Tuesday, June 20, 2006

skiing on that slippery slope.........

The Bible is one of my favorite books. You might know that. However, I fall short of holding it up in the air as many a TV preacher would have me do, and recite, "This is mah Bahbal...Ah am what it says ah am....."
Why? Because the only way I can do that is to hold the original scriptures up and recite, "This is the Word. I don't know exactly what it says, but I'm pretty darn sure that I am what THESE scriptures say I am."
Yep. I think that there are many scripture translation errors. Many of you will scoff and tell me that the Bible has been translated by expert scholars throughout the years; they certainly know more than I could possibly know.
And, you'd be right.
However, in recent years, new papyri that are contemporary to NT times have been discovered, shedding new light on words already translated, and revealing the meanings of the high percentage of words that were merely guessed. And, we must remember, that most translations today are translations from translations, etc. Bart D. Ehrmann covers a lot of the scriptural translation history in some of his books, which are academic rather than theologic in nature. Ehrmann is a dean or professor emeritus or some such stuff of religious studies at a major university here in the States. I appreciate his scholarship, and his dissertations on the historical Jesus, despite the fact that I think he no longer believes in Jesus as the son of God; rather he sees him (as a real person that walked the earth) as an apocalyptic prophet. Anyway, many hands have made copies of the originals, which we don't have, and many errors have been borne because of human error, human intent, and such. Dr. Ann Nyland, a third generation scholar of ancient languages, Greek being one of them, has used these new discoveries to release new meanings into the scriptures....shedding light and making sense of some of the more difficult passages; some of which pertain to women in the Bible. Notice I said "some," Dr Nyland's intent is not to change scriptrure to meet particular needs. Some of the most astounding re-translations have nothing to do with women. Her translation, The Source, is gender accurate, rather than gender inclusive, the latter of which is hurled as a criticism of newer translations such as the NIV and the TNIV.

Given all that, the reason for this post is because of Jesus and Paul. So much going on these days about women's roles, God's views on homosexuality, rules and regulations about "church."
Most of the NT scriptures we read are written, or attributed to Paul, the father of Christianity. Were it not for Paul we would be seeing a much different Christianity, if one at all. Imagine taking all the books that are attibuted to Paul, out of the NT. I won't go into it here, but some of the books that you think are Paul's may not be. There also were 3 letters to the Corinthians, but I'm not going into that right now, either. So, anyway, we can both thank --and blame--Paul for Christianity today. I've been thinking about this for the last few days, and last night sat bolt upright to the words in my head saying, "Who do you follow? Jesus or Paul?"
Paul's message about Jesus might differ from Jesus' own message. Every time I broach this subject with some Christians, I get a stern reproach that I'm heading for that "slippery slope" that everyone likes to avoid. Well, too bad. This is my blog. I'm comfy enough with our Big Dad to broach this subject. But first, I'm going to pose the question to YOU. What differences, if any, do you see between Jesus, and Paul's teachings about who Jesus was and what the church should be?

18 comments:

kamuizot said...

Really like your blog. As a non-Christian I am heartened to see someone of faith examining "slippery slopes" of questioning the details while maintaining and strengthening faith. Keep up the good writing and wondering.

Karen said...

Thanks, kamuizot! There are a lot of us out here. Check out some of my blogroll people, like BruceD, Brian, Patchouli, and some of their links as well.
We love our faith,we love our Jesus...but not necessarily "religion."
I'm going to visit your blog....

Christine said...

What bothers me is when people question the bible, or come up with new 'information' on it who have just as much of a selfish agenda as the ones they say they're disproving.

Yeah. That bothers me. Even if they say something I would love to agree with, I can still hear their motive behind their tone, and it makes me very wary of them.
The selfish motives aren't trying to clarify God's words to us, they're just trying to stick their own wishes into God's mouth~ so, it's not a place I wanna be, no matter how many turkish delights it promises me.

This can go both ways, of course- pro-bible accuracy/con-bible accuracy (and since when is humankind to be totally trusted in dealing well with heavily abstract, spiritual issues, especially if those issues rub them the wrong way?).

So what I do is pray intently, connect myself to God's presence, yield to His spirit, and read...prayer and alignment with God before reading. Because my brain is just as weird about interpretation as anyone else's, and getting with God first allows me to get the most of Godself out of the scripture.

That way, I can see the Good of God shining out from the parts of the bible I need to hear most, at the time.

I believe the bible's main purpose is to reveal God to us~ that's most important.

Karen said...

Yes...this is where I'm heading, Christine. Questioning the Bible is not new, is it, particularly since a portion of the words have not been translated, but supposed? Thanks for your comments. I'll have a better response posted soon.

bjk said...

All I find is that any heart change in me comes from that....it is the only thing that can penetrate all my pride...my fear...any combination there of....it has been the only thing that seems unchanging.....no matter the translation...the words... the idea....the stuff that happens in me comes from marinating in His word...
So I'm not sure what slippery slope you are talking about...I open the bible I got questions and when I close it I STILL got questions....??

Karen said...

Slippery slope being that in questioning the interpretations of the bible, and the many translations, people get antsy.
Uncovering one questions leads to another and so forth....lots of folks will tell me that I'm heading for disaster in doing so.
I'm interested in people's views on this, and mostly if they see a difference in Jesus' and Paul's messages.

bjk said...

I am sooo not trying to be stupid but .....so only King James for you??

As far as Pauls and Jesus messages......I guess you are giving me a good assignment......!!I have been under the assumption that Jesus pointed to God the Father and Paul pointed to Jesus....
I thank you for the thought prod!

Karen said...

Okay, Becky...that's a cool thing...Jesus toward God, Paul toward Jesus...

Becky! "stupid" is not a word to be used with you, my friend. No KJV for me, thanks. But most translations come from it.

eddie{F} said...

Karen

For obvious reasons, I really don't want to go into all the details of Paul vs Jesus, and just exactly where Paul missed the boat. But it's refreshing that you want to follow Jesus and not Paul. Few Christians come to that depth of understanding. Even though I don't believe in Jesus, I do think the "guy" had some pretty good stuff to say, and I think you summarize it correctly when you say:
So, anyway, we can both thank --and blame--Paul for Christianity today.
Kudos kid!

And Ehrmann is one of my favorite historians. He is "middle of the road" and not to unbiased in his point of view. He makes some pretty amazing statements. Fact is, FAITH is FAITH, and it shouldn’t require historical evidence. And that’s where I cannot go …

Take Care!

eddie{F} said...

I meant "too baised"
:-)

BruceD said...

At this point in time, I believe that Jesus came to prove to the world that "it did not believe". And then, revealed to the world that the Father doesn't care that we don't believe... He loves us anyway! And knowing that would cause us to believe!

And I think Paul came to tell the world that we completely missed the point about what Jesus came to do.

Larry said...

Interesting thought, Karen. I'd never seen a split between Jesus and Paul... and, really, I still don't.

Paul had as his purpose the spreading of Christianity. He wanted the whole world to know of Jesus and His salvation. That's the whole focus of his ministry, and, of course, a lot of things get left out.

Such as... how does one really be a follower of Jesus? Paul describes the desired end product, but only sketches the day-to-day how-to. This may be by design: when God has a different plan for every Christian you can't describe every one.

Add to that the way people emphasize certain aspects of Paul's message and you get a real imbalance. Given that our world is very mechanistic in its outlook, it's not surprising that the mechanistic parts of Paul's message have been accentuated.

So... for the period since God brought me back for himself, I've been dancing on the edge of that slippery slope. I simply disregard things Paul says that I can't do. I see the sense in them, but one thing I told God back then was "I'm not going to respond to guilt."

A few days later I was having lunch with a friend in a Thai restaurant. The fortune I got in the cookie was "Be prepared for the truth." Seems to work OK.

All that said, I still know the slope is slippery. I'm fallible, so there need to be checks. I don't trust the church to provide checks, and I don't have much contact with other Christians so I realize the slope is even more slippery for me. I trust God to get my attention when necessary, and so far he has been able to do so.

Faith... I have faith in God, but I don't have faith in faith. God does what he says he will do.

SocietyVs said...

Lady, you're alright in my book!

I personally ascribe to something similar to this. I prescribe that the words of Jesus are to be placed first and highest. The rest has to be placed secondary, why? Jesus is the son of God and what he says is the 'word'. What Paul says is a letter, good for edification but not exactly quotes from Jesus.
Some may say that doesn't make any sense. Well actually it does if you look at the days these book were written. They all existed seperately and some people only had the book of Matthew...guess what...they lived by that gospel alone! I look at it that way too. Maybe the gospels, as recorded by the disciples testimonies, should be held in highest regard. All of Paul's & the rest of the disciples rest on what Jesus taught and did.

Karen said...

Thanks, all for your responses! I'll be back with another post. Blogspot wouldn't let me comment on my own blog (?!?)yesterday...something with the word verification!

Paige said...

I too have found that when I bring this up to others, they just say, "I'm not believing any of that. Its wrong" I say who asked you to believe it? I wonder just why are so many afraid to even examine these newly found writings? Back when the bible was being put together-many writings joined in an anthologhy. Mostly to fit what the "elders" wanted it to say. Much like publishers today. My opinion.
The newly found writings were not available for review. And now we the people refuse to think that any thing else may hold truth, because it is not in the bible.

Karen said...

Totally agree, Paige. I think that God continues to reveal himself today through His words....the Words have always been there, but we haven't SEEN everything. If we believe that nothing else can be learned, then we limit ourselves, and God...
I think that it's exciting. Like you said, no one is forcing anyone to believe anything.
As far as Paul and Jesus....it's in the Book...their differences. I'm whomping up my lil' post on that.

Kansas Bob said...

Great thoughts Karen! I love what Becky says ...

"Jesus pointed to God the Father and Paul pointed to Jesus"

... wish I thought of that ... guess that is where I come down.

I had someone tell me last month that Paul hijacked Jesus' message. I'd love to know what you think about that ... also be interested in knowing more about your thinkings about Paul.

About "The Source" - someone needs to get that translation included in e-sword so that nerds like me can access it more freuently and not have to access their website :)

Mark D said...

Hmmm. Seems to me the same Holy Spirit was in both of them. Other than that, it's a bit deep for my mental condition right now, but still a very good topic for discussion. I think two support beams of any Christian should be a passion to know the Word and a teachable attitude. If we truly know the Word we can rightly divide it, and when we are teachable we are open to more and acknowledge the fact that none of us know it all.