The light of God that shines in Jesus Christ is transmitted, first of all, through the prism of the biblical witnesses. As long as the church remains faithful to the self-communication of the triune God, it will acknowledge the priority and authority of the scriptural witness in its life and mission. At the same time, the real humanity of the biblical witnesses will also be recognized without apology or embarrassment. It is not a weakness but a strength of the Christian understanding of revelation [viz: God revealing God-self] that its original witnesses are unmistakably historically conditioned and remarkably diverse human beings. That we have the treasure of the gospel in clay jars (2 Cor 4:7) is as true of Scripture as it is of all subsequent Christian witness based on Scripture. Hence not everything found in the Bible is to be taken as a direct word of God to us. […] Scripture witnesses to revelation but is not identical with it.
—Daniel L. Migliore, Faith Seeking Understanding (2004). 40-41. [brackets and boldface mine]
One big (secondary) spur to my heading off to seminary was that I wanted to know the names for what I knew. That I wanted to encounter expressions like this paragraph, where someone lucidly states what I’ve felt in my gut but never been able to say in a way that did it justice.
I’ve never been much for inerrancy, because I could never reconcile the imperfect activities of we humans with the perfect holiness of God… particularly as it comes to how the Bible has to be copied, and how the Bible has to be translated. There are typos even in a contemporary printed Bible, after all.
But I could and can fully climb on board that, when we read this divinely protected document, something divine happens to us and we gain true insight into who God is.
Similarly, I have trouble with the notion that a single translation—or worse, interpretation—is The Correct One, and all other versions lead straight to Hell. If God is infinite, and therefore infinitely complex, how in Heaven’s name could a single anything ever describe God?
To me, this smacks of our human overmastering hunger to control, to know and manage the boundaries of everything, even of God. If we know God like we know facts, we have all of God pinned down into a box that we can put a lid on. But as I mediate on what I read in the Bible, it strikes me that God would rather we know God like we know a sibling, or a spouse… that is, to know in intimate relationship. (Thank you, Mme. Kreig, for my years of French and its savoir v. connaitre!) I can’t and won’t claim to know My Sweetie like I know the nuances of English grammar. But I can make shrewd stabs at knowing what will please him, what will grieve him, what will delight him—even while I know he’ll still startle me at times.
I was delighted, then, to read Rev. Dr. Migliore’s statement in my homework today. Here‘s what I’m in school for. Hurray!
Now back to writing my statement of faith that’s due tomorrow-!