Your lifetime is different than Biblical times.

What Does 'Biblical' Mean?

Word Definitions

Christian Thought define Biblical

The Bible is biblical. We are not.

What 'Biblical' Means

biblical (also 'Bible-based', 'scriptural') : 'according to the Scriptures'. "Biblical" is an adjective, that is, a term that describes something, instead of defining it. The main meaning, and the strictest sense, is simply that something is actually found in the Bible. As to the usual intended use by today's Christians, to be 'biblical' means that the substance and the shape of Christian faith and life is drawn from the main course of what is taught in the Bible. This gives each person, each teacher, each Bible study, and each congregation a great responsibility. A biblical faith is a commitment. It can't be had without learning the main thrust of Scripture thoroughly, and keeping everything in the Bible in the context of everything else in the Bible. It also means not taking a principle from outside of Scripture and superimposing it onto Scriptural study or what comes from it. Being biblical means asking questions of the Bible and not taking it to be something it's not. It means understanding that there are many angles to what it says.

The Discipline of Learning the Bible

A Christian faith is one that is shaped by the Bible. When other sources, or your own tastes, give you something very different from what's found in the Bible, you look at the scriptures more closely. Even if you decide that it's outdated or unjust, take a closer look again. See what it's really driving at, what core things about it come into play, and place those within the context of the Gospel of Christ. Having a biblical faith means to trust that Scripture has something to tell you. Find the underlying purposes behind it. Then, bring that to bear on the way you deal with the subject matter. Theology, when done right, leads us back to the Bible, so that we can be further lit up by the Spirit. If you're a Christian, you need to keep taking on the discipline of hearing the Spirit who speaks through the Bible. It plays out differently in each Christian, and within each Christian over time. Remember that you are making decisions about how you live and how you think - others are responsible for their own minds. You are free to advocate, debate, teach, affirm, re-shape, reject, and organize. But if you act to silence or be hateful towards others, you are acting against Jesus and His gospel, and are thus anti-biblical.

Keep in mind the discipline I just described. When Christians speak of a "biblical" faith, it does not mean that every word or phrase or biblical book is equally important. It means that we commit ourselves to wrestle, and keep wrestling with, everything in it, as long as we live. All readers of the Bible have a pecking order for what they read in the Bible. All Bible readers - even those who don't hold the Christian faith - pick and choose their key Bible passages, no matter how much we may deny it. All Bible readers sometimes forget that it was not written to us, but to a people of a different place and time, and that its meaning back then is a key to what it means for us today. All Bible readers sometimes rely on what others have said about the subject at hand, either because of their wisdom, or as a quickie shortcut. These facts are not really a problem, if you acknowledge them and make sure you continue in the discipline of reading the whole thing as it was written.

The so-called "biblical"

Often, what the Bible teaches is very different than what's usually called 'biblical'. The word's meaning has been so watered down or septically-laden that it is used to describe anything from snake-handlers to end-time cultists and dominionists to the college teachers that boost a 'new moral order' or modern pantheisms or neo-gnosticisms. So what do you do when a "biblical" teaching is cited, especially on political matters? See if it's really there (hint: it rarely is), and, if it is, what would be the most loving yet effective way to hold to that truth. Talk to others about it. Especially, talk to your pastor about it, if that's who's pushing non-biblical political ideas as 'biblical'. They may get angry and vindictive, and tell you to leave; there are other congregations, many of which will welcome you.

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