Ed: Thank you again for providing your thoughts, i appreciate the dialogue.
Trapezoid: (term of light hearted endearment, hehe):... jesus said his words were living. so the gospels and especially the words of jesus are very important and god breathed for sure. by now tampered with no doubt, but what we need is there. pfft. people dont even use that. i think it was thomas jefferson who compiled a bible just of the worlds of jesus. thats an interesting concept.
Ed: I very deeply agree with all of this and i love the idea of honoring the Lord Jesus' very own directly spoken words on the highest level including through red lettering them. I also like Jefferson's idea at least as one alternative. Additionally, i believe that for many, much of the remaining 62 books often become a massive diversion from Lord Jesus and His beautiful Heaven sent teachings which as you say are life.
As one aspect of this, it is said that this institutionalized religious system quotes Paul (or more accurately the letters ascribed to Paul) 7 times more often than it quotes Lord Jesus. If Jesus is truly Lord to these people and Paul isn't, then how can this possibly be? Why is there such a massive diversion away from Jesus' own teachings as Lord and towards Paul's as non-Lord? Were the Lord's very own teachings so lacking that we so desperately needed Paul (and other pseudepigraphical authors claiming to be Paul) to come along and fill in all of the gaping holes left by Jesus?... and did we need Paul and those claiming to be him to come along to replace Lord Jesus as the primary focus within this institutionalized church system?
For these people, who is truly their Lord?... Jesus or Paul? Jesus or pseudo-Paul? Jesus, or the 66 book bible in general? Jesus or (for some people) Calvin? Jesus or the institutionalized church system and its popularized and incontestable doctrines about the 100% God breathed bible?
What if every word of Paul (and the pseudepigraphical authors pretending to be Paul) was trusted as being 100% God breathed and thus treated as such, as in "God said this" and "God said that" whenever quoting Paul's words, but this turned out to not actually be the case? Would it be idolatry to Paul to treat his words as if they were 100% of God when they weren't? I suggest that this abomination is a significant aspect of what is taking place when people can't and won't discern the difference between "i forbid women to teach"/"women be silent in the churches" and the God breathed beautiful and Heavenly words of Lord Jesus such as, "come to me those who thirst and i will give you living water".
Trapper: we are provided what we need. i believe there are indications that what we have is sufficient.
Ed: I hear what you are saying. I feel that generally speaking most followers of Lord Jesus would be far better off with a 2, 3 or 4 book gospel-only canon that helps them to stay focused on Jesus since much of the rest of the 2000 page book becomes a massive diversion from Him and His teachings which as you say are life... and this brings overwhelming distraction from Him and confusion through competing ideas even among professional theologians and paid pastors, let alone the vastly larger group of lay person sheep.
With God not being the author of confusion, there is an exceedingly abundant amount of confusion surrounding this book which speaks overwhelmingly of this book not living up to the 100% God breathed billing bestowed upon it by the institutionalized religious system... or anywhere near.
When i encourage new people towards the Lord, i most often accompany direct prayer over those who invite this - including specifically prayer for them to receive the Holy Spirit - with encouraging them to read (and/or watch) the Gospel of John specifically and to do so with the focus upon opening their hearts to being filled with love towards Jesus and our Heavenly Father and love from them because i believe this is the healthiest and most fruitful focus as opposed to the primary focus within the institutionalized religious system which is head knowledge of the overall bible with no particular emphasis on the words of Lord Jesus followed up by 2 bible studies per week for the rest of their lives along with a near total neglect of Living relationship.
Did Jesus die on the cross so that those who call themselves his followers would place their trust in the popular opinions within institutionalized religion rather than seeking to be His sheep who Hear His living voice and genuinely follow Him? Was it His dying hope that His followers would join and extend their loyalty towards one institution within the conglomeration of business orientated 501-c3 corporations, submit under a paid pastor and make him and his institution ones "covering", and bi-weekly go to bible study to primarily avoid hearing the words of Jesus to instead study Paul endlessly? Is this genuinely how Lord Jesus envisioned His true church would look?
In terms of being provided what we need and the concept of sufficiency, i also believe that what Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and many others had was sufficient for them, which was no bible at all and only the direct Living relationship with the Living God that is so under-emphasized within today's religious culture which overwhelmingly emphasizes a fixation on the bible over living relationship that includes the Living God speaking fresh and continuous new words directly into the hearts and minds of His children. This allowed Abraham and the others to stay focused on this living relationship and not be tempted towards being diverted into the idolatry of paying more attention to a book than to the Living God Himself, more attention to endlessly studying the Lamborghini manual if you will, than to actually driving the Lamborghini.
To most institutionalized religious people today who have made the bible their foundation and their rock and a "total or near-total" replacement for God's true living voice, this idea of returning the primary focus to Living relationship with Him, His infinite and eternal words being written into our hearts, His voice speaking directly and continuously into our hearts, mind and conscience, etc, is not only inconceivable but is also to them blasphemous because and only because whether they are able to recognize and acknowledge it or not they have elevated their bible to the level of Godhood including through incorrectly ascribing God-like characteristics to it and choosing it as God's only voice that speaks to them and the only voice they are willing to hear... along with the voice of popular institutionalized religious opinions. In truth and in an over-abundance of instances, in the absence of actual Living relationship with the living God, this bible has become their god, the only god they are willing to follow.
Trapper: i dont trust luther any farther than i could throw him,...
Ed: Neither do i, and yet he was the primary influence in creating the popularized and institutionalized 66 book canon :).
Trap: the word of god is self contained. thats why the book of enoch, for example, is not included in the 24 scrolls of the tanakh. it contains some truth but it also contains errors.
Ed: Unlike the popularized view within the institutionalized church system, I believe that likely every book or almost every book within the bible contains errors including in many cases various false teachings of fallible men (a major bible theme of women inferiority as one) and i believe this was also true of the original autographs, none of which any longer exist but which can apparently be pretty closely approximated based upon the differing deviations from them. I believe that God never suspended any bible author's free will to interject their own opinions and biases, cultural, misogynistic or otherwise, and that as such their sometimes false opinions became a part of their books and letters, mixed in with the genuinely God breathed portions.
This is why i believe the bible can definitely be helpful and even exceedingly helpful as long as people are willing to read it with genuine Holy Spirit discernment including separating the true God-breathed verses from the false man-breathed verses... and as opposed to reading with the incorrect and deeply detrimental institutionalized and massively peer pressured and indoctrinated preconceived group-think ideas that the bible is 100% God breathed, inerrant and infallible.
Placing ones trust so fully in what the institutionalized religious system decided when it proclaimed its bible as being 100% God breathed completely undermines and annihilates the genuine seeking of Holy Spirit discernment in all things including in honestly questioning with an open heart to God's genuine truth which bible verses are true and which are false. The religious system has placed its views on the bible way up on the highest possible pedestal and untouchable... and to those who conform to this system, the idea of questioning these bible doctrines is not only unthinkable and unspeakable, but is also viewed as a blasphemous attack against God Himself when the exact opposite is actually true.
Trap: i have to believe concerning the new testament that in the first 300 years of our lord, the finest and most reliable writings were compiled for us. were they understood?
Ed: It seems this was done based among other factors upon what were the most popular books and letters among the most influential individuals, books and letters which were believed (whether correctly or not) to be written by the original 12 apostles or those directly taught by these apostles among other factors. If it were done this way today and depending upon which leaders were the most influential, i believe the bible might include "your best life now", "purpose driven church" and "Good morning Holy Spirit" and at some point these books would be ascribed 100% God breathed inerrancy and infallibility to lend exaggerated and unmerited credibility to the new canon, rather than presenting it honestly as, "these books were written by men, some of it is God breathed and some of it is not. It is up to each individual follower of Lord Jesus to do their best in seeking God's heart as to which is which". Institutionalization by the powers that be does not in any way automatically make an idea trustworthy or true and nor does the popularity of an idea among the masses automatically make it so.
Trap: like peter warned, the writings of paul have been grossly abused throughout the centuries.
Ed: It is widely established consensus among religious scholars (aside from the most ardently fundamentalist among them) that 2 Peter was not written by Peter and that Peter thus did not write these words about Paul or Paul's writings. Rather it seems through honest scholarship that there was a lot of contention between Paul and Peter and between Paul and James. Included within this contention Paul boldly proclaimed that he challenged Peter to his face in front of others and boldly wrote about this confrontation in one of his letters to a church rather than pulling this highly esteemed originally chosen apostle of Lord Jesus aside and respectfully addressing a difference of opinion in private. Paul also mockingly referred to Peter and others as "super apostles".
Trap: he even says in some of his letters that its just his opinion in some places and in others he is writing via the holy spirit and is even imitating christ so well that others could use him as an example.
Ed: What i don't understand is, why would God breathe Paul's sometimes false opinions and non-Spirit attitudes into God's 100% God breathed bible? It seems to me that if Paul's sometimes false opinions (or temper tantrums or boasts) found their way into the bible, then this book would no longer be 100% God breathed which is exactly what i believe to be the case, not only with Paul but with other authors as well. Part of why i so strongly oppose the notoriety of Paul and his writings - in addition to these writings containing some false teachings and some very poor examples of how to behave in Christ - is that the focus on Paul's writings within this institutionalized religious system has vastly diverted from and overtaken the focus on the words of Lord Jesus Himself.
I also believe that Paul's need to boldly assert his control and domination over these various churches through mocking, scolding, threats, etc is itself not of the Lord Jesus and this established a false model for modern day institutionalized church leaders to similarly assert control and domination over multitudes of innocent and unsuspecting sheep. Most anybody who has not traded in their Holy Spirit discernment for an incontestable institutionalized belief in a 100% God breathed bible would easily be able to see that lots of Paul's behavior is simply not of God.
I don't believe that Paul overtaking Jesus as the primary focus within the church system was the Heavenly Father's desire or plan and yet i do believe that He has always allowed and continues to allow the free will of humans to shape perceived truth within the religious system... and this includes the free will of influential religious men and the religious system to which they belong to be in error in various ways and to promote and propagate these errors including sometimes through coercion... the pressure to submit and conform or to otherwise be shunned or worse.
I suggest that if religious men had decided to have a 100 book canon instead of a 66 book canon and this became popularized and incontestable doctrinal opinion within the institutionalized religious system, then most readers today who have sworn their loyalty to their 66 book bible as God's exact and perfect choice would have instead been swearing their loyalty to the 100 book bible. With God allowing free will to play itself out, it could have gone either way or any infinite number of other ways.
And as far as people going along with popular religious opinion and submitting under the dogma established by this system, the vast majority have always chosen to bend to the perceived religious authority structure and to popular opinion within their sphere of religious influence rather than going against the grain of conformity and being ostracized. I believe that bending to the institutionalized and popularized idea of the 100% God breathed inerrant and infallible 66 book Martin Luther canon epitomizes this unfortunate human tendency.
Trap: ... what good does any bible do someone who does not also seek understanding from the father? none, except to maybe improve what one reaps in this life or teach how to be more duplicitous. man loves to pretend to have the power of god. loves to wield the "words of god" as their own personal bulldogs to rend others in twain.
Ed: I agree that this is an exceedingly pervasive problem within the institutionalized church system that has chosen to be head knowledge heavy and living relationship light which is a repeat of the same mistakes made by the Pharisees in the time of Lord Jesus. This includes the all too prevalent practice of searching the scriptures endlessly and never coming to the Living God in living relationship.
Trap: as for the 66 (nice devilish number), i like textus receptus. i trust god that it is what he wanted us to have in these last days. i find every book useful. there is still much i have not been able to go over as much and glean more understanding from. the song of solomon, for example. but i get the gist of it. more to the point, the bible has become a part of me and the father has explained much to me and i have no problem gleaning truth wherever i go and from any source i come across. i have many teachers and counsellors, including everyone here.
Ed: I have never disputed the value and usefulness of parts of the bible and the reality that it does contain many beautiful and Heavenly God breathed truths including many which i am delighted to sometimes quote. i have only disputed the mis-ascribed God-like characteristics of perfection to this bible and I believe it's important to distinguish between these two and to reaffirm that i have never once suggested throwing the baby out with the bath water.
I am not saying that you are saying this, but others along the way have seemed to believe i am suggesting that the books of the bible have no value whatsoever and that i am advocating a massive bonfire, the greatest the world has ever known. Rather i am suggesting that the bible or any other book be read with true Holy Spirit discernment rather than with institutionalized religion-aligned preconceived notions about the bible being an object of God breathed perfection.
I believe it's entirely possible to glean truth and blessing from every one of the 66 books as well as various other non-canonical books without any one of them having to be 100% God breathed, inerrant and infallible. I also overwhelmingly believe that the blessings through bible reading are maximized when the false parts are not incorrectly believed through indoctrinated alignment with incorrect popular institutionalized religious opinion to be God's truth.
Trapper: 100% God breathed - close enough
Ed: But the point is that if it isn't God breathed all the way, without a single exception, then it isn't 100% and so the bible being referred to as 100% God breathed would be misleading and deceptive... and would in some ways lead people astray from God's genuine truth.
Trap: inerrant - properly understood
Ed: Here we can agree to disagree and i believe the errors are copious and exceedingly well documented among honest scholars who are not willfully turning a blind eye to that which is abundantly obvious. In this way fundamentalists - who are unwaveringly committed to the idea that their bible is 100% perfect no matter what the reality actually shows - seem to be under some kind of spell that blinds them... and non-fundamentalists tend to be much more honest with what could not be any more plain to see.
Trap: infallible - it has never failed me yet
Ed: I would suggest that if you were to murder your disobedient child because the bible says to do this, that the bible would be failing you in this instance. If you were to cheat on your wife because the bible's rule against adultery applies only to the wife and not to the husband, that you would be sinning against God's true heart and the bible would be failing you. These are just two examples and one could easily add hundreds more.
Trap: all encompassing - not by a long shot
Ed: Here we overwhelmingly agree and i appreciate your bible references which so deeply substantiate this. I use John 21:25 all the time to support my position that God is infinite and not in any way limited to a finite bible... and the John 20:30 verse you posted is another excellent one.
And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book:
And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written.
Ed: Thank you again for the thoughtful and respectful dialogue. Many blessings.