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Was the Bible written by God, or by people?

Many religious traditions, such as Islam and the Mormon church, claim that their scriptures, or sacred writings, were dictated word for word by God, and the human beings who wrote the words down were simply transcribing a divine message.  While some Christian traditions hold to a doctrine of "verbal inspiration," meaning that each word of scripture was dictated by God and is factually as well as theologically accurate, most Jewish and Christian traditions do not make this claim for scripture, holding not that scripture was dictated by God, but that the documents in our scriptures were inspired by God.

That doesn't tell us what is meant by "inspired," though, and different people mean different things by it.  When I say that I believe that our scriptures were inspired by God, what I intend to say is both that God was present with the men (and perhaps, in the case of the Letter to the Hebrews in the New Testament, the woman!) who wrote those documents, and that the documents reflect these people's encounters with the living God in their community; and that as we gather in community to read the scriptures, the Spirit is present, and works through our prayerful and thoughtful reading of the scriptures to inspire the community.

04:00 PM | Permalink


I have never seen a female theologian. I am happy to meet you.

You said, "... as we gather in community ...":

I believed in God, the Only one, the Greatest one, the Wisdom and, certainly, Jesus was dead. But that God, my Only one, my Greatest one, the Wisdom sent an angel to ignite the light of some another space in my mind and I still was thinking: Jesus is dead. Then I began to be a blind person: how might it be with one more of light in my mind?. I began to look for a good reason.

I thought: If the angel signs the light as Jesus' light, then I have to look for the people of Jesus to see with their eyes.

Then I began to "gather in" their community. But only when I really "joined in" their faith, then my eyes began to see the Face of the Son of my God, the Son of the Only one, the Son of the Greatest one, the Son of the Wisdom: Jesus Christ.


Posted by: Me?. Oh, no! | Apr 17, 2005 11:37:17 PM

Richard Friedman and Harold Bloom make very convincing arguments for a female writer of the 'J' texts.

I have always thought of the men and women who wrote what we now call scripture as being just like men and women of our time. They were people who believed that they could see the hand of God at work in their personal and corporate history. I don't think they knew that what they were writing would one day be hailed as the word of God.


Posted by: Joel | Aug 10, 2005 6:10:17 AM


Are you saying that Scripture can be theologically correct but factually in error? If so, how is this possible. If something is factually in error how could I possibly know whether its theology is correct? Further, who decides then what is factually correct? The Jesus Seminar? Just curious. (how is that Reverend Charger these days :))

Posted by: Art | Mar 4, 2008 11:30:32 AM

It has been several years now that I am. Bravo for your meticulous work. I love your world. Nothing like coming here to enter fully into your world ... and assess the evolution of your work.

Posted by: voyance par mail | Oct 31, 2012 12:24:48 PM

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