Word of the Month

An answer to all questions?

January 2016

In many Christian circles, the prevailing view is that the Bible contains answers to all questions, and that one can take precise instructions for one’s actions from its pages for any conceivable situation of life. Anyone who uses that argument might just as easily use the Bible to defend the death penalty, for example. The problem here is that one can take a single passage out of the Bible, elevate it to the level of a dogma, and use it to build an entire doctrinal construct. In the past we used to do the same thing at times. Today, however, we have a different understanding of Holy Scripture: it must be seen as a whole. Many things from the Old Testament can only be properly understood when they are read in the light of the New Testament and the teaching of Jesus. And in so doing, it also becomes quite clear that not every biblical statement carries the same weight. For example, it is necessary to make a distinction between statements that are necessary and decisive for salvation and those that are bound to a particular time and applicable only to a specific historical situation, for people living at that time.

We are not one of those groups who believe that God has something to say in the Bible about every last situation, or that everything contained in the Bible therefore has the same validity, priority, or significance. But on the other hand, it is also clear that the Bible is not just a book that belongs in an antiquarian bookstore either. Rather, it is just as current today as it was yesterday. It is a book for our time, even for life as a Christian in the twenty-first century. It is worthwhile to read from it!

Food for thought from a divine service by the Chief Apostle