The Bible doesn’t have as much authority as people want it to have, at least in certain areas of our life experience.
Think about it. While it continues to speak eloquently in some ways to our human condition, it is a collection of letters and poems, prose and laws, the most recent of which was written around 1900 years ago, with the balance of contributions written over the course of about 1200 years prior to that.
In the midst of what has been lost in translations, and what has been molded and shaped to support various world views and interpretations of the texts (i.e. the many versions of the bible that exist), there is a desire for scripture to offer guidance and authority on topics for which it is not ideally suited to speak.
For starters, slavery and sexuality. Yes, the references to slavery are numerous in both the Old and New Testaments. But that was then. This is now. And slavery to sin is a whole other thing.
The allusions to sexual preferences and habits have been debated to death, without clear resolution.
We cherry-pick texts that resonate with our gut feelings and perpetuate stereotypes and wrong-headedness, without regard to current conditions on the ground, including in our own families. Without regard for knowledge that wasn’t available two- or three thousand years ago. Without regard for evolution in thought and understanding of what it means to be human.
Without, seemingly, regard for the gospel witness concerning Jesus of Nazareth, whose love for all of creation was made clear in his earthly ministry and his death on a cross.
Saul who became Paul, in his letter to the church in Galatia, claims that “there is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male or female…”
If we’re going to cling to words of scripture for guidance and direction, we’d do well to move away from the ignorance and naivete of certain ancient understandings and prohibitions, and toward the freedom of the gospel. Toward grace and a release from the weight of judgment of ourselves and others.
Who do we think we are, anyway?