The Bible as a Conversation Starter … not the final word?

God chose not to communicate to us in bullet points, instead he is using poetry, letters, laws, prophecy, proverbs. … So often we use the Bible as a way to end a conversation when I believe it was meant to generate conversation. … The Bible isn’t a blueprint and I think that’s on purpose, … we’re not supposed to have everything spelled out for us, I think we’re supposed to be living in community. … We’re part of this dynamic, ongoing, centuries-old conversation with God and with one another precisely because the Bible is difficult to understand. And I think that’s on purpose, because being a person of faith isn’t about being right, it’s being part of a community, it’s about being in relationships. If we had a blueprint, what would we have to talk about?

Excerpted from Rachel Held Evans, speaking here.


  1. John Burgess says:

    I have in my past used “my” knowledge of the bible to lead the direction of conversation. That usually ended in a “I am right you are wrong” conclusion. That also ended the contact with the other person. Hard to be a “light on the hill ” when there is no one around to see it!
    How laughable that I thought I knew anything, lest alone the mind of God, that I could represent Him so. I see now how important relationships and community are to Christ that He engaged in them even AFTER His rising. Thanks for the post, your example in this and the reminder Wayne.

  2. Wayne Cox says:

    John, thanks for your candidness! Knowledge is power, so they say — and yet, we’ve been called by the one who undercut power in the most final way. You’re comment is so helpful in pointing out the way in which “right”/”wrong” categories lead to exclusion.


  3. i often times thought of this idea that the bible is just God initiating a conversation. if you read the old testament there are profoundly violent and sadistic things God commands, he calls for the annhilation of all men women children of certain nations, commands the a jewish man should kill his own wife or best friend if they follow another God in Deut 13. etc. It seems like there is a movement within christianity where people are trying to continue to have the bible in there life while expending great amounts of intellectual effort to explain away all barbaric, violence verses in the bible. The bible as a conversation starter seems to be catching on, but think about it. Is the bible a revelation from God? if so in the OT when he portrays himself incorrectly as a sadistic dictator king, that calls for distruction of infants suckling at their mothers breasts at times, is he just doing that to start a conversation? Is portraying himself like that a good way to initiate a dialogue?

Speak Your Mind