Wednesday, May 2, 2012

More about the Bible

Let us continue with the premise that the Bible is a good book, and that, for the most part, it can be trusted to tell the truth.  The Bible makes the claim for itself, that holy men of God who were moved by the Holy Spirit wrote it.  That statement, of course, does not say that the Bible is absolutely without error.  It says only that God did His part in making the Bible; when we consider that the other part was done by people it is easy to believe that the Bible most likely is not perfect.  In spite of that, though, many theologians over the past few hundred years have maintained, and some still do, that the Bible is absolutely without error.

Let us also agree that wise, honest people, who were interested in sharing their history, cultural leanings and their learning with their readers, wrote it.  At the time they were writing, they had no idea that someday their writings would be thought of as “holy books".  It is easy to believe that sometimes they inserted "facts" or ideas which, to them seemed to be relevant, but which, in fact, had nothing to do with the history that they were writing. 

In the book, Jesus and His Times published by the Readers Digest is this illuminating statement; the recording of history with literal exactness of detail is a fairly modern development. At the time when the Bible was written, precise fact was far less important than the spiritual message of the stories shared. 

In my book, Doctrinal Errors in Protestant Churches, this statement was made, "Surely, inspiration of the Bible was an act of God, or, is it more right to say, God still inspires the Bible?  It is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction and for instruction in righteousness. 2 Timothy 3:16.  Let's beware not to  force it into a man made mould.  The Word of God is not our servant so that the Bible’s teachings have to fit into the boxes we have built for our teachings! When once we set the Bible free from our tenacious grasp we will find that it all makes a lot more sense.

Let's picture the writers of the Bible as being witnesses in a court case.  As already stated, these reputable people would do their best to witness to the truth as they knew it or as they remembered it. 

Here is an example.  All four-gospel writers told a brief story of the life of Christ, but Mark, a younger person and the writer of the first written gospel does not mention the resurrection of Christ at all.  His omission, however, does not invalidate the fact that Christ did rise from the dead; it only tells us that he, being a Roman and not a disciple of Christ, did not wish to perjure himself on the witness stand by stating something as a fact, when he was not sure that it was a fact.  

Matthew and John were Christ's disciples, they knew the facts from first hand experience and they had no qualms about stating as a fact that Christ did rise from the dead.  

Luke, the other gospel writer was a well-studied doctor.   He even wrote to his friend that he had carefully studied all the details about the life of Christ and he attested to the fact that Christ, indeed, is raised from the dead.

As I said, this is only an example of how we can view the writers of the Bible.  The more witnesses there are that agree on an issue the more likely it is that their testimony is true.  However, a problem does arise when one witness declares one thing and another witness declares the exact opposite. 

For example, in the Book of Exodus we read, Moses went up ... and saw the God of Israel.  Some centuries later Saint John wrote, No one has seen God at anytime.  It is not right to gloss over discrepancies like this and pretend that they are not in the Bible, as the church, at large, has done for years.  

Because Biblical teachers have done that, I made it a point to study many of the church's doctrines in detail to find out how they do not agree with the Bible, or how the Bible does not even agree with itself.