Originally published onDevotion.al
Holy scriptures have always been important. Note that the “s” wasn’t capitalized. This isn’t just the Holy Scriptures we define as the Bible (the 66 books of the Old and New Testament). This could include many things.
The Apocrypha, for example, is a collection of books of Jewish origin that are significant but are not held at the same revealed stature as the other books. Certain traditions (both Jewish and Christian) look a the books as wisdom and guidance, but not something one bases one’s theology on. There is the Qur’an (Islam), the Kangyur (Tibetan Buddhists), and the Vidas (Hindu).
Then there are the other holy scriptures, the secular ones. They are “holy” insofar as people seem to venerate them as if they were truly inspired by God. This list may be off-putting, but bear with me: the Communist Manifesto, Mein Kampf, the Declaration of Independence, the US Constitution.
Before you think of tar-and-feathering me, think about how many people (from fully atheist to devout religious followers) put many of the so-called secular “scriptures” in the place, it seems, of idols. Often when we speak of “holy” things, we separate what we think of as holy (religious) things from non-holy (secular) things. However, many secular texts are elevated to a point of religious fervor. So, it behooves us to recognize that there are Holy and not-so holy scriptures and they can be held in a fervent way.
Moses and John wrote stuff down as directed. Their words became part of what we recognize and the Holy Scriptures (the Bible). They, along with other writers, contributed to the Bible under the auspices (or under the spiritual influence/directive) of God. We often call this God-breathed or plenary inspiration.
This means that, to us, the Bible is not just a collection of stories, poems, visions, or rules. It is so much more than that. It is, as some would say, the love letter of God to his people, or the story of God for his people.
To many people, though, Moses’ time in the clouds on the mountain and John’s Spirit-inspired trance are just empty stories. They put more weight in the Communist Manifesto or the US Constitution than the Bible.
As we interact with the world around us, it is critically important to understand that there are writings that people hold as holy scriptures that are not the Bible. Our first step to sharing Christ is to understand that, for this begins to tell us what they value. If our first response is to dismiss their holy scriptures, their response is that they (the people in question) are not valued.
Lord, as we honor your Word, for you are the Word of Life, help us to honor others so that we can bring your light of love and grace into their lives. Amen.
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