My son Cody, at age thirteen, picked up a Bible and started reading. Later that evening, he announced, “Hey, I thought this would be a lot of preaching, but it’s a great story.”
Whatever the Bible may be to whomever, there’s no denying it’s a story. And having been a fan of stories from age two, a student of stories from age six, a writer of stories from age thirteen, and from age twenty-something a holder of several degrees in the study of stories from one angle and another, I feel it’s about time to offer my take on the Bible.
Suppose it’s the directly dictated word of God; or a literal history; or a collection of tales from a variety of sources; or a life-instruction manual. Or suppose it’s a work of fiction in the sense that it doesn’t mean to be read as fact but as a dramatized reflection of truth.
Most of us who have studied literature during high school or beyond have at least once been annoyed by a teacher giving us what he claimed was the only way to read a certain work.
As a writer, I don’t care how anyone reads my stories as long as they gain from them what I intend. If I write to entertain, as long as they are entertained, I’m satisfied. If I write to honor a certain type of character, if they admire the character, I’m content.
So from the creator’s angle (meaning whoever we deem the Bible’s creator or creators to be), I’ll argue that as long as readers receive what the creator intended, they have done the creation justice.
And what does the Bible intend to do? Unless I’m sorely mistaken, that’s simple enough. The Bible intends to bring people closer to the creator and more in harmony with each other.
Meaning, whatever genre someone might consider the Bible, as long as it works toward those intended goals, I believe the creator would be pleased.
Maybe I’m a heretic. Still, I’ll point out that an attitude like mine can eliminate a lot of bickering, bullying, and smugness that convince too many people not to read the Bible at all. Which is a colossal mistake.