In this Chapter Borg affirms the place of the Bible in Christian tradition. Borg writes that the way the Bible is treated, as infallible has cause many to question and even leave the church and Christianity. Borg suggests three adjectives as an alternative to Biblical literalism these are historical, metaphorical and sacramental.
- This is the easiest for me to grasp. 'The bible as a product of the ancient Israel's and the early Christian movement.
- Through human authors during these two periods it was there response to God
- It reveals God in there everyday lives.
- Not 'absolute truth' or 'God's revealed truth' Rather relative truth to the authors time and place, how they saw things.
- When the Bible is approached like this issues such as the conflict between science and faith disappears. Laws of the bible are not seen as laws of all time, eg the difficulties of Leviticus.
The Holy Bible is a result of historical process not due to its 'divine origin' It is sacred due to its status and function.
To be a Christian means that the Bible is foundational to our identity and vision.
Illuminating Power of Historical Function
The new paradigm uses a 'historical-metaphorical' interpretation.
Historical- The historical context is of utmost importance. What the words means for the community it was originally written for.
Truth as a metaphor- 'a more than literal meaning of language'
[This really stuck me as a way that I could re-read the Bible, certainly it has enlightened the way I read scripture and apply it for myself. Interestingly when people use illustrations in there sermons they are actually using the 'metaphorical approach']
Borg goes onto briefly suggest the major reading of Scripture using a metaphorical approach. One example of which there are a few.
'The story of Gentile wise men coming to the birthplace affirms that Jesus is the light not only for Israel but for all nations, for everybody, Jew and Gentile'
A major point that Borg makes is that the metaphorical interpretation is beyond just a historical factuality.
The Bible as sacrament.
This way of seeing the Bible I had not really come across before, and I could imagine myself thinking it was some sort of Catholic thing. I think it is important see Borgs definition of 'Sacrament', as once you read it you can see how the Bible is a Sacred.
'... a finite, physical, visible mediator of the sacred, a means whereby the sacred becomes present to us. A sacrament is a vehicle or vessel of the sacred'