The Bible is the historical, revelatory, and true story of God at work in the world. Guided by the Holy Spirit, the Bible was written by people spanning many different regions, three different languages, and countless experiences. It is a document full of narrative, poetry, proverb, letter, apocalyptic prophecy, song, and more narrative.
I believe the Bible is inspired. I believe that Bible was never meant to be worshiped for its own sake but rather revered for its ability to bring us closer to the mystery of the Father, Son, and Spirit.
I believe the Bible is authoritative. It has proven itself throughout time to provide an ethical framework for the people of God to see the world and all God’s creation as the canvas on which God desires to paint God’s extravagant grace. Like actors with a holy script, I interact with the text of the Hebrew and Christian scriptures in order to faithfully improvise the love, justice, mercy, and forgiveness of God in every place, space, and person. Without performance, the text is dead. With faithful performance, the story becomes a living word.
I am not concerned with ideas like infallibility and inerrancy because they are not “Biblical” words. That is, they are not words found within the text itself. The Bible both critiques (e.g. the over-sexualization of teens) and applauds (e.g. liberation and equality) elements of culture because the Bible itself emerges from within specific cultures (c.f. Ancient Israel, 1st Century Palestine, 1st Century Roman Empire).
I do not believe the Bible equals God (Bibliolatry). Neither do I believe that the gulf between the Bible and God is so large that we should ignore or take lightly the sacred scriptures. Rather, we believe that the words of Scripture are illuminated by a) the Spirit b) experience c) tradition (e.g. denomination) and d) the local church. Such illumination captures our hands, hearts, and heads (the whole body) for full participation in the kingdom of God; bringing heaven to earth.
I believe the Bible will always require being interpreted in new times and new places because Christianity is not a static faith; it’s a faith on the move just as God is on the move. This is exciting and daunting. It requires that the leadership of a local church remain committed to the diligent study of Scripture, prayerful guidance by the Spirit, examination of tradition, appreciation for culture (then and now), and courage to follow Jesus into the world as Jesus leads. This is fundamentally about the imagination; the Bible changes the way I see God, the world, the church, and all creation. Once I see differently, I also think and behave differently.
The last word on the meaning of the Bible is Jesus. Jesus is the ultimate interpretive grid for Scripture. I read, love, study, and devote my life to scripture because scripture (like creation, suffering, etc.) brings me closer to the living presence and ethic of Jesus. If not for Jesus, scripture would be optional. Because of scripture, I feast and drink from its sacred pages.
And I am full.
Or, just read John 5:39.