Truth and Beauty

Bible – Further Reflections 

Bible: an inspired book 

·   Word of God in human words – not every word is inspired, but the thoughts are. 

·   Inspired by the Holy Spirit throughout history. 

·   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 throughout history. 


·   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 history.  

·   Collected, selected, and preserved as sacred text after the exile with the hope for a future Messiah and restoration based on the prophetic writings. 

·   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 scriptures.  

·   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 and prophecies.  

·   Stories are based on true accounts, but may not include exact details. This does not take away from the significance of the theological truth.  

·   Some accounts may be composite with some fiction or exaggeration to illustrate/magnify a point. Jesus himself taught in parables or metaphors for that reason.  

·   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 message.   

·   Some things should not be interpreted literally for the purpose of drawing significant conclusions, because this may not be the intent of the text.  

·   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