The Bible and the Qur’an

Jews, Christians, Muslims, and Mormons all have a holy book that plays a very important role in their faith.  But the role of the Bible is different than the role of other holy books:

Jews might say, the Master of the Universe gave us the Torah.

Mormons say, God gave us the book of Mormon.

Muslims say, Allah gave his very words in the Holy Qur’an.

Christians say, God gave his son.

There is a difference.  The Bible points beyond itself to God who involved himself in human history and human life.

Mark D. Roberts has written a good series on The Bible, the Qur’an, Bart Ehrman, and the Words of God here.

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One Response

  1. This past May, I took the class “World Christianity” at Kentucky Christian University. One of the class days included a trip to an Islamic Mosque and a Roman Catholic Cathedral. I had never been in an Islamic Mosque, but found the experience very beneficial. Our tour guide, a practicing Muslim, offered much insight into the practical and non-extremist religion of Islam. One statement that the tour guide made, however, shocked me. The guide stated that the average Muslim does not know or study the Koran. They believe it to be Allah’s very words given to the prophet Mohammad, but do not study it like most conservative Christians study the Bible. The Mosque had verses from the Koran posted on the walls and there are certain phrases from the Koran that a Muslim repeats in worship, but the personal study of God’s Word appeared to be missing.

    I am by far not an expert in Islamic studies. Like I said, that was my first visit to an Islamic Mosque. So, I am not sure if that mindset is typical of most “average Muslims,” or if I visited a more “liberal” Mosque. According to Mark Robert’s article, Muslims use the Koran as “a source of guidance and inspiration.” The article goes on to say: “In traditional society it is still used to administer oaths and to be chanted as part of the cure for illness. Its recitation is therapeutic to Muslims, who derive comfort and strength from it.” But it does not seem that they use the Koran as “source of guidance” like most conservative Christians. The article discusses how Muslims often wrap copies of the Koran in clean cloth, place it on a high stand, never point their feet in its direction, and never leave it lying on the floor. Thus there is no doubt that Muslims respect the Koran but it appears it is worshipped more as an icon than a book of study. So, do most Muslims revere the Koran but neglect studying its actual teachings? I would love to hear anyone’s insight in this matter.

    In addition, I do have a concern about one reoccurring theme in Mark Robert’s article. This theme can be summarized in his statement about Christian allegiance: “Our allegiance to and reverence for Christ take precedence over our allegiance to and reverence for the Bible, even though we come to know Christ through the Bible.” I agree that Christ is our Lord and He is the Head of the church. I also believe that we should not worship the Bible as we do Christ. I am afraid, however, that such statements lesson the importance of teachings of Christ. In John 14:23-24, Jesus states: “If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. He who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me.” Our Lord indicates that if you love Him you will also love His teachings. I have often heard people say: “We are not saved by doctrine, we are saved by Jesus.” Though this statement may be well-meaning, I think it leaves open the possibility that we can follow Jesus without following his teachings. I find this idea troublesome. As the apostle John writes: “Anyone who runs ahead and does not continue in the teaching of Christ does not have God; whoever continues in the teaching has both the Father and the Son” (2 John 1:9).

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