What is Scripture?

Whether we read or studied it or not, most of us grew up with a pretty clear picture of what was and what was not scripture.  For the majority of boomers in America, scripture was the Holy Bible, next question please.  And no matter what it said, in grand story or minute instruction, it was God’s Word, cut and dried, start to finish, take it or leave it.  If you worked hard enough, or trusted completely enough, you could wring some meaning out of every jot and tittle.

That works pretty well in a very small world, until you realize that for a Muslim, scripture is the Quran, for Latter Day Saints it includes the Book of Mormon and the Pearl of Great Price, and, of course, the list goes on.  It’s easy to see where this leads.  Holy books, chock full of nuggets of truth and wisdom, are melted down and turned into bombs and swords, objects of division, judgment and violence rather than invitation, healing and peace.  Canon to cannon.  It’s a small sleight of hand.

Another key problem with this traditional understanding of scripture is precisely the canonical aspect.  We are never part of it.  It’s written and decided upon by holier people in holier times.  Somehow we judge ourselves less connected to God/Spirit/Mind/Source than those people in those times and places.  And we cede and seal that authority by Closing The Canon.   (Jesus died. Jesus rose. Constantine reigned. Canon closed. End times are just around the corner. You just repent and wait.)

I don’t buy it.  We are children of God, now, created in that image, as have been all people in all time.  Scripture is the Voice of God, written, as Jeremiah says, on our hearts (Jer 31: 33-34).  It’s not a voice that comes and goes.  It’s a voice that speaks and calls and comforts. It’s a voice that warns of danger and the consequences of ego and greed.  It is capital T Truth, now and evermore.  And it’s here and accessible whenever we choose to tune in.

So I encourage you to do a little creative thinking about what the Word of God is in your life.  Here, to stimulate your imagination, is a quick and very incomplete list of things that come to mind today for me.

Scripture is:

  • The snow on the Colorado Blue Spruce and Ponderosa Pines outside my window this morning
  • The voice of Leonor as we talk about our grandchildren
  • The wisdom of egoless Self in the verses of the Upanishads, passed down for perhaps 5,000 years with authorship attributed to no one in particular
  • The love and comfort of Psalm 23
  • The environmental Truth and wakeup call of hurricanes Sandy and Katrina, and the devastation of the High Park fire
  • Aleppo, the slums of Mumbai, the sweat shop in China and the Arab Spring
  • Jackson Browne singing “Don’t You Want to Be There”  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rOfOh1AtJo4
  • JD Martin’s “One Heart” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9q5ia2jUeqc
  • Lao Tzu’s Tao Te Ching
  • Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables
  • Our friend Lourdes pulling the perfect shot to make that café cortadito down at The Red Cup

You get the picture.  Ease up.  God is speaking.  Tune in.  Listen for the voice of compassion, egoless Self, relationship and healing.  Listen for the warnings about the pitfalls of the path of greed and defense.  True scripture, the very Voice of God, is all around you, in every moment; a gift to nourish, to comfort, to strengthen and connect you, to connect us.

It is stories about the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.  It invites us, always, to the Tree of Life.

Two Trees in the Garden.

3 thoughts on “What is Scripture?

  1. This is expansive thinking out of the box. Some might call it heresy, but if they are truly listening, they might instead jump for the pure joy of realizing they are free to be in life as it is now, because it is all Scripture. The messages of the Divine are everywhere, along with the instructions you seek for your next step.


  2. Whenever Holy Scripture, from whatever religion, is interpreted in an exclusive, separating, we/they spirit, evil has entered into the interpretation. I do not blame the scriptures. I blame humankind with our ability to make the Supreme Being into our idol/image/likeness, rather than the quest for each of us to be a reflection of the Supreme Being. Whether it is in relation to creation, to any created being, etc., our position needs to be one of appreciation, gratitude and identity with, not conquest, destruction and dominion over. Thanks for stimulating the conversation.


    • Thanks, Lloyd. I very much affirm the importance and influence of that interactive role. Here are some bullet points on scripture from a recent statement of faith that I wrote:
      • I believe that revealed scripture –whether Judeo-Christian, Hindu, Buddhist, Mormon, Islamic or other – is inspired. It is full of truth that is filtered and interpreted over and over by the person to whom it was revealed, by the scribe, by the translator, by the reader, by the listener and by the responder who turns it into acts of grace and compassion.
      • When the human interactor is aligned and free in Spirit, the truth of scripture is revealed. When the human interactor is aligned with ego and fear, scripture is twisted and misused.
      • I believe that historic scripture is a useful record of the human experience with God/Spirit, subject to the limitations of vision and experience for the writer, requiring and welcoming constant conversation, evaluation and fresh revelation in the context of the present work of Spirit in our lives.

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