What does the Bible say about itself?
There are some wonderful passages in which the Bible seems to be talking about itself. Even passing over the fact that we do not have the original manuscripts of any part of the Bible, they have become beloved phrase.
“Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.” Psalm 119:105
“Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.” Mark 13:31
“All scripture is inspired by God” 2 Timothy 3:16
Much has been written about what the different words in Hebrew and Greek that we have translated as “word” in English mean. I won’t be able to get into all of that here. So I will need to confine my answer to two main points.
1. The Bible passages are worth reading again and again. They have given meaning, insight and comfort to millions over the years. Read them and meditate on them. Just don’t take them out of context and build an entire theology on it or justify some action by it. The classic example juxtaposed Gideon fighting the Midianites in Judges 6:16 “You shall strike down the Midianites, every one of them.’” with the command of Jesus after the parable of the Good Samaritan, “Go and do likewise.” Luke 10:37. Very different contexts and putting them side by side would be disastrous.
2. The idea of the letter of the law is a misunderstanding of what the text says when it talks about “jot and tittle” of God’s law being fulfilled. The word actually refers to “teaching” not so much as “law” the way we understand it today. Much of the Bible had no “jots and tittles” for centuries because it was not written down. When we insist it means that the letter of the law has to be obeyed for all time we deny what St. Paul was talking about in 2 Corinthians 3; Romans 3:21; and Galatians 3:15-18 and many other places.
Bottom line: take the Bible seriously, but it is not a magic book.