Scripture: John 8:
2 At dawn he appeared again in the temple courts, where all the people gathered around him, and he sat down to teach them. 3 The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group 4 and said to Jesus, "Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. 5 In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?" 6 They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him.
But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. 7 When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, "Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her." 8 Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.
9 At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. 10 Jesus straightened up and asked her, "Woman, [a] where are they? Has no one condemned you?"
11 "No one, sir," she said.
"Then neither do I condemn you," Jesus declared. "Go now and leave your life of sin."
Observation: God chose imperfect human beings to write the words of the Bible.
Application: This scripture gives us a beautiful scene in the ministry of Jesus and contains important lessons about forgiveness, not judging others, and about changing our lives to abandon sin. I feel that the gospel of John is greatly enriched by these verses and that God is speaking to us through them. I could write many words about the teachings here, but I admit that I have other motives for choosing these verses today. These verses are my focus because they were not part of the original writings of John.
This is one of the more well known insertions we find in the Bible. Some time after the Gospel of John was written, someone added this story. We know this because the earliest manuscripts don’t have it at all. In the ones that do, sometimes it appears where we now have it, and sometimes it shows up in other places. Scholars are pretty much in agreement that it was not part of the original writing, and they argue as to whether it actually took place, or if it was constructed as a teaching.
So the question arises as to whether it is it an authentic part of the scripture and a true teaching of God, or if it is just something inserted by man? The truth of the matter is that it was inserted by man, but at the same time it is a teaching of God and the fact that it was not part of the original writing doesn’t make it any less a part of the scriptures.
There are many who believe that the Bible is perfect and without error. I can not hold to that doctrine of biblical inerrancy. I believe that the writers of the Bible were inspired by God to write what they did, but because they were imperfect people, there are imperfections in their work. Saying that the Bible is free of errors because it was inspired by God is like saying that these writings of mine are perfect because God inspired them. I believe God gives me inspiration every day to write these words, but they are still written by an imperfect man.
As a pastor I believe that the messages I deliver to the congregations that I serve are inspired by God, but again they are not perfect because I am not perfect. I may say something that is completely wrong while preaching, I’ve done it before and I’m sure I’ll do it again in the future. I may contradict something I said last week, or something may come out the wrong way and the meaning of my words may be misconstrued by those who hear them. Although I believe my messages to be anointed by God, and inspired by Him, they still must be considered less than perfect.
The biblical writers are no different than you and I. They were imperfect people, doing their best to describe a perfect God. They were inspired, and they were anointed, but they were also flawed, and the product of their labors must also bear those imperfections.
With all of this in mind, some might ask “Then how can you put your faith in the Bible?” My answer is, my faith is not in the Bible, it’s in the God who inspired it. A full reading of the Bible can only give us a small glimpse of the whole reality of God. The Bible is a wonderful creation, and God uses it to speak to us. I think it’s important for people of faith to read the Bible and strive to understand it. Every morning as I write, I am inspired, and uplifted by the words of the Bible. It is a book of faith, written by people of faith, to inspire faith in others, and I know that God actively speaks through it. He also speaks through my interactions with other believers, and through my family, and through nature, through other books that I read, or through songs that I hear, and in countless other ways. There are so many ways that God communicates with us, the Bible is one of the biggies, but it is not the only one.
We must listen for God’s voice not only in the Bible, but the still small voice within, and all around. From the moment of mankind’s creation God has been trying to speak with us, we have only to tune our spiritual ears in to hear what He is saying.
Prayer: Lord God Almighty,
Thank you for the scriptures which speak truth to me. Thank you for your voice and your word that encompasses all of creation. Help me to hear your voice in the smallest parts of life, and let me notice your glory in the largest aspects of the universe. You are God of all things and can not be put in a box or limited by our understanding. Teach me to listen and see with my soul so that I may commune more fully with you.