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Some Christian Convictions: A Practical Restatement in Terms of Present-day Thinking

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Pages: 112

Book format: An electronic version of a printed book that can be read on a computer or handheld device designed specifically for this purpose.

Publisher: Date:11/30/2005 - IndyPublish.com

By: Henry Sloane Coffin

Excerpt from book: CHAPTER II THE BIBLE In terms of the definition of religion given in the last chapter, we may describe the Bible as the record of the progressive religious experience of Israel culminating in Jesus Christ, a record selected by the experience of the Jewish and Christian Church, and approving itself to Christian experience today as the Self-revelation of the living God. The Bible is a literary record. It is not so much a book as a library, containing a great variety of literary forms—legends, laws, maxims, hymns, sermons, visions, biographies, letters, etc. Judged solely as literature its writings have never been equalled in their kind, much less surpassed. Goethe declared, "Let the world progress as much as it likes, let all branches of human research develop to their utmost, nothing will take the place of the Bible—that foundation of all culture and all education." Happily for the English-speaking world the translationinto our tongue, standardized in the King James' Bible, is a universally acknowledged classic: and scarcely a man of letters has failed to bear witness to its charm and power. While most translations lose something of the beauty and meaning of the original, there are some parts of the English Bible which, as literature and as religion, excel the Hebrew or Greek they attempt to render. The Bible is a record of religious experience. It has but one central figure from Genesis to Revelation—God. But God is primarily in the experience, only secondarily in the record. All thought succeeds in grasping but a fraction of consciousness: thought is well symbolized in Rodin's statue, where out of a huge block of rough stone a small finely chiselled head emerges. With all their skill we cannot credit the men of faith who are behind the Bible pages with making clear to t...  


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