Bible – Further Reflections
· Word of God in human words – not every word is
inspired, but the thoughts are.
· Inspired by the Holy Spirit throughout
· Living Word of God – with universal relevance to
all times and places.
· Inspiration is both in the writing and the
interpretation and understanding.
· Various literary media are used to communicate
salvation truths – e.g. narrative, poetry, parable, proverb, psalm.
· Use of metaphor through which the Holy Spirit
can give “personalized” instruction to all. Metaphor has richness that enables meaningful interpretation
· Various interpretations can be arrived at, but
no one has the whole truth because God is infinite and human minds are limited – it is like a mosaic or
tapestry. It is also unsearchable for the same reason – an unlimited treasure from which new things can be
eternally brought out.
· Old Testament – born in the context of and from
the existing culture of Israel and its neighbors, but illustrates salvation plan and
· Collected, selected, and preserved as sacred
text after the exile with the hope for a future Messiah and restoration based on the prophetic
· History accounts were written retrospectively
based on preserved written and oral traditions. Some editing and interpretation have also occurred, and
several accounts may have been brought together or included in different parts of the
· There may be more than one writer of any book
with a writer’s name, together with one or more editor. This, however, does not take away from the book’s
authority because God’s guidance is behind the scenes, just like it is behind history – God’s purpose is
accomplished no matter what.
· The Old Testament has Jesus concealed in it –
think of a dot pattern where a picture is hidden and only seen upon close, possibly right-brain, examination.
The New Testament reveals the picture in greater clarity as Jesus fulfills the various Old Testament writings
· Stories are based on true accounts, but may not
include exact details. This does not take away from the significance of the theological
· Some accounts may be composite with some fiction
or exaggeration to illustrate/magnify a point. Jesus himself taught in parables or metaphors for that
· Differences in similar accounts, such as the
gospels, if impossible to harmonize, may be intended to give different perspectives or teach different
theological lessons. The differences in details are not significant to the overall truth of the
· Some things should not be interpreted literally
for the purpose of drawing significant conclusions, because this may not be the intent of the
· Some accounts must have historical or
prehistoric reality as other vital truths are built on them. For example, without the first Adam, the truth
of the “second Adam”, Jesus Christ, falls.
· Satan is the great deceiver of the whole world
and is trying to pervert God’s Word. Also in a fiercely scientific and rational world, miracles and the
supernatural have no place. Therefore Christians must be on guard against too liberal interpretations where
the truth of everything is questioned. Careful discernment is needed – Jesus warned that many false prophets
would come and discredit God’s Word.
· The Bible is a living, growing entity that needs
to be interpreted in light of its background and the reader’s background with the guidance of the Holy
Spirit. Its principles are timeless – but its specifics may be applicable to a certain time and/or culture.
Some of the information must be accepted on faith as it is scientifically unprovable and rationally
unexplainable. However, it is the only authoritative source for matters of salvation – information that
cannot be received any other way.
· The Bible is God’s self-disclosure in the same
way that the created world is – each can be seen as a Book of God. Many things in both spheres are
unexplainable or mysteries. In the natural world, some questions are answered as the secrets of creation are
delved in, but at the same time, more questions crop up. In God’s Word, there are two levels of mysteries.
Some things were hidden and with Christ’s first coming, have been revealed to the elect. Some things are
still mysteries in that they cannot be explained and the seemingly conflicting possibilities need to be held
in tension – till the time of the resurrection.
© Eva Peck, 2009