I believe the Bible is true. I believe the Bible is inerrant.
I found the following statement in my seminary class notes, and I agree with it 100%
The Bible is a record of things as they actually were, and a true account of those things about which it speaks.
Yet while I agree with this statement, I probably do not agree with how many pastors and theologians understand that statement.
What do I mean?
Well, I believe that even if all the stories of the Bible were false, the Bible itself could still be true. In other words, even if all the facts were wrong, the Bible could be a true and accurate account of those things about which it speaks.
How can I say this?
Our problem today is that we want the Bible to be something which it may not actually be. We want the Bible to be a historically and scientifically accurate document by our modern definitions of historic and scientific accuracy (Which are not that accurate. But that is a different subject). I believe the Bible is historically and scientifically accurate, but maybe not in the way we think, expect, or want.
None of this, I’m sure, makes any sense. So let me switch gears and talk about Aesop’s Fables.
Are Aesop’s Fables true?
Did a mouse really gnaw through the ropes of a captured lion to repay the lion for not eating him? Did a rabbit and turtle really run a race through the forest? Was there really a goose that laid one golden egg every day, but who was then killed by it’s owner so he could get all the eggs at once?
So are these stories true? Of course they are not! And at the same time, of course they are!
Aesop’s fables are not historically or scientifically accurate, but they are some of the truest stories ever told. They are “truer” than many of the history and science books we read in school.
So is the Bible a Fable?
Am I saying that the Bible is a fable? A myth? A great story, without any basis in history or science, but which contains some great moral truths?
Absolutely not. Please do not think for a second that this is what I am saying.
All I wanted to show was that there are different ways of presenting “truth.” And if we come to a story expecting it to present truth in a certain way, we might completely miss the truth it does present. If you went to Aesop’s Fables looking for a scientific account of how animals interact with each other, you would either be severely disappointed, or you would come away with some very wrong ideas about animals.
Similarly, if we go to the Bible looking for a historic or scientific explanation of how things work, or even a theological treatise on what to believe and how to behave, I think we will be either be severely disappointed, or will come away with some very wrong ideas about what to believe and how to behave.
The Bible is not a Fable. But it not a science or history textbook either. And while it contains statements about what to believe and how to behave, it is not primarily a book about such things.
But once we understand what the Bible is and why it was written, we learn better how to read and use it today. We learn that it can be “a record of things as they actually were, and a true account of those things about which it speaks,” even if it does not always portray truth as we want it, or (are you ready for this?)… as God wants it.
I know that is a provocative statement. I’ll explain more in the next few posts.
Great posts.. keep em coming!
Ant Writes says
You’re wading in deep water 😉
Ant Writes says
Check out this site that someone posted to a post on my blog:
It seems that others are writing about the inerrancy of scripture too
Jeremy Myers says
That was a great article.
Can you believe this quote:
“The position of the inerrancy of scripture is a lazy mental assent at best. On other levels it is pure heresy, embattling believers in indefensible labyrinth of entanglements far away from the real spiritual battle.”
Ant Writes says
I know, right? He’s actually on my Facebook friend list.If you get a chance, I’m starting a new series, which i think is rather important. If you get a chance, let me know your opinion. I’ll email you privately.
I more or less follow what he is saying. I’m guessing he is reacting to those who say the Bible is inerrant and therefore what they say the Bible “clearly says” is without error, the very words of God. Of course this means that the way they translate and interpret the Bible is supposed to be without error.
My observation is that those who think that their interpretation is the very word of God usually have an agenda – either they do or the people who gave them their “without error” interpretation. Ask the to “prove” that the Bible says what they teach on whatever topic, and they usually have at least a half dozen or dozen verses that “prove” their point.
Looking at the Bible that way, the term “inerrant” should not be used.
Another comic that made me think of your posts… enjoy.
Jeremy Myers says
Wow. I love it!
It is weird. Every time he draws up a comic.. it fits your posts perfectly.
Ant Writes says
Didn’t you know? Jeremy is a “ghost artist” for that blog. Times are tough, ya know? 😉
“Did a mouse really gnaw through the ropes of a captured lion to repay the lion for not eating him?” Probably not..
Joshua 10:13 .. “So the sun stood still, and the moon stopped, till the nation avenged itself on its enemies, as it is written in the Book of Jashar. The sun stopped in the middle of the sky and delayed going down about a full day.
Did God keep the Sun in the sky for a full day – 24 hours – so war could continue during daylight? Probably not ..
As far-fetched as Aesop’s fables are, so too are a plethora of scriptures….
Jeremy Myers says
In any other context, we would think so….
I have no real problem with people who also think that the Bible has some fables and myths as well. But remember, Aesop’s Fables are still quite true! So even if the Bible has fables, we don’t need to disregard the Bible. Instead, we can ask, “What truth is being taught?”
And still, even if the Old Testament has some fables, the historical reliability of the Gospels, and specifically the death and resurrection of Jesus, is pretty firmly established.
Don Juan says
“What truth is being taught?”
My light bulb went off…..at 49 yrs old….well put
A couple of good posts below too, such as “The Bible is a library of books – history, poetry, moralistic fables; it isn’t all intended to be read as ‘factual’.”
My question is – why the poetry, fables, moral fables, stories, etc…..I guess there’s no real answer…..the answer could be “well, why not”….but to me its one big hot mess (sorry don’t mean that in a bad way) mixed with some truth, some facts, probably some distortion….and the old language makes it hard to follow as well…..you can see why so so so much of it is open to interpretation and there open to manipulation by religions.
Anyway, I believe there’s a big guy in the sky and I believe he did send his son down to earth to do good and that we should learn from it….I’m not religious, but I know we should follow right from wrong, good from bad, spiritually right from spiritually wrong…..I think (though I haven’t read the Bible in decades or from start to end) the Bible helps us walk close to GOD in terms of being good people.
I believe in God a creator but I don’t believe the Bible is a book from God. I was studying the Bible recently with a Jehovah Witness and I can see how the Bible is brainwashing people to believe things that are not true. I don’t believe Mary got pregnant by God and that Jesus was in heaven before he came to earth. They said on another website that Jesus was not the same man but the story was a Pagan God that died on a cross. I believe Religion is a way to control man. It is man made not God made. Adam and Eve is a fable because dianasours ruled the earth millions of years ago. The world was not made in 6 days. Our sun will burn out. This Jehovah Witness wants to believe in a fake fable of a perfect paradise that does not and will not ever exist. This kind of control over men is dangerous!! Years ago in the Inca land they believe to send young children to a mountain to be killed. They believed that these children were going to marry God. It is sick and disturbing that these young ones lost their life to a non excistant God. Maybe God di accept them but they believed at that time that this was true just like how we are suppose to believe in a book from 2,000 years ago. Jehovah Witness believe that if you are not a Jeohovah Witness God will destroy you. I don’t believe that and that is what I hate about religion. No religion can act like they are God.
Jeremy Myers says
You have many good questions. I agree that religion is used to control and manipulate people. That is one of the reasons why I try on this website to show people that one reason Jesus came was to destroy religion (not to start a new one). He does not want us to follow a religion, but to follow Him.
mildred arnold says
Can you send me above explanation to my email? email@example.com as I have a friend who is a Jehovah Witness and I’ve been wanting to say what you said in your comment but didn’t know how to go about it! When I speak of God, she would like me to call him Jehovah and has a strong belief that Jehovah will give us a perfect paradise and is so down of what the world is now according to the Bible. I don’t read the Bible ( I used to) but too many different way of preventing the truth – too many fables and parables. Just tell it like it is – hope we can handle it! 🙂
The Bible is a library of books – history, poetry, moralistic fables; it isn’t all intended to be read as ‘factual’. After much thought & a few experiences, I believe in God /Jesus but find human-limited religions – sexist, guilty, over-complex, etc – can unhelpfully cloud the waters & too often gives a God a bad name. I do love old Churches though, incense & ceremonies; I guess religion isn’t all bad.
So are there evangelical Aesopians out there who believe every word is true and worship the fables ? I think not! Terrible analogy.