Myth: The Bible is the Word of God
This is a GREAT article, thoughtful, and well worth the read. I say: RIGHT-ON! See our blog below...
Here's the author's opening shot:
"Conservative Christianity affirms the idea of "Biblical Inerrancy;" that is, the Bible is the literal, Divinely-inspired Word of God. Whether or not they accept the scholarly consensuses on authorship of specific books (and some do not) they do believe that these authors' pens were guided by the hand of God, and thus the bible is in a sense perfect. This can be expressed in two nonexclusive ways: 1.) that the bible is without error, and 2.) that the bible does not affirm anything that is not true.
"If the Bible is perfect, how can it contradict itself so much? Some may look at these and other examples and shrug, grunting something about "God working in mysterious ways." For the rational-minded among us, this answer will not suffice."
Click to read the entire article
As any Urantia Book reader/student knows, it's quite a challenge to speak to some Christians about the supposed inerrancy of the Bible. Even in Jesus' day, there was a prevailing belief in the sacred nature of the Scriptures, so this is an issue that has been in the forefront of religion since day one.
The truth is, there's a lot in the Bible that is downright horrible...anyone who has read the whole Bible knows this. There's unkindness, vengeance, murder, stonings...and God is made to seem to distant and angry much of the time. There's definitely a disconnect between the God of the Old Testament and the God that Jesus represented...and that's not all.
But, what has the world had up until now? The Bible and the Scriptures have nurtured the idea of God, and presented Jesus to the world for the past 2000 years, so we can't just throw it away, or suddenly decide that, just because it is not 100% inspired, that we need to ignore it. The Urantia Book teaches:
"Do not overlook the value of your spiritual heritage, the river of truth running down through the centuries..." And that surely includes the Bible, warts and all.
How Jesus Used Scripture
Jesus was raised in Scripture and he used Scripture liberally in his ministry. But he was wise about it. He came to earth to reveal a new kind of understanding of God to mankind...a new revelation of God's kindness, his mercy, his Fatherhood, and his abundant LOVE for mankind. And so, when he was introducing Kingdom ideas and brotherhood ideas, he was wise to use only the parts of Scripture that would support those ideas.
Here's a story from The Urantia Book that illustrates that wisdom...we would be wise to take heed:
159:5.1 At Philadelphia, where James was working, Jesus taught the disciples about the positive nature of the gospel of the kingdom. When, in the course of his remarks, he intimated that some parts of the Scripture were more truth-containing than others and admonished his hearers to feed their souls upon the best of the spiritual food, James interrupted the Master, asking: "Would you be good enough, Master, to suggest to us how we may choose the better passages from the Scriptures for our personal edification?" And Jesus replied: "Yes, James, when you read the Scriptures look for those eternally true and divinely beautiful teachings, such as:
"Create in me a clean heart, O Lord.
"The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
"You should love your neighbor as yourself.
"For I, the Lord your God, will hold your right hand, saying, fear not; I will help you.
"Neither shall the nations learn war any more."
And this is illustrative of the way Jesus, day by day, appropriated the cream of the Hebrew scriptures for the instruction of his followers and for inclusion in the teachings of the new gospel of the kingdom. Other religions had suggested the thought of the nearness of God to man, but Jesus made the care of God for man like the solicitude of a loving father for the welfare of his dependent children and then made this teaching the cornerstone of his religion. And thus did the doctrine of the fatherhood of God make imperative the practice of the brotherhood of man. The worship of God and the service of man became the sum and substance of his religion. Jesus took the best of the Jewish religion and translated it to a worthy setting in the new teachings of the gospel of the kingdom.
Click to read about the positive nature of Jesus' religion
Jesus Tells Us the Truth About the Bible
But the biggest surprise to the apostles and to modern-day adherents of the inerrancy of Scripture is found in Jesus' talk with Nathaniel about this subject. Nathaniel asked Jesus:
"Master, could you trust me to know the truth about the Scriptures? I observe that you teach us only a portion of the sacred writings—the best as I view it—and I infer that you reject the teachings of the rabbis to the effect that the words of the law are the very words of God, having been with God in heaven even before the times of Abraham and Moses. What is the truth about the Scriptures?"
Jesus begins by saying:
159:4.2 "Nathaniel, you have rightly judged; I do not regard the Scriptures as do the rabbis. I will talk with you about this matter on condition that you do not relate these things to your brethren, who are not all prepared to receive this teaching. The words of the law of Moses and the teachings of the Scriptures were not in existence before Abraham. Only in recent times have the Scriptures been gathered together as we now have them. While they contain the best of the higher thoughts and longings of the Jewish people, they also contain much that is far from being representative of the character and teachings of the Father in heaven; wherefore must I choose from among the better teachings those truths which are to be gleaned for the gospel of the kingdom.
Click to read Jesus' full answer.
At the end of the talk, we read:
159:4.11 Nathaniel was enlightened, and shocked, by the Master's pronouncement. He long pondered this talk in the depths of his soul, but he told no man concerning this conference until after Jesus' ascension; and even then he feared to impart the full story of the Master's instruction.
And I think that reaction of Nathaniel is probably not unlike how some people will feel when they discover the truth - Jesus' truth - about the Scripture.
In another sense, it may turn out to be a relief. Anyone with a kindly heart and a relationship with Jesus must have to do some sort of compromising in their hearts in order to convince themselves that God can be as distant, as angry and as vengeful as he often is portrayed in the Bible, or that the scanty accounts of Jesus' life are all we'll ever have.
In our times, we have been gifted with a new revelation of truth concerning the Father, and Jesus. In The Urantia Book, we are given not only a new revelation of God, but also a personification of that revelation in the complete life and teachings of Jesus, from whence the above stories come from.
More about the Gospels
Much of Part IV of The Urantia Book is meant to parallel and illuminate the 4 well-known and well-loved gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. But you'll find such rich detail, such understandable narrative and chronologic continuity. And this was accomplished not only by the skill of the authors to weave known human sources for the life of Jesus, but by also employing "superplanetary sources of information." Somewhere there is a repository of knowledge about Jesus life and I suspect that each and every moment of it is preserved for all time and for all people who may ever want to see it. We have been gifted with a large chunk of it in Part IV of The Urantia Book.
In the very beginning of the narrative of Jesus' life, we are treated to the real story concerning New Testament writings:
Click to read the truth about the new testament and its authorship
I'd like to leave you with one more tidbit from that talk with Nathaniel, but I hope that you will go to the links in this piece and see for yourself the truth about Scripture:
159:4.6 "Nathaniel, never forget, the Father does not limit the revelation of truth to any one generation or to any one people. Many earnest seekers after the truth have been, and will continue to be, confused and disheartened by these doctrines of the perfection of the Scriptures."
Jesus certainly was right about that...This story of the talk with Natahaniel about the value of Scripture is just one such example of what you'll find in The Urantia Book stories about the Life and Teachings of Jesus. But rather than continuing with feelings of confusion or disappointment, rejoice that the truth can finally be known - from no less an authority than Jesus himself!
Read, and be amazed! Read, and be enlightened! Read, and get to know Jesus as you've never seen him before! Learn his true teachings and his true mission and the BEST way to love and use the Bible for the highest good of all.