So what did Jesus mean when he talked about the preference for "old wine"? Was he talking about their preconceived ideas? Long held beliefs? Perhaps their cherished prejudices? Their spiritual inertia? Most of us prefer the old wine, the familiar...the home sweet home of our religious beliefs.
Recently I've come across several quotes and articles that talk about the Bible...inerrancy...literalism etc. Since this is an area where many are leery of new wine, I thought I might delve into it a bit in this haphazard "series."
I came upon an interesting quote, by happenstance, in the writings of Preston Eby. The quote was by Paul Mueller
There is a wonderful truth that is about to break in upon the minds and hearts of the Lord's elect, and that is the blessed truth that it is God's intention to write His complete word upon the tables of our hearts. The entire scripture, including the Gospel of Christ and the inspired word of truth divinely ordained for our growth unto perfection, the manifestation of the sons of God, and the propagation and administration of the kingdom of God, is all to be written upon the tables of our hearts. The fact is, the Bible as we now know it will one day become obsolete for us. The blessed book that we carry around, study and sometimes memorize, is to be imparted into our lives so that we are truly 'epistles...known and read of all men.' This is not to downgrade the Bible or to denigrate its effectiveness, authority, and inspiration. The book we call the Bible is, for the most part, the inspired word of God, and we are truly and deeply grateful for all it means to us. However, our respect for the Bible will not alter the great truth that it is God's intention that we become His living word. Every truth that has been given by the Spirit will eventually become a part of our lives, so that we will not need to turn to chapter and verse for guidance and truth, but rather, that truth will be written and engraved upon our lives so that we do by nature all the truth the Bible contains to the glory of God. From Preston Eby's The Lamb's Book of Life Part 1
Did you catch the part that declares that the Bible is...FOR THE MOST PART...the inspired word of God. Hmmm....so what "part" IS NOT the inspired word of God...and how do we tell the difference?
I mean, after all, if you start to throw out the parts of the Bible you don't like you might as well throw out the whole thing. Can you really pick and choose? And what if the parts that are not inspired are actually our beloved pet verses? The ones we cherish...the verses that go right to the heart of our beliefs?
I came across a blog post last night on The Christian Universalist called Father Forgive Them. The blog is well worth checking out. It is owned by Logan Geen, a very smart young man who has interesting, well researched opinions about a lot things and he writes about them articulately. In this particular post, he talked about some writings he'd come across on the web that dispute whether the words of Jesus from the Cross...as recorded in Luke..."Father forgive them for they know not what they do" were actually spoken. He listed links to several articles...seemingly unbiased (like the Net Bible) which explore this loaded question.
Bottom line...this oft repeated phrase from Jesus is not found in some of the earliest manuscripts. Some think it was added by a scribe to go along with the words spoken by Stephen when he was being stoned. Logan says the following...
I don't know if I'm being intellectually honest here or if what I say makes sense-whether I have a case for accepting the verse or am simply keeping it just because I "like it" and "I just don't know from a historical POV, but I do know the spiritual depth behind those words is indeed very real."
And all of what I just said reminds me of another essay written by Fred Plumer, the guy who wrote the essay that birthed this series. It is entitled " Don't Go There" and we will talk more about it....tomorrow.....