Friday, May 27, 2011

Inspired? Inspiring?

Scripture: 1 Timothy 3:16
There are many interpretations of this Scripture passage and what the church means in its affirmation that Scripture is inspired. Some, of the more Conservative bent, focus on the inspiration of the original authors and original words of Scripture. Others, of the more Liberal bent, focus on the inspiration of the current readers guided by the Holy Spirit. John Wesley, the founder of the Methodist movement commented on this particular passage, "All Scripture is inspired of God - The Spirit of God not only once inspired those who wrote it, but continually inspires, supernaturally assists, those that read it with earnest prayer." So from his Anglican roots Wesley took a middle way that acknowledges both the inspiration of Scripture as from God and the current inspiration of the reader in the process of reading aided through the Holy Spirit.
Perhaps you've heard of or believe in the doctrine of inerrancy. This doctrine states that the Bible is inerrant (without error) in its original manuscripts. The problem with this to me is it begs the question: which manuscripts? What scholars have in the original Greek especially is not one perfect manuscripts but many and each has slight variations (none of any theological consequence). Thus to say we don't posses original manuscripts. And bigger picture, it just misses the point in my opinion to over focus on Scripture at the expense of the transformational character of Scripture. Through our reading of God's inspired Word in Scripture we are transformed to be God's spoken word in the world. As it has been said before, you may be the only Bible somebody reads.
What are some difference between reading for information versus transformation? Certainly one difference would be the speed at which we read. Are we reading such to say we've finished the book or reading for depth even though it may take a lot longer to do so?
Try reading Psalm 100 (or another favorite Psalm or Scripture passage) several times through. Try reading with different emphasis and at different speeds. What questions surface? Read the passage again so that it speaks freshly not just to your head, but to your inner self. What affirmations are there from God? How would it look like to live out this passage today? everyday?

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