“NEW LIFE” BULLETIN – VOL. 27, NO.11&12 – HOW TO UNDERSTAND THE BIBLE
If you take the title of this article literally, don’t. I know a losing cause when I see one. However, it is important, I think, to have some sense of how to read the Bible and understand it. It’s called “hermeneutics” And one hot issue is usually how the Bible is inspired.
For most of us it has been divided into two main groups: Those who believe every word in the Bible was spoken and directed by God, via the Holy Spirit, and therefore, is literally true in all areas of science and history. Some may even include medicine as well.
The second group says God inspired the Bible’s human authors to deliver God’s message to the world, but the expression of the message was in their own words in the literary and cultural style of their own time; and that it is a spiritual book, not a scientific book. The purpose of the Bible is to reveal the nature of God to those who, by faith, seek to follow its teachings.
Obviously, those two groups are Jews and Christians, and therefore, what teachings are followed vary from the Old and New Testament.
For those who seek to understand the structure of the Bible’s inspiration, especially the New Testament, there is no better place to start than in Luke’s gospel. There he writes, “Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled among us, just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word. Therefore, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, it seemed good also to me to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught.”
Luke says his gospel came from eyewitnesses and his own research. That is in stark contrast to the idea that he somehow heard the Spirit of God telling him what to write.
In I Corinthians 7:12, Paul says, “To the rest I say this (I, not the Lord): If any brother has a wife who is not a believer, and she is willing to live with him, he must not divorce her.” The same thought goes on for two more verses.
In v. 25 ff he says he has no command from the Lord about unmarried (virgin) women. But he says he believes his judgement is trustworthy.
Finally, my personal favorite. Hebrews 2:6. “But there is a place where someone has testified” and he quotes from Psalm 8. Wouldn’t God (the Holy Spirit) know where he wrote that?
So, what’s this all about? It’s about a lot of things, but mostly the younger generation.
We live in a time of amazing and rapidly changing technology and understanding. Humans, from the time they are born want answers about everything, and that’s a good thing. That’s how we grow. However, rapid scientific advances have created a whole new area of questions about God and the Bible. Something isn’t true simply someone says it is true. If it’s true, it has to meet certain tests. Those tests do not deny faith. Faith is something which is a realization, and we continue to make those leaps of faith based on the experience of others. That’s why Paul and the Old Testament say things like, “By faith so and so did something.” Those are examples of faith. However, each step of faith has its own unknown events and possibilities.
In this age of inquiry, not all questions can be answered. That’s not the problem. The problem is when the answer given will not hold up under examination,
such as the meaning of inspiration. Does “God’s word” mean the actual words spoken by God, or God’s word as presented by inspired Godly men and women?
Inspiration is not denied by understanding that those who wrote scripture, wrote it in the historical and cultural understanding of their time. So in order to receive the great truths of scripture, we have to separate them from the limits of the historical time in which they were written. We might keep in mind all those like Galileo Galilei, who were called heretics because they challenged a belief, based on scripture, such as that the earth was the center of the universe.
CONCERNS: Jim Hunter had tests on a lymph node last week and began chemotherapy on Thursday.. Bill Branch is doing well. Betty Billings remains in Raleigh Court Health Care Canter, room 112A. She is slowly regaining her strength. Bill Albert’s son, David, remains on a list to receive a liver transplant. He lives in New Jersey. Leena Bolin’s aunt, Lee Nicklas has leukemia. Kim (Hall’s) friend, Mary. (MS) Betty Foy’s sister, Sue Huels, Sandra Anderson and Gil Richardson. Rich Crites, Deana McRoy, Stephanie Ridney, Marge Greenwood, Jenni Cullum, Tim Elder, Mary Smith and Mrs. Mataro. Wayne Flora’s postmaster, Todd Baumgardner is doing well after a kidney and pancreas transplant.
OUR DAILY BREAD: APRIL 6-11
Monday: Psalm 119:1-24
Tuesday: Matthew 12:22-37
Wednesday: Revelation 3:14-22
Thursday: Galatians 2:11-21
Friday: John 15:1-11
Saturday: Psalm 112:1-10
OUR DAILY BREAD: APRIL 13-18
Monday: Psalm 48:1-14
Tuesday: Romans 11:33-12:8
Wednesday: Matthew 15:29-39
Thursday: Luke 15:1-10
Friday: Galatians 6:1-10
Saturday: Psalm 19:1-14
EASTER EGG HUNT
There will be an Easter Egg Hunt after Sunday’s service for all the little children in the yard by the annex. Holly Wagner will meet with the children and get them started.
Since this is Easter Sunday, and often we get “decked out” a little more on Easter, it would be a great day to have your picture taken for the new directory. That’s true regardless of what you are wearing. See Erma if she hasn’t lined you up for a picture.
THE ADULT CLASS
After spending forty days (minus weather related time off) the adult class has concluded the study and reading of the New Testament set in book style. For the next month or so, Del Bolin will be teaching the class. He will be asking us to examine the scriptures in relationship to who we are here at Roanoke. He started last Sunday and the discussion was very informative. It would be a good time to start coming if you haven’t been.
THINGS TO DO
Several projects around the building can now be started easier since the weather is warming. These are things that involve the inside of the building, but are easier to do if they can be taken outside to do. We want to replace a front pew with one that was removed from the back when the handicapped restroom was built. It has a crack all the way down the middle where the boards have separated. We also want to trim down another pew so it can be put back in the back. We have those who will do most of these jobs, but may need a little man power to get them done. A time will be announced soon. Also, we may need to have a “spring cleaning day for outside the building before the weather gets hotter.
We all realize how hard it is to break something which is not a tradition, but the way it has been done for a long time. We’ve made several attempts to change the way the servers come forward. Please come forward during the last stanza of the communion song. It helps the one who presides at the table. It would also help if the song leader would remind those who are serving when the song is announced