Scripture is an act of God’s love. It claims people as God’s people, builds community and sets all of creation on God’s mission to renew the face of the earth.
God’s loving purpose is easy to forget, mainly because many have wielded scripture as a weapon to harm others, some people even masking this harm by calling it “love.”
The God revealed in Scripture — God who suffers the pain of outcast, shame, rejection and death so as to establish eternal life, embrace, dignity and community — has no such intent. God’s singular purpose is love. In fact, God is love.
God’s love comes freely and without merit to all people. Scripture proclaims as much:
Noah and his family saved from the waters of the flood by no merit of their own:
Abraham’s family made many families by God’s own doing;
the Israelite people brought out of slavery in Egypt to freedom in the Promised Land;
the many prophets who declare that God will always abide with God’s beloved people;
God in Christ Jesus’ redeeming of the world.
God’s love is as wonderful as this: a free gift to all people by grace alone.
God’s love establishes new life.
Christian theologians hold that all of Scripture proclaims new life in God’s love, both in judgment and promise — judgment of injustice and wrongdoing; promise of renewal and freedom to love.
In this way, God’s promise for us becomes our way of life — new life — as we love God and love one another (both those we love easily and those we struggle to love). Christians call the way of life established by God’s promise, faith.
Because Scripture does something — establishes faith — Scripture is a living Word. While Scripture is in the Bible, the living Word of Scripture does more than the Bible can ever do. This is an important, and often misunderstood, distinction.
The Bible compiles several authors situated in various time periods and settings. It is forged, collected. It is found in print, digital and audio form, and in people’s memories. The Bible can be found because the Bible is fixed.
Scripture is not found. Scripture finds. Scripture seeks. Scripture lives as the living Word of God still speaking to all people: still loving, still giving and forgiving, still showing all people “the way, the truth and the life” by which God sets the whole creation about renewing the face of the earth (Saint John 14:6).