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Christians and Scripture

Christians and Scripture

 

Why this essay?

In this day and age, like in any other for that matter, devout Christians read the Scriptures to try to understand God's message. And now, just like before, they struggle to understand many of the Scriptures' statements, especially as quite a few seem to contradict each other.

Of course, we can just rely on the interpretation which is handed to us by the representatives of our various Churches. The problem with such an approach is that these representatives have often modified their Churches' official understanding. All the Churches, for instance, used to profess Creationism. My Church, the Roman Catholic, has now repudiated a litteral reading of the Creation story found in Genesis while quite a few Churches still accept it. All Churches used to consider that homosexuality is a grave sin, while now some bless homosexual unions using the Scriptures to back their position.

Some claim that Scripture teaches that Church Ministers must be males while other Churches do not agree with such an interpretation.

So who is right? Who is wrong? How can we tell? Are there actual objective criteria by which any Christian should be able to evaluate the various official readings?

While Christians often fight over the meaning of this or that passage, some individuals, including many scholars, put in question the authenticity and validity of the texts used to fuel these disagreements. As an example, a school of theologians, The Jesus Seminar, has decided after long discussions and argumentations that most of the Gospel texts are fantasies or distortions of the actual events and that most of the words attributed to Jesus are definitely not His. How can we answer them? Or can we? Is our faith based on anything solid?

These are the questions I want to examine in this short essay.

I will start with the Gospels, as I believe these to be the most important texts for Christians as they are the only ones which claim to report Jesus' words and deeds. I will try to demonstrate that these texts are truthful. Then I will try to gauge the importance of the other texts accepted by Christian Churches as sacred and thus, part of the Christian Scriptures.

But before I can procede, I have to choose which English translation of the Bible I will use. There is no doubt that a great number of Christians are especially fond of the King James Version of the Bible, also referred to as the Authorized Version. It is the version of choice of most Evangelicals and it is the most important English text in existence. I will thus use that version exclusively. I will also put in red the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, as is commonly done in Protestant Bibles, as a show of reverence to these most important words coming from the very Mouth of God.


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Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity, June 6th, 2004


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