Now that I’ve returned to my theme from parenthetical Purgatory, I have to confess that I went off on yet another tangent in my mind. My friend Gary has instilled in me the awful habit of considering context, which means I have to think about things instead of just percolating along in my personal fog. In context, the writer of this epistle meant the Law and the Prophets when he said that scripture is inspired by God. And now the church includes this very verse in the body of scripture. Makes the testimonial seem more like advertising, don’t you think? Not that the writer went that way; he wasn’t presuming his work was God’s. (Although I have to wonder what sort of person sits down to write a work as if he were Paul…) (And yes, I assume the writer was male. The letter upholds the patriarchy.)
All of which brought me to the familiar question: how do we know what the word of God is? Our Bible didn’t take its final form for a long time. Chaucer’s Bible had a lot more stuff in it, just for example, like the harrowing of hell. Groups of people met and argued to determine which books stayed and which went. You can read more about it here.
Which means (thank you, Gary) that the Bible as I know it was determined in a cultural context with its particular knowledge, scholarship, and bias. I began to wonder what the Bible would be like if people right now met to discuss what parts of it are or are not inspired by God. Would our “itching ears” throw out sound doctrine? Or would our current understanding help undo the wrongs of former cultural bias?
No conclusions. Just thinking.