By whatever definition, a church is first and foremost, a community. That is the fabric that holds everything else together. There was a community that decided what its scripture would be; and that became, the bible, from the Latin, biblia, which in turn is from the Greek, biblos, which, literally, means book, and a collection of books.
The bible then, is a collection of books, a library. These books are of different genre, from different historical times and periods, and by different authors. The authors for the most part, wrote independent of each other, with different themes and to different audiences.
A community then decided, out of a myriad of books, which ones to include in their scriptures and which ones not to include. Different traditions may offer different interpretations of the process of selection but the bottom line is that a community canonized the selection to be its scripture.
Today, ignoring this basic understanding, we have, in some traditions, elevated the bible above even the community that made it scripture. With that we have therefore come to make the bible what it is not, read it with literal and closed worldview, and, shocking as it may sound, we have come to worship it.
So, when at the end of a worship service the preacher urges those heeding a call to look for a bible-based book, they are advocating a literal reading and inerrancy of the bible. That is not bible-based but the contrary. There is nothing literal about the bible and – yes, it may sound even more shocking – there are errors and contradictions in the bible.
Let’s look at some of the contradictions next.