My Interweb United Methodist friend, John Meunier, wrote a neat post about the United Methodist Doctrine regarding the Holy Scriptures. You should go and read it. It's good. No seriously, go ahead, I'll wait.
Did you read the comments? This is my response to what both John and the commenters wrote:
Ever wonder why the Articles from the MEC lists out the books of the Old Testament? Because the canon of scripture wasn't yet settled at the time of its writing. Also notice that Lamentations didn't make the cut? (don't worry, at that time it was considered a part of Jeremiah). However, today the church still can't decide what "The Bible" is. The Southern Baptist Convention just voted to boycott the NIV2011. Most mainline Protestants wouldn't be caught dead toting around the King James Version. So are they not the Bible? Only the Greek and Hebrew, then? Or perhaps only the autographs? (that's the original writings, for non bible nerd.) What about the Apocrypha? Oh, but which Apocrypha? More Christians on the planet include those pesky extra books in their canon than not. So tell, me, what is THE Bible?
I've come to hate the phrase, "the Bible says." Mainly because what follows usually includes someone's interpretation of "The Bible" rather than what is simply written. And while we're on the subject, the Bible doesn't say anything. It's a book. I know that many would consider it a silly semantic argument, but books don't say anything. Their authors do. And when we get the book confused with the author (and I consider God to be the chief author), we run a major risk of idolatry.
Take a look at those articles/confession. Their authors never claim that the Bible SAYS anything.
The scriptures contain [that which was put in them].
Whatever is read therein (not whatever it says).
Both in the Old and New Testament everlasting life is offered to mankind by Christ (by Christ, in--or through--the scriptures).
The Holy Bible...reveals the Word of God so far as it is necessary for our salvation. It is to be received through the Holy Spirit (the Holy Bible is NOT the Word of God ['cause that's actually Jesus] but reveals the Word to us as it is received by both its human authors and its human readers through the Holy Spirit.)
Additionally, the article is written that, "The law given from God by Moses" (and didn't drop magically out of the sky. Moses and others wrote it all down. We seem to have a team of authors, though God is the chief author.)
My friend Bobby Ray likes to say it like this:
The Bible was divinely inspired (He acts out the scene, as he furrows his brow and scratches his beard in thought, closes his eyes in prayer, opens them, and then writes a little bit), it was not divinely inspired (his head lolls back facing the ceiling, and with his eyes rolled back in his head, he scribbles manically.)
So please stop saying the Bible says things. It sounds really silly to non-believers (and to this believer). The Bible is a thing, and is not to be worshiped; though it is perhaps the most powerful thing we have that points to the divine persons to be worshiped.