As a biblical scholar, after I have uncovered a particularly unsavory truth about the biblical text, I am inevitably asked, “So are you saying you don’t believe the BIBLE?” And here is my answer.

“I believe the Bible…

enough to seek to understand not only what it says but what it means.

enough to study the context of the text.

enough to honor its original languages, the fact that words don’t always mean the same thing over time and that some words do not translate.

enough to realize that the King James Version contains wonderful poetic language that inspires and comforts but it also contains horrendous translation errors.

enough to know that the Bible did not fall out of the sky, leather-bound in the King James Version.

enough to attempt to understand that the text without context is a train wreck.

enough to know that councils of men, often with political agendas, fought over which books would be included in the Biblical canon. As is often the case, those with less power lost. (The Gospel of Thomas got some GOOD stuff.)

enough to know that God didn’t stop speaking when they closed the canon.

enough to know that the Protestant Bible is not the oldest version of the Bible.

enough to see the Bible as a tool of liberation and not a means of oppression.

enough to know that Africans had God before they had the Bible.

enough to recognize that when it was written, women were property and slavery was acceptable. Just because it’s in the Bible doesn’t make it right.

enough to know that it never claims to be a science book.
enough to know that it is not a manual on all things related to sex and gender.

enough to know the the Bible is not God.

enough to realize that the full revelation of God does not begin and end with Genesis & Revelation.

enough to realize that theologies and religious perspectives have histories that can/should be explored and critiqued.

enough to realize that God is big enough to handle my questions and problems with the text.

enough to realize that my denomination of origin did not always give me permission to ask the difficult questions of the text.

enough to realize that being a faithful Christian does not necessarily equate to good interpretation skills.

enough to realize that devotional Bible reading is not the same as Biblical research.

enough to realize that racists used the Bible and their narrow view of God to justify slavery — and not much has changed.

enough to believe that the letter can and has killed many individuals – but the Spirit gives life.”

© Kendal Brown