Sometimes quests do not end exactly as you thought they would. My hope had been to have a definitive answer as to exactly how the Bible is inspired and what significance that has. I was hoping to grasp the sword having some true understanding of what it was, where it came from and how it came to be. My study has brought me to a point where I may have a working understanding of the inspiration of the Bible, but it is not a clean-cut as some others would make it. I suppose I am more like in the position of King Arthur who has taken the sword Excalibur but still has a lot so sense of mystery as to the complete nature of the weapon in my hand.
All of this started with a simple look at the major theories of inspiration in my series Theology for Dummies: Biblical Inspiration. Looking at all these theories brought me more questions as to which one had the most validity. I then started looking at what the Bible said about itself. The Bible on the Bible was a 23 part series where I looked to see if the Bible itself claimed inspiration and to see if it described what kind of inspiration the Bible used. I did manage to discard two of the main theories of inspiration at that point. Then I want on to a more simple question: How did the Bible come together? How the Bible Came to Be was a series looking at the canonization process and seeing if it had some bearing on how we look at Biblical Inspiration. All this really did was allow me to discard very quickly all other of the major theories of biblical inspiration except for two. So then I came to this series as a Final Quest to sort this problem out. The end result is the Open Dynamic Theory of Biblical Inspiration which is Dynamic theory but modified by my own understandings of open theism and a dash of illumination theory thrown in. This journey started on September 23, 2013 and now it has reached a conclusion – of sorts.
The real problem now is I truly do feel like King Arthur who has taken Excalibur from the Lady and holding it aloft still does not understand the dynamics of the weapon’s abilities. I think for the first time I truly am starting to understand the writer of Hebrew’s words “the word of God is living and active” but the full ramifications of that are still to be discovered as this theory is tried in battle so to speak. I have never been one for impractical theology that has no bearing on life and so Open Dynamic Theory will now start to shape my interpretation of Scripture if it hasn’t already.
The thing that has changed the most for me is how I look at the Bible. I think some theories of inspiration lead us to worship the Bible in some form of bibliolatry which the Bible itself never asks for. It is a weapon for defense, a light for our path and food for our belly, but it is not something to be worshiped. It is the thing God and the saints of old have provided to life’s adventurers to help them complete their own journey with God. It is a living thing not because it in and of itself is alive but that it is given life by God and humanity together. It is a tool and guidebook but it is not our master. That role belongs to God himself, the Bible is just the record of his decrees and instructions that we should follow as well as all the tools we need that will help us on our journey. There is dynamic purpose to the Bible not some static agenda that cannot be changed in the light of experience, reason or history but at the end of the day it is Christ we serve, not the Bible. The Bible is the Map, not the destination.
The quest to understand the sword is over but now many new quests lay before us as we put this weapon to work. I look forward to the adventures to come. I still have to acknowledge that this notion that the Bible is inspired by God in the first place is a matter of faith. You can’t prove scientifically that the Bible is inspired, it is simply a matter of belief. I just feel now that the human element of the Bible that is clearly there has a more rational and common sense explanation that works for me. Quest completed. Well sort of.
Blessings and Cheers!!!