In math we employ axioms, basic concepts, from which all else is derived. Most were introduced to axioms in the study of geometry. Perhaps without realizing it, all of us interpret the Bible using one or more axioms about God.
My personal Bible axiom is this- God is unfailing Love. Love is the description of God’s essence, His defining characteristic. Some say God is defined primarily by His righteousness, omnipotence, and majesty. They thus see Him as unyielding, fearful, and remote. These are all misleading pictures of God, based on incomplete information taken from the Old Covenant. This old arrangement was in transition during Christ’s ministry and beyond, so much of the New Testament scriptures are descriptive of a relatively brief period. The Old was a necessary but temporary. Applying old examples and requirements today is a retreat, a spiritual digression.
We know that love is the ultimate answer, not only from the Bible, but also from the poets, artists, sages, and mystics in all ages. Love is transformative. It is undying. It can never be defeated by circumstances. It is powerful. It is the energy and purpose behind creation, all that we see and experience, even the pain.
Knowing this, I look at the Bible through the eyes of love. When told that God punishes eternally, I ask: “Is this Love in action?” Since the answer is NO, I reject that doctrine and look for the fallacy behind that misunderstanding. When I hear that only believers in Christ are accepted by God, even those who never had a chance, I know with certainty that Love cannot operate that way. Then I re-examine the Book with new eyes. In every case, I find that God and His Love prevail. Misguided doctrines ALWAYS fail the love test and disappear in a fuller understanding of God.