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Not Scripture October 17, 2006

Posted by rattazzimedia in Christianity, Church, God, Religion, Spiritual, Spiritual Overview, Spiritual Study, Spirituality, Theology.

My last post touched on the concept of determining what is from God and what is from man.  This is a troubling concept to some because at first blush it appears everything is from man.  So what am I talking about?  First it is important to note that this from God or Man question comes up when it is pointed out that some writing (like the Bible) is scripture (that is from God) and therefore speaks with authority.  How do we know that the Bible is from God?  The Bible is a collection of writings penned (or scribed) over a period of about fifteen centuries.  The various books authenticate each other and unfold a plan that could only be carried out through uncounted generations by a being who can command that his very words be made so.  Who else but God could accomplish such a thing?  Some of the details of this proof are on my website, but please let me know if you want to study in detail this amazing truth.

Once we establish that some writing is scripture (from God) it is helpful to begin to understand what is not scripture (from man).  For example, if you open up your Bible you will see text which is scripture.  But also you will see on the page a great many things that are not scripture.  The chapter and verse organization is not a part of the original text and was added much later to aid in study.  But even more importantly often in various Bibles there are chapter and paragraph headings that are not part of the original text and can be misleading sometimes.  Chain references, footnotes and commentary contained in many Bibles are all from man (not scripture) and may contain error.  All these “helps” (and some are very helpful) are subject to the understanding of those who created them.  Open up your Bible and make sure you understand what is in the book but not scripture.

Why is this important?  Because God’s word carries the authority of God, man’s word does not.  Some view all writing as coming from man and so no writing has any more authority than another.  If you begin to understand that there is a message from God out there, you will see the need to figure out with certainty what is and what is not scripture.  Some writings talk about eternal life.  What can any human being say about eternal life?  The only source we can have to tell us about eternal life is God (for obvious reasons).  So writing that is from God can talk on this topic, writing that is not scripture can not speak with any certainty about eternal life.

This is one of my concerns as someone who often generates writing on spiritual topics.  My blogs and essays obviously are not scripture.  My essays contain scripture and I am very careful to indicate on the page what is scripture and what is my own possibly misguided “helpful” commentary.  Remember my writings: not scripture, possibly helpful but certainly not authoritative.  But there is writing that is from God and therefore authoritative.  So once you understand this start considering what is from God and carries the authority of God, and what does not because it is not scripture.  


1. Sterling - October 18, 2006

James, I agree that Scripture is the authority. What I think causes confusion to some people is that you can read a verse one way, I can read the same verse and see something completely different, and still another person can do the same.
Interpretation of Scripture is tricky. The application of Scripture is even trickier. I think that we have a responsibility to really STUDY the Scripture. I am challenged by your writings to do so.

2. rattazzimedia - October 18, 2006

I appreciate your comments and support. The thought that always comes to mind when I consider various interpretations of scripture is that since God is one and has a specific purpose and meaning the various “interpretations” are variously more or less correct. That is to say more or less in agreement with God’s purpose and meaning. This underscores your point concerning the need to really study the scriptures. It indeed is challenging and tricky to separate God’s meaning from various interpretations. Thank you so much for your comment.

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