To Put It Biblically2:32 AM
If sola Scriptura was the cry of the Reformation, Biblical is the watchword of today's counter-cultural Christians. In contrast to Satan's lies, we have the Biblical truth. Conflicting with wishy-washy Christians who won't take a stand, we have a Biblical command. To differentiate from in-it-for-me pleasure-mongering, we have Biblical living.
Which is good. I love the Bible. Mine's deep mahogany, as big as my head, ESV crisp. I dig hermeneutics. It's excellent that the people of God stand on something stronger than emotion or fad theology. It's encouraging to hear the call to go back to the Bible, to look to the Bible alone for answers, to base one's salvation, life and spirituality off sola Scriptura.
So it leads me to the question: exactly what is all this talk about "Biblical"? I hear it thrown about, as a punch in the hand almost, in controversial opinions. "We may not like it, but it's the Biblical way." "It doesn't make sense, yes, but it's Biblical." "Don't do that! It's not Biblical."
Biblical womanhood. Biblical love. Biblical principles.
I know, in light of the self-help gurus still raking in money, that Biblical holds great weight for those of us who strive for Christ and His gospel. As well it should. However, take it from a young Christian who has been befuddled and bamboozled by the mishandling of this word: not everything that's Biblical is Biblical.
There seem to be two meanings for the word: one is explicit and one is implicit. Biblical can simply mean "anything pertaining to the Bible" -- Biblical interpretation, Biblical verses, Biblical account. Easy enough. I think every well-meaning teacher starts out with this correct use of the word, coupled with the correct understanding that all Scripture is useful for teaching, rebuking, etc. But in his zeal to impress his disciples with godliness, he ends up moving into the second, inferred meaning of the word -- and that's where danger enters, stage left.
The second Biblical means something like "stamped by the authoritative binding Word of God." In short, anything that's not Biblical is dead wrong. Biblical means truth. Biblical means revealed way, best way, if not the only way. Biblical means what one should do, be or believe. The opposite of Biblical isn't exactly sinful, though it runs a close second.
I agree that there are binding truths in Scripture -- what some would say Biblical or Scriptural truths. Murder is wrong: that's Biblical (in the Bible and unequivocally backed by it). Marriage is good: that's Biblical (in the Bible and unequivocally backed by it). The Trinity, Jesus' deity and salvation is Biblical -- in the Bible and backed by it unequivocally. Nobody really argues the use of the word Biblical there.
When applied to grayer areas -- here Biblical gets tricky. Yes, of course, Isaac and Rebekah's betrothal and marriage was Biblical, or at least, wasn't not Biblical; it didn't violate any obvious truths and it's in the Bible. But is their route to marriage therefore Biblical, in a this-is-the-way-walk-in-it type of bind? Paul's singleness is God-honoring and Scripturally approved -- but is it the Biblical norm? The wives of Corinth wore headcoverings, embodying the principle of submission and thus in harmony with the Bible's teachings -- but was their practice Biblical, binding, the only and/or best way to go about things?
See, I fear there's been much confusion over this term and thus over Christian living, Biblical truth and Christianity in general. It's horrible hermeneutics to take examples in Scripture -- no matter how excellent on their own -- and fashion them into the Biblical way to go, do or believe. It's a very bad idea to say that inclusion in the Bible = what one should do. In areas of choice, Christian liberty and personal preference, there is no one Biblical way, no uncompromisingly "best" way -- not as a blanket truth for all Christians at all times in every circumstance.
That's a genuine Biblical principle.
When we fudge on that, we risk watering down honest-to-goodness Biblical truth, burdening souls and driving away the very people who want to follow Scripture. Labeling anything and everything in Scripture as Biblical (i.e. what one ought to do) in the end backfires: not only will a discerning person recognize that the Bible says no such thing as, say, working women blaspheme God, but also he'll be tempted to throw out the real Biblical truths and the Bible with the so-called "Biblical" way.
For the love of Scripture and truth, please, be Biblical with Biblical.