Shalom friends –
First off, things are happening (Zoolander style*) over here at stevengriffin.org HQ.
I’ve got a whole list of topics I can’t wait for us to cover this Fall semester.** We’re going to start with the origins of the Old and New Testaments of the Bible, then proceed into some Jesus-y stuff (like, did he really exist? If so, how do we know he wasn’t just some random guy? Fun Jesus stuff!). So let’s get started…eh?
I’m writing this post, and its next few offspring, to begin the argument that the Bible did not descend from heaven in the King James Version in 1611 AD***.
If you’ve never given serious thought to what the Bible is that you hold in your hand or read on your LG Android (or iPhone 6 if you’re of a lesser faith), perhaps it would be worth taking a few seconds of reflection and ask:
“Where *do* I think the Bible came from?”
… (Those dots are me waiting patiently for you to contemplate…)
The corollary to this question, of course, is: does it matter where the Bible came from? Of course I am going to argue in the affirmative, because I would say that the Bible’s origins determine not just its purpose, but its usefulness. Ultimately, we must come face-to-face with the question behind these other questions:
Did God, in fact, “write the Bible”? Can we trust it? To what extent can we trust it?
Without wrestling with the Bible’s origins, we will find it quite difficult to wrestle with this bigger question of its trustworthiness.
Now, in my experience, one of the most difficult aspects of this discussion originates from what many Christians have been taught regarding the divine inspiration of the Bible, and the inerrancy of the Bible. For some, even putting forth the suggestion that the Bible has a history, and was actually written down by real people at some point in the past instead of delivered by some kind of angelic FedEx, has been a taboo topic of discussion, because it was somehow perceived by a teacher or pastor that such a discussion would injure the faith of the congregation.
At the same time, we must be gentle and gracious with some (though not all) of those same teachers and pastors. What we call the “textual criticism” and “textual traditions” of the scriptures is an immensely complex and somewhat messy world. Most Christians would not want to wade too deep into its murky waters, nor would I advise an in-depth exploration unless one finds an immense interest in the topic.
So, here’s how we will proceed:
#1 – This post, outlining our agenda
#2 – Textual history of the Old Testament
#3 – Textual history of the New Testament
#4 – Let’s reconcile these histories with inerrancy and inspiration
Finally, if these discussions raise further questions for you, please feel free to either leave a comment below, or use the Contact form to email me directly.****
* I don’t actually know what this means, either.
** Because I think in semesters now.
*** Or CE, or whichever you prefer. Perhaps we’ll talk about that convention some other time…or meh.
**** You’ll also notice that I’ve got 4 footnotes in a blog post. It’s automatic. I’m sorry.