Every believer has struggled with some aspect of the biblical story. It may be the slaughter of Israel’s enemies at the direction of God. Perhaps it is the parallel accounts in the Hebrew Bible that seem to conflict with each other. Most often, we wonder how the four gospel writers could see things so differently.
Scholars take various approaches to these challenges. Some deconstruct the writings and, in the process, deconstruct God. Seeing inconsistencies between the written word and their concept of God, they end up rejecting God. In The Bible Tells Me So, Professor Peter Enns take a different perspective. Although he addresses major questions about the Bible, he never gives up his faith in God. It is God who is holy, not the book about God. The book represents the efforts of God’s servants to construct meaning out of past and present events in their culture. We should not allow what they write to limit who God is.
Enns provides key ideas such as these:
1. The Bible is God’s Word. It has been around for a long time, and it still works. He writes, “People just keep right along meeting God there.”
2. The Bible is not, never has been, and never will be the center of Christian faith. That position belongs to God and, more specifically, what God has done through Jesus. He is the final Word.
3. The Bible is not a weapon. Certainly, Hebrews 4:12 says, “For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” Note, however, that the sword is turned inward toward the believer for his or her own discernment and not to attack others.
The writer’s purpose is to encourage us to see the Bible not as a rule book, a history text, or a political litmus test, but as a vehicle for the believer’s growth and development. He writes,
“If we read the Bible today thinking that this God of creation, freedom, and mystery is bound by a book as if it were a contract, with nothing left to say, no further moves or surprises, we will miss much. The Bible tells us so.”
Enns writes in a casual, accessible style but respects the intelligence of the reader. He gives us much to think about as we continue our journey as students of the Word.