The Truth of the Bible as a Rulebook

by | Dec 26, 2022 | Bible, God, Religion | 0 comments

Photo by Ella Wei

The Bible is supposed to give people freedom, not bind them to mere words and fear that one wrong move will lead to hundreds of consequences.

The Bible can be complex, and because of this nature, it can be pretty easy to misunderstand, misconstrue its content, and misuse it other than how it’s supposedly intended. When people read the Bible, they often interpret it as some rulebook, more than a collection of stories. It’s interpreted in a way that explicitly tells people what they should and shouldn’t do. After all, the Bible’s principles are conveyed through the simple laws of cause and effect, showing its readers what happens if such acts are defied.

Most people look at the Bible intending to follow and translate its content literally, fearing that they’ll disobey God’s word if they do otherwise. Most churches and preachers unintentionally exacerbate this belief by repeatedly reminding people to be in the likeliness of what the Bible says to avoid facing the consequences.

A Different Means of Looking at the Material

The comparison between the Bible and a rulebook merits the question of how a single document can command people to act or omit an action or thought. How can it bind them in matters of faith and life? Especially since the circumstances in the Bible differ from how it is now.

It can be difficult relying one’s behavior on this material since factors and conditions of life and people’s behaviors have changed. Some believers firmly believe that the Bible isn’t material that can strictly indicate what people should and shouldn’t do. It should be used not as a rulebook to follow strictly but as a guidebook on how people can live their lives exactly how God wants them to.

Author Julius Mosley interprets the Bible in such a way in his book, Living Life with Blinders On. Mosley dissects the contents of the Bible so people can understand it better, with better context. Since there is a disconnection between the narratives reflected in the Bible and today’s affairs, this book connects this disparity. Instead of interpreting the Bible through direct comparison and application of its concepts to modern-day, Mosley picks out the primary message and applies it to the modern context.

His book reflects how the Bible should be consumed – not literally. Instead, its essence should be what’s determined and conveyed. While this is now established, what should the Bible’s tabulated content, such as the Ten Commandments, be taken and interpreted as?

The Ten Commandments as Basis for Modern Laws

The Bible has an essence of authoritativeness. This is why most misinterpret its content as rules that should be followed closely. This nature is what theologians refer to as the doctrine of inspiration, wherein God has moved the Bible’s human authors and enabled them to communicate the truth he wanted his people to know for his glory and human salvation. It is a book on living life as God Intended.

If there’s one idea encompassing what God wants His people to know and how He wants them to act, it would be through the Ten Commandments. A seemingly straightforward and laid out set of rules for people to follow. However, this doesn’t mean people should rigidly live by these rules.

This doesn’t mean that the Ten Commandments per se molded modern laws. People can’t look at the rules they’re obeying now, compare them to these commandments, and see parallelism. Instead, it’s safe to claim that these laws have been governed, consciously or subconsciously, by the morality set by the Bible. At the end of the day, the Bible and its Ten Commandments have provided modern-day lawmakers with a framework of values and ethics, such as righteousness and honesty, with which they shaped their laws around to benefit most, if not everyone.

The Bible as a Guidebook

The Bible shouldn’t be taken literally without questioning its motives and the primary messages it wishes to convey. That would make religion based on blind faith and obedience. It’s not in God’s nature to burden people with rules that may limit them.

Though the Bible does have numerous rules here and there, believers don’t have to follow these rules closely. Instead, all they need to do is follow the principles taught by Him. It’s safer to claim the Bible as a guidebook in building one’s principles than to say it’s a rulebook for everyone to comply blindly. The Bible isn’t for everyone to take word for word. Instead, whenever people read it, they should only align their characters with God’s.

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