a stretch, Lionel. Ostensibly, David is the one making the statement in 1 Chronicles, and he isn't referring to the Bible.

  4. I am struck by the fact that when God's Word came to us as an actual human being, he chose not to leave any writings for us (even though Jesus was clearly a literate person). Divine wisdom would seem to recognize that it is not a good idea to have things too set in stone. I think that one of the strengths of the Bible is that it is not always consistent, so that we are forced to reevaluate what it means for us now, not to limit our understanding to what made sense in a particular time and place. Even the Gospels present a sometimes inconsistent record of Jesus ministry and character. I think this is God's way of telling us that words can be only an imperfect representation of God's message.


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