[T]he Bible as a whole...is the developing tradition of two ancient communities, ancient Israel and the early Christian movement. As such, the Bible is not a divine product that is to be believed no matter how incredible, but a human cultural product that is to be understood. The Old Testament is Israel's story, told by Israel and about Israel. The New Testament is the early church's story, told by them and about them. Together, they tell us how these two ancient communities experienced God, thought about God, and worshiped God, as well as how they thought they should live (communally and individually) in response to God. The Bible's ethical directives and codes of behavior were directly relevant to their lives in their time, not divine laws given by God for all time.
This transformed understanding of the Bible also leads to a quite different perception of its authority. When the Bible is seen as an infallibly true divine product, then it becomes an authority standing over us, telling us what to believe and how to behave, regardless of whether these beliefs or codes of behavior make sense to us. The alternative understanding of the Bible--as ancient Israel's and the early church's witness to their life with God--sees things differently. Within this way of seeing, the significance of the biblical canon is that it affirms that these are the ancient documents with which Christians are to be in a continuing conversation and dialogue. To take the Bible seriously is to seek to understand what our ancestors in the tradition knew of God. (p. 178)
Posted by Mystical Seeker at 8:45 PM