By Mitch Stutzman


“Was Jesus fully man?”

That was the opening question from the professor of the first course I ever took in seminary. The eyes of my peers darted around the room, questioning each other, silently wondering together what agenda was beneath this question, and wondering how our answer would tie into our semester-long study of the books of Luke and Acts. Folks hesitantly started answering with timid yeses. The follow up question: “Was Jesus fully God?”  A few more vocal yeses emerged in response. Our professor continued by saying, “If we can allow Jesus to be both fully man and fully God, why can’t we hold our scriptures in the same way?” And that was the moment when my understanding of what the Bible is changed.

I grew up in a Christian family that was significantly involved in our local faith community. I learned Bible stories at home and in Sunday school, and developed a respect and appreciation for the book. As I grew older, my study of scripture became more important and the communities that formed me made it clear that the Bible was the best tool we have in navigating the Christian life in our modern context. All that is still true.

In addition to the stories, throughout my growing up years I was also given an image of a giant hand reaching out of the clouds down to paper and writing our Bibles. As I grew and began to navigate life on my own, that image didn’t seem to work anymore. Sometimes that image even became problematic. If the Bible is the perfect Word of God, what do you do when the Bible seems to disagree with itself? What do you do when the loving and graceful God you know tells the Israelites to commit genocide? The Bible became a book that felt cold and distant, hard to understand, and unapproachable.

My professor’s words opened a new reality for me. If we allow scripture to be both fully God and fully man, we have an opportunity to see how God has been at work through God’s followers throughout history. If, instead of a divine hand reaching out of the clouds, we hold scripture as the inspired Word of God as recorded by humans throughout history, we suddenly have a dynamic and engaging story that I get to be a part of. This way of holding scripture makes me excited to pick up my Bible and to continue being curious about how God is working through each of us today.