This was originally written as a Quick Post at BCW. It has been significantly upgraded to an article given the extended dialogue that followed from the original post. In the end one’s opinion on the question of whether the Bible is, or is not, the inspired word of God sets the foundation for our personal theology going forward.
Below we discuss not only the impact of disconnecting Scripture from our life on this earth, but further exposing the challenges associated with differing definitions of words in our culture. Finally, we make the point that if one rejects Biblical teachings on Salvation, Hell is the only eternal outcome. This may seem harsh on this side of the grave, however we can learn from the parable of Lazarus and the Rich Man that candor is strongly welcomed from the perspective of those on the other side.
I read an article entitled, “Why We Must Argue The Bible Is Not Inspired By God!”. The writer proceeded to list his reasoning, by stating:
- An inspired Bible has led to condemning women and gays
- An inspired Bible has led to condoning violence
- An authoritative view of God according to the Bible is a myth!
- Even Bible-believing Christians can’t avoid the importance of common moral sense.
An Example of Post-Christian Strategy
This kind of destructive rhetoric is rampant and well received in our post-Christian culture. It is insidious because it frays the edges of our Biblical Christian worldview for those who are still drinking spiritual milk (Heb. 5:11-14). The writer acknowledges there is a supreme God, yet, by undermining Scripture, he conveniently allows the individual to establish his own, unique interpretation of what that god should look like. Man becomes the arbiter of “common moral sense”, which can change like shifting sands (Matt. 7:24-27).
Below was my response to this author. Though some will say it ends harshly, there is no question that it ends truthfully. When one considers the length of eternity, truthfulness and directness, at times, best fulfills Matt. 26:16-20 and can even be viewed as the greatest expression of love one can offer to those who are perishing.
As you know, Biblical Christians argue that the moral code of ethics you refer to in your article originates from God, not from man. Our belief ultimately comes from faith as we look at the world around us and see a Creator. That Creator did not leave man without direction and a standard for life and for death. Rather than turning away from His creation, God wrote us a love letter, the Bible. Rejecting that, or choosing which parts to accept and which to reject is an acknowledgment that Creator God’s Word is subject to man’s edits and changes. If you are correct, then you can live a life making your own choices and learn God’s perfect truth on the other side of the grave. If you are wrong, you will burn in Hell for eternity. This is a weighty subject one should not take lightly.
I received a comment from the post above which reminded me of how much the definitions of words differ. The challenge involved the definition of “inspired” as relates to Scripture. Biblical Christians (at least myself) use this word in the context of the Bible to mean, God inspired the writers of the Bible throughout the work, making its original manuscript without error, as God is without error. However, man’s definition of “inspired” is vastly different. Below is the response I received and my answer, and sad admission, following.
“You are assuming that inspiration is dictation. It is not. Leonardo da Vinci was inspired when he painted the Mona Lisa, but that does not mean that the Mona Lisa has no flaws. Same with the Bible. The writers of the various documents and document fragments that were collected to form what we call the Bible may have had inspiration, but they wrote what they believed (or wanted) to be true. Sometimes they were mistaken. We all must use our brains when reading the Bible, just as when reading any other book.”
My Second Response
“Respectfully, that is where you are wrong. The Bible is not “any other book”. What we hold in our hands today, I believe, is 99+% of what was written in the original inerrant Word of God. The remaining 1% has no impact on traditional theology. To disconnect the Bible from its source (God) is to open the door for man to “use our brains” excusing those passages we don’t like as being “flaws” like those found in the Mona Lisa. A man painted the Mona Lisa. God wrote the Bible. The inspiration you reference is not intermittent. Either the writers were supernaturally or divinely inspired or they were not. For this one book, one cannot limit the word “inspired” like using a faucet. I recognize my words fall on deaf ears but, again respectfully, this opinion is supported by facts. A Pew survey that just came out shows that 58% of Americans said they still believe in “God as described in the Bible”. Further, the largest Biblical Christian denomination in the US (Southern Baptist), through their mission board published their statement on the inerrancy of Scripture.
Finally, to your point, sadly, Gallup conducted a poll in 2017 which documented that only 24% of respondents believed the Bible was “the literal Word of God” while “47% still think the Bible is [the] inspired word of God”. Again, I acknowledge these last stats support your view that “inspired” can be limited to something less than “inerrant”. I stand with the 24% which is likely an even smaller group if Gallup conducted the same research today. God is omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent and His Word is perfect truth (2 Tim. 3:16, Proverbs 30:5, Matt. 5:17-18, 2 Peter 1:20-21, John 17:17).”
The response above was followed within minutes by the following from another writer…
“Anybody who has thoroughly and honestly studied the Bible knows that it is not inerrant. The doctrine of inerrancy is inherently dishonest.”
To which I responded…
“As I acknolodged, you are clearely in the majority. But the majority is not always correct. There remains a remenant who hold to God’s Word as inerrant and fully inspired.
To return to my original comment, (as relates exclusively to Salvation and the Bible), “If you are correct, then you can live a life making your own choices and learn God’s perfect truth on the other side of the grave. If you are wrong, you will burn in Hell for eternity. This is a weighty subject one should not take lightly.”… or pass off as an esoteric decision, holding no interest in the real world.”
More responses followed, focused around the belief that the Bible was a misguided, error-filled document written by man. Below ends my third and final response, briefly attempting to defend the Godly authenticity of Scripture. The writer made the point that the Bible was handed down through oral traditions and then written of “scraps of papyri” as a basis for its lack of credibility.
My Third and Last Response
“To some degree, you make my point on the miraculous nature of this unique love letter to mankind. We have…
- Hundreds of documents close to and more distant from the originals, yet when compared, they are amazingly consistent,
- Forty writers, from all walks of life, spread over a thousand years that have put together a single cogent, unified work of art,
- Consistently found archaeological evidence of the places and peoples referenced in Scripture,
- Multiple prophesies in the Old Testament, fulfilled in the New Testament. that make it more than a book written by man.
- Eye witness accounts of,
- Healings (Matt, 9:1-8, Mark 3:1-6, Luke 18:35-43 and many more),
- Resurrections from the dead (2 Kings 4:18-37, Luke 7:11-17, Mark 16:1-8, and many more),
- And other miracles (John 2:1-11, 4:46-47, Luke 5:1-11, Mark 1:30-31, and many more).
The Bible is an amazing document, the most controversial, most printed and most referenced in history. There is a supernatural reason for all that, but in the end, it comes down to faith.”
If the Bible has original errors then it cannot be trusted. If His love letter to us cannot be trusted, God cannot be trusted. Further, even those with a belief in the inerrancy of Scripture, still promote wacky theology. We live in a post-Christian society where there is no supreme moral foundation. Those beliefs and behaviors which would have seemed impossible just a few years ago are now considered normal, or at least acceptable (“What Once Was Bad, is now Good“). The more the Bible is discounted the less we have as a nation, have to stand on as solid truth. Biblical Christians are a remnant (1 Kings 19:18) and that’s ok.