A few posts ago I put up a poll, and I wanted to take a moment to reflect on the responses that I received. Here are the results in italics, followed by my reflection.
First, here’s the question I posed:
Assuming that the Bible is the word/Word of God, what does that mean?
And then the answers:
Every word of the Bible is exactly as God intended 7% (5 votes)
To any reader of this blog, it is obvious that I disagree with this response. This isn’t because I have special information, simply because I accept the vast majority of Biblical scholarship at present. The Bible is, in my opinion, a limited, human creation. If it is exactly what God intended, then God’s intention seems to be carefully disguised in a great deal of imperfection.
The Bible contains everything God wants me to know 4% (3 votes)
This, to me, is more possible, though I also disagree here. The Bible in a vacuum isn’t very meaningful for me. I also certainly have no way of reading it apart from my experience, assumptions, cognitive limitations, emotions and so on. I go through life assuming that God wants me to know those things as well. If not, well, that’s a lot of red herrings.
The writers of the Bible were inspired by God to write what they did – but not word for word 22% (15 votes)
Look! It’s a Confessional standard that I affirm! This is definitely a position that I take readily and easily.
The Bible is inerrant in every area important to Christian faith and life 10% (7 votes)
If the Bible is a human document, which is my working assumption, then it is capable of error. At the very least, it is open to interpretation – and misinterpretation – by whoever happens to read it. Previously, we have identified some Biblical stances, such as those on slavery and the rights of women, as in error.
God sometimes speaks through the Bible 12% (8 votes)
I’d go so far as to say that God might always be speaking through the Bible. The question is always – how can we tell, and what do we do in response?
The Bible is a collection of words about God 18% (12 votes)
Clearly this is true, and I put this option here as a sort of minimum.
The Bible is one of many ways God communicates with humanity 24% (16 votes)
I also hold this view – that God might communicate to humanity through various means, including the Bible as one that we have affirmed historically and affirm today.
There is no God, so having a “word” of God makes no sense 1% (1 votes)
I had to put that one there – I always like to leave options for those who disagree with me in one way or another.
Other 3% (2 votes)
In the “Other” category, there was the option of entering your own answer, which two of you did. Since I don’t want to discuss something someone wrote when they were able to write anonymously, I just listed them below.
The Bible is the word of God. We are not to select, apply or interpret the word.
The Truth is inerrant, but not literally laid out for us.