Can someone please tell me?
I take them as the word of God,
But know not how they came to be.
Not since the tablets Moses brought down,
Has God written with his own hand.
No, that sacred task of holy renown,
He entrusted to flawed humans.
How strange that we read in English
God's word to the Jews and the Greeks
Yet, nothing was lost in translation?
Nothing's amiss in our sacred antiques?
Before Gutenberg arrived on the scene,
How did we ever transmit;
For each new generation,
The words of holy writ?
As scribes wrote down by feather and ink
Every letter and every word;
The idea that a mistake was ever made
Just strikes me as absurd!
But dig deep enough in the old manuscripts
And you'll find more than a few;
There are changes by the thousands
Most petty, but some would alarm you.
So, where does the Bible come from?
I beg of you, do tell!
How else can I know what I must believe?
To keep my soul from hell!
Out of many they gathered in one
Around the 4th century
They pieced together our Bible,
Under Rome's Authority
But how did they decide
Between sacred and profane;
Which books would make up the canon
And which would go up in flames?
Could it be that some of Paul's letters
Are a second century fraud?
And were the four canonical Gospels
Written after Jesus was long gone?
And if they weren't eyewitnesses
To the events which they describe;
How can we know what really happened
When Jesus was still alive?
Even when we know the author,
Whether Peter, Paul, or John;
If they are still mere humans,
Do they always speak for God?
Where does the Bible come from?
Can someone please tell me?
I take it as the word of God,
But know very little about its journey.
From the spirit to man, and from man to scribe
And from scribe to scribe to scribe to scribe.
Out of many a codex into one we've squished.
From Hebrew and Greek to the King's English.
And now our parents and our pastors say,
"We must live every word both night and day!"
But singing, "For the Bible Tells Me So"
I wonder how much we can really know.
A book so fully human
Simply cannot be
Wholly without error
Nor prefectly complete.
Now, I don't mean to say that they can't be inspired.
I think much of their work ought to be admired.
But as humans they're prone to individual bias;
And they're products of culture and time and place.
And it's not safe to say that they speak with one voice
With as many opinions as authors, we're often faced with a choice
When the various authors simply don't agree
How are we supposed to know which ones to believe?
But within each and every human
Is found the divine spark;
And within every people's tradition
A profound moral arc. 1
It's universal truths
To which I like to cling;
The same compassionate verse
Which all can be heard to sing.
Read your scriptures closely
And not with blind faith.
Do not privilege texts
But critically evaluate.
You'll love them more - not less,
Because you'll love them as they really are!
Not as some sacred Idol,
But as a holy human art.