23 October 2010


For you who do not know baseball, and who are thus far east of Eden, and way beyond Paradise, let me deliver the sad news that Bobby Cox has retired from his job as manager of the Atlanta Braves baseball club. Those of us who follow baseball knew this day would come; indeed, Cox announced it almost a year ago. Nevertheless, the day is sad and sober. I pause to salute Bobby Cox and the game of baseball, with an abiding tribute to A. Bartlett Giamatti.

When the Braves arrived in Atlanta in 1966, I was ten years old, the perfect age to become a baseball fan. I fell in love with Tony Cloninger after that first major league baseball game in Atlanta when he pitched ten innings – far too long for the first game of the season, his arm was never the same—and then, later, when he became the only pitcher in history to hit two grand slam home runs in the same game. I will always revere Henry Aaron –Hammerin’ Hank Aaron—who still is the best athlete this city has ever known.

I was somewhat of an athlete, certainly not a great one. And I was a fan of math of science. Though I won the science fair award in the seventh grade, I was not great at those disciplines either. Baseball became my passion because it combined the life of sports with the life of the mind.

But the Braves were a truly dreadful baseball team during most of their first years here. 1969 and 1982 were strange aberrations (when they won their division). There were moments of hope, and some occasional great players, but little else of interest except the antics of one Ted Turner, an entertainer if there ever was one, and who entertained us one day by naming himself as the manager of the forlorn Atlanta Braves.

Their woeful performance did not deter me. My wife, Boog, and I, serving our first church in Smyrna, Georgia, would often get to the stadium at around four in the afternoon, a full three hours before the game was scheduled to start. We bought two tickets and got a whole section to ourselves. Nobody else was there.

It was during those lean and losing years that I really did learn to love the game of baseball. In fact, love and loss go together in baseball. Baseball is about loss, and no one truly understands baseball until he or she knows how to lose. And no one truly loves baseball until he or she knows how to lose.

In fact, baseball is actually a game for losers. The sheer odds reveal it. The best batters get hits only three out of every ten tries. The best teams still lose thirty to forty per cent of their games during a season. Baseball teaches us how to lose, how to lose gracefully, and how to return the next day with a new record, with the attitude that nothing is impossible, with the glory of resurrection! (Baseball has much more to teach us about the beauty, elegance, and humility of life; but that’s another story.)

It was around the mid-1980s that one of my other baseball heroes entered the game. His is the only autograph I have truly treasured in my sports life, but it does not adorn a baseball or a bat or a souvenir program. He signed my diploma from the School of Divinity at Yale University, where I graduated in 1982, and where he was President of Yale University. He resigned the presidency of Yale in order to become President of the National League and then Commissioner of (all) Baseball. From glory to greater glory; I believe in that progression.

When he became President of Yale in 1978, he was, at forty years old, the youngest president Yale had ever had; he still holds that record. When it was rumored that he might be named president of Yale he said, “The only thing I want to be president of is the American League.” He was a Renaissance scholar, and a truly renaissance man. He loved baseball.

In fact, he is the only person in history ever to go from being president of a major university to being the Commissioner of Baseball. I thought that was wonderful! But he was tough. He dealt forcefully with unions at Yale, and he dealt forcefully with Pete Rose in baseball. It was while he was Commissioner of Baseball that the great player, Pete Rose, admitted to gambling on baseball.

Now, remember that baseball is really a metaphor for life. Baseball teaches us about life. Even though baseball teaches us about human frailty and futility, Giamatti would condone no easy penalty for betting on baseball. He arranged for Pete Rose, one of the greatest players of all time, to be banned from baseball for life. Eight days after that arrangement, Bart Giamatti suffered a massive heart attack and died at Martha’s Vineyard. He was fifty-one years old.

His was a death reminiscent of tragic literature. But it was Bart Giamatti who had already written so eloquently about the inherent tragedy of baseball. “It’s designed to break your heart,” he wrote in an essay called “The Green Fields of the Heart.” (in A Great And Glorious Game, 1998). Listen to this great passage:

“It breaks your heart. It is designed to break your heart. The game begins in the spring, when everything else begins again, and it blossoms in the summer, filling the afternoons and evenings, and then as soon as the chill rains come, it stops and leaves you to face the fall alone. You count on it, rely on it to buffer the passage of time, to keep the memory of sunshine and high skies alive, and then just when the days are all twilight, when you need it most, it stops.

…Of course, there are those who learn after the first few times. They grow out of sports. And there are others who were born with the wisdom to know that nothing lasts. These are the truly tough among us, the ones who can live without illusion, or without even the hope of illusion. I am not that grown-up or up-to-date. I am a simpler creature, tied to more primitive patterns and cycles. I need to think something lasts forever, and it might as well be that state of being that is a game; it might as well be that, in a green field, in the sun.”

In another book of his, a little masterpiece called Take Time For Paradise, Giamatti developed the lovely theme that baseball is the narrative of epic romance and of the Odyssey of Homer; home –home plate—is where the adventure both begins and ends.

“Virtually innumerable are the dangers, the faces of failure one can meet if one is fortunate enough even to leave home. Most efforts fail, Failure to achieve the first leg of the voyage is extremely likely. In no game of ours is failure so omnipresent as it is for the batter who would be the runner...The tale of leaving and seeking home is told in as many ways as one can imagine, and there still occur every season plays on the field that even the most experienced baseball people say they have never seen before.” (p. 94, Giamatti, Take Time For Paradise).

It is the Odyssey of Homer. Baseball is the Odyssey. My point is this: the Atlanta Braves, from 1966 through 1990, could not get home. They were adrift and aimless. They helped us learn about loss and life, but they were terrible.

Then, from 1991 through 2005, Bobby Cox led the Atlanta Braves to fourteen straight division titles – a feat no other professional sports team, in any sport, has ever matched. Bobby Cox became their hero, and he became my hero. It was a beautiful run, but it has no meaning without the previous futility of the Braves’ first years in Atlanta.

The Atlanta Braves played their heart out because they knew Bobby Cox valued them. The greatest strength of Bobby Cox (besides his sheer knowledge of the game), and maybe also greatest weakness, is that he was loyal to his players. Cox stayed with his players, even if it was a split second too long.

Of course, Bobby Cox has been criticized for winning so few World Series championships, only one, in 1995. I think this has something to do with his ability to create a winning team atmosphere, a true team, which values every single one of its players and not just the super stars. Players loved playing for Bobby Cox because he valued them and played them.

Essentially, Bobby Cox played to win over the long season, one hundred and sixty-two games. He did not manage for the short series which depends upon only a few of the great players. He depended on the entire team, and time after time, they rewarded him. Even this year, 2010, when the Atlanta Braves were surely not one of the most talented teams in the major leagues, and when their most talented players fell, one by one, by the wayside to injury –even this year!—they were in first place much of the season. They played their hearts out for Bobby Cox, who, in turn, had them playing far above their stature.

This is why he did not win the short series championships, and only one World Series. But that fact does not bother me, nor does it damage my respect for his managerial genius. I would much rather have a fine manager and a winning team over a season, with day-in and day-out good baseball. Fourteen straight division titles are testimony to quality baseball over time. His success has been proven over time, just like baseball always teaches us. Talent in baseball can be measured only in small ways, but over a season – and over fourteen seasons—those small ways add up to stardom. What a ride it has been.

But, “it’s designed to break your heart.” That’s what Bart Giamatti, the great renaissance scholar, said about baseball. And he’s right. Our hearts were broken again this year when the Braves fell to a very good San Francisco Giants team. Our hearts were breaking all year whenever we remembered this would be Bobby Cox’s last season.

But so be it. Here’s to Bobby Cox and to green fields in the sun, and even to the summer having slipped by. Things do change over time, and our illusions always meet reality. On the other hand, we all do get home one day, too. Bobby Cox has taken us around the bases, around the basepaths of both jubilation and defeat, success and loss. His greatness is measured in all the small things done well, over and over again, and in an amazing loyalty to his players. He has exemplified baseball at its finest and loyalty at its most stubborn. Now, he is safe at home, and so are we.

Sam Candler
23 October 2010


 a sermon for 17 October 2010

"All scripture is inspired by God…”   -2 Timothy 3:16

“I’m selling Bibles, ma’am. God’s holy word.”

Those are the words of young Henry Dampier, in Clyde Edgerton’s delightful novel of a few years ago. It’s called, simply, The Bible Salesman, a kind of coming-of-age story in which a young Bible salesman actually begins to read the Bible.

That’s right. He is a Bible salesman before he has even read the Bible. The novel is about his beginning to read the Bible, and about his beginning to grow up, and about his experiencing the good and the evil of human life.

“I’m selling Bibles, ma’am. God’s holy word,” he says, without ever having read the Bible.

There’s a lot of people these days who talk about the authority of the Bible, or who believe in the literal and inerrant authority of the Bible, but who seem never to have actually read it – or at least have never actually pondered, and critiqued, and truly examined it. I am amused by proclamations about the infallibility of scripture that so rarely ever actually use scripture.

The fact is that scripture only occasionally talks about itself! Today is one of those occasions, and so I pause to talk about what scripture is and what it isn’t.

Upon their ordination, Episcopal priests take a vow declaring that they believe the Holy Scriptures to be the Word of God, and that the Holy Scriptures “contain all things necessary to salvation.” (You can read the full vow on page 526 of The Book of Common Prayer.) That sort of vow has been in place a long time; it was part of the Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion in sixteenth century England.

Notice what the vow does not say. It does not say that everything in scripture is necessary to salvation. It says simply that scripture “contains all things necessary to salvation.” Furthermore, our vow does not claim that the Bible is inerrant, or without error. That sort of claim has never been a majority claim in the Episcopal Church, or the Anglican Communion of Churches.

The inerrancy of the Bible is not part of our tradition.

But let me note something else. The Bible itself never claims to be inerrant! When I am arguing with people who believe in the inerrancy and the authority of the Bible, I ask them for one thing: “If you believe so much in the inerrant authority of the Bible, give the chapter and verse where the bible itself claims it is inerrant.”

It’s not there. The Bible itself never claims to be inerrant.

But the Bible does make some extraordinary claims for itself, or at least for the scriptures. One of its major claims for itself is today’s passage in 2 Timothy. We think it was Paul who speaking to his young disciple Timothy; it was certainly some authoritative figure speaking to a larger church. And he mentions scripture, the sacred writings. Remember, if he writes during the middle of the first century, AD, much of the rest of the New Testament has not been written yet, or certainly regarded as scripture yet!

He says, “As for you, continue in what you have learned and firmly believed,… and how from early childhood you have known the sacred writings that are able to instruct you for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, so that everyone who belongs to God may be proficient, equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3: 14-17).

This is a beautiful passage, speaking of the merits of sacred scripture for teaching and correction and righteousness, yet the passage never claims that the sacred scriptures are inerrant or without error.

Unfortunately, our Christian past is littered with outlandish attempts to interpret the Bible so that it can be symbolized as without error. Some of the more amusing have to with harmonizing various accounts of the same event. In case you haven’t noticed, the Bible contains many stories which seem to refer to the same event.

In fact, the very first two chapters of the Bible contain two very different accounts of creation – two different accounts of the same event. So, according to “the Bible,” who was created first? Humanity or all the other animals? Genesis 1:24 ff. declares that all the living creatures were created first, before humanity was created in Genesis 1:27. But in our Bible’s second story, Genesis 2:19 says that God created all the other animals after it was found that the man was alone and had no helper.

Two different stories. There is no need to harmonize them or even talk about inerrancy. But this “harmonization” principle has persisted among fundamentalists and inerrancy believers. The story of Jesus cleansing the Temple occurs at the beginning of his ministry according the Gospel of John, and at the end of his ministry according to Matthew, Luke, and Mark. How do inerrancy believers harmonize that difference? They claim that Jesus must have cleansed the Temple twice in his ministry!

That’s all well and good, until you get to something like the Ascension. Luke, chapter 24 seems to indicate that the ascension of Jesus occurred on the very same day as the Resurrection? Yet, Acts chapter 1 explicitly says that the Ascension occurred forty days after the resurrection. James Barr, in his book called Fundamentalism claims that he has heard conservative scholars offer, in all seriousness, the explanation that Jesus must have ascended twice – once on the Day of Resurrection, then he came back down, and he ascended again forty days later.

Obviously, this is a silly and extreme example. The point is this. There is a difference between inerrancy and inspiration. I believe that sacred scripture is inspired of God. That inspiration is why I read scripture, and contemplate scripture, and study scripture. The words contain the breath and energy of God. I do not read the Bible because it is inerrant and literal; I read the Bible because it is inspired. God breathes through the Bible’s words.

Even though we often speak of the Bible as the Word of God, even that phrase deserves explanation. “Word of God” is not the same as “words of God.” It is difficult to make the claim that the very words of the Bible are also the literal words of God. It is far more accurate to say that the Bible contains the “the capital W” Word of God.

For Christians, the ultimate Word of God is not even the Bible. The Word of God is Jesus Christ. That is what the Gospel of John means when it says, at chapter one, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. …and the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth.” That Word of God is the living Jesus Christ. Jesus is the ultimate standard and guide of our faith.

I have one more favorite passage when it comes to Bible study. Hebrews 4.12 claims that “the Word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword.” I believe that verse refers to both concepts of word: Jesus as the Word and wisdom of God, and the Bible as the Word of God.

The point is that the Word of God is alive, not objectified and literalized and harmonized into rigidity. It is because the Word of God is living and active, that it really does mean different things from generation to generation. Indeed, it speaks differently to us this year than it did last year. The text has certainly not changed, but our lives and cultures have changed. Only a living and active Word of God is worth studying year after year, and week after week,

So, the discipline of Bible study is serious stuff. (I say to my Bible students, “take the Bible seriously, but not always literally!”). But it is also fun stuff. God speaks to us in various ways in each of the various sixty-six books of our scripture.

It is when we actually read the Bible that we discover its brilliance and authority. It is when we actually read the Bible that we discover it is certainly inspired stuff. The authority of scripture is that it is inspired. And it is when we actually read the Bible that we find it points to someone else. The words of scripture always point to the Word of God, Jesus Christ our Lord.

In Clyde Edgerton’s novel, young Henry Dampier introduced himself by saying he was selling Bibles, “I’m selling Bible’s, ma’am. God’s Holy Word.”

But that’s not me, Sam Candler. I am not selling anything. I am preaching Jesus Christ as the Word of God. I want people to be inspired by Jesus. “I’m preaching Jesus, ma’am. God’s Holy Word.”

The Very Reverend Samuel G. Candler
Dean of the Cathedral of St. Philip


for the Dean’s Forum at the Cathedral of St. Philip
17 October 2010

The subject for this Dean’s Forum is inspired by the lectionary text for today, a passage from Paul’s Second Epistle To Timothy: “All scripture is inspired by God,” it begins, “and is useful for teaching, for correction, for reproof, for training in righteousness.” I have also preached on this text today. My remarks in this forum will repeat some themes of that sermon, but I will also expand on the sermon, too.

“All scripture is inspired by God.” That is our text today. Does it mean that the Bible should always be taken literally? Does it mean that the Bible is always inerrant?

You all remember the story of the young fool, who thought he knew what the authority of the Bible meant. It meant that all of the Bible is the literal and inerrant Word of God, no matter what culture or context. He could turn to any page for guidance. So, he thought, “I’ll just turn to any page in the Bible and do what it says!” The first verse he turned to Matthew 27: 5. It said “Judas went out and hanged himself.”

“Wait a minute!” he cried out. “This could not be right. I’ll try again.” He opened the book and let the pages fall again. This time his fingers came to Luke 10:37. It said, “Go thou and do likewise.”

“No!” He tried a third time. This time, the Bible, the holy Word of God opened to John 13.27: “What you must do, do quickly.”

The Bible does not come out well when it is interpreted by folks who do not use their heads. Like someone once said (including Mark Twain and William Sloane Coffin), “The Bible is something like a mirror. If an ass looks in, you cannot expect an apostle to look out.”

But the Bible does not come out well even when people do use their heads!

When Henry the Eighth struggled to have an heir to the throne of England, he thought his wife’s miscarriages were a result of God’s judgment. After all, that wife (Catherine of Aragon) had been, first, his brother’s wife! When his brother had died, Henry had married his deceased brother’s wife, Catherine. Folks had used the bible to justify that marriage.

It is right there at Deuteronomy 25.5 : "If brethren dwell together and one of them die, and have no child, the wife of the dead shall not marry unto a stranger; her husband's brother shall go in unto her, and take her to him as wife, and perform the duty of an husband's brother unto her." (That is certainly a scriptural injunction if I have ever heard one.)

But when Catherine did not have a male child, Henry began to sense that another section of scripture took precedence. Maybe Leviticus 20.21 was correct. Leviticus 20.21 says that “if a man shall take his brother's wife, it is an unclean thing; he hath uncovered his brother's nakedness; and they shall be childless." Maybe, thought Henry, that was why he was childless.

This was a serious issue!

You know, as well as I, how often certain verses of the Bible have been used to justify our arguments. People thought hard and long about these issues. The Bible was certainly used to justify the continuation of slavery. Consider Ephesians 6.5: “Slaves, obey your earthly masters with fear and trembling, in singleness of heart, as you obey Christ.” It took a long time for folks to raise up those principles in the Bible which show slavery as a travesty; we created a whole difference culture, a healthier culture, that foreswore slavery.

The Bible has also been used to deny women leadership roles in the Church. First Corinthians 14, verse 34 clearly says “As in all the churches of the saints, women should be silent in the churches. For they are not permitted to speak, but should be subordinate, as the law also says” (emphasis mine). It took a long time before we relied more on Galatians 3:28: “In Christ there is neither male nor female, neither slave nor free.”

In fact, as soon as we begin reading the Bible, the observant among us notice the major difference between Genesis 1 and Genesis 2, the very first two chapters in the Bible!

If we believe scripture is inspired by God, must we also believe that wives are subject to husbands? Must we believe that slaves ought always to obey their masters? Must we also believe that we should not eat shellfish, like lobster and shrimp? What do we make of certain cultural assumptions in scripture that are no longer part of our world?

Must we believe that the sun stood still? Must we believe that Moses had horns? One version of the inspired Bible said that.

Must we believe that God is literally a rock? Must we believe that Jesus is literally a Lamb? Is belief in the inspiration of scripture the same as taking every jot and tittle as inerrantly and literally as we can?

No. Bible interpretation is a careful and sacred art. It is not served well by absolutists and litigators. Inspiration does not mean inerrancy; and inspiration does not mean literalism.

The inspiration of Scripture is a much higher doctrine than inerrancy or literalism. Because the word “inspired” here at 2 Timothy 3:16 means “God-breathed.” Inspiration means that God lives in these words of scripture. Every piece of scripture, Paul tells his young student, Timothy, “all scripture,” is breathed of God. Of course, Paul was not even speaking literally of his own writings when he said this, and none of the four gospels had even been written yet! Yet, Pauls’s words do mean something sacred to us; something lives in them. When Paul speaks of scripture, we know that God uses his words to mean something for us, in our time.

The inspiration of scripture means that we can know God through these beautiful writings. There is an undeniable air of God, breath of God, in the words of the Bible. Sure, we have relatively minor concerns about certain historical errors or differences. But those minor details are blown away by the mighty gale of God.

The breath of God becomes a gale of grace when we read about the magnificence of creation, when we read about the prodigal son or the good Samaritan, or the story of the Exodus, or Psalm 23, or the feeding of the five thousand, or the hymn to love at First Corinthians 13. The story of Job is in scripture because even suffering is close to the life of God. The painful psalms, the disappointments, even the sins of Bible are there to remind us an overwhelming grace of God.

The inspiration of scripture means that we find the breath of God in scripture. We find the air of God. We find the whispering wind of new life. We discover the gale of grace. This is why the church shall always read scripture together. If any of you are not in a Bible Study these days, join one! Ask one of the clergy to begin a Bible study for you.

There is nothing more foundational to our spiritual life. These words have formed communities of faith for two thousand years. This wind of God is not subject to our strange, absolutist rules about inerrancy. This wind of God cannot always be seen by the lens of literalism. The spirit of God, the breath of God, goes way beyond literalism and inerrancy.

Let’s take a look, then, at how the Spirit of God interprets scripture within the Bible itself. If the Bible is so authoritative, let’s look at how the Bible interprets itself.

First of all, as I said today’s sermon, the Bible never calls itself inerrant. The Bible itself never claims inerrancy for itself. If we were inerrancy believers, we might think that it should. We might wish that it did. But it doesn’t. The Bible, through its writers and speakers, calls itself inspired, but it never calls itself inerrant.

Second, the Bible itself knows that events have to be interpreted. For instance, dreams must be interpreted. Consider all the places in scripture where people dream. Joseph becomes a hero in Genesis 40 and 41 because he is able to interpret the dreams of two prisoners and then the dreams of pharaoh. Another Joseph, engaged to be married to Mary, had a dream in which he was told Mary was with child. That dream had to be interpreted!

And then, there are events that seem like dreams, such as that day when Peter and James and John climbed a mountain with Jesus and their eyes were heavy with sleep. They saw Moses and Elijah appear with Jesus. What does that mean without some interpretation?

In the Book of Daniel, chapter nine, the prophet actually claims to be re-interpreting the prophet Jeremiah. Jeremiah spoke quite clearly of a seventy-year exile of the Jews; Daniel re-interprets those seventy years to mean the devastation of Jerusalem.

In other words, the Bible often re-interprets itself.

And there is probably no one better at re-interpreting the Bible than Jesus himself. Jesus, of course, often interprets his own material. He spoke often in parables, which were not always clear, but which certainly allowed for variances in interpretation. Jesus was good enough, on occasion, to interpret his own parables –like he does for the Parable of the Sower and the Seed (Mark 4)—but sometimes he implies that the parables are told deliberately so that people would not understand.

Should we ever re-interpret scripture? So that it seems to mean something different from what it originally said? Well, again, if look to Jesus for an example or model, the answer is clearly Yes.

Does anybody hear remember this phrase: “You have heard it said… but I say to you?” What about this magnificent phrase: “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you, Do not resist an evildoer. But if anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other also.’” (Matthew 5:38-39).

Where had they heard it said, “An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth?” Well, right in scripture! At Exodus 21:24! Jesus himself is saying that Exodus 21 does not apply in the way it seemed to apply in earlier generations.

Now, this is a particularly fascinating example, because this law –“an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth”—is generally thought to have been quite a progressive development in religious law. In the early Near Eastern times, much retribution was designed to be stronger and more forceful than the original fault. So, if someone killed one of your tribe, you were to kill ten of their tribe. If someone knocked out one of your eyes, you were permitted to actually take the life of the perpetrator. In that environment, Exodus 21:24 was thought to be quite a progressive and rational development. “No, you can’t kill someone who took out your eye. Rather, let it be an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth.” (This law is known as the lex taliones.) Jesus actually re-interprets what was a progressive law at the time!

Scriptural injunctions, we might therefore conclude, are not set in stone – even the laws. We have Jesus’ own example of how we might interpret, and re-interpret, scripture.

And then we have Saint Paul, too. In Galatians, chapter four, Paul refers to Abraham and his two sons: Ishmael (the older) and Isaac. He says, “For it is written that Abraham had two sons, etc. etc.” Then, Paul says something very curious indeed. That was chapter 4, verse 22. Two verses later, in verse 24, Paul says, “Now, this is an allegory: these women are two covenants.” And then he proceeds to interpret what may or may not have been a literal event as an allegorical event, about whether we should lives as slaves or as free!

Is the event meant to be taken literally or allegorically? Saint Paul states literally that he takes it as an allegory!

Saint Paul does the same sort of thing at Second Corinthians chapter three. He is talking about the literal veil that surrounded Moses when Moses came down from the mountain; but he now interprets it as a metaphorical veil, referring to the misunderstanding of those who follow the old covenant.

All this is to say that the Bible has the spiritual freedom to interpret itself. The Bible never claims inerrancy and infallibility for itself. The Bible, through its writers and speakers, re-interprets itself. It does not always adhere to the strict and literal, absolutist and fundamentalist interpretation.

This is because, at its best, the Bible is about spirit, inspiration, the breath of God. The Bible is authoritative because it is inspired, because it is of the Spirit.

And the Spirit of God will always show us the Word of God. Remember, the Word of God, with a capital “W,” is not the Bible. The “capital W” Word of God is always Jesus Christ. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The Word became incarnate and dwelt among us.” (John 1.1, 14). I believe that the words of scripture are not meant to be scattered and thrown about like bullets in our little theological wars. We study the “small w” words of scripture so that God can show us the “capital W” Word in Jesus Christ.

Is all scripture inspired by God? It sure is. I cannot prove it by logic or history or by pointing to some feeble human idea of inerrancy. I know that scripture is inspired by God through its own evidence. I know that scripture is inspired by God because the Bible has taught me grace and truth. The Bible has taught me that Jesus is the Word of God.

The Very Reverend Sam Candler
Dean of the Cathedral of St. Philip