A few weeks ago, while out of town for some training, a colleague, a congregationist, and I spent a great deal of time discussing the nature of the Bible.
My focus was on the incarnation nature of Scripture, and my congregationist colleague, well, God’s revelation through the biblical writers, according to their world. Then I find myself read Adam Hamilton’s Making Sense of the Bible, in which he focuses on the humanity of the Bible.
According to Hamilton, understanding the humanity of the Bible has actually helped him to appreciate the Bible even more, while not pressed to affirm the inerrancy and infallibility of the Scriptures, of conservative evangelicals.
For example, by appreciating the humanity of the Bible (that is, the biblical authors writing from their worldview, customs, norms, approach to history, storytelling, and the like), the Bible reader does not have to be driven by fear, wondering about matters of science and the Bible, whether the story of Jonah is fictional or not, and the discrepancies that we often find in the four Gospels, not to mention superficial efforts of harmonization.
At first, what Scott Lencke has rightfully dubbed fear-driven interpretation was becoming my own experience: why am I rethinking what I have been taught in college, seminary, and from the pulpit? Am I becoming a heretic of sorts?
But this rethinking of the nature of the Bible’s inspiration is making a lot more sense to me, and according to Adam Hamilton, “The early Christians did not see an inerrant Bible as the foundation for their faith. For them, it was Jesus Christ, God’s Word enfleshed, that was the foundation of their faith.”