The Bible doesn't 'clearly' say anything!

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DaisyJane

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This article scrolled across my Facebook timeline this morning.


Why the Bible Doesn't 'Clearly Say' Anything

Thoughts??

For me, this paragraph stood out:

"So when someone says “the Bible clearly says X,” what they really mean is “my religious belief asserts that this set of scholars and their reading of the Bible is correct over against any others.” That’s fine—there will always be disagreements. But to pretend such disagreements don’t exist is ignorant at best, and disingenuous at worst."
 

Carolla

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Philology - new word for me! I found the article really interesting, as one who rarely accepts things at face or literal value and am often wondering why - about many things in life, not just the Bible.

So this sentence was of interest to me - the why ...
It’s peculiar that so many people have a rigid, unbending, adamant view about something they feel is in the Bible, but have so little understanding of why they think the Bible says what they say it says.
 

revjohn

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Some good points. Also a bit of simplification.

Certain parts of the text belong to genres which do not ordinarily get employed as factual representation so much as they are poetic imagery.

The Song of Solomon, for example. It is love poetry, literal interpretation of the text is going to lead to some embarrasing conclusions.

Colloquialisms are also hard to translate literally without losing anything in the translation.

We actually had a similar discussion to this article here:
Can a translation of God's word be perfect?
 

Luce NDs

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In the chaos of god-love ... could one expect upsets in understanding ...

Love does disrupt thoughts and clear thinking ... some are so far into it they can't see it ...
 

revjohn

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Back to the issue of clarity.

Do we have some misgivings with the Ten Commandments for example? Do we find them to be unclear direction? Do we see anywhere, for example where God or Jesus rescind those instructions as norms?

Anywhere where "Thou Shalt Not Kill." for example, becomes "Kill as you wish?" Or even, "you may kill, but only for these reasons." The fact that humanity can, and has, rationalized work arounds or even self-justified rebellion against commands doesn't prove that the scriptures are unclear so much as it proves Christians are disobedient.

Even where we can point to evolutions in social code such as no prohibition on violence to eye for an eye to turn the other cheek to resist no one. Would we still make a case for a lack of clarity in the scriptures?

Some issues are problematic simply because some are willing to swallow the word without meditating on it or otherwise engaging it.

I think of all of the times in all of the threads where we have actually attempted to study scripture together with a resulting cacaphony of interpretations and very rarely have we actually argued that scripture says black where it reads white. And to be honest, those rarities are over pretty fast even if the fallout lingers. I guess they are like atom bombs in that regard.

Even in those places when the players are lined up on the field there is no trouble to tell, usually, how the discussion will progress. Each player will be true to themselves and to their faith (whatever it is they place their faith in) so there is no real lack of clarity. So much as there is a lack of agreements on which clarity is true crystal.

Even where scripture is being abused there is a transparency to that abuse. Some times it is willful and othertimes it is naivete in grand and glorious display and othertimes it is self-justifying ignorance. Whatever the motivation there is still clarity at play.

With respect to Burrows, who is identified as a former Christian Fundamentalist, I think that designation provides a shade more clarity to the actual article.

Former Christian Fundamentalists are to Christian Fundamentalism what X Smokers are to Smoking. They don't become less extreme in practice, they simply switch sides and are typically openly hostile to that which they have rejected. Which has been one of my enduring criticisms of Spong. He attacks a Christianity which exists but is by no means a majority expression of the Christian faith when considered globally. In his context, yes, Christian Fundamentalism, is pervasive and problematic. Christian Fundamentalism doesn't exists everywhere because it is a hot-house plant with no survival traits outside of a protected environment.

Burrows operates as if only Biblical literalists claim to view scripture with clarity. Of course as a critique he has to be able to claim that he sees the flaws of Christian Fundamentalism with clarity which he very well may. They are pretty glaring. Of course never having lived inside of Christian Fundamentalism I've noticed them constantly. Now that Burrows has dropped those lenses he may believe that nobody noticed what he had to learn to see.

That doesn't change the issue of clarity with respect to scripture.

In some places scripture is crystal clear, we might not be appreciative of what we see in those place, that means we have to find some way to cope with it. And we have many different coping mechanisms available to us. Pretending that the text is vague or ambiguous is the mechanism of denial and it requires individuals to adopt a literalist approach to scripture for a different purpose, as if it is the purpose that is the problem and not the method.
 

Luce NDs

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Does a foggy metaphor presented in Shakespearean spin (with some English on it) cause some to think ... and others not?

Brightens the illusion of the British curry ... curios bull? Seti? In the land of imagination it was base for a tie or come kind of connecting power ... thus Seders ... imaginary occult activities ... Rufus syndrome ...
 

Mendalla

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Some issues are problematic simply because some are willing to swallow the word without meditating on it or otherwise engaging it.

This. Just this. And it doesn't just apply to the Bible. There are people who read other religious texts this way. There are people who read secular "gurus" (Hi, Tony Robbins) this way. There are people who read the news this way. There are people who read liberal Christian writers (Hi, John Spong) this way. And on it goes. I wish this problem stopped with Biblical literalists, but not meditating on/engaging with what people read is endemic to the human condition, I think.
 

Luce NDs

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This. Just this. And it doesn't just apply to the Bible. There are people who read other religious texts this way. There are people who read secular "gurus" (Hi, Tony Robbins) this way. There are people who read the news this way. There are people who read liberal Christian writers (Hi, John Spong) this way. And on it goes. I wish this problem stopped with Biblical literalists, but not meditating on/engaging with what people read is endemic to the human condition, I think.

The word as 'god' is an ideal expansive item ... indeterminate as it may appear existent and yet carry essence of varied sort ... in myth and myst of Avalon ... it may sometime be imaginable ... like sol in a divisive realm ...

The literal sense that this is something else because they don't like people collecting unknowns ... dark words? The in psychological sense ... sol needs story to pass info through the thick area when sol hides shamed from real life and thus in a dead area between the'ars ... the lobes may resemble rutted cheeks ... check out Michelangelo's painting on the spark of life ... it projects images of wrinkles in the Purple Rein Underlying the neuro tissue ... that's UV or M'N in English representation ... an occult thing eclipsing light forms ...

One needs to assimilate a great mound of myths ... and digest ... such is the essence of a irresolvable sol that is untouchable and heard by few ... until settling in from the Seths and Seders ... some consider these dust ups!
 

Carolla

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I've been recently looking at info about Virginia Ramey Mollenkott, whose name came up as I stumbled around the internet the other evening. She was apparently involved with development of the NIV of the Bible. Seems pretty good so far, right? Well - there are some horrible sites about her and her work - because she identifies as lesbian and transgender. There are sordid accusations of her altering the holy text to make it be supportive of homosexuality, along with another member of that team who was also apparently homosexual - although his name escapes me at the moment. I was somehow surprised by the vitriol, although I know I ought not to have been. And yes, sadly they are authored by those considering themselves to be enthusiastically Christian - imploring all to ignore the NIV. Sure relates back to the paragraph Daisy Jane quoted in the OP.
 

Mendalla

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I've been recently looking at info about Virginia Ramey Mollenkott, whose name came up as I stumbled around the internet the other evening. She was apparently involved with development of the NIV of the Bible. Seems pretty good so far, right? Well - there are some horrible sites about her and her work - because she identifies as lesbian and transgender. There are sordid accusations of her altering the holy text to make it be supportive of homosexuality, along with another member of that team who was also apparently homosexual - although his name escapes me at the moment. I was somehow surprised by the vitriol, although I know I ought not to have been. And yes, sadly they are authored by those considering themselves to be enthusiastically Christian - imploring all to ignore the NIV. Sure relates back to the paragraph Daisy Jane quoted in the OP.

Really? I knew a lot of fairly evangelical types who swore by that version when it came out. I know the true hardcore prefer the KJV but these were hardly arch-progressives, more centre-right mainstream.
 

Jae

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Really? I knew a lot of fairly evangelical types who swore by that version when it came out. I know the true hardcore prefer the KJV but these were hardly arch-progressives, more centre-right mainstream.

In my experience, and I am speaking both of my time in conservative Baptist churches and at Tyndale here, evangelicals do tend to favor the NIV. I've only personally known one student at Tyndale (a self-described Fundamentalist), and one short-time adherent of a Baptist church who favored the KJV. The vast majority have gone for the NIV, though I had one professor who said the ESV was the best way to go.
 

unsafe

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This is what The Holy Spirit states very clearly ------

 

revsdd

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Generally, and using descriptors that I really don't like but will at least make the point, my experience has been that "fundamentalist" churches tend to like the KJV, "conservative" and/or "evangelical" churches tend to like the NIV (although some hold on to the KJV) and "liberal" churches tend to like the NRSV. I use the NRSV as my primary for preaching/teaching purposes, but the NIV for personal devotional reading and study.
 

Jae

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...although some hold on to the KJV)...

Really Steven? I know of none that do (doesn't mean that you're wrong).

revsdd said:
...and "liberal" churches tend to like the NRSV. I use the NRSV as my primary for preaching/teaching purposes, but the NIV for personal devotional reading and study.

I did have one professor mention that the NRSV is one of the top versions in terms of vocabulary used. Usually I preach from the NIV, but use the NLV for devotions.
 

DaisyJane

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In my experience I have found that those who I would consider "ultra-conservative" prefer the KJV. And I will admit I find their rationale both intriguing and annoying.

Since I swing to the far left I almost always work with the NRSV. Similarly the academic environments I move in (i.e.: not Bible colleges, theological schools affiliated with a secular university) also work with the NRSV. As I understand, bearing in mind that I am not Biblical scholar, the NRSV is the translation that is working with some of the most recent Biblical translations/archives. If there are any Biblical scholars out there I would love to hear more about why the NRSV is the preferred Bible for academia.
 

Jae

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Since I swing to the far left I almost always work with the NRSV. Similarly the academic environments I move in (i.e.: not Bible colleges, theological schools affiliated with a secular university) also work with the NRSV. As I understand, bearing in mind that I am not Biblical scholar, the NRSV is the translation that is working with some of the most recent Biblical translations/archives. If there are any Biblical scholars out there I would love to hear more about why the NRSV is the preferred Bible for academia.

At my school, which is neither a Bible college nor a theological school affiliated with a secular university, we are permitted to use any sound version. The NRSV, ESV, NIV, HCSB, and commonly used. Personally, I prefer the HCSB, My copy of it is the Missional Study Bible, which means I'm continuing to hear from voices in the missional conversation along with whatever particular course I may be taking.
 

unsafe

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GordW ----- your quote ----OR...- is what the author of Timothy says the Spirit says....

It is however you yourself want to interpret it GordW ------

1 Timothy 4 (GW)
A Prophecy about the Last Times

For me-- it is a revelation from the Holy Spirit to Paul -----it is a warning from the Holy Spirit Himself -----in my view -----
 

revsdd

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Really Steven? I know of none that do (doesn't mean that you're wrong).


Depends on how you define the terms to an extent, but I have known some churches that I'd call conservative but not fundamentalist that are pretty set on KJV. Not a lot, but a few. For that matter I know a couple of retired United Church ministers who are pretty fond of the KJV, who read from it if they do funerals and who pray in "thees" and "thous."
 
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Luce NDs

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OR...

t is what the author of Timothy says the Spirit says....

Was Timothy, grass roots, a shy spirit? Thus following as drag 'n on to the crossing point where one could Passover to the Nous Ju Roue Salem? Bewitching in thoughts ... incite?
 
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