Today’s guest quote is by Brian McLaren, from A New Kind of Christianity:
So we judge internal tension and debate as flaws or failures in the components of a constitution, but we see them as a sign of vitality and vigor in the literature of a culture. Now, at this point, somebody is waving a hand in the back of the room, about ready to explode: “Yes, but the Bible is inspired! What about inspiration?” And I would reply, “Imagine an inspired constitution. What would it look like? How would we respond to it? Now imagine an inspired cultural library. What would it look like? How would we respond to it?” In my reply, I’d be trying to show how constitutional assumptions sneak into the definition of the word “inspired,” so to say, “The Bible is inspired” comes to mean, “The Bible is an inspired constitution.” The same thing happens with a word like “authoritative.” An authoritative library is very different from an authoritative constitution. An authoritative library preserves key arguments; an authoritative constitution preserves enforceable agreements.
As a follower of Jesus and a devoted student of the Bible for many decades, I certainly believe that in a unique and powerful way God breathes life into the Bible, and through it into the community of faith and its members, and into my soul. And I certainly believe that the biblical library has a unique role in the life of the community of faith, resourcing, challenging, and guiding the community of faith in ways that no other texts can. It is uniquely valuable to teach, reprove, correct, train, and equip us for love and good works, as the apostle Paul says. It provides a kind of encouragement that is central and unique to the community of Christian faith.