This response won’t be an endorsement of any complete meal (maybe a morsel or two, though) so much as a reason why I’ve at least decided to abandon one biblical cafeteria line in favor of coming through this line that you currently inquire about and some of us have been grazing at already for a time.
I’ve read many English versions of the bible many times --not as a credentialed scholar, but as a Christian devotee who maintains and cultivates intellectual rigor as part of my own wholistic spiritual growth. In that pursuit, I’ve come to recognize a certain internal incoherence or poverty if you will, of what I describe as a fundamentalistic approach to Scripture; one which seeks to assert simplistically that it can and should just be read for its surface statements – no interpretation necessary, and that as such everything one draws from it (simply reading it as a child would) must be factually correct. Yes – I know many mature fundamentalists would add some nuance to some of that, and of course accept that there are different genres, but only where they are explicitly labeled as such. “Nuance” after all must be a liberal thing, so they don’t stay on that road any more than demanded. But definitional tweaks of the above aside, I find that whole approach has wrested the central message of the arc of all Scriptures away from Scripture and toward something else non-Scriptural. Reading Scriptures that way (as I have done before) forces my concentration away from the message at hand into contortions in the service of something else that ironically has its roots more in modern fundamentalisms than in Scriptures themselves. So I have abandoned those buffet lines in favor trying to get back into the Scriptures themselves.
Now – just because I find fault with one swath of approaches doesn’t mean that the buffet line here is without fault; not by a long shot. You’ve been here enough to see we have all manner of dishes being served up here too: some junk food, some nutritious. Let me share a few morsels with you that have been enlightening, and shaping for me: John 5:39: “You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life.” This has functioned as a reminder to me that it is Jesus that is the true Word of God and in him is our true salvation. The Bible is sacred precisely because it points us to him. Some might object to me that he could only have been referring to the then-existing “Law and the Prophets” when he said that – true enough. But they then conveniently forget this same fact when sighting passages like I Timothy 3:16 that refers to all Scripture as being God-breathed and useful … which they suddenly and inconsistently will apply to all future writings that have yet to be recognized as Scripture. But I don’t have any dog in that fight anymore since most of my fundamentalisms have been unable to survive exposure to Scriptures themselves. They fail not because of science or any modern -ism that has come along or perhaps corrupted us. They fail in the Bible itself. I maintain that the most dangerous book that fundamentalists (or perhaps YECs or others invested in certain narrow strictures on Scripture) can read is the Bible itself. If they want to preserve their cause, they had best ban the Bible --all except certain pre-approved and pre-interpreted passages of it anyway. No other book, if studied carefully will shake the faith of their vulnerable youth more.
So the main course of this new buffet, instead of serving up a course of Genesis 1 and then saving Jesus for dessert, we here believe Jesus is the main course, and that Genesis and all other things we may learn from Scriptures all serve as the tasty side-dishes. Important, yes. But Jesus alone (and not the Bible – not some particular understanding of Genesis) is our one true foundation. How do I know this? From reading the Bible! It is a pointer to our salvation (Jesus) and not salvation itself as the John passage above makes clear to me.
Yes, our buffet here includes all manner of quackery. We don’t escape having to do the hard work of discernment in any buffet line. But here I do appreciate the overall emphasis --more than that: the very centrality of Christ himself. It is in his light that we discern and understand the very valuable knowledge and wisdom Scripture has to offer us.