Your thoughts on scripture

A Cup Of Tea

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Scripture, lets take the Bible as an example since everyone has an opinion on it.

a) Is it the exact word of God, word for word? Even the translations? Everyone of them?

OR is it the inspired word of God? If so, does the individual person reading it read what the person needs to read? Always?

b) Did the authors have a specific message in their texts they wanted to spread? Is it relevant to know this? Is it possible to know this?

c) Are reading the analysis of others relevant to coming to an understanding and/or opinion on a topic? Yes, no, why?
 

wil

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a figment of your imagination
a, no, no, no, no, no and no.

b, yes, yes, not always

c sometimes.....

sometimes it benefits us to stand on the shoulders of others, other times our own contemplations and insights are much more valuable to us personally without being biased by others thoughts....it is our lives the words are for...
 

Marcialou

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I've heard it said that God may have spoken but his biographers may not have transcribed every word correctly.

Also, from my religious brother-in-law, "I'm not sure that everything in the Bible happened, but I believe it to be true."
 

Thomas

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a) Is it the exact word of God, word for word? Even the translations? Everyone of them?
No, I don't believe so.

OR is it the inspired word of God?
Yes, I do believe that.

If so, does the individual person reading it read what the person needs to read?
Depends on how the person is reading it. Are they looking for what the Bible has to say, or what they want to hear?

b) Did the authors have a specific message in their texts they wanted to spread?
Yes.

Is it relevant to know this?
Well the overall message, yes. But the author's particular slant? Not really.

Is it possible to know this?
In some instances. Depends how old the text is ... further back, harder to know. The New Testament is different, as it's considerably younger than the Hebrew Scriptures, and multiple testimonies highlight the differences between the authors, both regarding them personally, and their perceived mission.

We know a huge amount about the authors — more than in any other religion, I think. But we expend a huge amount of energy discussing the immaterial. We know next to nothing about the authors of Daoist or Buddhist or Hindu texts, written hundreds of years after the event, but I don't seem them agonising over that. They see in their sacra doctrina the unmistakably signs of an Enlightened voice. The Voice of the Absolute, or God, or Heaven, or however the tradition chooses to define it. Who that human scribe was is largely a matter for the scholars to wrangle over.

c) Are reading the analysis of others relevant to coming to an understanding and/or opinion on a topic?
Yes, I think so. It preserves one from error and ego.

Again, the assumption is that because one can read the letter, one immediately and unfailingly reads the spirit, that one understands all — or at least enough — of what might be drawn from the wellspring of its rising. So much so, that one can dispense with the letter altogether! If the text departs from my opinion, then the text is at fault, and all we need do is disparage the character of the scribe. They've got issues. Obviously, because they don't think the way I do.

Go figure.
 

DavidMcCann

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St Augustine wrote that if God called someone to be a prophet, that was to teach religion, not history, geography, or astronomy. Anything else, he said, is the prophet's own responsibility. He added that there are certain things we now know to be true which were unknown in earlier times, and that to deny them because they conflict with a Biblical writer was to make a fool of yourself and a mockery of religion!

I think that is the only approach to adopt to any scripture. Sallustius suggested that the Greek myths could be variously interpreted, some describing nature, some the soul, and some the gods. He might have added that some are just silly stories.

Returning to Christian scriptures:
1. Jesus told his disciples to love their enemies; some Old Testament prophets told their followers to kill them.
2. The gospels of Luke and Matthew give different accounts of the circumstances of Jesus's birth, one of which is historically impossible.
3. The gospel of John seems to say Jesus was crucified on a Thursday.
If you take everything as true, you'll need to master the art of believing the impossible.
 

voiceofwood

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I pretty much agree with what Thomas wrote in his first post, except regarding words spoken by Jesus, these are the word of God
 

Jayhawker Soule

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Scripture, lets take the Bible as an example since everyone has an opinion on it.

a) Is it the exact word of God, word for word? Even the translations? Everyone of them?
No.

OR is it the inspired word of God? If so, does the individual person reading it read what the person needs to read? Always?
What do we mean when we speak of something being "the inspired word of God"?

b) Did the authors have a specific message in their texts they wanted to spread? Is it relevant to know this? Is it possible to know this?
The authors clearly had messages (plural) they sought to communicated, messages that were at least in part a function of the time, place, and worldview of each author, and messages that got massaged, refined, and emended as each message worked its way to its final scribal form.

Seeking to correctly deduce intent is important to the extent that the text is deemed historically and theologically important, and to the extent intellectual honesty and responsibility are deemed likewise important.

Intent is kaleidoscopic and rendered ever less accessible as we find ourselves ever more distant from the culture and language that birthed the text and the various pressures that conditioned its latest variant. Just compare, for example, and try to imagine just how much more difficult it is for today's Hebrew speaker to intuit the meaning of terms and phrases codified much, much earlier. Nahum Sarna touches on this when, in an article on producing the NJPS Tanakh, he notes that the most frequent statement found in the commentary in [paraphrasing] "Heb. meaning uncertain."

And, of course, the problems go beyond those associated with issues of the vernacular and idiom of far removed cultures. Finally, note that we haven't even begun to address the problems associated with translation.

Some 'messages' are more straightforward [an adjective unheard of 500 years ago] than others, others are ambiguous, and some are enigmatic. We all need to be a bit more cautious and a good deal less presumptuous.

c) Are reading the analysis of others relevant to coming to an understanding and/or opinion on a topic? Yes, no, why?
Yes, but only if
  • You believe that history and culture can be profitably studied.
  • You believe that language can be profitably studied.
  • You recognize that there is substantial and (most importantly) ongoing scholarship in these fields.
  • And you acknowledge that one's understanding of any text can be informed and enhanced by such scholarship.
Otherwise, you are more than free to believe whatever you choose to believe.
 

A Cup Of Tea

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Thanks everyone for participating, I am quite satisfied with how I formulated my questions because I've seen some distinctions I've been looking for.

What do we mean when we speak of something being "the inspired word of God"?

Oh it means whatever you believe or don't believe. Is there a definition of "the inspired word of God" you believe in? Then what is that definition?
 

Jayhawker Soule

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I always loved Humpty Dumpty, but I'd never venture to have a serious discussion with him. Let others take from my response above whatever they find of value.
 

Gordian Knot

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My thoughts on Scripture were in quite a mess.
More confused and muddled than I would like to confess.

So I puzzled and I puzzled till my puzzler was sore.
Then I thought of something I hadn’t before.

Maybe Scripture, I thought, doesn’t come as a chore.
Maybe Scripture, perhaps, means just a little bit more.

And what happened then? Well in life they do say
That the size of my soul grew three sizes that day!

And then the true meaning of Scripture came through,
And I found the strength of ten doctrines, plus two!

The result of revelation, I do mean to say,
Scripture is a tool, just one to show you the way.

Like all that is sacred, no matter the source,
It is what 'you' make of it, that matters of course.

Be it Christian or Islam, Hindu or Pagan,
What speaks to your soul is the tool of salvation.
 

Gordian Knot

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Yep. All me. I have this little talent that I rarely use. It's called Speak Like Dr. Seuss Syndrome. Sometimes it just pops into my head, and I'm powerless to stop it!
 

Aussie Thoughts

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My thoughts on Scripture were in quite a mess.
More confused and muddled than I would like to confess.

So I puzzled and I puzzled till my puzzler was sore.
Then I thought of something I hadn’t before.

Maybe Scripture, I thought, doesn’t come as a chore.
Maybe Scripture, perhaps, means just a little bit more.

And what happened then? Well in life they do say
That the size of my soul grew three sizes that day!

And then the true meaning of Scripture came through,
And I found the strength of ten doctrines, plus two!

The result of revelation, I do mean to say,
Scripture is a tool, just one to show you the way.

Like all that is sacred, no matter the source,
It is what 'you' make of it, that matters of course.

Be it Christian or Islam, Hindu or Pagan,
What speaks to your soul is the tool of salvation.

Nice. The Grinch, Dr. Seuss and Boris Karloff would be proud.
 

just me

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I've heard it said that God may have spoken but his biographers may not have transcribed every word correctly.

Also, from my religious brother-in-law, "I'm not sure that everything in the Bible happened, but I believe it to be true."

I think it is how we interpret it,
many get stuck on what pleases their egos and miss the truths.
i know the scriptures read from the soul are what people need to apply to thenselves and not their egos.
it is a beautiful book.
 
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