• Recommendation: “The Bible Tells Me So”

    March 20, 2015

    peter ennsScores of Christian authors have written long works through the centuries attempting to smooth over or explain away apparent inconsistencies in the Bible–moments where the four Gospels don’t agree, two consecutive proverbs that give contradictory advice, perceived variances in the creation account(s), and just the over all sense that God’s personality changes as the timeline of Scripture progresses. Christians often get defensive when a skeptic challenges them on these very problems of Scripture.

    In The Bible Tells Me So: Why Defending Scripture Has Made Us Unable to Read It, author Peter Enns invites us to consider that the problems of Scripture are not problems at all. Not that they don’t exist, but that God isn’t worried about them and so neither should you be. God doesn’t need off the hook for errors in the Bible because he’s fine with them in there. Our attempts at defending the Bible, Enns argues, as this perfect (inerrant) work of God beamed down to us in perfect form from heaven are actually keeping us from reading the Bible as God gave it to us: God-approved imperfection that is constantly being reinterpreted by pilgrims on a journey to better understand their Creator.

    If this sounds like a bunch of liberal, wishy-washy hog dung, you may be just the person Peter Enns wants to talk to. He presents his case with the Bible writers themselves as evidence, showing how even Jesus and Paul (especially Paul) reinterpreted and even jettisoned parts of Scripture in light of their growing understanding of what God was up to. His main point: the Bible is not now, nor ever was, the final word from God; Jesus is, and every other word must be continually reevaluated in light of that ultimate Word.

    It’s not a new concept, but I did find his approach somewhat novel and worth reading, especially if you’re skeptical or outright disbelieving of the whole idea Peter Enns is presenting. Read it before you dismiss it. Even if you don’t totally agree with Enns, he raises questions worth every Christian’s asking. My only quibble with the book is over style, not substance. Enns, presumably wanting to appeal to the masses and not sound stuffy and overly academic, continually interrupts himself with “humor” that often falls flat and sometimes even irritates. But again, it’s only a quibble, and one forgivable in light of the book’s other qualities.

    Posted in: Book Reviews

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