Question: Is the Bible the Inspired Word of God? (Belief + Doubt = Sanity)

DoubtIf God inspired the bible, wouldn’t he inspire it in such a way that we would easily understand his intentions and purpose for our lives?

This is an excellent question.

And the answer is, no.  Surprise!

2Timothy 3:16 says:

“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness…” (NIV)

“All the Holy Writings are God-given and are made alive by Him. Man is helped when he is taught God’s Word. It shows what is wrong. It changes the way of a man’s life. It shows him how to be right with God.” (NLV)

“Every part of Scripture is God-breathed and useful one way or another—showing us truth, exposing our rebellion, correcting our mistakes, training us to live God’s way. Through the Word we are put together and shaped up for the tasks God has for us.” (MSG) [all emphasis in above versions mine]

Look at the words used for what the Word of God can do–teaching, correcting, exposing, training. All of them action words. None with a sense of end or need of completion; as if the knowledge of God and His purposes for our lives can have completeness.

Above anything, the Bible is a story of a God wanting to reunite with his creation. Yes, the tired old cliché rings true: Scripture is ultimately a love letter from the creator to his creation. He once had a relationship with us, and he longs to have that relationship again. Why would it be a stretch of imagination to think that He would not want us to long for him; to discover him and explore him through his inspired Word.

After all, He made us in His image…

“Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness…” (NIV)

“Let us make human beings in our image, make them reflecting our nature…” (MSG)

…not by physical appearance, but by nature—the inward appearance—with a heart of longing for the “why?” and a soul of eagerness for the discovery.

He has given us the free will to choose him.

He has given us the curiosity to seek him.

He has also given us the benefit of doubt. Not the benefit of “the” doubt, but the benefit of doubt; the ability, and the desire, to question.

The one thing he has not given us is knowledge on a silver platter, and that drives our little Greek-influenced eight-pound brains nuts! We Westerners like facts and figures and absolutes, not unresolved problems. We like the solutions, not the seeking. We like our answers, not the revelation of more questions. We like things that fit into our neat little “knowledge boxes” so we can put them on our “mastery shelves”, storing them away, never to bother with them again. Forgotten…but at least solved.

Of course God’s not going to let us do that with His Word. Why would he?

Remember, God gave us our natural inquisitiveness. It is a gift. It is a blessing. So, too, is the Bible a gift, and a blessing; an inspired Word to spark our inquisitive nature, to feed it, to encourage it, continually, layer-upon-layer (which is another post all together).

It’s not God’s fault that our innate nature has been calloused over and hardened by laziness and affluence, that our curiosity, especially toward Him, has grown complacent and shallow. We are victims of culture, masters of conquest, where questions have become just another battle to fight, solutions just another victory to be won.

Through our 21st century comforts and culture, we’ve drifted away from God’s image. Forming instead in our own, self-satisfied and supreme. The image in the mirror: Our very own idols.

“Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 18:3 NIV)

God doesn’t want answers or revelation or truth spoon fed to us with no sense of wonder or awe on our part, something akin to becoming like little children I would think, even (and perhaps especially) as we ascend this endless mountain of understanding called God’s Word.

He has given us this gift of discovery, of exploration, of unfolding  wisdom at our own pace and in our own timing. Each revelation being its own amazing “Ah-ha!” moment, and each moment building upon the last; higher and higher, toward a greater and greater sense of appreciation.

Ultimately, toward Him.

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5 thoughts on “Question: Is the Bible the Inspired Word of God? (Belief + Doubt = Sanity)”

  1. There is another important reason why the scriptures are not always easily understood. The Lord reveals his truths to each of us individually, line upon line, precept upon precept. The Scriptures convey to the reader religious truth exactly in proportion to his/her faith and readiness to live the word. An example of this is the Savior teaching in parables. There were some who were ready and able to live his truths and to them understanding was bestowed. Others were not yet ready to live certain doctrines. The more we understand, the more accountable we are for living according to that understanding. In His great wisdom and mercy, the Lord taught in such a way that those who were ready could grasp his teachings, while those who were not ready were protected from accountability because they did not understand. As we continue on our path of study and desire and strive to follow the Savior, the scriptures will continue to open up hidden truths to us throughout our lives through personal revelation by the power of the Holy Ghost.

  2. If someone I love does something I don’t understand, I’m forced to think about it, question it, even doubt it. But I don’t question if that person exists, and I don’t question their feelings about me (at least in most situations). I understand the benefit of that kind of doubt.

    In the same way, we see people in the Bible express doubt toward God. Abraham questions God’s decision to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah. Moses questions God’s decision to use him as a messenger before Pharaoh. Even Jesus questions God’s plan when he’s in the garden. Yet none of these people had doubts about who God was.

    If there is a judgment awaiting all mankind, then it seems very irresponsible of God to allow many of us to question his very existence. I can tell you from personal experience that this doubt is not borne out of rebellion, but out of genuine skepticism. If God wants all people to be saved, why allow his very existence to be questioned?

    I think most of us can see the benefit of being forced to think through and ponder certain elements of God’s plan — the “mystery” that Paul so often spoke about. But questioning his very existence? That’s a bit like making us play Russian roulette, but where the stakes are eternal.

    1. Ah, Nate, my friend, always good to hear from you on the ol’ SD blog! Great comments as always. The first paragraph pretty accurately describes my thoughts/feelings toward God, but you probably already knew that. Let me ask you a question: what have you read, heard, sought, pursued, toward the proof of God’s existence? I ask this out of true interest. I’d love to hear some of your research during your deconversion, that you used to try and bolster your belief and faith? I know you have read many well-known, well-respected skeptic authors on the subject, but what of the other side? What have you done to pursue the existence of God, rather than the debunking?

      1. Great question, Kent. I keep a list on my site (http://findingtruth.wordpress.com/books/), but off the top of my head, I’ve read Tim Keller’s Reason for God, a couple of Norman Geisler books, Josh McDowell, Lewis’s Mere Christianity, Can We Trust the Gospels by Mark D. Roberts, Lee Strobel, and several others. I really did try to approach my research as objectively as possible. I just hit a point where I couldn’t believe it anymore.

        1. Thanks Nate. I’ve grown to where I’m not a huge fan of apologetics myself, but I enjoyed C.S. Lewis. I suppose my own list is culled from wanting to take my faith a little deeper and uncover more of what belief really is: Discipline of Grace for instance, or Francis Chan, or just in the midst of one now called Prototype which is quite good. Also, I’ve been learning a lot more from some of those sermon series’ by that church like the one I sent to you recently. I’m loving the historical/cultural context that they put the scriptures into.

          BTW, good post that you put up today on FindingTruth. I’m gonna have to do a little thinking, but I might chime in on that one as well.

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