I am a gay male who has been in a relationship and now married for 53 years. For many, many years , I thought I was nothing, I did the usual hiding for many of those years until I believed that God loved me, it was nothing anyone said to me, because the opposite was true from the pulpit. so I left the church but not God. I always felt that he made me who I am and loved me. I never could ever question during my church years any aspect of the Bible. I would be thrown out of Bible studies for asking pertinent questions about women, gays, abuse, and the list goes on. I am grateful to have found churches over the past 30 years who asked the pertinent questions and sought the answers from people such as yourself and listened and learned. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your Ministry and service to God. For making s/he real to so many people and showing the love I believe that he has for his entire creation. It took me years to realize that the Bible was being used as a tool by so many ( and still so, unfortunately) to keep control over people within established churches. Thank God, we have found a church in our City that loves God and brings forth the realness of a Bible that has inerrancy, that tell the stories, read the poems and sing the songs of a loving God, and that the authority is ours because s/he made it so. Thank you Mr. Martin again for your Ministry.

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I'm all the way from Singapore and am a queer christian. I learnt that the bible has full authority from preachers who share the following scriptures:

"Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away." - Matthew 24:35

"I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues which are written in this book; and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his part from the tree of life and from the holy city, which are written in this book." - Revelation 22:18-19

"All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.." -- 2 Timothy 3:16

I find that it is because of scriptures like this that make people believe that the bible is God-breathed and nothing can be added or taken away from it.

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Great insights! You bring up a very valid points that I haven’t considered before. There really is no way a person could not “interpret” any piece of information Without some bias. Which leads me to the question, what was Jesus’s relationship to the Torah, the law, and the profits? What kind of “authority” did scripture play in his life? I’ve got a strong hunch that He would not have viewers it in the way evangelicals do.sola scriptura

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Until recently I would have identified as what most people would regard as evangelical; in other words, I had a process for making sense of most of the Bible with the gospels with the NT at the centre and the (traditional understanding from the 16th c of) dividing the OT into moral (= keep), ceremonial (=discard) and civil (=discard). However, that has a number of problems - for example, discerning what is moral in the wild wild east with no social security, with forms of life and government alien to our own, is less than simple. So without having arrived at a new neatly arranged way of understanding Scripture I would say it is meant to "author" the character and story of our lives in relationship with God and others, yet in a way that often leaves details open - just as in Jesus' parable three servants were entrusted to steward certain gifts while their master was away, and not given detailed instruction on what to do with them. Looking forward to part two. Jonathan.

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This is how I feel if or when I do not like to believe every word or verse of the Bible: I feel like I'm walking on shaky ground, or going out on a limb. It's an uncomfortable feeling. Takes a lot of faith to be confident that I'm okay with God. Example: Colossians 3:5 "Put ye to death therefore the members on the earth,...passion,..." Reading from the The New American Standard Bible and Greek Interlinear translation. Is this verse telling me that a gay person should have no passion?

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I hear your well-articulated critique of "Sola Scriptura," but perhaps I missed your definition/ description of "Authority" itself. It seems to me the ideas of "Sola Scriptura" and "Authority of the Bible" blended together quite a bit.

Perhaps this is your focus on the next post, but could you define or describe what having an authority means to you?

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This is a topic I was curious to hear your perspective on. I plan to join the live call later for more context, but in case you get to see this comment first I was hoping to clarify what seems to be a big part of this article.

You mentioned in several different ways, "The Bible very rarely makes any reference to itself" - Has this been your personal reading experience or was this inspired from an alternative data point?

While many sources describe cross-references in the Bibile, you've previously mentioned being familiar with Jordan Peterson so I'll reference him since I think he captures it best - he describes the Bible as the first “hyperlinked text” with 63,779 references to itself.

Here's a few visualizations of the Bible citing itself:


Approx citation of Jordan Peterson describing the "Hyperlinked Bible"


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What you describe is something I have heard called "solo Scriptura" (note the 2nd o) of which I do not know anyone that claims to think that.

What "sola Scriptura" meant to the original Reformers was that Scripture trumped any other source of authority in matters of faith. The institutional church (AKA Roman Catholic Church) claimed that the Protestant Reformers did not even know whether they were saved without the church informing them. The way the Reformers responded to this accusation was that (1) The Bible trumped other sources of authority, such as church tradition (sola Scriptura) and (2) on matters of salvation, Scripture was clear enough (perspicuity/clarity of Scripture) on salvation so that one could know that one was saved, even though there were other parts of Scripture that were not as clear. Of course, the RCC then responded and there was more back and forth including physical combat and here we are today with many denominations.

I do agree that Scripture trumps other sources of authority on matters of my active faith based on my understanding of 2 Tim 3:16-17. Thoughts?

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I appreciate this thoughtful article, and look forward to reading more to follow. I would like to find out how the Bible got to be the "Word of God." There are many passages in the Old Testament which begin with "The word of the LORD came to ..." So I see that the scripture itself makes a distinction between narratives and oracles. Then there are the Psalms and wisdom literature. There is poetry, history, origin stories, stories about the same things which don't agree in all the details,.... But without making any sort of distnctions many of our church leaders told us, "Thus saith the Lord," and then been quoted mistranslated verses, things taken out of context, and many other things to make us conform to the teachings of the church. And all that time, "The Bible is the Word of God!" was an axiom, not a conclusion we were led to by supporting evidences.

I love engaging with the Bible, and studying it as much as I can in the ancient languages to get behind the translators' biases. However, the more I study the less I am able to make blanket statements, like, "The entire Bible, in whatever translation you read it, but without the Apocryphal books, is divinely spoken word straight from the mouth of God to my personal life."

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