Google Translate: The Bible

Google Translate: The Bible

google translate the bible cartoon by nakedpastor david hayward

Google translate. Christianese detected: "You need to read your Bible." English: "You need to interpret the Bible exactly the way I do, which is the only correct way."

How many times have people said to me, after seeing a cartoon or post of mine, "You need to read your Bible!" 

I could respond, "I know the Bible inside and out. I studied it for decades, got my Masters in it and graduated cum laude from seminary, was a proficient reader in all three Biblical languages... Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek, read all the commentaries, won the Reformed Theology prize as a student, preached from it for 30 years as an ordained minister, etcetera etcetera.

Of course they would respond that years of study is useless if you don't have the Spirit and that we should not lean on our own understanding, and so on and so on. 

I've heard it all before so many times.

Before I left the ministry, my denomination sent me to a weekend workshop with other pastors and scholars. It was lead by a respected New Testament scholar. The theme was hermeneutics and the interpretation of scripture. The goal was to confirm our beliefs that the Bible was inspired, inerrant, and infallible, and that there was one objective interpretation of it.

I read up on all the books, took the workshop, and left convinced that the Bible is not inspired, inerrant, or infallible, but rather a collection of documents written by men doing their best to apprehend and articulate a great mystery, and that there are as many interpretations of the Bible as there are those interpreting it.

I claim that this does not devalue the Bible at all, but rather elevates its value to its proper place. Valuing the Bible as it is... this is the greatest respect.

And I feel very peaceful about this.


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