Is the Bible Even Relevant?

My short answer to this inquiry is no, and yes. The no is quite simple. The yes a little more complicated.

First the Nos

  • Scripture is no longer relevant (if it ever was) as a tool of manipulation or to exert power or control over another. In fact, in either form, scripture is not only dangerous, but can become a weapon (as we have witnessed throughout history – even recent history) when in the hands of the wrong person(s).
  • Scripture is not a book of science. Neither is it a book of history as we understand that today.
  • The Bible is not a book of civil law.  Neither is it a guide for upholding nor enforcing law.
  • The Bible is not a manual for gender or relationship ideals or norms.  Only the ill-informed would approach it in that way.

There are likely more no’s but we’ll let these suffice for now.

Now For the Yeses

  • Yes, scripture is relevant as a collection of literature gathered over a period of time related to a specific tribe of people with their own beliefs, cultural practices, and history.
  • Yes, scripture is relevant as a collection of literary genres, gathered over centuries from the oral traditions of a specific tribe of people living in a specific geographic location within history.  None of these writings were meant to be taken as literal and include – myth, poetry, songs, reflective pseudo-history (some things actually happened), tribal laws, erotica, liturgy, letters, and apocalyptic writings and gospels (genres unto themselves).
  • Yes, scripture is relevant as a field of scholarship, especially when said-scholarship contains and includes both canonical (those writings that reflected the dogma of an already established institution), and non-canonical (those that did not).
  • Yes, scripture is relevant as a field of study when one considers historical and cultural context, the literary genre in use, the author, and their audience.
  • Yes, scripture is relevant when examining the theological evolution of a specific tribe of people.
  • Yes, scripture is relevant in studying the reflections of a specific group within that tribe who believed they had found their messiah and the way in which this belief informed their relationship with their tribe and how they attempted to make their way beyond their tribe.

Finally, and this yes is my favorite and THE reason why I consult scripture everyday as part of my daily practice, and why I have included scripture as part of many of my training programs:

Once we pierce through the doctrine and the patriarchy’s fear-based presentation of scripture, it becomes a profoundly relevant tool through which we can access our own inner truth, tune into the voice of our own inner authority, find guidance, healing, knowledge, understanding, wisdom and comfort for our daily lives – all of which help us to remember that we are Love.

Overcoming Obstacles with Authentic Freedom transcends centuries of dogma to reveal the powerful and life-changing message at the heart of Jesus’ teachings and the universal truths at the core of every religion. Built upon the compelling integration of Eastern Energy Medicine and the 2000-year-old tradition of Christian, contemplative spiritual practices, this course revels a dynamic and unifying path of spiritual transformation that speaks to people of all traditions and beliefs.

Is the Bible Still Relevant?

YES, but not in the way many religious institutions would have us believe.  While some (many) have used the Bible to manipulate the masses and to put forth their own hidden (or sometimes not so hidden) agendas, this is not how scripture proves relevant to us today.  I should probably qualify that statement….if our desire is for separation, then using the Bible to put forth dogma, justify separative actions, or to sell the story of a God who wants you to be wealthy, then that is how one will use the Bible.  If, however, our desire is for unity and for humanity to come together in harmony with one another, then we are required to approach scripture in a different way. 

While the Bible is the inspired word of God (Truth, Love, The Divine, by whatever name you call the Source and Revelation of all that is), so too is every example of the written word.

  As we become increasingly aware of the wisdom traditions and sacred writings of other cultures, we discover an abundantly flowing wellspring of wisdom.  As the Western world grows increasingly disenchanted with institutional Christianity and discovers the compassionate teachings of our friends in the East or from the Native people who were here before the European invasion, the temptation is to exchange the traditions in which we were raised for these “new age ideas.”  The problem is that there is nothing “new” about New Age, neither is there something unique in Buddhism, Hinduism, Zen, Paganism, or Native traditions that we cannot find in our own traditions.

This is where the rich tradition of Christian contemplative practices proves helpful.  (Note:  there is also nothing unique to the tradition of Christian contemplative practices. Expressions of all the practices we call “Christian” can be found in the Jewish faith out of which Christianity emerged, and also within the spiritual practices of the cultures in which Judaism was immersed.)

With these practices, we can approach scripture through the lens of inquiry and as a tool through which we can discover and discern our own truth.  In this way, scripture acts like a mirror, reflecting the guidance, insights, learning, comfort and healing we need in the present moment. 

Whether we think of God as the Divine Source of all that is, or as a reflection of our highest self, when applying contemplative practices to scripture, “God” is providing us with what we need.  It is through these contemplative practices that we come to know the God of our own understanding while at the same time coming to know ourselves.  In this way, scripture can be our teacher, our source of guidance and direction, our healer, our counselor, and our comforter.  St. Paul says it well in this epistle:

Remain faithful to what you have learned and believed,
because you know from whom you learned it,
and that from infancy you have known the sacred Scriptures, which are capable of giving you wisdom for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.
All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for refutation, for correction, and for training in righteousness, so that one who belongs to God may be competent, equipped for every good work.

2 Tim 3:14-16

The above is an excerpt from my latest book, Choosing Love – Lessons and Practices for Personal and Global Transformation.

Choosing Love is a collection of fifty-two spiritual lessons and practices for personal and global transformation. These lessons and practices invite you to shake off the cloak of cultural conditioning and discover the freedom of the LOVE hidden within. Here there is no God to appease, no outside perceived authority whose approval needs to be earned, and nothing that can keep you from being and living as your most authentic self. LOVE is who you are. Choose that LOVE.