The Authority Of The Bible


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The Authority Of The Bible

  1. 1. Objectives: 1. What is it? 2. How is it used? 3. What does it mean? The authority of the Bible
  2. 2. <ul><li>The Bible is a collection of stories, history, advice, songs, poems, science, prayer and many other things. </li></ul><ul><li>For Christians it offers guidelines on how to live their life. </li></ul><ul><li>It is important to understand the structure of the bible. </li></ul>What is the Bible?
  3. 3. What is the Bible?
  4. 4. <ul><li>Torah / Law – </li></ul><ul><li>Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy </li></ul><ul><li>These are the books of the Law of Moses . Believed to have been given to Moses on Mt. Sinai by God. Includes the 10 commandments (Exodus 20) </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><li>Nevi'im / Prophets </li></ul><ul><li>These are divided into the major prophets and the minor prophets. </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><li>Ketuvim / Writings </li></ul><ul><li>  These books include the history of the Jews and the Jewish people and the Psalms of David, a collection of songs. </li></ul>The Hebrew Scripture (39 books)
  5. 5. The Christian Scripture (27 books) The Gospels & Acts: Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Acts of the Apostles These five books tell the story of Jesus of Nazareth and the early church. The 4 gospels tell the same story with different &quot;slants&quot; or emphases. Letters / Epistles: Romans to Jude (21 books) These tell the stories of the early Christian communities and the problems that they faced. These letters were written by Paul, Peter and John three of the early followers of Jesus. Revelations This was written by John (the same person who wrote the gospel) and contains a collection of visions about the future.
  6. 6. <ul><li>It's all made up </li></ul><ul><li>It's probably a reasonable record of the life of Jesus of Nazareth but the miracles are made up - </li></ul><ul><li>3. It's a good record of the life of the son of God but with some errors and contradictions </li></ul><ul><li>4. It's an absolutely accurate record, it's God's word - </li></ul>4 views of the bible Cynical / Sceptical Humanist / Atheist Mainstream Christian Fundamentalist
  7. 7. How do Christians use the bible ?
  8. 8. 1. The source of belief <ul><li>Christians try to base any religious arguments on the foundation of what is said in the bible. </li></ul><ul><li>Any Christian belief must be derived from what is said in the bible and be consistent with what it says. </li></ul>The ascension
  9. 9. 2. guidelines <ul><li>As a set of rules / guidelines on how they should live in the world </li></ul>
  10. 10. 3. Public Reading <ul><li>Most Christian churches use the bible in their services for public reading. </li></ul><ul><li>E.g. in services </li></ul>
  11. 11. 4. Private reading <ul><li>Many read a little bit daily. </li></ul><ul><li>Others turn to the bible in times of distress and pain and gain comfort from it. </li></ul>
  12. 12. What authority does the bible have ? <ul><li>It is the record of certain profound experiences. </li></ul><ul><li>These experiences include simply being with Jesus in his earthly life and of meeting him after the resurrection. </li></ul><ul><li>It is the thoughts of those who enjoyed these experiences and /or had contact with those who did. </li></ul><ul><li>The experiences stand in their own right, but the thoughts of the New Testament writers are limited by the language available to them, and no writer was infallible. </li></ul><ul><li>Thus the bible should be taken seriously, but not literally. </li></ul><ul><li>It should stimulate readers to think deeply. </li></ul><ul><li>Readers should ponder on the text to discover the deeper meaning. </li></ul>
  13. 13. Turning New Testament principles into rules is not always easy. <ul><li>If we examine the Beatitudes (Matthew 5) we see that Jesus did not set up a code of law but rather a set of principles of good character. </li></ul><ul><li>The key to these is the principles of &quot; love god and to love your neighbour &quot;. </li></ul><ul><li>How might this present a problem for Christians facing moral dilemmas in the modern day? </li></ul>
  14. 14. Divorce? <ul><li>Christ hated divorce (Mark 10:2-12) and in an ideal world where people could forgive and treated each other well divorce would be unnecessary </li></ul><ul><li>but the ideal world has not arrived so can Christians ban divorce? </li></ul><ul><li>If they allow it are they being true to the Christ they believe in? </li></ul>
  15. 15. Two Ways of Understanding the Bible Literal Non-literal
  16. 16. Literal Approach <ul><li>The Bible is an EXACT record of events. </li></ul><ul><li>6 days of creation = 6 days </li></ul><ul><li>Adam and Eve were actually tempted by the serpent </li></ul><ul><li>Everyone died in ‘The Great Flood’ but Noah and co </li></ul><ul><li>To be a true Christian you must accept everything as it is found in the Bible. </li></ul>
  17. 17. Strengths of the literal approach <ul><li>What are the strengths for the Christian who understands the Bible literally? </li></ul><ul><li>Here are three suggestions: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Gives them a solid foundation for their beliefs. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Always have an infallible guide to turn to. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>All their questions are answered </li></ul></ul>
  18. 18. Weaknesses of the Literal Approach <ul><li>What are the weaknesses for the Christian who understands the Bible literally? </li></ul><ul><li>Here are some suggestions: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>There appear to be many contradictions in the Bible (eye for an eye vs Turn the other cheek / or the fact that God can be personal AND impersonal etc) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Is the Bible always relevant? The moral guidance of the Bible is designed for people living 2000 yrs ago in Israel. What about modern issues such as Global warming, Cloning etc? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Some of the events seem to go against scientific knowledge. Eg 6 days of creation; the great flood etc </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The Bible as we know it has been translated several times. How do we know the meanings have not changed? </li></ul></ul>
  19. 19. The Non-Literal Approach <ul><li>There are different ‘kinds’ of truth </li></ul><ul><li>Some events are accurate, but some are ‘myths’ which contain a spiritual ‘truth’. Ie stories with a meaning. </li></ul><ul><li>This is how Jesus taught in his parables. </li></ul><ul><li>Eg the Good Samaritan was not a true story, but it had an important meaning. </li></ul>
  20. 20. Strengths of the non-literal approach <ul><li>What are the strengths for the Christian who understands the Bible non-literally? </li></ul><ul><li>Here are some suggestions: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>They allow for historical inaccuracies if the story is told for a purpose (eg the 6 days of creation may refer merely to the process of creation NOT the actual time) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>By looking for meaning behind the stories, it enables them to keep the teachings relevant. (since teachings can be interpreted) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>It allows for the fact that the Bible (new testament) was written by humans and could contain mistakes and cultural differences </li></ul></ul>
  21. 21. Weaknesses of the Literal Approach <ul><li>What are the weaknesses for the Christian who understands the Bible non-literally? </li></ul><ul><li>Here are some suggestions: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>How do we know which teachings are fact and which are to be interpreted? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>It may give rise to conflict, as people interpret the Bible differently (protestant and Catholic interpretation of the Eucharist? Abortion? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The Bible loses some of it’s authority if people are allowed to question its truths </li></ul></ul>