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They're only half right: The Bible is a book of out-of-date rules

They're Only Half Right

Chick Yuill looks at what some people think Christians believe

To describe the Bible as a rule book is to miss the point

HOW on earth can a collection of ancient rules written thousands of years ago and designed for cultures very different from ours have any relevance to us today? That would be a very fair question were it not for the fact that it’s based on a misunderstanding of what the Bible really is.

Those of us who are Christians need right away to admit that we carry our share of responsibility for spreading that misunderstanding. All too often I have heard preachers describe the Bible as ‘the Maker’s rule book’.

I can see where they’re coming from, of course. The Bible does contain some important laws. Some of them do apply mainly to a particular historical situation, but others have a universal application. The Ten Commandments, for example, are arguably the most reliable foundation for any civilised and just society.

But to describe the Bible as a rule book is to miss the point of what we actually find when we take the time to read it. Far from being submerged in a dusty, if wor­thy, collection of rules, people who engage with the Bible discover various kinds of lit­erature – moving poems, heartfelt prayers, insightful proverbs, vivid word pictures – all written by different authors in often difficult situations over the course of many centuries.

But mostly it’s a collection of captivat­ing stories which, taken together, make up one great sweeping story of why the world is often so messed up, what God is doing about it, how we can be part of that and how it’s all going to end in the ultimate vic­tory of good over evil.

People’s lives have been changed by reading the Bible and discovering all that it reveals about God, the earth and our place in it. I’m by no means the only person who believes it to be the only story that makes sense of life as it is today.

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