In the previous chapter, we saw that we can learn about God through other people who have experienced God. In this chapter we explore a narrower slice of that same idea: Some people have experienced God so directly that what those people wrote is considered by many to be “scripture.”
While some religions are largely passed on orally (by word of mouth, not by writing) and by local tradition, this is not generally the case with religions that are widespread. Written text is usually a key factor in communicating religious beliefs broadly.
Calling written text “scripture” is simply elevating it above other writings, and often believing that it is divinely inspired somehow. Most religions have written texts which are considered foundational to their beliefs. Written texts enable religious beliefs to transcend time and place.
An obvious question arises: How do we determine whether or not a religious writing is true, and whether or not it should be viewed as “scripture”? The principles discussed in the previous chapter can easily be adapted:
Of course, most religious groups are quick to claim that their “scriptures” are the only—or the best—source of truth. You should decide for yourself which, if any, religious writings you will accept as scripture, and not just accept the beliefs of those around you without serious consideration.
For myself, I have found the writings included in the Bible to satisfy the above criteria in a way that no other religious writings do. For me, the Bible is “scripture.”
Of course, since I consider the Bible to be scripture, I think it would be a good thing for you to also consider the Bible to be scripture. However, that is a decision you should make for yourself, based on your own observation and reasoning. If you would like an overview of the main teachings of the Bible, I recommend that you read the book “Foundations for Eternal Life,” by the same author as this book (a free eBook version may be available at www.ShalomKoinonia.org). Or, if you prefer, simply get a good translation of the Bible, and read it for yourself.
For Further Reflection:
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