The Bible Tells Me So by Peter Enns: a Book Review

I have been waiting for this book from Peter Enns, and I am not disappointed!

In The Bible Tells Me So, Peter addresses what I consider, perhaps, the most harmful belief among some believers today—a misguided and mistaken understanding of reading the Bible that assumes that the words of the Bible are straight from God and represent the very voice and intent of God. This has been a huge issue among evangelicals since the 1970s as some began to recognize the Bible as an ancient document written by ancient people from their own times and cultures, while others passionately defended the Bible as God’s own word for all time.

The Bible Tells Me So

Click the book to see it on Amazon

The subtitle…Why Defending Scripture Has Made Us Unable to Read It is very appropriate in regard to this continuing debate. And I believe Peter makes an excellent contribution on the side of understanding the Bible in light of its ancient origins. The back cover lists endorsement statements by well-known authors Tony Campolo, Rachel Held Evans, Brian McLaren, Rob Bell, and others.

This Book is So Easy to Read

The style of The Bible Tells Me So is easy to read—and that Peter is a funny guy! He doesn’t tell us jokes, but his humor is pervasive; this is no dry, erudite tome for advanced theological students (Peter would never use the word ‘erudite’ in this book; probably would not use ‘tome’ either). Peter the scholar writes for normal people—he writes for us.

The format of the book is interesting and makes it even easier to whip through the 250 pages; in fact it is a page-turner. The seven chapters are divided into short sections averaging a few pages each. Even if you have only a few minutes to read you can cover a complete section in that time. But the sections are not disjointed; each section leads naturally into the next.

Peter Addresses the Issue

He begins with the ‘Problem’ and defines it on the first page:

Many Christians have been taught that the Bible is Truth downloaded from heaven, God’s rulebook, a heavenly instructional manual—follow the directions and out pops a true believer; deviate from the script and God will come crashing down on you with full force.

This is indeed the view of many believers, and when it is questioned the knee-jerk reaction is often to ‘Defend the Bible!’ against these horrid attacks. But the Bible isn’t the problem, Peter says.

The problem is coming to the Bible with expectations it’s not set up to bear…Sweating bullets to line up the Bible with our exhausting expectations, to make the Bible something it’s not meant to be, isn’t a pious act of faith.

Peter, himself, had these sorts of expectations and tells us how, by actually reading the Bible, he came to discard those expectations and take the Bible as it is. He begins to explain what he means by using the continuing story of the Israelites and the Canaanites in the Old Testament. I think all of us have cringed in reading about God’s orders for Israel to viciously exterminate the Canaanites—man, woman, infant, and beast—even if we conclude, ‘Well God is God, and he can certainly do what he darn well pleases! And the Canaanites were, after all, the Worst Sinners Ever!’

After careful consideration, Peter concludes differently (as I, myself, did many years ago):

God never told the Israelites to kill the Canaanites. The Israelites believed that God told them to kill the Canaanites.

In saying this, Peter is respecting the Bible’s ancient voice. The Israelites were little different in their perspective in this regard than the other ancient tribes around them–their gods were war gods and success in war meant the gods were pleased.

Stories have Power whether they are Factual or Not

Another problem with the Old Testament history is that much of it did not happen—at least as it is reported. An example is the massive conquest of the Canaanite cities in the time of Joshua. Archeology cannot confirm that it ever occurred; in fact the findings demonstrate otherwise. Many of the cities Joshua conquered show no evidence of such. Only a few show destruction from that time period and a number of them were not even inhabited at the time.

What gives? The information in the book of Joshua was not written by embedded journalists from CNN. Instead the stories were written down much later, probably after David became king and consolidated the Israelite people. The stories told of times of glory and of great heroes of Israel. Such stories provide identity and unify a culture. Story tellers shape the past to give meaning to the present. Every tribe and nation has such inspiring stories of their origins. Often they are greatly exaggerated; who’s around to contradict them?

What about the Stories of Jesus?

The New Testament does not tell us the story of Jesus. Rather what we have is FOUR stories of Jesus; and they are different. Peter says that:

The Gospels differ because their writers lived at different times and places and wrote for different reasons decades after Jesus lived. Each writer produced his own portrait of Jesus that captured the faith of the community he wrote for.

Interestingly enough, in the Gospels we also find that Jesus did not use the Bible the way many of us think it ought to be used! And he did that on his own—centuries before he read Peter’s book. For example, Peter sums up Jesus’ handling of Psalm 110:

We see here Jesus handling Psalm 100 in a very ancient, creative way. We might think he is “misreading” the first line of Psalm 110—and from the point of view of the writer of the psalm he is, since Psalm 110 doesn’t say what Jesus says it says.

Peter discusses some of the differences in the Jesus stories and what they mean, but the four accounts we have of Jesus’ life, teaching, and works do not suffer from being different. They reveal the impact Jesus had on his earliest followers and give us precious insight into who Jesus was.

Sticking to the Bible at every turn, like it’s an owner’s manual or book of instruction, as the way to know God misses what Paul and the rest of the New Testament writers show us again and again: the words on the page of the Bible don’t drive the story, Jesus does. JESUS IS BIGGER THAN THE BIBLE. [my caps]

The Bible as a One-Size-Fits-All Christian Instructional Manual

Because the Bible is not meant to be an instructional manual, Peter says:

Waiting for the Bible to “tell me what to do” means we’ll either be waiting forever, or we’ll wind up baptizing our bad decisions with a Bible verse that…has about as much to do with what we’re dealing with at the moment as a Shakespearean sonnet has for guiding roof repair.

But if the Bible is not an instructional manual, Peter suggests what the Bible really is:

  • The Bible is God’s word
  • The Bible, just as it is, still works
  • The Bible is not, never has been, and never will be the center of the Christian faith. (That position belongs to what God has done in and through Jesus)
  • The Bible is not a weapon

I Wholeheartedly Recommend the Book

In this review, I am unable to touch on everything Peter says about the Bible. His observations and insights are so many and deep that perhaps no book can ever contain them all—except that one book does: The Bible Tells Me So.

I recommend this book without reservation to anyone who is interested in the proper way to approach the Bible. Be ready for a great adventure in understanding the Bible as it is.

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Have a great day! ~Tim
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33 Responses to The Bible Tells Me So by Peter Enns: a Book Review

  1. mike and brandy says:

    The only thing I can think of asking, as a christian who has recently been reevaluating my own faith assumptions, is how do you get reliable information to hold on to jesus with an unreliable and historically/archaeological inaccurate and bible as somehow still God’s Word?
    Seems like without the Bible as a reliable and accurate source we don’t have any outside sources to reliably tell us anything about Jesus let alone what He would have us do or believe regarding himself or God.
    How does this work out? What has been your solution?
    -mike

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    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      This is a very important question, Mike.

      I suggest that we not approach the Old Testament as part of a guidebook of life or a book of information about God, but rather as the story of a nation’s developing understanding of God over a period of about a thousand years. The story was important to them and we can learn some things about ourselves from the stories and benefit from the best of the Old Testament in terms of insight and wisdom just as we would from any national literature. That’s it.

      However, the New Testament is different. It is here that we learn of Jesus, his teaching, and his actions from the memories of his earliest followers, whom he impacted tremendously. Jesus tells us about the Father from a much more informed position than the Old Testament, so we can accept what Jesus says about him and not worry about what the Old Testament writers thought. If we want to understand God–let us hear what Jesus had to say.

      I no longer trust in the Bible–I trust in Jesus, whom I encounter in the memories of his earliest followers.

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  2. Chas says:

    Tim, actually there is no independent evidence that Saul, David or Solomon ever existed. Neither they, nor Israel, are mentioned in any known Egyptian or Assyrian records, as would be expected if a country of that name had extended from Dan to Bersheba, since such a country would surely have come into conflict with both of these super-powers of the time.

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    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      Chas, I am pretty sure David existed and founded a dynasty; archaeologists have discovered a writing from a local enemy king that brags about his successes against the House of David at one point, but I cannot find the reference.

      If there was no Israel, then who was conquered by the Assyrians in 729 BC or by the Babylonians in 586 BC? Who were the Jews who were allowed by Persia to return to the area?

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      • Chas says:

        Tim, Two states referred to in the later stages of Kings/Chronicles certainly existed. One was Judah, which seems likely to have been based on the city of Jerusalem, which was probably founded by King Hezekiah, as he is mentioned in the records of Assyria, where it refers to him being bottled up in Jerusalem by Sennacherib. The other state known to have existed was Samaria, which was known by the Assyrians as the Land of Omri, and both Omri and his son are mentioned in records independent of the Bible.

        As you say, who was conquered by the Assyrians in 729 BC, since there is no mention of Israel in their records? I can agree that the state of Judah was overthrown by Babylon in 586 BC, but were significant numbers of people taken there, and did significant numbers return? We have only the Bible to believe for these claims.

        As a further point, it is worth mentioning that three major archaeological studies centered on Jerusalem have been made in the past 50 years, but none of them has yet published their results. What has been released tends to suggest that Jerusalem was just a small hill town at the time king David was supposed to have lived. One strongly suspects that the researchers know that their results will not be popular with either the Israeli state, or the Jewish authorities, or the Christian churches and so they are reluctant to be first into the lion’s den.

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  3. Marc says:

    Even the Scriptures themselves direct the reader to the Church as the pillar and ground of the truth (see 1 Timothy 3:15). For evangelical Christians who reject the reality of a historical Church, they are only left with Sola Scriptura and sectarian confusion.

    Like

    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      Marc, it is good to hear from you!

      I agree that when the reformers championed Sola Scriptura to replace the magisterium in the west as the ultimate authority it was an inadequate solution and has resulted in much confusion.

      However, in my opinion, Church tradition is not a sufficient authority either. Church tradition has never been of one voice; Church tradition has changed based on influential theologians over the centuries; Church tradition maintained a sense of unity by expelling legitimate followers of Jesus who were also of apostolic succession; and the results of Church councils were influenced by politics and power struggles.

      I respect Church tradition but I cannot depend on it for ultimate authority.

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      • Marc says:

        Tim,

        You must remember that the Church exist in heaven and on the earth. It is the Church in heaven that is the ultimate authority.

        Because the most ancient Christian Churches on the earth remain in communion with the Church in heaven, they are the most reliable means to access the ultimate authority.

        The family of Orthodox Churches have many differences, yet they hold to the boundaries of Holy Apostolic Tradition. These boundaries are really quite broad, and allow for considerable difference of opinion while preventing sectarian schism.

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      • Marc says:

        Tim,

        I am sorry to say that you have shown your true colors. You do not respect any authority, other than that of your own intellect. Because you have distanced yourself from the historical Church and embraced homosexual (and probably heterosexual) fornication, I suspect that you also support a woman’s right to choose to murder the unborn in the womb. All of this indicates to me that you are a minion of Satan the devil whom you do not even believes exists. I leave you to the mercy of God. If you ever repent, you have my email address.

        Like

        • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

          Marc, I appreciate your concern for me and I am sorry I have disappointed you. I am very comfortable with your leaving me to the mercy of God because I believe he is the only one able to judge my heart–and I believe he loves me and understands any mistaken conclusions I have embraced.

          It is not true that I do not respect any authority; I am under total authority of Jesus. His teachings and actions are the foundation of my faith and the pattern for my life.

          I know you are sometimes frustrated that I don’t agree with you on everything, and I have missed your frequency of interaction in comments over the past year or so. I was glad you began commenting more recently, as I feel we have a connection and I respect you as an Eastern Orthodox voice.

          Just as I am not an authority that can tell you what to believe; I cannot accept that you are in an authoritative position to dictate my beliefs or to levy condemnation against me. I hope I have not spoiled our relationship as brothers in Jesus–because I do believe that we are brothers and fellow followers of him.

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          • Marc says:

            Tim,
            I am no authority on anything, and condemn no one. However it is very clear that to truly be under the authority of Jesus, you must draw close to His Heavenly Church. To experience the gift of eternal life, you must find your way into His Heavenly Church. The further you distance yourself from the historic teachings of the Church, the more at risk you are of being in the condition of the foolish virgins in our Lord’s parable. I am afraid that you may well be on a path that will lead to bitter weeping when you hear the Lord’s words, “I never knew you.” In this life, we are either minions of God, or minions of Satan. If you do not recognize the reality of this ongoing spiritual warfare, you increase the probability that you are being deceived by the evil one. I hope we will both be numbered among the wise virgins when the time comes Tim, so I am urging you to “wise up,” while I continue to work on my own serious problems.

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  4. sheila0405 says:

    Tim, considering where I am in my own journey, this sounds like a good book for me to read. A friend of mine is currently reading a book called Rescuing the Bible From the Fundamentalists. Have you heard of this book, or read it? I read the Bible every day, and I find some good stuff in there, but also much that doesn’t seem to match the unconditional love of Jesus for us. I am curious about whether Jesus is himself divine just like God, or did God somehow create Jesus and imbued him with powers of the divine. He was resurrected, based on eyewitness accounts,, which is why I don’t want to walk away from Jesus, but I am running away from how those around me are interpreting the Bible as literal.

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    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      Sheila, I read Spong’s Rescuing the Bible from Fundamentalist some years ago, and as I recall he had some good points just as anyone would who wrote on that subject. However, in my opinion Spong is not a writer I would normally recommend. He goes far beyond just opposing fundamentalist interpretation and use of the Bible. His view waters Jesus down to practically nothing and the resurrection of Jesus to nothing as well. I have read at least three of his books and seen some articles and debates, and frankly I am not sure why he even claims to be Christian.

      You can certainly read it if you want, but I am not sure whether his good points outweigh his problems in this book.

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      • scraffiti says:

        Hi Tim, I’ve just finished reading A New Christianity For A New World by Bishop Spong. I have to say that had I been wearing a hat when I got to the end of it I would have thrown it into the air! I have since been watching some of his YouTube sermons and debates and find him both a well informed and gentle man. The lines may blur a bit but I find him not that far from your own writing. He regards God as the source of life and still spends two hours each morning in prayer – something I’ve never done! His resurrection debate is well worth watching. Just sayin’.

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        • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

          Hi Scraffiti, you are correct that Spong and I might sound similar in that we both reject many of the misguided doctrines of fundamentalism and of other conservative Christians. However, beyond that we are far apart. In my opinion he discards elements that I think are very important–such as the uniqueness of Jesus and the fact of Jesus’ resurrection.

          If the resurrection debate you mention is the one with William Lane Craig, I think both of them did poorly; neither was convincing but each defended his position with weak, shallow arguments, while avoiding discussion of issues of substance. It was a battle of assertions rather than an intellectual dialog or exchange. And the way both of them arrogantly dismissed the other’s ‘scholars’ was shameful in my opinion.

          The debate caused me to read Spong’s book on the resurrection to discover the real foundation for his conclusions. I am always open to views differing from my own to see if they make sense and perhaps provide insights I did not formerly see. It is this that has caused me to change my mind on many issues. But Spong’s book on the resurrection fell flat. His reconstruction of the resurrection sightings did bring in some interesting aspects I had not previously considered, but his conclusions were pure fantasy. I enjoy writing biblical fiction too but I don’t call it theology.

          I thought his theory that the resurrection was all based on Peter’s subjective realization in Galilee that Jesus somehow still lived, and his convincing the other disciples of the same does not explain the powerful, energizing effect the resurrection had on the dispirited followers after Jesus’ execution and the failure of his mission.

          Now, I do not believe the resurrection was the resuscitation of a dead corpse, or that the resurrected body of Jesus was necessarily composed of the same molecules from his deceased body, but I do believe Jesus was present in his appearances to his followers. For Spong, it does not seem that Peter’s subjective experience even required Jesus to be present or to be aware of it.

          Spong goes on about the joy of his own subjective experience in realizing the ‘resurrection’ truth about Jesus, but after all I have tried to learn from him, I do not see its significance. It seems like a contrived fantasy to me and a poor substitute for the empowering effect of the resurrection on Jesus’ followers.

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          • scraffiti says:

            Thanks for this Tim. It’s interesting to get these differing perspectives. I watched a similar resurrection debate between Marcus Borg and a group of apologists/academics. My cabbage of a brain finds much of the argument impenetrable. I seem in danger of exchanging my struggling faith for academia! Do I now need to get an Oxford PhD to understand scripture and its complex history? I think that for my part Jesus will always remain unique whatever the debate. Skill in arguing doesn’t necessarily reveal truth – just look at the travesties in our legal systems! The truth is we just are not going to know what happened on that first Easter. Will God hold it against us for not believing or understanding? I hope not.

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          • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

            Scraffiti, I did not mean to come on strong about Spong, and after posting the comment I realized I forgot to mention that I am glad you found Spong helpful.

            You certainly do not have a cabbage brain; I have always respected your thoughts, comments, and blog posts. I think I over-reacted to Spong being ‘not very far from my own writing.’ This is actually true in many cases, and this is not the first time someone has assumed I am like Spong. I read Spong with appreciation (and Borg–his recent death was sad news for me–and Crossan, and their associates), but we differ drastically at some very important points about who Jesus was and is.

            Spong is not my enemy, and I do not want to portray him as a false teacher, but on the other hand I do not want to recommend him to my friends and readers without noting certain reservations.

            We need not have advanced degrees or understand the scholars to grasp the basic message of Jesus and his earliest followers. In fact, I try to avoid such scholarly approaches in my blog posts (though I sometimes address them in comments if they come up). I think our faith should be reasonably informed, as yours is, but we don’t need to explore the depths of academia in order to follow Jesus in an informed way.

            The fact is, we are all mistaken about something. I am mistaken, but I don’t know at what point I am mistaken. and in answer to your concluding remark–God will NOT hold it against us for not believing or understanding the right things.

            I am glad you find Spong inspiring and that he helps you in your spiritual journey.

            Like

          • Chas says:

            Tim, I’m sorry to have to inform you, but I too do not accept either uniqueness for Jesus or his physical resurrection. I believe that he was born to a virgin, because God created a half-cell to join with the egg of the woman and so he was the son of God. The concept of the resurrection came from a misunderstanding of how the consciousness of a person could continue through the Power of God after their death, influenced by some stories of people coming back to life in Greek and other mythology. I am aware that these views do not measure up to your requirements for evidence, but I am certain that my views do not meet with God’s disapproval, for me, although whether He would approve of anyone else holding these views, I do not know. Because I do not believe that Jesus was the Christ or Messiah, I do not call myself a Christian any longer, but prefer to use the term Servant of God, if it is necessary to put a title to my beliefs.

            Like

          • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

            Chas, I don’t think God withholds approval from anyone because of what they believe.

            Like

          • sheila0405 says:

            Tim, I finished the Enns book yesterday. I love how the author concludes that it is Jesus who is front and center, rather than the Bible. I also walked away with hope that Jesus can still interact with us today, in our own time and individual circumstances. I’d love it if you could review and suggest other books like this one.

            Like

          • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

            Hi Sheila, it sounds like you enjoyed Peter Enns’ book; I am glad. I have reviewed a few other books in the past, and I have three more that I plan to review in the next few months. If you want to see if you are interested in my other reviews, they are:

            https://jesuswithoutbaggage.wordpress.com/2013/05/23/book-review-rob-bell-what-we-talk-about-when-we-talk-about-god/

            https://jesuswithoutbaggage.wordpress.com/2013/09/23/why-sin-matters-mcminn-a-book-review-2/

            https://jesuswithoutbaggage.wordpress.com/2015/04/27/god-and-the-gay-christian-by-matthew-vines-a-book-review/

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          • sheila0405 says:

            I have already read “God and the Gay Christian”. I’ll take a look at the others on the list. Thx.

            Like

  5. cmgatlin53 says:

    Tim, the problem with archeological statements like the ones in your comment above is that archaeology, like Biblical scholarship, is not undivided in its interpretation of the evidence. Some inscriptional evidence exists of the Davidic empire, but one camp interprets the evidence to exclude the possibility, while another leaps on it to prove the Biblical accounts. I’ve seen articles that use the Jericho evidence to prove the OT texts and other that use the same evidence to disprove it. One could argue that the absence of any explicit mention of Israel in Egyptian texts supports the accounts in the Pentateuch, since it is archaeologically undisputed that Egyptian inscriptions were definitely part of the propaganda apparatus of at least some of the most famous pharaohs, and there is evidence from other neighboring regions that some Egyptian “victories” were actually defeats. (I could argue that, although I don’t insist on that as the only rational interpretation of the archaeological record.)
    A lot of the supposed cut and dried “science” is actually mostly hypothesis, or even mere speculation, whether you’re talking about archaeology or interpretation of texts. Associating surviving MSS with other MSS is a highly developed art, but a lot of the “certainty” about interpretation involved big leaps in the dark, even when expressed as certainties. The unanimity of educated opinion is often less unanimous than claimed (it’s a lot less than, say, the unanimity among serious biologists about natural selection).

    Like

    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      CMG, thanks for your comment. You are right that archaeological results are sometimes interpreted differently by different parties. I think part of the reason is that new discoveries frequently shed new light on old discoveries. Then there are those who have an agenda or bias that exaggerates the significance of some finds–whether they desire to confirm the Biblical story or to counter it.

      The lack of mention of Israel in Egyptian texts might very well be explained in that those who might have left Egypt were far fewer than the huge numbers indicated in the Exodus record. By the way, you are the second person to reference the lack of mention of Israel in Egyptian texts. Is there a book or documentary I don’t know about that mentions this point?

      I assume that Israel was much less significant in its early days than the OT seems to indicate, but it definitely existed. And it later became an area conquered by one empire after another.

      Is there a specific statement from Peter that you are challenging?

      Like

  6. fiddlrts says:

    I was considering reading this book, and your review definitely weighs in favor of doing so.

    Certainly, I consider the treatment of the bible primarily as “God’s Little Instruction Book” to be the source of much suffering and error.

    On the subject of church tradition versus sola scriptura versus whatever other options one wishes to formulate, there really is no one fail-safe option. In addition the issue of “which tradition,” there is the problem that during the dominance of the Roman church, a great deal of evil was done in the Church’s name, from millennia of antisemitism, to the Crusades, to hundreds of years of war over doctrine and politics. I wish there were an easy answer for avoiding error, but our approaches are all as human as we are.

    Although I am not an Anglican, I have benefited from learning from a few friends in that tradition. I found their three pronged approach to be interesting. (We humans like threes, from the “threefold cord not easily broken” to our American separation of powers…) The three sources of truth, to be weighed and balanced as best possible are the scripture, church tradition, and reason. If I were to add (or clarify the meaning of “reason,” perhaps), I would add in “conscience.” If we spent a bit more time evaluating all of the approaches in the light of the law of love (and the Golden Rule), I can’t help but think we could have avoided some of the evils past and present.

    Regarding the discussion of archeology, I think that cmgatlin53 makes some great points. Part of the problem in trying to draw conclusions about the distant past is that often the only records of the details are biased written records of the various governments. It’s much easier to find old wine presses or evidence of structures than it is to find remaining papyrus with the annals of the kings. I would tend to agree that the OT accounts are not a “CNN on the spot” account by any means, but do not consider the accuracy of the account to be the important part anyway. On the other hand, trying to “disprove” the accounts also misses their point. Unsurprisingly, the literal-factual-accurate-in-every-detail approach is shared between those who are most fundamentalist about scripture, and those who are most hostile to it, such as Richard Dawkins. Both, I note, believe that the only possible way to read it is that God commanded the dashing of infants on the rocks.

    As always, food for thought.

    Like

    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      Good points Fiddlrts. I think you are right that we have no failsafe option in terms of authority, although this is what most people really want. We are human and must take responsibility for acting on the best conclusions we can. It is not easy, but it is the way things are.

      And you are right again–we will never figure out the past for certain, but we can try to understand the past the best we can from the evidence and not from our preconceived notions about what happened.

      Like

  7. Beth Caplin says:

    “God never told the Israelites to kill the Canaanites. The Israelites believed that God told them to kill the Canaanites.”

    Couldn’t you also make that same conclusion about people who claim to hear from God today? God may not have told someone to run for office; he BELIEVES God told him to run for office. Or bomb an abortion clinic. Or picket the funeral of a gay teenager. Etc, etc. How can we tell the difference?

    I’m also curious, as Mike and Brandy are above, what it means for the bible to be “God’s Word” if much of its historical narratives are not 100% accurate.

    Like

    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      Beth, I think you are right on target about people who claim to hear from God today. Often we confuse our desires and prejudices with the voice of God.

      Perhaps we can change the term from ‘God’s word’ to ‘words about God’. I am satisfied to understand the Father and the Father’s heart from the teachings and actions of his unique representative–Jesus.

      Like

  8. sheila0405 says:

    Tim, just an FYI, my father died last night. I got to see him the day before, and he was pain free and in peace. I really look forward to reading “The Bible Tells Me So”. I strongly disagree with Marc’s assessment of you. You have been a source of comfort for me for so long. I’m finally at a point, I think, where I can get past so much of the anger that I have been living with.

    Like

    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      Hi Sheila, I am so sorry about your Father’s passing; I read about it on your blog this morning. I know it must hurt like everything. I lost my Dad after a long illness a couple years ago and it still hurts. I pray that you experience a measure of peace soon.

      It is good to hear that you seem to be making progress in you struggles. I know from experience that this is not easy. I am also glad to hear that you plan to do more blogging than you have recently. I follow you on RSS, so I will see everything you post.

      Thanks for your support in response to Marc’s comment; frankly, I am surprised that I don’t get more stiff criticism regarding my views. I suppose Marc said what he had to say to fulfill his responsibility to oppose what he thinks to be false teaching–that is his prerogative.

      Like

  9. Jennifer says:

    I am excited to read this book! I am so grateful for your blog Tim. I felt trapped and fearful in religion and even flirted with agnosticism because I just got to the point where I could not believe mainstream/fundamentalist Christianity. The problem was I really believed the gospels and Jesus. I don’t have many answers but I do know that it is right with my soul to love others generously and that Jesus is what the Father is like. Sometimes there is a voice in my head that tells me I am a unforgivable heretic who has gone astray but most of the time these days I am at rest in my heart. If the gospel means “good news” then I have finally heard it. A heartfelt thank you for your efforts here Tim. You are setting captives free.

    Like

    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      Thanks Jennifer, I always happy to know that I have been helpful in some way. Many of us have been discouraged and doubtful because of the things certain believers teach, but I think you are definitely on the right road when you love others and recognize the love of God.

      That voice in your head that says you are an unforgivable heretic…I don’t think it originated in your head. I suspect that it was planted there by others–over and over and over. I am glad that you feel at rest in your heart about it.

      Let me know if there is anything specific I might help you think through as you continue your journey.

      Like

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