My Theology #1 The Bible
I believe that the Bible is inspired by God, written by all too human writers, addressing the various issues/contexts of each book's time and historically documenting the interactions of man and God. I believe it is without error or contradiction when correctly understood. In matters of internal contradiction, I assume the picture that God paints is broader that the verses that oppose each other. I believe that God is unchanging through the ages, His eternal nature is internally consistent. The Bible should be viewed as a picture of the actions of that kind of God.
I believe its purpose is primarily narrative - to tell the story of man and God. In the OT, it's often the good, bad and indifferent of the individuals and nation of Israel and its forebearers. In the NT it is the story of Jesus, his disciples, and the growth/struggles of the early church. Because of these topics, the historical/cultural/individual worldview of the time speaks directly to our understanding of these messages. To understand God's purpose and message we must try to understand His actions within the context of each circumstance - and try to see the worldview we bring to the reading of the scripture.
As someone who has studied four languages, I understand the original language to be an essential ingredient to proper understanding of the text. However, culture and language are inextricably intertwined. I'll let experts render their opinions to me in both, so that I may delve into understanding more deeply who is God and my relationship with Him.
The Bible is essential as a reference and standard. However, I do not believe in worshipping the book, it is a tool, not the goal.