December 08, 2004

An ironic answer from Harold Camping

Apropos to the Harold Camping quotation in my previous entry: while going through some of my old files looking for it, I found this one from the previous Open Bible Dialogue program (August 20, 2002):

Camping: I will never never recommend or use a study Bible. The reason is, is that the notes in the margin or the study helps that are there are the work of men, and they're not fallible - infallible, that is. Any of us can make errors, and we read those notes on the page of the Bible, and later on we remember we saw this truth or that truth in the Bible and we don't remember whether we saw it in the notes in the margin, or whether we saw it in the text of the Bible, and it's really a very presumptuous thing to mix the Bible with notes. It'd be better to do it the proper way, and that's write your notes in a commentary that is another book alongside the Bible and then anyone reading will know, I read that in that commentary, I didn't read that on the page of the Bible.

Caller: So commentaries are supposed to be how we understand the Bible?

Camping: Well, that may be helpful, but we always read a commentary with very great care, because the one writing the commentary may be true to the Word of God, or he may not be so true to the Word of God. But at least we know when we're reading the Bible we have absolute truth, we know that that is trustworthy. When we read the commentary, we could have a very big question mark as to whether what we're reading is true or not.

Caller: And what about Bibles that have some words in italics?

Camping: Well, the words in italics, that's very legitimate, that's simply warning the reader that that particular word was not translated from the original language, it was placed there by the translators to assist in the formulation of the sentence that is given, and it's a warning, don't take that word as the Word of God, that particular word that's italicized.

Caller: So we don't know if it's true or not?

Camping: We don't know if the italicized word is true or not. We know that the rest of the words are true, but not the, uh, we don't know that the italicized word is. But thank you for calling and sharing, and shall we take our next call, please . . .

It's too bad he didn't also warn the caller about the dangers of extreme allegorization . . .