Every group seems to have its own historical account as to how its holy book came into being and why theirs is endowed with influence and command. There are three general ideas about the Christian Bible’s uniqueness and veracity.
One is the dictation theory, which holds that every word, comma, period, etc., in the Bible was dictated by God. Another is the dynamic theory, which suggests that human words (containers) hold divine ideas. Finally, in the verbal plenary theory we can see a greater degree of divine-human interaction. Academically, we would say that humanity, more directly those who wrote, has more of a presence in the writing; but I believe it is also true that God reveals another dimension of his commitment to “free choice.”
How then does God choose to communicate his thoughts, commands and lessons? First, he does so through historical events, working with and through the good and bad choices of humanity to communicate his thoughts. Second, he does it through the actual life events of the writers. He communicates through their fears and struggles, joys and longings. Third, his wisdom is not obstructed even by their literary style. And finally, God is so “God” that he has allowed for the writers’ own personalities and, with divine perfection, still communicated his thoughts flawlessly.
The Christian Bible has a divine writer (ref. 2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Peter 1: 20-21).
The Bible is a means to a glorious end
Some religions have texts that are important but not essential. For some there’s one text, for others a collection.
Christians and Jews have been called “People of the Book” because they follow inspired scripture. St. Paul, in his second letter to Timothy, said, “All scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness.”
You’d think that would seal the theological deal, until you realize that most of the New Testament hadn’t been written when Paul wrote those words. And what does “inspired by God” mean, anyway? That’s a question that takes, oh, about 2,000 years to debate. For me, it’s important that people can come to different conclusions and still be considered Christian.
Sometimes we as Christians fall into “bibliolatry.” That’s a big word that refers to the trouble we get into when we consider the book to be more important than its contents. When we think of it as a magical book, we become superstitious rather than religious. That’s also when it’s easy to use the word as a weapon, not as an instrument of salvation. Some biblical scholars and teachers of literature may view the Bible as an end in itself. But it is much more than that. Christians know that the Bible is a means to an end — a glorious end.