OK, I’m realizing that my thoughts relative to inspiration, canon, our relationship with the text, et al., aren’t organized enough for me to lay these posts out in any logical order. So I’ll just keep laying out thoughts and getting reactions. Thanks to all who commented yesterday.
Some thoughts on the compilation of the text:
- I think most of the biblical books were written and/or compiled with a specific audience in mind. Why was this story included and that one not? Why is this oracle recorded and that one not? Why were the sections of text arranged the way they were? I believe this was done intentionally with the intended readers in view.
- I believe that this process of selection and organization of material was guided by the Holy Spirit. How? Ah, that’s above my pay grade. Still, I believe that the creation of the biblical writings was not a purely human effort.
- While recognizing the role of context in the creation of biblical texts, I believe that the whole Bible has something to say to us. There is no “that was just then” when it comes to the text. As I recognized recently, it can be hard to identify the principles behind teachings in the Bible and that process is open to subjectivity; that doesn’t shake my faith in the value of each biblical text. (That faith does not mean that I see each text of equal value; there are “greatest commands” and “weightier matters”)
- I also trust in the biblical canon as it stands. I believe that God worked with and through his people in the selection of the books and particular texts that make up our Bible today. I’m willing to use textual criticism to hone our understanding of what the original text was, but none of that shakes my faith in what makes up the Bible I use.
Maybe those are enough general thoughts for today. Help me sharpen my thinking on these items!