Scripture is never clear. There is no bible or spiritual text which is not disputed over life-times of believers, and the dispute is often and always ironic to the death!
The Tanakh, or Old Testament, was written by many authors over a period of 1000 years. This is a book of infinite inspiration and contradiction. It is glossed and tortured and translated in ever "new" ways. While its main purpose was to preserve the power of the priests against the kings, it shares a million minor agendas which continue to entertain and beguile.
Of the 27 books of the New Testament, there is a certain provenance to none of them. Many of the contemporaneous texts were curiously omitted without explanation provided by the anonymous Councilors meeting at Nicea in the fourth century after the Subject of the gospels stopped teaching.
Of the legendary "founders" of the great Religions, not one is alleged to have written a word -- Abraham, Buddha, Jesus -- all silent and absent from stone, papyrus, or clay. Mohammad and Smith appear to have written texts -- on leaves, skins, tablets -- but they each claim that an Angel (the same one, Gabriel), not God or Allah (again the same), dictated the text to them.
We have only recently discovered and authenticated long-lost but referenced "gospels", such as the gospel of Judas, Thomas, and several female writers.
St Paul, of course, is a historical figure and his letters -- actually penned by him -- have been preserved. Accord, the work of St Augustine, with his gospel of grace and invention of a trinity. What is significant is that in subsequent iterations, changes were made to the texts by so-called Believers with the intent to deceive others!
During this formative time Jews and Christians were maintaining graven images in the hearths of their homes, and continued to bury their dead with as many as 30 different deities. Even after the attempt to collate an "official" scripture 300 years after Jesus by order of the Mother of Constantine--that pagan Emperor who died as a non-believer--the copyists continued to use widely varying translations.
Of particular significance is the fact that the myth of inerrant "oral tradition" has been completely exploded. Most "traditions" trace back only a few generations. Most texts are interpolated and falsified, almost none are "copied" accurately verbatim and without new purposes and agendas. Translations are impossible. And memories? They are false.
Scripture is not history. It is fascinating. But it is not Truth.
- Did Socrates say "Know Thyself", or was he misunderstood, as all are. Show Thyself is all we can do. The knowing is unknowable. I am filled with joy. It can't be helped.
Became a Farmer, Builder, Musician, Tank Commander, Librarian, Lawyer and Minister. I have failed at many things. And now retired. Filled, just filled, with Joy.