“The Bible is not the Word of God. Jesus is the Word of God. We go to the Bible because of the testimony of the saints that the Word of God can be encountered there through faithful reading which is an active process of interpretation not passive reception. Readings of the Bible which hurt people and diminish love are not of God because they are not consistent with the character of Jesus who is the Word of God.”
The above quote is from Aric Clark’s (Two Fools, and a Friar) blog post where he remarks about what the Bible is NOT. He lists a bunch more good ones in the post and asked for readers to submit more. I came up a few of my own:
THE BIBLE IS NOT EASY TO READ
This is one Catholic and EO criticism of Protestantism that I think is (most of the time) well placed: people should have AT LEAST a basic understanding of ancient Near Eastern history in order to read the Bible.
THE BIBLE IS NOT PLEASANT
The Bible is actually quite upsetting (to modern day, Western people particularly). Another criticism I take seriously—this time from the New Atheists—is that the Bible is pretty horrific in places. It should unnerve people to read how the warrior God of the OT, for instance, relishes in killing innocent people. There are tensions in scripture that many folks gloss over and don’t really come to terms with, I feel.
THE BIBLE IS NOT SUPERFICIAL
To paraphrase Picasso, if a work of art doesn’t have AT LEAST 10 meanings, it’s not good art. Needless to say, the Bible has layer upon layer upon layer of meaning, ad infinitum. To read the Bible in a wooden, superficial way—and insist that it’s the only way—is to simply denigrate it.
Image above by Tanner Wendell Stewart