The Bible is NOT the Foundation
Many people imagine that the foundation of their faith is the Bible. This is viewed as the ultimate center around which everything they believe revolves. However, the foundation of the Christian faith is actually centered on a person, not a book. Whereas Islam has always presented itself as a “religion of the book,” the kingdom of God has been from the start a movement that is centered on a person.
Jesus Christ is the foundation or the center of our faith, not the Bible. He is the one who perfectly reveals to us the love God eternally is, who perfectly embodies the love God has for us, who perfectly models the love we’re to have toward others, and who is the means by which we enter into a loving, faith-based relationship with God.
The only foundation that can be laid, Paul says, for example, is “the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ” (1 Cor 3:11). Jesus is, in the words of Peter, the “cornerstone” that “the builders rejected (1 Pet 2:6-7), which means that the entire edifice of the Christian faith is to be built upon him.
The earliest disciples certainly believed the Old Testament was inspired, but they never based their faith in Christ on this. They used it extensively, but only as a means of pointing people to Jesus, whom they already believed in for other reasons. This is the role that I believe the Bible should play in our lives.
I agree that we should affirm Scripture’s divine inspiration, and I believe we should use it to point people to Jesus. But it cannot bear the weight, nor was ever intended by God to bear the weight, of being the foundation for why we believe in Jesus.
Hence, I don’t see beliefs rooted in Scripture as an end in and of themselves. They rather point us to Jesus and help bring us into, and strengthen us in, our relationship with Jesus. The moment we begin to think that scripture, the our beliefs derived from scripture, are ends in and of themselves, we are in danger of making an idol of Scripture and our beliefs.
We do not relate to a book, or a list of doctrines that are rooted in that book. We relate to, and our faith is founded upon, Christ and his love for us. Participating in this love that is centered in Christ is the end to which all beliefs about the Bible point. This relationship is what gives significance to everything else the Bible teaches.
—Adapted from Benefit of the Doubt, pages 163-170
As with all other theological issues, when it comes to affirming that Scripture is “God-breathed,” everything hangs on where one starts. A dominant strand of the Evangelical tradition started with the assumption that, if God is perfect, and if Scripture is “God-breathed,” then Scripture must also be perfect or “inerrant.” Other “progressive” evangelicals have responded by…
Podcast: How Can We Say God Accommodates Biblical Writers When They Were ‘Carried Along by the Spirit’?
What does it mean for a Biblical author to be ‘carried along by the Spirit’? Greg discusses 2 Peter 1:20-21. http://traffic.libsyn.com/askgregboyd/Episode_0194.mp3
Greg considers what Jesus meant when he said he had come to bring a sword. http://traffic.libsyn.com/askgregboyd/Episode_0312.mp3
Here’s the final interview that Greg did with David D. Flowers in which he discusses his upcoming book Benefit of the Doubt: Dismantling the Idol of Certainty. Check it out! From the interview: Faith in Scripture isn’t about striving for certainty: it’s about being willing to commit to a course of action — to a way…
Collin Cornell has recently published a review of Cross Vision (CV) and, less directly, of Crucifixion of the Warrior God (CWG) in The Christian Century. In this post I will respond to the two major objections Cornell raises against these books. Cornell begins by recounting a discussion I had with a woman who was deeply impacted…
In his critique of Crucifixion of the Warrior God (CWG), Paul Copan argues that “Boyd pushes too hard to make Jesus’ teaching appear more revolutionary than it really is” [italics original]. Whereas I argue that Jesus repudiates aspects of the Old Testament (OT), Copan argues that Jesus merely repudiates wrong applications of the OT, not…