The Accuracy of the Bible

September 30, 2010

Annarbor.com has a post where a contributor and her guest discuss the accuracy of the Bible. They both agree that the Bible was not intended to be taken literally nor to be understood as infallible. Check it out here:

Needless to say, I disagree. Here are a couple reasons.

One area that often comes up in discussions like this is in the area of identifying what a contradiction is and discussing them. It is very common to assert that the Bible has contradictions but actually identifying them is more challenging. I wish the author would have spent more time identifying the “contradictions” in the scriptures and engaging evangelicals like myself who, although being quite familiar with the Bible, are convinced that there are none. The one example offered in the video (“the eye for an eye and tooth for a tooth” passage) is not actually a contradiction. As noted, Jesus offered a higher level of mercy as he also did when he said that not only should we not murder we should not hate (Matthew 5:21-26). Offering a more stringent standard doesn’t overrule the more lax standard (no one would say that Jesus contradicted the law ‘do not murder’). So, more examples of contradictions are needed.

The scriptures do not have any contradictions. They do have events that are told from a variety of perspectives by different authors. Whenever two witnesses recount the same event or saying, they will record different details. One person may note the time of day and one person may not. One person may discuss what people were wearing and another may omit that detail. But this is not a contradiction in stories. Any biography has to edit details. One cannot include every detail of every thing that happened. You have to choose what to include. The four gospels (and many other passages in scripture) have the same issue at hand. Sometimes these differences are understood to be contradictions but differences do not equate to contradictions.

The second area that I think is important is in the area of what it means to be “inspired”. Critics of the infallibility of scripture often point out that the scriptures were written by people and not the audible voice of God (as is mentioned in the video). I would agree with this statement. This is actually one of the great distinguishing characteristics of the Christian scriptures against many other holy books. But this does not mean that the scriptures were not inspired and ordained by the Holy Spirit. Orthodoxy has always maintained that the scriptures were written by people and that they were inspired by the Holy Spirit. This point is made in 2 Timothy 3 when the author states that “All Scripture is God-Breathed” (2 Timothy 3:16).

As one who believes in the inerrancy and infallibility of the scriptures, I would argue that the Holy Spirit ordained the events surrounding the writing of scripture. The Holy Spirit inspired the authors to be diligent in researching the facts and protected them from making errors in their research, writing, and editing. In other words, as 2 Timothy 3 asserts, the scriptures were “God breathed”.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: