Here is what I have come to believe about the Bible. It is a holy and amazing document, inspired by God to give us glimpses of truth. I don't believe it is "magic" in the sense that we can (nor should we try to) use it for our own purposes. I believe the Spirit of God enlightens me through Scripture, but only to the degree that my limited capacity is able to get a glimpse of God's purpose, greatness -- His glory. And the Word delivers insights and comfort in different ways at different times as needs and capacity to understand change.
Then, today I was reading an essay by an author who feels translation and interpretation is an on-going process if we are going to keep striving for a deeper and more authentic relationship with God. An example given was to consider the English word "glory" as it is attributed to God. The Hebrew word kavod (remember all English texts are translations since the Bible was not written in English) is more, much more than the Oxford Dictionary entries for "glory"* In fact it seems to me today's common usages actually get in the way of the concept of the glory of God. The closest dictionary entries speak of "giving God glory" as though by our actions we enhance God.
Now, honestly, that is a pretty odd notion for me and I think modern English has glommed up this concept so that "giving God the glory" might be more appropriately described as "Giving God His due credit."
But the prophet Jeremiah described his vision of "angels proclaiming, 'Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of His glory.'** This seems like a powerful, awe-inspiring, amazing, huge concept. This kavod is a concept so large that I don't really expect to 'get it' even in heaven when I believe we will understand much that we cannot understand in this World. But, really, I'll need a LOT of rehabbing to be able to begin to get my head around the glory of God that fills all the Earth.
In fact, as our understanding of something so finite as the "universe" which was not a common concept 2,500 years ago (if thought of at all), is still expanding and maybe this term "earth" might be more completely translated as God's glory filling the Universe which must be finite, but seems so infinite in terms of time, space and capacity from our human vantage point.
But God is either all that and more or He is not the God who has given us the Bible to give us a chance to understand at least a bit about God as best we are able. Because everything I have read, experienced, believe about God keeps expanding my concept as abundantly more and greater and heavier and more significant and more able and more powerful and utterly amazing.
Please understand that I am not saying that God is changing; I believe He does not. But His love for us cracks open doors to growth in a life where God is the primary focus. Not in a scary, micromanaging way, but rather like a truly loving and delighted parent who guides an infant from learning to smile through a thousand instances of micro-growth to handing them car keys...except this parent makes no mistakes!
Colossians 1:17, which started me down this particular rabbit hole, says "He existed before all things and all things are held together in Him." Either this is radically true or there is no truth, light, love, hope, joy, forgiveness, renewal, rehabilitation, regeneration....no plan, no point and genocide in Rwanda is perfectly sensible if life is only about getting as much power as possible at any cost and in the end nobody wins.
Almighty God, Jehovah, El-Shadai, You are beyond human imagination and we always get in trouble when we try to put You in a box that we feel we can manage. Thank you for giving us a Bible that speaks to us where we are, yet always calls us to a deeper relationship with you. Only You could conceive, much less inspire such a body of work to bless us, enlighten us, heal us, comfort us and still our fears of the unknowableness of You through all the days of our journey as Your child. The infinite You knows the finite us, woos us, loves us and teaches us to trust what we cannon fully understand, and to rely on covenants that are only imperfectly recognized, yet infinitely amazing and utterly reliable. AMEN
** And one (angel) cried unto another, and said, "Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory." Jeremiah 6:3