“And the tempter came and said to Him…, But He answered and said, ‘It is written…'” (Jesus’ Temptation in the Wilderness)
A lot of folks worship a small, limited God. They actually believe Him unable to produce a book that contains timeless truths, infallible definitions, and universal commands that transcend time and place. Many who look into the Scriptures find many things hard to understand and hard to swallow when held up against the thinking of modern, enlightened, educated, and scientific man. So, they reason, God’s words were a product of their time, limited by the understanding of of the vessels God was forced to use in order to communicate. They want to continue to consider God to be good but cannot stomach some of the things attributed to Him regarding justice, judgment, sexuality, gender roles, corporal punishment, capital punishment, or the fallen nature of man. So, they let God off the hook by making Him helpless to communicate fully, finally, completely, and authoritatively. Those things in the Bible that offend their sensibilities must really offend God too, but the men who produced the Scriptures sometimes got God wrong. They were just products of their times and cultures. Much of what they said doesn’t really reflect the heart of God.
Unfortunately (for them anyway), the Bible does not give us that “out.” Peter wrote, (K)nowing this first, that no prophecy of scripture is of private interpretation. For no prophecy ever came by the will of man: but men spake from God, being moved by the Holy Spirit. (2 Peter 1:20-21) “Men spoke from God”! Paul stated that, “All Scripture is God-breathed…,” that is, expressly spoken, “breathed out” by God through men. Nowhere do the Scriptures present themselves as the product of men’s religious experience in which they merely spoke about God, rather these men spoke FROM God!
One cannot have both an authoritative God and one who is not in complete control of His own communication. But too many would rather have an incompetent God than one who commands , defines, and demands without reference to our preferences. They prefer a god as imagined by Woody Allen. “If it turns out that there is a God, I don’t think that he’s evil. But the worst that you can say about him is that basically he’s an underachiever.”
If the Bible is the very Word of God we should EXPECT it to sometimes offend, confuse, and trouble us. After all, it expresses the mind of the One who said, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith Jehovah. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:8,9)