ch. 7 a long form book response to The Bible Tells Me So by Peter Enns

Until last autumn, I had not read any of Dr. Peter Enns' books although I am a regular reader of his blog at Patheos, "rethinking biblical christianity..." I did write a brief review in November and after writing the long form book response to Flood's book Disarming Scripture, I thought it would benefit me to reflect more on this book as well. It is an excellent book and written in a more accessible style than Flood's. There are only seven chapters with numerous sub-headings in each chapter.

The 7th chapter is titled, The Bible, just as it is, which is also the final chapter. Enns keeps the summary brief, although there is much to summarize. There are about a dozen points, but a couple jump out to me, such as, "The Bible is not, never has been, and never will be the center of the Christian faith." (p. 237) The Christian faith is centered on Christ. It is so obvious, yet easily forgotten in my experience. What is the relationship of the Bible to the Christian faith? "...the Bible, in various and complex ways, 'bears witness' to Christ...The Bible doesn't say, 'Look at me!' It says, 'Look through me.'" (p. 237) The freedom this realization brings also can bring fear in some of us. This is another one of Enns points.

"Let go of fear." (p. 239) Where does this fear come from? "...mainly the fear of being wrong about the Bible, which is often equated with being wrong about God." (p. 239) Derek Flood noted a similar concern in the last chapter of his book. The diversity of biblical interpretation in the church throughout history shows that we have seen the same passages and understand them very differently. The great church conclaves in its early centuries produced creeds to settle who Jesus is, fully God and fully man. Other than that, most everything else has been up for interpretation. This leads to another important point of Enns.

"Branch out." (p. 240) We need to realize that our churches are branches off a great trunk that has been growing for 2000 years across all continents and people groups. "In the long history of the Christian church, so many different, even conflicting, points of view have been embraced as true and valuable. Even today, at this very moment, literally thousands of recognized, established, Christian denominations dot the world, where members worship God and understand his ways differently from each other." (p. 240) It takes humility to acknowledge that other groups can be right, and our group might be wrong. But if we hold onto our position humbly, we can hearken* to each other's perspectives.

By letting the Bible be a human book we don't ask more of it than it can give.
A well-behaved Bible is one that rises above the messy and inconvenient ups and downs of life. A Bible like that is an alien among its surroundings, a brittle scroll kept under glass, safe and sound from the rough handling of the outside world.
Such a Bible is nothing like Jesus. It also doesn't exist. (p. 244)
The Bible is messy because humans are messy. Jewish people wrote about God in their culture and time. Jesus claimed to be God in the flesh, proved by his resurrection, and revealed what parts they got right and what parts were inadequate and what parts were wrong. Jesus does the same thing for his follwers today. Jesus changed everything.

*"hearken" is a good KJV word that indicates more than listening but paying attention.


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