More Andy Stanley: The Bible for Grown ups

You know how youtube is. If you watch one thing then forever afterwards it suggests watching more of the same.

So here I am watching Andy Stanly’s “The Bible for Grown-Ups.” Of course, I liked the title. I often feel that people can be a bit childish in the way they approach the Bible. But what I liked even more, was 5 and half minutes into it when he says, most people don’t get a respect for the Bible from reading it. In fact, he says most don’t read the Bible. They just know what people have told them it says.

Indeed, it my experience that after being told what it says for years, Christians are no longer capable seeing anything in the Bible except what they have already been told. This is their filter, just as I have been quite frank in saying that science is my filter. So when I read that first story in Genesis, then of course it isn’t literal when it talks about making Adam out of dust or Eve out of bone. At least, not unless I am going to read this as a science fiction or fantasy novel. Likewise when I read of magical fruit and talking animals, I have a choice whether to read this as fictional or read it as allegorical. It is the first of these options which assumes Adam and Eve were never actual people but rather some kind of metaphor.

I have never read a science fiction or fantasy book that didn’t have some truth to impart to us by the story it tells. Just today I was contemplating the idea that one of the principle lessons of a great many of these SFF stories is how love is the one moral motivation for creating life. In fact, I often refer to this truth as “the Frankenstein syndrome,” and you can see a similar message in a lot of science fiction (e.g. the movie/book Blade Runner).

So it is only when I try to read the story in Genesis as historical, that I have to treat symbolically the talk of making Adam and Eve out of dust and bone, or the talk of fruits imparting knowledge and eternal life, or of talking animals. Though you can certainly say that is part of my filter. So it is not my suggestion that those who are raised Christian by reading the Bible through the filter of what they have been told, they therefore have it wrong. It is rather that there is no such thing a reading the Bible without some filter of preconceptions of some kind. There is simply no such thing as the Bible interpreting itself.


You certainly make a good case for thinking it requires some care and reflection as well as some skill with linguistics and knowledge of history to make sense of such an old book. To just assume that the latest translation as understood in a literal way by a modern individual with an average education was what was intended for man is pretty glib -even reckless- for something people claim to attach so much importance to.

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Thanks for bringing this up, Mitchell. Now I’m looking forward to finishing watching the rest of it too. Here is the link to part one of “The Bible for Grown-Ups.”

That’s good point, and something I have experienced having grown up in the church. Not that I’m not grateful for receiving so much religious instruction from toddlerhood – many who came to Christ later in life told me how fortunate I was to have been taught about Jesus from a young age, and I agree with them. But that is one particular downside that I think some don’t acknowledge – having been told what the Bible says since infancy, by the time I was old enough to read, much less old enough to actually study the Bible, I was already pretty confident of a lot of doctrine, which oddly enough was almost like an immunization from actual study. That doesn’t mean I throw everything out the window and start over. But it means I have to be careful and work to discover and acknowledge my own filters, which I’m sure is also the case for others with similar backgrounds.

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