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February 06, 2007

Comments

Ken

WWWWeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!

TomTom

Where's Debbie? I brought some popcorn and beer.

Bill

huh?

deborah

They think that I'm going to go off on you regarding this topic and are looking forward to sitting back and watching the "game". I guess that's what happens in that little week or two between the end of football season and the start of spring baseball training. Hey guys, go find a hockey game! ;)

Bill

I haven't has many comments here lately. Of course, I haven't been posting much either. So now I'm wondering if comments about making comments is better than no comments at all. ;-)

Ken

I was enjoying the slide down that slippery slope. :-)

deborah

Ryan was speaking about Pentecost and how some Jewish people would often spend all night reading the scriptures. If I remember correctly, he used this verse to talk about the importance of being open to and spending time with the scriptures (our Bible as we have it now). To be honest, he spent so little time on this verse that I don't recall many details about how it pertained to his point.

The verse he quoted could be interpreted in two ways (that I can see). The first would be that "word of God" would mean literally Jesus and therefore the passage would have been used incorrectly.

The second would be that "word of God" refers to the gospel story of Jesus. (I dismiss the idea that Paul was only refering to his own testimony as he uses the plural "us" rather than "me" which is consitant with the surrounding text) At that time the stories of Jesus would have been well known within the Christian community, were retold at Christian gatherings and were circulating in the form of letters. The fact that we only have 4 remaining versions or retellings of the story does not negate the value of spending time reading them or receiving them as testimony about Jesus, which was Ryan's point.

I happen to lean towards the second interpretation. As the books in the New Testament (and Old) are about Jesus, Jesus is the living word of God and that Paul was saying that the gospel story came from God, I have no problem with Ryan, or anyone else, refering to our generally accepted group of books compiled into what we call the Bible as scripture and saying that we need to spend time in them.

Bill

"The verse he quoted could be interpreted in two ways (that I can see). The first would be that "word of God" would mean literally Jesus..."

I don't think you can interpret the passage as referring to Jesus because it says they heard the word.

"The second would be that "word of God" refers to the gospel story of Jesus. (I dismiss the idea that Paul was only refering to his own testimony as he uses the plural "us" rather than "me" which is consitant with the surrounding text)"

That's basically what I'm saying. They were accepting whatever it was that Paul and his associates were telling them as coming from God.

"The fact that we only have 4 remaining versions or retellings of the story does not negate the value of spending time reading them or receiving them as testimony about Jesus, which was Ryan's point."

Actually, I believe he was making a stronger point than that. He was making a connection between the phrase "the word of God" and the Bible. The way he was making that connection is a common mistake that irks me a little.

"I have no problem with Ryan, or anyone else, refering to our generally accepted group of books compiled into what we call the Bible as scripture and saying that we need to spend time in them."

I have no problem with that either, nor am I arguing against it! ;-)

deborah

For me it hinges on what is the "word of God" and in this verse I believe that would be the testimony of those who have been transformed by Jesus. The Bible is a series of books about God and ultimately about Jesus. Jesus is the word of God and the books we have gathered into our current Bible are (part of) the testimony of the word of God.

The Bible becomes alive in us as God works in us and while I won't call it inerrent, I believe it is the word of God. Therefore, I don't have a problem with Ryan taking that verse out of context and applying it to the canon of scripture that we have.

Does that mean that we agree but have come to different conclusions about taking the verse out of context for application during the sermon?

I checked the website and the church's offical position on the Bible is: "We are convinced that the Bible is an intelligent communication from God; it is as up-to-date and believable and relevant today as it ever was, and it gives us solid direction for our lives."

FYI, I am having a very hard time loading your blog since you added the audio comments widget (and my laptop wasn't very fond of your site before that but now I crash 1 out of every 4 times I try to view your site!)

Bill

"Does that mean that we agree but have come to different conclusions about taking the verse out of context for application during the sermon?"

Basically...yes. My problem is when people start treating the Bible as if it is literally words that God is saying to us - straight from his mouth to our ears. That to me, takes away from the humanity of it. Toward the beginning of his sermon, Ryan compared Abraham speaking with God to us having the Bible. I think those are two very different things.

I no longer have the audio comments thing up. I've been having trouble with typepad in general. It always takes a while to get into my account. Have you been having the same problem?

deborah

It doesn't take me long to get into my site but typepad has been down a lot lately. I always have trouble getting onto your site. It was really bad with the audio comments thing but only one other blog I visit takes longer than yours to load.

And there are times that I feel God speaks to me through the Bible as if it were directly to my ears, so that comparison doesn't bother me. I personally believe that God inspired the Bible in a way that it says what he wants it to say. Now I don't believe that the Bible tells me if I should wear red or blue today, but I believe that we can read it and be hearing the story of Jesus, from God. For me, it is a faith issue.

An interesting article on this topic can be found over at the Internet Monk: http://www.internetmonk.com/articles/B/bible.html

Bill

"there are times that I feel God speaks to me through the Bible as if it were directly to my ears"

But that's not the same thing as what I'm talking about. Same thing with saying it's "from God." That's not what's at issue here unless I'm totally not following this conversation! ;-)

jason_73

I haven't left a comment. I usually stink at getting my point across and sounding reasonably intelligent at the same time. I will say though that I read this post to my non-blog reading pal and we had a good discussion around it last night. Actually being from a charismatic background and struggling with literal interpreataion vs. a figurative understanding I'm always trying to learn the healthy balance of the two without becoming flaky. It is surprising of how angry people get when you challenge "the word", "the bible" as anything other than the generic hermaneutic. Good post.

deborah

If I remember the wording right, Ryan said something along the lines that God spoke to Abraham and that we don't have that but that we have God's word in the Bible. I don't remember him saying anything anything else (that doesn't mean he didn't and I have to wait for the podcast to get posted to check).

Is it possible that your personal bias against evangelicals saying things like this (your pet peeve) may have clouded the issue for you regarding what was said and how you interpreted it? (By that I mean - is it possible that you are reading too much into what what actually said? And please keep in mind that I'm trying to phrase that question as gently as I can - so please don't think that I'm yelling at you, until I hear the sermon again I'm not even sure my memory of it is correct)

Bill

He was saying how he thought, "If only I could hear from God like that." Then he said that he realized he could (because he has a Bible). I'm not trying to pick on him in particular. I just don't completely agree with his logic regarding the story about Abraham or the way he applied the verse from Thessalonians later.

The whole point of this was not that he was wrong for telling us to read or rely on the Bible, but that he made a leap of logic in equating logos, in 1 Thessalonians 2:13, with the Bible.

Bill

P.S. If only we could have a recorded transcript of everything we debate!

deborah

Until you wrote that I completely did not remember it, but now that you reminded me of that, that is what he said. I'm curious, how do you relate faith and logic? Did he make a leap of logic or a leap of faith?

Bill

I don't think faith and logic are mutually exclusive concepts. We can put our faith in anything if we really want to. That doesn't mean it's logical to put our faith in just anything, however.

For example, it's illogical that a fat guy in a red suit is able to visit every mall in the country and wait for hours to take pictures with little kids. If I put my faith in Santa Claus nonetheless my faith is a nonsensical one. I don't think our faith in God need be nonsensical and I don't think it should be illogical either.

As for Ryan, I don't know if "leap of logic" is the best way to describe it. I'm willing to bet he simply made a connection based on the way a lot of Christians typically use the phrase "word of God."

deborah

Most likely, I don't know his specific beliefs regarding these issues, but it is possible that he does see it the way that bothers you. It isn't an issue that I get sidetracked on.

And why can't a fat guy visit every mall at the same time? Isn't that the way quantam physics works?

Bill

Quantum physics deals with very small particles, not big, fat guys! ;-)

deborah

Little particles that are everywhere and nowhere at the same time, and aren't we made up of those small particles?

Bill

I'm made of snips and snails, and puppy-dogs' tails.

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