Can we as Christians just all agree, right here and right now, to give up the metaphor of an instruction manual for the Bible.
First of all, when is the last time you read an instruction manual? Have you ever poured your morning coffee, sat down on the porch, and did quiet time with the manual for your microwave? No. You only read an instruction manual as a last resort. You microwave is smoking and you find the dusty manual to find out what is happening.
Second, if the Bible is an instruction manual then we need to admit that it is horribly written. You can’t find easy answers. Things are not laid out clearly. Even core Christian doctrines like the Trinity and the dual nature of Jesus as fully human and fully divine take 300 and 400 years respectively for the church to decide on.
Can you imagine if your microwave instruction manual was written like the Bible?
In the beginning was the microwave, and the microwave was with the manufacturer, and the microwave was the manufacturer…
In him was popcorn, and the popcorn was smelled by all men. The smell flowed in the darkness, but the darkness comprehended it not…
There was a man, sent from the manufacturer, he was called the salesman… He was not the microwave, but was sent to bear witness about the popcorn.
The Bible is not strengthened when we try to make it an instruction manual. It is weakened. The Bible at full strength is a book of stories and poems that shock you and make you think. Let it be what it is.