Post Author: Bill Pratt
One of the most common accusations I hear from skeptics is that the Bible is full of errors and contradictions. How do you and I, as Christians who believe the Bible is without error, deal with these claims?
Several years ago, I purchased a book by Norman Geisler and Tom Howe called When Critics Ask, now re-published under the name, The Big Book of Bible Difficulties. This book has been a loyal companion to me when skeptics confront me with a Bible difficulty which I have not analyzed before. If you interact with skeptics of Christianity, I highly recommend this book to you.
One of the most important sections of the book is in the Introduction, where Geisler and Howe list 17 mistakes that critics of the Bible make when they attempt to cite errors. The next few blog posts will briefly discuss these mistakes so that we can better understand how not to read the Bible.
Mistake #1: Assuming that the Unexplained Is Not Explainable.
There are, indeed, many passages in the Bible which are difficult to understand. Nobody who has read the Bible could say otherwise. But for those who take the Bible seriously, its contents have been vindicated many times throughout history as more information has become available through the fields of history, archaeology, the physical sciences, and even linguistics.
Geisler and Howe cite a couple examples of how critics have been proven wrong in the past:
For example, critics once proposed that Moses could not have written the first five books of the Bible because there was no writing in Moses’ day. Now we know that writing was in existence a couple of thousand years or more before Moses. Likewise, critics once believed that the Bible was wrong in speaking of the Hittite people, since they were totally unknown to historians. Now, all historians know of their existence by way of their library that was found in Turkey.
Since we have seen the Bible proven right so many times in the past, it is reasonable to believe that those things in the Bible which are today unexplained, will some day be explained.
Mistake #2: Presuming the Bible Guilty Until Proven Innocent
Critics often begin with the supposition that the Bible is wrong until it is proven right, but this is an unfair approach. Other books are presumed innocent until proven guilty, and so should the Bible be presumed innocent. As a book that has shaped western civilization over the last 2,000 years and which contains some of the most important literature ever written, even critics need to treat it with respect and approach it with the same attitude that they would approach any other great literary work.
I will continue with Geisler and Howe’s list in the coming days. Stick around!