I am definitely not a Biblical literalist. Even if the Old Testament was originally dictated by God, as some believe, chances are practically nil that His original words would have survived completely unaltered to this day. The original manuscripts are unfortunately long lost. And consider those who were the traditional keepers, transcribers and interpreters of the Law: the very people who Jesus called “vipers”, “hypocrites” and “sons of Satan”. Are we to trust that, over hundreds of years, these very same people never *once* seized the opportunity to do a little creative editing in support of their own agendas? Of course not. [See Jeremiah 8:8, Deuteronomy 31:25-29] And what of transcription errors? Surely, quite a few of those made it into the text over the years. If the devil is an actual person, as the Bible says, surely he would have been at tirelessly at work all this time to corrupt the Word of God.
But are we to toss the whole thing out? Certainly not. That’s where the love of Christ comes in. I am convinced that to get close to the original message that God was trying to convey, we must always try to read the Bible through the filter of pure Christian love. It is worth considering that the parts that seem irreconcilably incongruous or contradictory to the love of Christ might actually be the words of *men* rather than God.
standards, practices, and allegiances supposedly created for our spiritual beneﬁt-
have had the opposite effect.