The Meals of Scripture (a curriculum preparing for Thanksgiving)

I designed a curriculum that focuses on three meals in Scripture as a way of beginning to engage a theological and politics of food from a Christian perspective. Continue reading The Meals of Scripture (a curriculum preparing for Thanksgiving)

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God-breathed

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“All scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness.”

2 Timothy 3:16, NRSV

“Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.”

Luke 4:21, NRSV

Growing up, those words in 2 Timothy explained the Bible — well, not all of them. “All scripture is inspired by God,” or as my Bible at the time put it: “All Scripture is God-breathed” (NIV, 1984). All Scripture is God-breathed. Period. Full stop. Those words were some of the most oft-quoted in my church. The Bible, after all, was central to Southern Baptist life and identity. This has always been true about Southern Baptists — from the beginning, it was founded as a separate denomination because of its insistence on the Bible’s support for the owning of slaves. To the present day, the Bible remains in this elevated position bolstered by these words: “All Scripture is God-breathed.”

I had a problem with using this verse early in my life. It did not make sense to me that the Bible could talk about itself — so what was this getting at?

It made about as much sense as Moses writing the first five books of the Bible, one of which contains the story of his last words and death. But those were the books of Moses, even Jesus said it, so it must be true. After all, “All Scripture is God-breathed.”

The truth to which the “God-breathed” verse points, according to my church, was that the Bible was not only inspired by God but therefore inerrant. So, when I started biology classes in high school and thought evolution just made sense, I was told that I was wrong. The Bible doesn’t say evolution is true, and if the Bible says it, it must be right. After all, “All Scripture is God-breathed.”

If that Bible is inerrant, all its words are true and have prescriptive impact on our lives, I was told. For, “all scripture … is useful for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness” (NRSV). So, when I started to learn that multiple friends of mine were gay and I began to have less and less of a problem with that — and eventually come to affirm and celebrate their personhood as children of God — I was told that was wrong. It was wrong because Leviticus and Paul said it was wrong, and they were in the Bible. And if it’s in the Bible, it must be true. After all, “All Scripture is God-breathed.” Continue reading “God-breathed”

Speed Reading the Bible

When I enter a bookstore, it doesn’t matter how big or small, one of the first things that I do is go look at the Bibles. I find Bible publishing fascinating in an odd sort of way. We have Bibles for every kind of person. There are Bibles for manly men, moms, soldiers, athletes, and one for every age group imaginable. Those sorts of Bibles make me sigh a little bit. I actually do love finding different translations of the Bible. When I go into used bookstores, I find the obscure translations that never caught on or translations by an individual. I’ve amassed quite a collection of them now. I was enjoying my nerdy habit in a large used bookstore in Birmingham when something I had never seen before caught my eye.

Continue reading “Speed Reading the Bible”