fbpx

Bible: The Greatest Myth Ever Recorded

There is some discussion resulting on the last post on the Bible, so you can read it there. I will comment on some of the posts soon. I’m going to post as I have time, and when my mind is working properly, so that might end up being two a day, or one a week.

Before I scare anyone away with my title, let me explain. A myth is not something that is false necessarily. The second us in culture here the bible or the creation account or something of the like called a myth we automatically conclude that the person using the word is calling it false, and that is far from the case. Many ran into this error in their studies of York thinking everyone thought everything in the bible was false because they were calling it a myth, but this was not even remotely the case. My uncle forewarned me, so that was beneficial to know coming here.

The bible encompasses the most amazing story ever known. There is so much information packed under the text that scholars are still discovering the complexities and concepts that have been there for hundreds of years. The way that the books synchronize together helps protect the historicity of the text and affirms what is there is accurate. The way that the 66 books correspond with each other, through fulfilled prophecies and similar messages from different authors gives a confidence to the reader that they aren’t just reading a story that came to the mind of some crazy man in the woods.

The bible isn’t without its problems though. The bible does have contradictions (despite what zealous preachers or conservative evangelicals may say). Typically they aren’t anything major, anything that distorts the story in a way to change the meaning or the main points. Just in the gospels account of the resurrection story alone, there is many discrepancies about what actually went on just reading the four different accounts. There are many thousands of manuscripts for each book in the bible, yet I believe that not for one of them do we have the original manuscripts. There are many books that we don’t know the authors of them. There are parts of texts that we think are missing and some that we think are added. The authors personalities ring true in almost every book. Authors argue over what is right and wrong in other books.

The bible never uses terms like infallible, inerrant or authoritative in its texts; these are terms that we give them to try to encapsulate what we think of it. The bible is actually remarkably silent about the role that it should play in our lives besides a few verses here and there like in Paul’s letter to Timothy and Old Testament passages which of course are usually talking strictly about only the Torah.

With all these problems; one thing remains. The bible testifies God’s story. Without the bible we would know nothing about how God has worked through history to bring about his redemptive plan for humankind. That which testifies to the story is errant. That which testifies to the story is not infallible. It is the story that holds these qualities. It is God’s story/plan that holds all authority. It is God’s story that can’t be replaced by anything else. The story is found in the bible, the bible is irreplaceable, but it doesn’t replace or have the same characteristics as the story itself. You read a book about Cinderella, the book and the words aren’t the story, the story happened already and the book just explains what happened with the story.

That is the way I view the bible. As the irreplaceable, priceless texts that point to the story of God’s redemptive plan in history which points to Christ.

9 Comments

  • Because I’m on this shutdown, I have time on my breaks to write. Usually I’m too busy doing ministry these days to do this much writing. Having read all the other blogs you mentioned Nate, and their corresponding comments, I have to admit I found my head spinning with all the questions but no-one is seemingly too intersted in concrete answers. Maybe it’s that I’m at a different point in life but do any of us have the time to discuss all this stuff and if we do, what is the end purpose? Like how do we corelate this to actual using it to minister to someone else in effective ways. Someday when we meet Jesus face to face He’s going to ask ‘just exactly what was your point?’ I died for the sins of the whole world and told you to be my ambassador, to love and help people at their point of need and spread the good news of forgiveness as best you can with My empowerment, and you sat there and just questioned everything and then concluded that there’s no real answers so you started a new church system called deconstruct or something! Jesus would then maybe ask why we just didn’t learn what was actually in the bible instead of asking all these peripheral questions that focus on non-answers. It would be cool if I saw some younger people asking objective questions about something the bible actually says that can be applied to life. Nate, I’m frustrated that in all of this ‘deconstruction’ of ‘modern’ christianity, the bible is being attacked and relegated to a faulty, contradictory book of literary scre-ups who couldn’t even get their own story straight. And people all around us drop into hell every day while we ride up and down the merry-go-round of whether there is even a real literal hell or not. Or whatever the issue is, we go off on that rabbit trail only to find out that we’re no different than the ‘modern’ generation in our effectiveness or should I say lack thereof. Instead of psyco-analizing (or navel gazing) our own faith, why don’t we just live for Jesus and love Him with all our hearts and then tell lost people about Him, and help them in their understanding and belief as we journey with them in this existance we know as life. If there is eternal life (how come we never dabate the good stuff?), then why don’t we just try and get as many there through the saving power of God’s love. Or does God not ‘save’ people anymore? What a concept it would be to be pro-active in our approach to our own faith instead of looking at ‘how everyone else does it’ and cut that down to make our own cause look better. We all have a job to do. Let’s stop spinning our wheels and begin to focus on the task Jesus has given us to do – and I’ll guarantee we will all learn alot more that way. And I’ll also guarantee it will be stuff that matters to the bottom line – our present and future relationship with Jesus Christ. This may generate some negative response but that’s okay. If I am labelled as just another modernist viewpoint, that’s okay – I’m used to it! There’s only one message the Christian faith should be known for – the message of the cross.

  • Ralph, thanks for the comment, and also the comments on the previous blogs. I left most comments without response for now hoping other readers would step up and respond and knowing that I was going to cover some of the topics in my upcoming posts. However, this post I don’t think can go without a few responses.

    We have very little of Christ’s life recorded. In fact, we only have about two or three years of his ministry recorded, interestingly enough his ministry began at the beginning of those two or three years. He was about thirty when he started his ministry. That means for thirty years, he studied, struggled with, memorized, meditated on the Torah and prepared himself and allowed God to prepare him to fulfill the calling that was on his life. Could it be that it is ok for us to spend time (away from the pressures of evangelism) to try and understand the message (all streams of it) to the fullest?

    I refuse to sit back and just take things for granted and accept things because everyone else does. I want to know why the Bible should hold any place at all in my life, and many other people do to. For you to just disregard all these questions and say ‘just just live for Jesus and love Him with all our hearts and then tell lost people about Him’ is exactly the thing that leaves people hanging with a shallow faith.

    If you haven’t noticed in my latest posts, i’ve been narrowing down my thought process to land on some concrete answers; they just happen to be different then the concrete answers that many find comfort in. So all of sudden when people asking questions come to different conclusions, we get told that we are ‘physcoanalizing’ and people are going to hell everyday because we are too busy seeking truth.

    Much of Jesus’ ministry included discussion with the Pharisees and scholars of their time. Much of Paul’s ministry included debating (for three consexutive months, Acts 19:8) and helping people discover truth, whether it be Christians that were still trying to figure it out or unbelievers hearing it for the first time. The founders of Christianity obviously found some worth in debating, talking, struggling with different concepts of Christianity and belief in God. Could it be that it is ok to have scholars who do nothing but study, and maybe don’t have a lot of social interaction? Could it be so wrong to spend time debating and discussing and trying to come to grips with God’s message and everything that is encapsulated with it?

    Why have bible studies at all then if really all we should be doing is telling people about Jesus? Why go to school? Why even read our Bible anymore? Why seek understanding and knowledge at all? You asked why we never debate the good stuff? Well who picks and chooses what the good stuff is? It seems to me that the book that the entire Christian movement is based on would be a good place to have a ‘good’ debate on.

    My entire life has been dedicated to Christ, since I was four years old. I have had many mess-ups along the way and at times let Christ down. I have spent long hours spending time with people and seen some good fruit and some bad fruit and seen God work in some amazing ways. I’m at a point now, and i know MANY others are (almost everyone that I have ever talked to my age, especially those that study theology in school) don’t understand why the church holds the views they do. If they don’t understand it, we will never be able to help a generation understand it. I’m sorry, but the entire point of life is not saving people from hell. While Christ’s salvation of the world is at the top of my list, it does not encapsulate my entire life to a point where I am willing to through out all intelligence, questions and everything else just to tell people about Jesus.

    God seems to think questions are important. In fact, he seems to think questions without answers are important too (read Job). Jesus was asking questions all the time, intriguing people to think for themselves, to think outside of the confines that Judaism had put on them. Maybe its time that we start re-asking these questions, questions that intrigue us to think outside of the confines that the church has put on us.

  • Interesting commentaries Nathan and it’s fascinating to watch your thought process as you wrestle your faith and it’s place both in the world and in your life.

    I’m encouraged how you are able to hold to the truth of God’s message while allowing the chaff to blow away. So many before that have walked that path have watched their faith crumble, never knowing they had put their faith in the teaching of men rather than in God.

    So much of what is held so dear today is really nothing more than the teaching of men, and some of it is very good and valuable, but it shouldn’t be the foundation of our faith no matter how many times it’s shouted from a pulpit.

    That being said, your word choice is… interesting. I presume you know the kinds of reactions you’ll get when you introduce “mythology” to a discussion of the bible text and acknowledge “contradictions” whether significant or not.
    Those are buzzwords that will grab the attention of both seekers and modernists both. You’ll likely intrigue one and offend the other, as you’ve found with our friends Ron and Ralph. I’m not taking you to task for it, just pointing out what I think is the obvious.

    To the Ralphs, I can only say, don’t get caught up on the emotional ties that we might have with the word choice and look at the message and the heart.
    There are millions of people out there that will never recieve your message, because they can’t get past the kinds of issues that Nathan is wrestling with. If you’re trying to detour them from a hell bound path, you won’t do it if they will never even listen to your message.
    I find it humourous though that you cry out for a end to a debate on an issue such as “Is there a literal and eternal Hell” by stating that people are falling into Hell everyday.
    You’re not interested in that discussion, because you believe there is no discussion. If you truly wanted to rally others to that cause, you’d need to show it, not simply state it, and if you can’t give an account of your faith in Hell to a brother that is seeking, then how can you be ready to give that account to one of the “lost” that has no interest in hearing about your Hell?

    Personally, whether there is a hell or not, I’d follow Christ’s parable and go out into the streets and invite them into the banquet of God’s Love and redeem their life here on earth into God’s Kingdom rather than simply scream at them to get out of the coming fire.

  • Nathan, of course people will say I have a bias opinion when ever you say something because I truly respect what it is you say. My faith started with me punching you in the head and its been about as odd as that ever since.

    Interesting how some people believe the only thing that matters in being a Christian is getting the gospel out there and pulling people out of the depths of hell. What happens once a person gets saved? Is that it, there saved, no more learning, just turn around and repeat the gospel to get more people saved?

    Like anything you find yourself in, you want to learn more. If I started learning and playing basketball am I really to believe that the only thing that matters is the ball going in the hoop? Is that just the point of the game? Is that all I should care about? I doubt it. There are so many other angles, aspects and statistics recorded in the game other than the ball traveling through the hoop.

    Am I to believe that if I question anything about the game I love or say things like I dont agree with that rule or that style that I am out of line? Now, Lets say I question the game I love or want to see changes, am I actually destroying or deconstructing the game? I hope not.

    Nathan, I liked how you talked about Jesus. He spent the first thirty years of his life pondering, understanding and figuring out this gospel before he did his ministry we read about. I find you to be in a similar place. Youre at school educating about this God you intend to serve the rest of your life. Your trying to understand your place and your role on the team and figuring out how the game operates and where it can be improved.

    To think youre a heretic or out of line because your questioning and landing differently on different issues than that of the traditional thought process is absurd. I really believe that being honest and saying I dont know is better than saying this is the only way and never question it and be so certain of it. Check your calendar back 200 years ago where wholesome bible people knew for sure that slavery was of God.

    Ralph, you always go on about how when you were a kid you were smacked over the head with legalism and playing pool or partaking in sports with schools was of Satan. Who was out of line then? The adults who studied the word of God everyday or you, a 16 year old who didnt know what side of the bed to get up on but for some reason you knew that something was up with the way church was and you wanted to get away from it.

    Could it be that this cycle is occurring once again? Could it be that when I am forty the same cycle will continue? Only in the future will be debating if robots are human or can clones have a religion or something wild like that. (I know that sounds retarded)

    If Borey is right when he proclaims that technology is ultimately the starting of the end times then whose fault is it that computers are here? I was born with the Mario Brothers as my idol. I knew every angel of Tetris but I didnt even know my math table. Who dropped the ball back in the day when computers first came out? Maybe there to blame for the end times?

    Maybe I am crazy but maybe the end times or people dropping in or out of hell isnt the issue. Maybe it isnt the bottom line. Maybe the bottom line is the point of there not being a bottom line.

    For Jesus, a man who came to give the good news for the widow and the poor, it seems that we love to debate about places we have no idea about (hell and heaven) who is going to them or what Jesus will say to you once we get to either destination.

    Jesus says that those who give water to the thirsty, speak on behalf of the widow, feed and cloth the hungry and poor do the work of Christ. Am I to believe that those who do these deeds but dont run around memorizing bible scripture are going to hell over Christians who just sit around and bitch? Oh, I dont want to say that, I mean squabble.

    Another good point, Nathan when you talked about what the point of learning is then? I think bible studies or any discussion is great. I dont think its about how we all need to learn the one and only way and I think Jesus smiles when he sees human beings with different thoughts and beliefs being respected as equal, which Jesus was all about in the first place.

    Even in the office I am writing from, there is a discussion going on behind me whether who the better leader was: Mohammed who brought the concept of peace or the English invading converting machines using God (our God) as there foundation for slaying those who didnt think like they did.

    I cant disagree with them. How do you suppose I bust into this conversation and tell them the saving love of God by telling them that hell is upon them repent NOW.

  • Sorry Nathan,
    I wrote my original blog here after reading all the other blogs you had posted about the bible and not so much in connection with the ‘myth’ blog. I feel I was totally being misunderstood by some of the things I’ve said and therefore will not be posting in future. Just be careful man – there are gullible people out there who will accept anything you say, so keep the journey honest and objective. I leave you with this …

    “This is a true saying, and everyone should believe it: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners–and I was the worst of them all. But that is why God had mercy on me, so that Christ Jesus could use me as a prime example of his great patience with even the worst sinners. Then others will realize that they, too, can believe in him and receive eternal life. Glory and honor to God forever and ever. He is the eternal King, the unseen one who never dies; he alone is God. Amen.” (1 Timothy 1:15-17) It is all about eternal life – a hundred years from now you guys will agree. It is what Jesus came for – to save sinners and give them the tools to live right, live abundantly, be discipled, etc. I know I will be criticized for using scripture or be tore apart for thinking it’s about people actually ‘getting saved.’ How narrow-minded of me. I know the Devil thinks so. So carry on boys, and I will keep on trying to reach the lost by helping them at their point of need and eventually share Christ’s love to them as God opens the doors. I don’t have all the answers – just one answer in Jesus Christ.
    Signing off,
    the ‘Ralph’ out there

  • Ralph.

    I guess I also must have been misunderstood if you think that you are going to be “criticized for using scripture or be tore apart for thinking it’s about people actually ‘getting saved.'” I don’t know what you have read on my blog, but almost every post of the over 160 relates to scripture and many relate to understanding salvation and its importance.

    I’m sorry that you compare what you think about my thoughts to the Devil.

    “So carry on boys, and I will keep on trying to reach the lost by helping them at their point of need and eventually share Christ’s love to them as God opens the doors.”

    I’m not sure what that means, but know that I’m doing the same thing and have been trying to all my life. However at the same time, I will be carrying on in my questions and desperate search for the truth of Christ and salvation. I feel like you left this blog on the note as you’ll just keep heading in the right direction and one day we’ll understand and follow. Either way, hopefully we can understand that our differences do not change what is the same and that they should not cause dissension between us. Maybe this blog isn’t the best place for you to participate in discussion, I apologize for misunderstanding you, and if you are unwilling to explain yourself so you are understood then I understand that also.

    While we may not agree on the legistics, I know we agree on Christ, and that is all that matters when we are working in the Kingdom.

  • Ralph,

    I’m confused, you said in your first post that you were sure you’d generate some negative posts and that you were OK with that, but now that you feel misunderstood, you just won’t post?

    To share your thoughts here or not is certainly your perogative, but it seems an odd way to bow out.

    You expressed your frustration with deconstructionism, then asked why we can’t just learn what’s in the Bible? Well, if all you want is what’s in the Bible then Deconstructionism is all about that! You strip away everything man has heaped upon the Bible and you look afresh at what scripture itself has to say!

    You say you reach the lost at their point of need, fantastic!! The Bible clearly directs us to that.

    You share God’s love with them and the joy of knowing it eternally! Also fantastic! Another clear point all can agree on.

    But… then what? Surely you’ve seen how many have come that far, only to slide out the side doors, the back doors, even the windows of our churches disillusioned by the very people they thought had something to offer them?

    I have. For a long time, (it’s been a very long time since I’ve been a boy myself) and because my faith is in my Lord, not Institutions or Leaders, it hasn’t put my own faith into crisis, but I’ve watched it pull down so many.

    My generation, and the generations before me seemed to accept their faith as their parents or the evangelist handed it to them. The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.

    Nathan’s generation seems to want to OWN their faith, to make it real and vibrant, to take the Good, reject the Bad and transform the Ugly. If they occasionally can’t tell which is which because of the layers of history on them, then I want to work it through with them, not chastise them for daring to sift and meditate.

    John 5:39-40 (New American Standard Bible)
    39″You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; it is these that testify about Me;
    40and you are unwilling to come to Me so that you may have life.

    I won’t be so bold as to even imply this passage can apply to you Ralph, but just as Jesus spoke that to the established church of His day, I think the Church today would do well to heed His words before they apply again.

    I think we need to stop saying “Jesus is the answer” and start living, “Jesus has the answers”

  • Nathan,
    I want to make sure that I understand what you are saying here before I try to add to the conversation.

    Are you saying that the bible does contain contradictions that would indicate errors in the text?

    Do you believe that the bible is errant?

    And, if the answers are yes, do you believe that these contradictions and errancy existed in the original manuscripts?

    I want to add that I really appreciate this topic you are taking us down. Your love for the bible appears obvious to me and I hope that my love for it could be the same. I do believe that it is time well spent, in proportion of course, to test our understanding or even beliefs in what the bible is/says/does and what exactly we are to do with it.

    I’m also really enjoying the opportunity that we have here as a community of believers to challenge one another and hold one another accountable in our walk with Christ. Some of us will be wrong, some will be right, and hopefully God is guiding our words in humility and love and the Spirit will help each of us to discern the truth. I hope that the desenters and minority opinions out there will continue to voice their viewpoints as well. I’ve found that it is often the viewpoint that is wrong or is simply in the minority (please note that I’m not connoting minority with wrong) that I grow the most from as I am forced to defend (or change) what I believe.

    Thanks,
    Ollie

  • Wow, this is getting to be a heavy discussion Brothers. Lets play nice now. I know that sometimes because of the schooling we had that we can have a hard time trying to make ourselves understood.
    I myself love this type of dialogue, the meeting of the minds. And the seeking of the answers. When I first came to an understanding that the God of Heaven and Hell, the One of the living and the dead, really took notice of me, I feel in love with Him. But I, at the time said, but God I have 1001 questions. His response was Brady no problem, but all in due time. I took that to mean that when I was able to understand the answer, He would give it to me.
    Many, many times in witnessing and telling others about my story, they had a lot of questions too. Lots of times I did have the answers right away. Sooo guess who I went to, Father. He loves questions, why cause it means time spent with Him. And like a human father who loves to spent time with his own children (gifts from God as scripture says). Father just wants us to spent time with Him. Then maybe we won’t need to ask others for their opinions, thoughts. But please we can talk and ask others questions also, that’s not what I’m trying to say, scripture also does say to seek a counselors advice for different things. Point being, remember I said that some people may have a hard time getting things out, well. The point is just spend the time with the Lord alone and watch and see what happens, and please I’m not trying to say that you don’t.
    It’s just in reading again in 2 Timothy 2:15,16 Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth. But avoid worldly and empty chatter, for it will lead to further ungodliness,
    I’m not trying to sound more spiritual then anyone else, Nathan knows I think he is awesome and I was invited to give my opinions. I understand that you hold to the word strongly, Nathan, Ralph, Ron another awesome kid God going to use mightily, and John I don’t know but you I’d like to get to know, because it sounds like you have a love for God and that is all we all need. Because Father is the one to teach, lead and guide.
    I think I understand what Ralph is trying to say he like I believe the Bible to be the map, the guide post, the book with all the answers, the way the truth and the life, ooops that’s Jesus. I can just see all you guys just cringed just then. Haha
    It’s just a book, but the words are life giving, to borrow a phrase from the book, we NEED to accurately handle to word of TRUTH.
    Like I said the other day, it’s just a whisper of what Father wants to say to us if we will but listen, but really and I’m including myself in this. We need to get down and spend the time with Him, for revelations which He does and wants to give to those who are serious, not to the new believers but to the one who will diligently seek Him and love Him and not just say they do, you see you will know if someone has spent time alone with God, he will live and act like Jesus.
    How can I say this, please forgive me if I offend anyone. Jesus when He was born was God, when He was conceived, was God in the flesh.
    He didn’t need to spend the time with the Heavenly Father until the age of thirty before His ministry was to start. To as it were to get revelation to GET the calling He was the calling, He wasn’t human changed into God, like a lot of people think. HE WAS GOD. He didn’t have questions, He knew who He was, and what His purpose was, sure we see Him say Father if there is any other way. Here He is pure and Holy. ALL the SIN of the WORLD. Think about it. Mediate on that for a while. He just didn’t want to be separated from Father for any amount of time. Really.
    He just wanted to spend time with Father, like when you’ve been with Yahweh all your eternal life, He just kept it up.
    Please folks get the revelation. Please I’m not to be smart, just reminding you of the real truth here we all need to get revelations all the time. Man that’s what God wants. The reveling of Jesus and yes study the word as Jesus did to validate it. It’s a tool to be used for the Glory of God. Man the screw up still can be used by God.
    That’s what He chooses to do. Father allows us to be used the salvation process because it shows our love for Him first of all and then proves our love for others, which proves we love the Father of the whole universe.
    And when you’re not around the newly saved Christian, they have some place to go to get their answers and not to someone that just may screw them up. We lead them, to God, the Holy Spirit guides them and He constantly uses the book all the time.
    That’s why so many people get bogged down in bible college, cause man can screw up even the learning process of the word, they forget the reason that they are there.
    Good questions for a private discussion with someone you trust, because the truth is it can really hurt a weak Christian and cause them to abandon their faith.
    Heaven forbid we cause anyone to go to Hell because of our ignorance.
    Lets just get on our knees until the answers come. And please I’m truly not trying to be glib. Nathan you know I love to talk to you about the things of God. I my humble opinion I really believe that our primary goal is to get to know father in a more personal way and then that will to the witnessing of those revelation He will share with us that will cause others to want what we have. Even other Christians.

Join the Discussion