“Oh! You’re just missing the point!” The revelation dawned on me after about an hour of intense discussion on everything from evolution to abortion to the meaning of the book of Revelation. “You are asking questions of the scripture that it was not meant to answer.”
I cannot tell you how often we (ok, mostly me, but I’ll include everyone here to make myself feel better) focus on things in the Bible that are far from the main point of scripture. Let me explain using a little something known to those of us over 18 as a phone book (for the younger, read this wikipedia page before you continue).
The point of a phone book is to help you find someone’s phone number, but that’s not all you can do with it. You can compare the percentage of different ethnicities names, you could count the number of bars as opposed to the number of libraries, you could even count the number of churches to the number of schools. All of that could tell you something about the area covered by that phone book, but that data has a high potential to give you unreliable answers. What about the unlisted numbers? What about places that closed or people that moved? The reality is that if you go to the phone book and ask it questions it wasn’t designed to answer, you will likely get wrong answers.
Every text is the same way. If you go to a car manual looking for a way to cure an infection or if you look at a science textbook for evidence of God, you may find something, but it is VERY likely that it will be wrong. It’s the same with the Bible.
All of this leads us to an incredibly important question: What is the purpose of the scriptures? In a sentence, the purpose of the scriptures is to form you spiritually (see 2 Timothy 3:16). That means that whenever you open it and ask a question that is not aimed at spiritual formation you have to realize that you will get some weird answers.
It also means that no matter what, the deepest truth of every passage in the Bible is a spiritual one. The point of every story is spiritual. Let me show you what I mean…
The point of the story of Noah has absolutely nothing to do with whether or not there are enough water molecules to cover the earth. It is a story about the consequences of sin, God’s desire for obedience, and the fact that even the obedient mess up.
The point of Jonah has absolutely nothing to do with whether or not there is a type of sea life that has a digestive system that will not break down a human body. It is about running away from God and that when we repent, God will forgive… also that Jonah is a whiner.
Is it ok to believe that there are enough water molecules to cover the earth or there is a fish that doesn’t have acid reflux? Yes. But focusing on that, rejecting the scriptures based upon that, or not uniting with a fellow Christian over that is completely missing the point of the Bible.
So, repeat after me, “I do hereby solemnly swear to focus on the profound spiritual truth in the Bible and learn to love the people who disagree with me on the other stuff.” Amen. I may have to repeat that again before I go to bed.
For the Comments: What story's spiritual truth has formed you most?
>>> Read More: Please Don't Take the Whole Bible Literally