“Barth accepts and welcomes scholarly criticism of the Bible, even when it shows the Scriptures to be full of errors and inconsistencies. He does not consider the Bible infallible, and he deplores orthodox Protestants who make it into “a paper Pope.” Nevertheless, the Bible testifies to God’s Word, which is revealed to man through human speech. The words that the Biblical writers use may not always be the appropriate ones, but they must be accepted as words elected by God. “
~ Witness to an Ancient Truth, TIME magazine (20 April 1962)
This is a quote about theologian Karl Barth I found browsing the internet. If it is true that this is what Barth thought about the Bible, then I find it very interesting. I have been thinking along these lines. I have sometimes wondered how we can call the Bible the infallible word of God when it has been translated and interpreted by men. Men who have their own opinions colouring every page. I have also seen the problem when it is elevated above all else and become a yard stick, rule book, ultimate authority. It’s dangerous.
In my developing ideas on this I’ve thought that the Bible is divinely inspired (as are great inventions, medicine, prophecy, creativity etc) as well as historical documents which point to the revelation of God throughout time. It’s a God-inspired and special record of His interactions with the human race (in Israel mostly…surely He revealed Himself to other people groups throughout history only we have no records of this?). I believe in it’s truth. However I don’t believe every jot and letter of it has come to us in absolute perfection. I believe the ultimate authority is the Word of God (Jesus Himself) which is why the Bible interpreted dogmatically without relationship with Jesus creates horrendous misrepresentations of God, is used to lord it over people, and all the other dastardly things we’ve seen in history done in the name of God, (slavery, racism, colonialism, religious wars, religion).