Inspiration


Barna Research Group reports that the number of American adults who view the Bible as “just…a book of stories and teachings written by men” has increased from 10% in 2011 to 17% in 2013.  That’s a significant increase in just two years.

Read the entire report here.

I’ve been reading through the book of Proverbs with my wife.  I’ve noticed something in the text that clues me into the history of the book, and poses interesting questions for the doctrine of Biblical inspiration.  

The book opens with the words, “The proverbs of Solomon, son of David, king of Israel” (Proverbs 1:1, ESV).  These words read like the words of an editor, not Solomon himself.  They were added by the individual(s) who compiled Solomon’s proverbs and edited them into the form and order we see in our Bibles.  There is reason to believe, however, that this collection of Solomonic proverbs consisted only of the first nine chapters.  Proverbs 10:1 reads, “The proverbs of Solomon.”  If the introduction to the book of Proverbs tells us these are the proverbs of Solomon, why mention this again unless (1) there had been a shift in authors from Solomon to someone else somewhere between chapter one and chapter nine, or (2) if the proverbs beginning with chapter 10 were not part of the original collection of proverbs.  There is no indication of a change in authorship between chapter one and chapter nine, so it follows that chapter 10 begins a new collection of Solomonic proverbs that was not part of the original collection.  How long did the first collection circulate before this second collection was added?  We do not know, but clearly enough time elapsed that when the new collection was added to the first, it was important to preface the collection by noting that these, too, were the proverbs of Solomon.  

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I recently taught on the historical reliability of the Gospels and the historical evidence for the resurrection of Jesus.  One of the areas I focused on was the apparent contradictions and errors in the Gospels, demonstrating how most of these are easily resolvable, and thus not contradictions/errors at all.  But not all Biblical difficulties are so easily resolved.  In fact, there are some for which I do not presently have a good answer.  If you are a careful reader of Scripture, I’d bet there are Biblical difficulties you have encountered for which you lack a good answer as well.  What are we to do with such difficulties given the doctrine of Biblical inerrancy?  What should our posture be toward the Christian faith once having discovered irresolvable difficulties in the text?

Some individuals respond by concluding that Christianity is not true.  Some go so far as to conclude that God does not even exist!  I submit to you that these responses are ill-founded; the result of elevating the doctrine of inerrancy to a status it should not be accorded in one’s theological taxonomy.  While the Bible is an indispensable aid to our faith and Christian growth, an inerrant Bible is not necessary for the truth of Christianity, and thus the doctrine of inerrancy—and Bibliology in general—should be subservient to more central doctrines such as the resurrection of Jesus in our theological taxonomy.  Let me explain.

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