The evangelical posture toward Scripture is generally lacking nuance. Very generally speaking, each biblical account is taken as a separate and literal story to mine for content. One of my biblical studies professors advocated “principlizing” the Scriptures whenever a lesson was not readily apparent. This method, made popular by Walt Kaiser, fits nicely within the Bible-as-a-handbook-for-life camp.
My search for a helpful way of reading and understanding the Scriptures led me to begin reading Sparks’ “Sacred Word, Broken Word.” He basic premise is that:
Scripture was written by godly but fallen human authors who sometimes thought and wrote ungodly things. If this is right, then the church should not defend Scripture’s uniqueness as the divine word by appealing to its perfection. Rather, a proper account of Scripture’s goodness and divine origins will closely follow the traditional Christian response to the problem of evil.1
His argument provides a response to the notion that a loving God would likely not exterminate a whole people group (every man, woman, child, and animal) in Nazi-death-camp fashion.
According to Sparks, “Scripture is implicitly, in itself, a product of and evidence for the fallen world that it describes.” I’m not sure how cozy Sparks and I will become; however, I have been encouraged to read something theological because I miss my faith.
Kenton L. Sparks. Sacred Word, Broken Word: Biblical Authority and the Dark Side of Scripture (Kindle Locations 513-515). Kindle Edition. ↩