Charlie Amorphous showed up looking glum. Hey, Charlie; what’s up? Oh, Molly’s raggin’ on me again. What you wrote on inheritancy bugged some folks in her church. You sure that wasn’t inerrancy, Charlie? Whatever. She claims you don’t believe the Bible means exactly what it says.
Whoa! I totally believe the Bible as God gave it. I just don’t buy every interpretation that comes down the pike. Tell Molly and her friends I believe the Bible means what it meant to its first readers—listeners, mostly. Hardly anyone could read when the Bible got started. They had nothing to read.
The Bible is really old, Charlie. Everything had to be hand-written, mostly on long leather scrolls and mostly in Hebrew and Greek, tough languages. Forty or so people wrote off and on for some 1,600 years, their words copied again and again.
About 60 scrolls make up our Bible. They never came together as one book until Johannes Gutenberg invented printing in the 1,400s A.D. The first book off his press was a fancy, expensive Latin Bible.Our King James English version didn’t show up for another 200 years.
Lots of stuff happened to the original words before they reached us, Charlie. Then the writings had to be translated into different languages–always tricky. Today, we have a hundred or more English translations, all slightly different. After that, Bible teachers took to telling what they thought the Bible verses meant. Each teacher had their own slant. Some pretty wild. Claiming every word in a translation is exactly right—inerrant—has to be a stretch
The way I see it, Charlie, to get at the truth of scripture, you have to read it in its historical setting. Then you must deal with the nature of language. Jesus taught in parables, stories with a point. The Old Testament has parables—stories—too. Not every Bible word was meant to be taken literally.
Hold on, said Charlie. You lost me long ago. I had no idea the Bible was so complicated. Soon as Molly cools down, I’ll bring her over to talk with you.
Old Grandpa Lloyd