The Bible

If we want to see all the articles about the Bible on one page, click here.

The Bible is-what-it-is no matter what we may think about it. Whether some believes that it is a holy book or if someone believes its a common book doesn't change what the Bible is. It is-what-it-is. Our beliefs don't affect what it already is. However, What we believe about the Bible can greatly affect what forces affect or influence our lives.

During most of my childhood and earlier life I heard over and over again that the Bible is "the inerrant, infallible, authoritative Word of God."

There seems to be this common misperception among Christians that they have to see the Bible as the "Word of God" or the Bible will be seen as not valid (full of errors, etc.). This is erroneous thinking. If you were to say that the Bible is of no value unless we can claim that it's perfect, then that is a black-or-white fallacy1. Consider the immense quantity of books that has been written and of the great value many of them are. Any type of writing, speech, is either true or false, or a mixture. (However, to be realistic, if something is mostly true, but some of the key foundations are false, then it is false.)

If we don't call the Bible the Bible the Word of God, then how will we (or others) know that it is true? Any book or writing is true because the writing in it is true and can be validated.

There are many many types of books that are not called the Word of God that are very beneficial.

One of the fallacies that people claim about the bible is that ALL of it (every word) is the Inspired Word of God. For an example of that teaching, go here.

 

Look at all the other books that have been written. There are many valuable books that have greatly benefited and changed many people's lives.

What is the Bible?

The word "bible" means "book". The Bible is a book, plain and simple. 'The Bible is said to contain records of God's laws, His speaking to and dealing with His people throughout time. The Bible gives principles and concepts and examples of how to live. It tells about God and His son.

 

Note

Whether the Bible is the Word of God or not, the important thing is how we live our lives. These articles are just a way for me to write out what I think or believe is true. But each person should come to their own set of beliefs

 

Explosive!!!

I've noticed that many people are explosive in their beliefs. If they perceive that someone is "attacking" the Bible, or their ideas of religion or God, they get very angry very quickly (otherwise known as an "Outburst of Anger".) If people are truly mature and well founded in their beliefs, they don't get angry when they hear differing beliefs.

  • 1. Black-or-White The black-or-white fallacy is a false dilemma fallacy that unfairly limits you to only two choices. Example: Well, it’s time for a decision. Will you contribute $10 to our environmental fund, or are you on the side of environmental destruction? A proper challenge to this fallacy could be to say, “I do want to prevent the destruction of our environment, but I don’t want to give $10 to your fund. You are placing me between a rock and a hard place.” The key to diagnosing the black-or-white fallacy is to determine whether the limited menu is fair or unfair. Simply saying, “Will you contribute $10 or won’t you?” is not unfair. http://www.iep.utm.edu/fallacy/#Black-or-White
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"Biblical" Greek

I do a lot of thinking about many of the concepts and principles of life. I also do a lot of thinking about the meanings of many different Bible verses that I "learned" as a child and young adult.

I often look up the definitions of Greek words so that (hopefully) I can better understand a verse in the New Testament. In looking up the definitions in a Greek dictionary, I see that many words have a both religious definition at the top and then have "other" non-religious definitions at the bottom. I have found that the religious definitions often make the work unclear or hard to understand, or it brings some "spiritual" (magical) meaning to the word.When religion gets in the middle of defining greek words, it seems that the definitions get all muddied up and magitized (or sprititualized).

I'm not a Greek scholar, but in my limited understanding it seems that the non-religious meanings of the words make a lot more sense to me. So I've developed a habit to mostly disregard and look past the religious meanings of words.

I also don't think that Greek was a religious or a Christian language. I think that it was just a plain language of the times. Which means, I really wonder if, and doubt that, those religious meanings were part of the original Greek language.

It is my understanding that "Biblical" Greek was actually just the common language of the day.

"Ancient Greek is the stage of the Greek language in the periods spanning the times c. 9th–6th centuries BC, (known as Archaic), c. 5th–4th centuries BC (Classical) , and the c. 3rd century BC – 6th century AD (Hellenistic) of ancient Greece and the ancient world; being predated in the 2nd millennium BC by Mycenaean Greek. The language of the Hellenistic phase is known as Koine ( common ) or Biblical Greek, the language from the late period onward has no considerable difference from Medieval Greek." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ancient_Greek

What is called "Biblical" Greek (which is really Hellenistic Greek) spanned the time from the 3rd century before Christ to the 6th Century after Christ, although it seems to have its roots back to the 9th century before Christ.

Now, what does this mean? It would seem apparent that Greek was not a religious language, but just the regular language of it's time. I question the whole concept of putting "Christian" meanings to the common non-religious words. For example, let's look at the meanings of some Greek words.

Let us start with the word "word", as in "In the beginning was the Word...."

Greek Definition of "Word"

G3056 (Mickelson's Enhanced Strong's Greek and Hebrew Dictionaries)
G3056 λόγος logos (log'-os) n.
1. something said (including the thought)
2. (by implication) a topic (subject of discourse), also reasoning (the mental faculty) or motive
3. (by extension) a computation
4. (specially, with the article in John) the Divine Expression (i.e. Christ)
[from G3004]
KJV: account, cause, communication, X concerning, doctrine, fame, X have to do, intent, matter, mouth, preaching, question, reason, + reckon, remove, say(-ing), shew, X speaker, speech, talk, thing, + none of these things move me, tidings, treatise, utterance, word, work
Root(s): G3004

It is clear to me that definition number 4, "the Divine Expression (i.e. Christ)" was not a part of the original Greek language that was spoken at the time of Christ. The Greeks with whom the language originated did not know or believe in Christ. in fact, it would seem apparent that the Greek language was in existance centuries before Christ came to earth. So, how could the word "word" have the religious meaning, refering to Christ, since they had no reference point to even associate the word with Christ.

Greek Definition of "Spirit"

G4151 (Mickelson's Enhanced Strong's Greek and Hebrew Dictionaries)
G4151 πνεῦμα pneuma (pnyoo`-mah) n.
1. a current of air, i.e. breath (blast) or a breeze
2. (by analogy or figuratively) a spirit
3. (humanly) the rational soul
4. (by implication) vital principle, mental disposition, etc.
5. (superhumanly) an angel, demon
6. (divinely) God, Christ's spirit, the Holy Spirit
[from G4154]
KJV: ghost, life, spirit(-ual, -ually), mind
Root(s): G4154
Compare: G5590

Now, let us look at the Greek definition of the word "Spirit". Read down through all the definitions. When we come to the definitions 5 & 6 we see that they are religious definitions. If we eliminate the religious definitions (that were probably added later, see what the other definitions say.

When looking up the definitions of "Biblical" Greek (which can be presumed to really be a non religious Greek), look through all the definitons and eliminate any religious definitions. I would presume that this would bring us to a closer true definition of meaning of the words.

When we eliminate the religious definition of the Greek words, it would seem that we would come up with a better understanding of what was actually written and what it meant.

 

Greek Definition of "Scripture"

Consider how a couple regular Greek dictionaries define the Greek word

 γραφή

Dictionarist Defines γραφή like this:

Greek To English - γραφή  n. hand, quill, script, writ, Scripture, style, writing
http://www.dictionarist.com/
γραφή

Wicktionary Defines γραφή like this:

γραφή (grafí) f

  1. alphabetism
  2. writing (written letters or symbols that express some meaning)
  3. script (written characters)
  4. hand (style of penmanship), handwriting
    http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/γραφή

Now let's look at how a "Biblical" Greek dictionary define

G1124 (Mickelson's Enhanced Strong's Greek and Hebrew Dictionaries)
G1124 γραφή graphe (graf-ay') n.
1. a document, i.e. holy Writ (or its contents or a statement in it)
[(not given)]
KJV: scripture

Notice how the religious definition of "Holy Writ" has been added to the regular Greek  definition. Again it seems that the religious definition has to be added in order to try to make the word into a "holy writing" in order to try to prove that the Bible to be the "Word of God".

So, if you strip away the non-original religious definitions to the words, the supernatural interpretation of is taken away. The the Bible is put into the status of a regular book, which it is.

 

Since I have mostly put aside using the religious definitions of the Greek, the New Testament has never been clearer to me. And, I think, the meaning has change to (my perceived) actual word usage, not the religious meaning word usage.

 

 

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"The Bible Clearly Says"

Time and again I've heard various preachers and other Christians say "the Bible clearly says....." Now stop, think a minute. What are they really saying. When someone says the words "the Bible clearly says..." it is usually in the middle of a discussion or speach where they want to prove that he (the speaker) is right. For example one might say, "the Bible clearly says that women are to submit to their husbands" OR, on the other side, another might say, "No, the Bible clearly says that  both are to submit to one another."

Too many speakers draw out this weapon of "Biblical authority" in much the same way that the ancient gunfighters used to draw out their six-shooter.

This all shows sloppy thinking. Rather than claiming Biblical Authority, (such as quoting Bible verses, or claiming that the Bible says something,) Stop. Instead use clear logic and think out why you think something should be one way or another.

In saying this phrase there are a couple of subtle unproven assumption. The first unproven assumption is that the Bible carries some authority. (See, Does The Bible Claim to be the Word of God?) The second unproven assumption is that the Bible supports the speakers opinions about his or her topic. When a speaker resorts to "Biblical Authority", then we should more closely examine what he is saying. Does he have any substantial proof to back up his assumptions?

Authorship of the Bible

Who wrote the bible, and under what conditions?

Did men write the bible as the "Spirit" told them what to say? Did the "Spirit" actually move the hands of the authors, so that in fact, the men's minds weren't involved in the writing process?

If we are to say that the Bible was actually written by God, let's look at the implications of that belief:

If the books of the Bible were written directly by the hand of God (basically grabbing ahold of the bodies of all these men and making their hands move to produce writings on the writing materials), what are the implications? Among other things it would mean that:

  • The (supposed) authors of the various books of the Bible had nothing of value to share from their lives. Perhaps living a godly life didn't give them anything of value to write about.
  • Men aren't capable of writing anything of true significance.
  • The minds of mens were of no value in the writing process.

If the Ten Commandments were written by the very hands of God, isn't that proof that God can produce writings without using human bodies and hands?

If God can and did wrote the Ten Commandments himself, then why didn't he write the rest of the books of the Bible the same way? Was He incapable of writing on papyrus or other fragile writing materials?

 

 

To say that Moses wrote the first five books of the Bible, that covers a period of XXXX years, is questionable. If we follow the line of reasoning that God gave him a supernatural revelation, or that God personally told him what to write, or that God, through the Spirit, took control over his Body and personally wrote XXXX, we then have to ask some Questions. Why did God not do that with the rest of the books of the Bible. But then you might say that God did write the rest of the books. If that is so, then why did God stop writing?
As I understanding it, the Pentatuch contains several writing styles, meaning that it shows to be the writings of several people.
It would seem that if God were indeed the writer of the Bible, then the stories of the Bible would progress sequentially in order, without all the jumping around, duplication of events, etc.

 

 

 

I was raised by parents who called themselves Christians, but had their own set of beliefs. As a result I developed my own set of beliefs about God, the bible, church meetings, etc. Part of my belief system was what seems common in the Christian world today. That belief was "The bible is the inerrant, infallible, Word of God, the final authority in all things relating to faith and practice".

However, when I went through some very long and difficult years my religious beliefs crumbled. I realized that my beliefs weren't based upon truth. Although my faith in God has been greatly strenghthened,  I've had to rethink and evaluate much of what I once thought and believed about the Bible and religion. As I write these pages, my working premise is that various parts of the Bible were written by some godly men. (They wrote as honestly and truly as they were capable of writing. They wrote about what they had seen and learned about history and God's working.) However, the perceptions of the Bible by many today is distorted and has gotten way off track. The Bible has been made into a form of an idol. (Everything is based on the Bible, and it is called the "Word of God".)

Much of what I've been learning over the years is kind of fragmented, and just in my head. I decide write these pages to help me to put together what I've been learning. In other words, I'm mainly writing these pages for myself so that I can better understand all this myself. These web pages are a collection of ideas and beliefs that I've been learning over the years. This section of pages are focused on what I've been learning about the Bible. I'm writing these pages to clarify:

  1. What do I think or believe about the Bible
  2. What is true?

It is my intent to study, research, and write about the Bible:

  1. What is the Bible?
  2. Who actually wrote the various parts of it?
  3. How is it perceived?
  4. What is it's purpose?
  5. How can it be used?
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Claims of Bible Authorship

 

 

Various writers, preachers, etc. have ideas about how the Bible was written and who the author or authors were. In this Article we will examine some of those ideas. Some people, such as the following writer, say that God was the writer of the Bible, that he told the writers what to write.

"How can a book that is written in a span of 1,600 years by forty men be so accurate and consistent? The Bible is accurate and consistent because it actually has only one Author.

The Bible says, "Every Scripture is God-breathed." (2 Timothy 3:16, WEB.) "Scripture" means "writing," and here, it refers to the Holy Scriptures, the Bible. What does "God-breathed" mean? It means that it was God, Jehovah, who told the forty men what to write. Jehovah is the Author, and the men acted like His secretaries, who recorded down in writing what He told them to write. This is why the Bible is accurate and consistent--it only has one Author!1"

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Written by an All Knowing God

 

Written by an all knowing God,

"God sees the end of a matter before the beginning"

"In Him, we live and move and have our being."

Let's pretend that we are God and are writing the Bible. Since God is not bound by time, we can imagine him seeing everything happening throughout time as if it were all laid out before him on the table. Imagine yourself as God, with everything that ever happened or that will eve happen, all laid out on a table right in front of you. So, let's imagine that God is looking at every moment in every life of all 6 Billion people alive on earth today. Now lets also imagine that he also has all the millions and billions of people who have ever lived on this earth. God sees every moment of every life. Let's say that the average person lived 80 years (60 minutes per hour X 24 hours per day X365 days per year X 80 years =  525,600 minutes in a person's life X 50,000,000,000+ estimated people since the beginning of time = 26,280,000,000,000,000 minutes all before God at one time. Let's say that God is looking at all those 26,280,000,000,000,000 minutes of everyone's lives at one time. He is now working everything together. In addition, he ..

Does the Bible Claim to be the Word of God?

(If we want to see all the articles about the Bible on one page, click here.

Many religious leaders and other people claim that the Bible is the Inerrant Infallible Authoritative Word of God. Many of those people also claim that the Bible itself claims to be the word of God. Let's look at what one of those authors wrote:

"One of the objections raised by critics of biblical inspiration is that the Bible is not the word of God but that it contains the word of God.  Is this accurate?  No.  First of all, this doesn't fit what the Bible says about itself.  The collection of 66 books that the Christian Church recognized as being inspired speaks as the very words of God in many places.

"Thus says the Lord" occurs over 400 times in the Old Testament.
"God said" occurs 42 times in the Old Testament and four times in the New Testament.
"God spoke" occurs 9 times in the Old Testament and 3 times in the New Testament.
"The Spirit of the Lord spoke" through people in 2 Sam. 23:2; 1 Kings 22:24; 2 Chron. 20:14."1

The inference here is that just because a book says "Thus says the Lord" OR "God said" in it's content, then that proves that all the text before and after "what God said" was also spoken by God. Does this even make sense?

It says that God spoke.... or God said. Now to whom did he speak each time. It doesn't say that God "wrote" anything. But rather, God "spoke" to specific people for specific purposes. In fact, was anything said about putting "what God said" in a book?

"In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe. The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word." Hebrews 1:1-3

 

Making a claim doesn't make the claim true. Just because a writing has some words that are claimed to be from God, does that mean that the entire writing has written by God? No, of course not. The Bible makes no claims about itself because it is not an entity in and of itself. The Bible is a collection of the writings of various authors spanning perhaps a couple thousand years. When the claims were supposed to have been made, there was no such thing as the Bible.

Let's look at a hypathetical example. Let say that, as a college student, you write a letter home to your mom who wants you to come home for the holidays. In your letter to her, as you explain why you can't, you quote your professor word for word. You write that Professor Smith said, "You failed that test, which makes up 1/2 of your grade for the course. I'm going to give you another chance, I will retest you right after the holidays. If you wish to pass the test, and thereby past this course, you will need to stay at college and study hard for the test." In your letter you go on to say how much you love your mom and how much you will miss her. You also write a lot of other information in the letter.

I ask you, who wrote that letter? You. Whose letter is it? Yours. Just because you would have quoted your professor doesn't mean that the Professor wrote your letter. It doesn't matter if you quoted the professor once or a thousand times, it is your letter. You wrote the letter. In the same way, if the writers who wrote the different documents of the Old or New Testament said that "God said" or  "God spoke" or "Thus says the Lord" doesn't mean that God wrote those entire letters. The human authors wrote each of those documents by their own hand. Within the context of their letters they quoted what they thought God had said.

The Bible is not an authority or an identity in itself. The Bible cannot speak itself. It can make no claims regarding itself. It is merely a collection of writings of various authors. We have to look at what each writer said in context.

Often times an whole bunch of Bible verses are given at one time to "prove" that the Bible is the "Word of God". Well, let's take a look at the common verses that are use to make that claim.

In reality, is there any such thing as the Bible, or the Old Testament or the New Testatment? Each of those is really just a collection of writings of various prophets and other authors. If you look carefully through each of the books of the Bible, or Old Testament, or New Testament, you will notice something. None of any of the writers had any idea that someday their writings would be part of something call the Bible, The Word of God, The Old Testament or the New Testament. It was only many centuries after they were written that MEN put them together into a book form.

 

They say that they need to have the Bible to have a guideline, a word from God, a standard, to know what is true and what is not.
If that is true, then what about all the people throughout history who never had a Bible. For well over XX years there were no Bibles in the hands of the common people. All throughout history how did people know what was true? How did God speak to people through all of this time...
To say that the Bible is needed as the Word of God so that we know what is truth, does not make it into the Word of God and saying that doesn't make it true.
Rom 1

Old Testament

 

New Testament

Much of the New Testament was written in Greek. Greek was not a "Christian" language, but was just the common language of the people. To find out the true definition of Greek words we should not go to a "Theological" or "Biblical Greek Dictionary". Instead we should go to a common language Greek Dictionary.

Biblical scholars are often promoting the study of (Biblical) Greek, as if that it he best way to understand "the book that God wrote". Consequently, in Christianity today you would think of Greek as a "Biblical" or religious language. In reality, Greek was just a common language of the day. It was not a religious language. (See "Biblical Greek".) Paul and the other writers used common Greek words. They did not make up words to write their letters, otherwise no one would have understood them.

Here is one of the verses that religious people have used to "prove" that the Bible is the Word of God. Let's examine it more closely.

Scripture

2 Timothy 3:16

" All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.........."

Let's look at the word "scripture" that is used in the New Testament. Let's see how a common Greek dictionary defines it:

According to http://en.wiktionary.org the Definition of the Greek word for Scripture

Etymology: From γράφω.
Noun: γραφή (genitive ?) ?, (graphē)
   1. drawing
   2. painting
   3. writing, a writing
   4. description

Greek: Noun
γραφή (grafí) f.
   1. alphabetism
   2. writing (written letters or symbols that express some meaning)
   3. script (written characters)
   4. hand (style of penmanship), handwriting

In other words, the word "scripture" means "the act, process, or the product of writing". There is no "spiritual" meaning to the word itself. It was just a common word to describe either the act of writing or a document (of any type).

Prophets

Now, let us look at the concept of "prophets". Is that a specially appointed office designated by God himself?

2 Peter 1:21

"For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit." (NIV)

Definition of the word: "proph·et  (prft)
n.
1. A person who speaks by divine inspiration or as the interpreter through whom the will of a god is expressed.
2. A person gifted with profound moral insight and exceptional powers of expression.
3. A predictor; a soothsayer.
4. The chief spokesperson of a movement or cause."

Again, starting with the word "prophet", let's put aside the the thought of "Biblical Greek?" and the "religious" definition and look towards a more common down-to-earth definition. So, let's examine #2 above, and possibly #4. Let's also look at the meaning of Holy Spirit, as decribed here,  meaning "pure and blameless mental disposition". So, the meaning of the prophet goes very well with definition #2 "A person gifted with profound moral insight and exceptional powers of expression".

 

 

 

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Evaluating the Bible

Any thinking person will evaluate what he or she is reading. While reading it is normal to ask questions about the content of what is being read.

  • Who is the author?
  • Does the author have first-hand information about what he or she has written?
  • If the author doesn't have first hand information, did he or she thoroughly research the subject?
  • Does the author have any prejudice or biases that distort what was written?
  • Is what was written true? How much of it is true and to what degree?
  • Has the author proven himself or herself true in othe things that they have written?
  • Does the author write in a well reasoned and credible manor, or does he or she make outrageous claims?

 

I have been told by well meaning people that I could loose my salvation if I don't believe that every part of the Bible was written by God's Holy Spirit. Is this true? Upon what basis is this claim made?

Any thinking person should evaluate the writings in the Bible to see if the are true.

 

Inerrancy of the Bible?

It has been emphatically stated by numerous Christian leaders that the Bible is without error..... Is this true? The inferance seems to be that if there were to be found any errors in the Bible, then it would be found to be false. But this conclusion in itself is erroneous. This leads to many errors

 

Why are religious people afraid to examine the validity of the bible itself? If people claim

Many people stake their lives and salvation on a book they haven't critically examined.

 

Many people claim that the bible was inerrant in it's original....

However, no original copy of any part of the bible exists today. All we have are copies of.... So, no one who is alive today has ever seen or examined those originals. In addition, none of the authors of the books of the bible ever claimed that their writings were free from errors.

But, even if those original documents were written by divine inspiration and were totally errorless, what about the copies and the translation that are around today. Are they inerrant? Do the modern translators have proofreaders to check for errors? (I'm being rediculous here now) If God is in the business of making sure all of his writings are perfect and error-free, then what would be the need for proof readers? After all, if God is in charge, wouldn't the translators just automatically make perfect copies the first time.

If god was watching over the original documents to make them inerrant the first time through, then God could and would protect the following copies from error (in the same way that he is said to have guided the writing of the first documents.) Has that happened without fail?

  • Are all the copies error free?
  • Are all the translations error free?
  • Why are there so many translations?

With all the modern word processore (and their built-in spell checkers), typesetters, and other computerized equipment of today, there are still many  documents that have errors. Therefore these documents need to be proofread.

To say that Paul's pen never slipped, that he never made an error in his writing, is ludecrous.

 

Here's a problem. If one says that the Bible is the Word of God, that was written by the Holy Spirit, then you have to claim that "there are no mistakes in the Bible". When mistakes are found, then you have to say that they are really not mistakes OR

God himself will be our teacher.

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What is the Bible?

What is the Bible?

For all practicle purposes, it is a book1, plain and simple

 

What does the book contain?

The Bible contains writings from a number of different people. In other words, it is a collection of writings.

  • 1. "2. The word Bible comes from the Greek word biblia, which means “books” which comes from another word, byb/os, meaning papyrus, a material books were made from in ancient times 3. The ancient Greeks obtained their supplies of paper from the port of Byblos, in what is now Lebanon. Their word for book—biblion (the singular form of biblia)—was derived from the name of this port, and from this we get our English word Bible, meaning the Book of books." http://www.holybible.com/resources/poems/ps.php?sid=626

Belief in the Bible

I've learned a few things. Just because someone believes in something does not make it true. Just because someone believes INTENSELY in something does not make it true. Someone's belief in something has nothing to do with whether or not something is true. Something is true because it is true, and for no other reason.

My Belief:

My Faith is in God and in his working in my life and in the lives of others. He has demonstrated his love and his care for me through many trials. He showed Himself to be real to me. My faith is not in the Bible or in any other book. I believe that godly men wrote much of the Bible. But, like the writers of  any book they were human and were not perfect. What they wrote wasn't perfect, but it has great value to many people.

Written by Godly Men

The bible was written by the minds and hands of godly men.

  • "Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled among us, just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word. Therefore, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, it seemed good also to me to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught." Luke 1:1-4
  • "I, Paul, am writing this with my own hand....." Philemon 1:19
  • "I, Paul, write this greeting in my own hand. Remember my chains. Grace be with you." Colossians 4:16
  • "Bear in mind that our Lord's patience means salvation, just as our dear brother Paul also wrote you with the wisdom that God gave him. He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction." 2 Peter 3:15-16
  • "I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life." 1 John 5:13
  • "I have much to write to you, but I do not want to use paper and ink. Instead, I hope to visit you and talk with you face to face, so that our joy may be complete." 2 John 1:12
  • "I have much to write you, but I do not want to do so with pen and ink." 3 John 1:3

Paul would be appalled if he saw that his letters were taken to be the "Holy Word of God". He did not see himself as someone who would be viewed as equal to God.

"But when the apostles Barnabas and Paul heard of this, they tore their clothes and rushed out into the crowd, shouting:  “Friends, why are you doing this? We too are only human, like you. We are bringing you good news, telling you to turn from these worthless things to the living God, who made the heavens and the earth and the sea and everything in them." Acts 14:14-15

 

Christ came to this earth to show us how to live. It's the life that we are to live that is important, not the words that describe.

God cares deeply about all of us on this early, so much so that he

The Word of God is very personal and very specific to each person and each situation.

We don't hold onto our beliefs; that doesn't give our beliefs a changes to grow and evolve. Rather, we hold onto those things that are true. Our beliefs will follow as we grow and mature into that which God has for us.

 

Paul considered his writings as letters

  • "After this letter has been read to you, see that it is also read in the church of the Laodiceans and that you in turn read the letter from Laodicea." Colossians 4:

Peter also considered Paul's writings as letters, 2 Peter 3:15-16

 

God's principles and concepts that are lived our are more important than how the words are expressed. Immature people, who have little or no true understanding, will focus on making sure that the words are said correctly. Mature(ing) Christians will understand and put into practice the principles and concepts of godly living.

The only time the phrase "word of God" is used is when God sent a message..

It is true that God is in all things. When the men wrote the documents that were later put into the Bible, these men wrote the things that they had learned from God through their own life experiences. They did not learn these things from just reading "Scriptures", but from God teaching them through each situation in their lifes. "That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched—this we proclaim concerning the Word of life. The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us. We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. We write this to make our joy complete." 1 John 1:-4

Just because some men got together and put all these writings into a single volume does not make it into anything more than they were initially. After all, the name Bible simple means "book". To be practical, it is easier to read and refer to all these writings in a simple form of a book as they currently are. However, they are still the same documents as they were at the beginning.

Writings of godly men are unquestioningly valuable to other believers and all people trying to live godly lives.

You might ask, what difference does it make if we call the writings of the bible as the "Word of God". It makes a lot of difference.

  1. We are not being true to the intent of the original authors to distort their purpose and meaning.

Too many people hold onto their beliefs about the truth rather than holding onto the truth itself. John had it right when he said, " That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched—this we proclaim concerning the Word of life. The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us. We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us." 1 John 1:1-3a

Church

Look at the wide range of "Christian Churches" that claim to believe the Bible (Bible-preaching, Bible believing). And yet, why do they fight and quarrel about so many different things. Why are there some many different denominations, with all the many split-offs.

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Examining Some "Traditional" Beliefs About The Bible

 

On Bible.org, in an article titled Introduction to Bibliology, I found these two paragraphs.

"Our view, approach, and attitude toward the Bible is foundational. If our view of the Bible is inadequate we will naturally handle the Bible accordingly. If I do not think it is God-breathed, I won’t think it is profitable and vital. If I think it might contain errors, or that only some of it is inspired, say the thoughts, not the words, then I am left with a dilemma and I must approach it much like a cafeteria line, choosing according to my own likes or bias. What do I believe and not believe? If it is wrong in some places, then how can I be sure what it says about Jesus is true? On the other hand, if I believe it is God’s infallible and inerrant Word, as the evidence supports, then I should accept it all and study it carefully. An unfortunate element very obvious today within the evangelical community is that most who call themselves evangelicals will theoretically, at least, claim allegiance to the Bible as the all-sufficient and authoritative rule of faith, but in practice, many are raising other sources on a level with or even above the Scripture as their authority for what they believe and practice.

We believe that the Word contained in these books [of Scripture] has proceeded from God, and receives its authority from Him alone, and not from men. And inasmuch as it is the rule of all truth, containing all that is necessary for the service of God and for salvation, it is not lawful for men, nor even for angels, to add to it, to take away from it, to change it. Whence it follows that no authority, whether of antiquity, or custom, or numbers, or human wisdom, or judgments, or proclamations or edicts or decrees, or councils, or visions, or miracles, should be opposed to these Holy Scriptures, but on the contrary, all things should be examined, regulated, and reformed according to them. (Italics added)"

Let's examine what this says:

"Our view, approach, and attitude toward the Bible is foundational."

This is so true. However I approach any book or idea will greatly affect how I view what it says.

"If our view of the Bible is inadequate we will naturally handle the Bible accordingly."

Where does the author get the idea that "the bible has to be adequate" for anything? The author is true in his assessment that how we view the Bible will affect how we handle it.

"If I do not think it is God-breathed, I won’t think it is profitable and vital."

The author is false in his assessment here. In the world today there are literally millions of books and writings that are immensely valuable to many people, without the claim being made that they are '"God breathed". For someone to say that I have to view a book as "God-breathed" or I won't value it is an invalid claim. A book, or any writing, stands or falls on the truth of the content it contains.

"If I think it might contain errors, or that only some of it is inspired, say the thoughts, not the words, then I am left with a dilemma and I must approach it much like a cafeteria line, choosing according to my own likes or bias. What do I believe and not believe? If it is wrong in some places, then how can I be sure what it says about Jesus is true?"

The author sets us a false dilemma, saying that if I acknowledge that the Bible contains any errors, the "I must approach it much like a cafeteria line. Any reasoning man knows that even great books will have errors, that nothing is perfect. Anyone can do a search using the Google search engine to see that numberour errors have been found in textbooks. You can do a similar Google search to see that errors happen frequently in newspapers as well. You could probably do a similar search in many of even the most valuable writings in the world and find many mistakes. Do people still find these writings profitable and vital? I would think so.

You can do another Google search to find many sites that list Bible errors and contradictions. An article called A List of Bible Contradictions1 gives a long list of contradictions. Any reasonable and honest person can clearly see that the Bible isn't perfect. It is not inerrant. But that doesn't mean that it is without value. It has great value to those who believe in God.

"On the other hand, if I believe it is God’s infallible and inerrant Word, as the evidence supports, then I should accept it all and study it carefully."

Here the author claims that the evidence supports the Bible being:

  • Infallible
  • inerrant
  • God's Word

Just making a claim that the evidence supports something doesn't make it so.

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Is The Bible Inerrant?

Inerrant? This word is not in the Bible. So, where did this word come from? I don't like to say anything about the writings in the Bible that they don't say about themselves. Did any of the writers of the various parts of the Bible say, or even think, that what they were writing was inerrant?

Inerrant?

Definition of Inerrant: " free from error "

To litterally be "inerrant" it would mean that there couldn't be even one letter out of place, there couldn't be even one misspelled word in the entire Bible.

Many christians say that "We believe that the Bible was without error in it's original..."

What difference does it make if the original manuscripts supposedly were without error.... we don't have the originals, or even first generation copies of the originals. We have translations made from multi-generational copies that have errors in them. Is it really logical to say that God wrote the original manuscripts (through human hands) without error, but then to say God couldn't or didn't keep all the copies error-free?

We are told by well-meaning Christians that the bible was "inerrant" in the "original" manuscripts. However, this is illogical. For one thing, none of the original manuscripts are still around and no modern scholar has ever seen the original manuscripts. Therefore, no one can rightfully make a claim that they are without error.

Secondly, if God had the power "through the Spirit" to have the original documents created without error, then it only stands to reason that He would also have the power to keep the subsequent translations free from error. It makes no sense to say that the "Spirit" caused or enabled the original writers to write error free, only to have the following translations contain errors. What's the point in there being error free original manuscripts unless all the following translations were also to be made error free?

Thirdly, in order for the assertion of inerrancy to stand, their could not be even one error in the original writings and of all the following translations. 

of unholy lips

Where did these claims originate?

Think about it. Did ANY of the writers of the individual books of the bible make any type of claims that their writings were inerrant and infallible? I have not seen such claims by any the authors of the books of the Bible.

If the authors did not make any such claims, where did those claims originate?

Why are people making that claim?

Then the next question that begs to be asked is, "If the authors of the original documents made not claims of inerrancy or infallibility, why are other people trying to make that claim? What is their true purpose?

Is The Belief of Inerrancy Necessary? 

Many religious people think (and adamantly claim) that the Bible has to be viewed as perfect and without error to be of value. However, God is constantly telling us to look at the lowly things, for in them we find God.

"Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him. 30 It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. Therefore, as it is written: “Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.” 1 Corinthians 1:26-31

Many Christians so strongly try to claim that the Bible is inerrant. Yet They are promoting an unprovable illusion. Anyone with an open mind can find countless websites and books that show the myriad of mistakes and errors in the Bible.

Would The Bible Be Of Any Value it Had Errors?

The power of any writing is not in the supposed perfection of the text, but in the truth and reality of which the authors wrote. Truth can be found in the midst of the errors and contradictions. As humans, they did not write perfectly (perfection is only an illusion, it is not real), but they spoke truth. 

Here, can you read this:

"For God so lveod the wlrod taht he gvae his one and olny Son, taht wohveer bieleves in him sahll not piersh but hvae ernteal lfie."

Here is another paragraph from here:

"RDIAENG.

Aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at an Elingsh uinervtisy, it deosn't mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoetnt tihng is taht frist and lsat ltteer is at the rghit pclae. The rset can be a toatl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae we do not raed ervey lteter by it slef but the wrod as a wlohe."

 Could you read those paragraphs? If you were like me, and I presume many others, you could probably read those paragraphs without too much trouble. You might ask, "What was the point of my asking you to read those paragraphs?". Before I answer that question, let me ask you one more question. Have you ever seen any other writing, such as a letter, that had a lot of mispelled words? Were you able to read and understand the meaning of the letter?

My Point it this. All this discussion of the "inerrancy" of scripture seems irrelevant. As you have seen for yourself, you can read and understand text that has mistakes in it. So what if the original manuscripts of the bible had mistakes in it. (And I believe it did. But what would the problem with that be.)

An Incorrect Focus

When people call the Bible the Infallible Inerrant Word of God, they poison it, because that statement is not based upon truth.

Trying to claim inerrancy of the text takes the focus away from the message that was written and instead tries to make a lie into a truth. Whether or not the original documents had errors in them is not important. What is important is the message that the authors were trying to convey.

The "Black Or White Thinking" Falacy

A Black and white, or and "Either OR" Falacy only gives your two choices. 
In this case, the Either Or Falace is, "The Bible has to be viewed as 'inerrant' OR it is of no value." This is a thinking error. In fact, the Bible can still be very useful even when we realize that it does have errors. 

Notes:

 

If the Bible is Error Free,

then that means that God wrote it himself, because anything written by men would have mistakes.

If that is true, then the Bible is God's Word

Then the Bible is the only book that God has spoken through

It is the only error free book

Is the Bible Infallible?

 


Infallible?

Definitions of Infallible:

  • Incapable of making mistakes or being wrong.
  • Never failing; always effective: "infallible cures".

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Authority of the Bible

 

Using verses out of the Bible to try to prove the authority of the Bible must presuppose the authority of the bible, and therefore renders that proof useless. No matter how many verses one might use to prove this case, it always comes back to assuming the authority of the Bible to prove the authority of the Bible. This is circular reasoning and leads nowhere.

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Is the Bible True?

Is the Bible true? Can we trust the Bible? When someone asks these type of questions, we need to answer with truth. It doesn't give the bible any more credibility when we speak falseness about it. The Bible will stand or fall on its own. When questioned about the validity of the bible we need to give credible answers that have meaning. Just replying that "the Bible is the Word of God, so of course it's true" doesn't prove the credibility of the Bible. Instead, we need to give truthful and meaningful answers. For example, what are the concrete specific things that we know about the Bible the show that it is reliable?

Like any other book or writing, the Bible is true or false depending upon whether it contains truth or falsehood. Having a certain belief about the Bible does not make it true or false. Like any book, the Bible has to be judged and accessed by the character and truthfulness of the authors of the various components.

Many of the things written in the Bible we can't prove one way or the other. Other parts we can find out about.

Another way we can judge the trustworthiness of the authors of the bible is looking at the manner and .... of how they wrote.

Providing Proof

In any court trial (such as a person who claims to be the rightful heir of a large estate, etc.), the testimony of the claimant himself is not enough to prove his claim. There must be other reliable witnesses, documents, etc. to colaborate his testimony. To prove that the Bible is true we can't use the Bible (by itself) to prove that it is reliable. That would be like ONLY having the defendent's testimony as the only proof needed to claim his estate.

As I write this, I'm reminded that the Bible is a collection of the writings of fourty different authors of XXX number of years.

Follow the Logic

If something has mistakes in it, that doesn't make it untrue or worthless. We homeschool our children using homeschool text books. Sometimes we find typos in the text book. For example, in the Saxon mathbooks we have found several wrong answers in the teacher's manual. We just recognize that there is a typo and go ahead. We still value the lesson book. Having a mistake in the answers is no problem, as long as we recognize it as an error. But, if we thought of the teacher's book as Inerrant and infallible, then we'd have to see the incorrect answer as correct. That would cau Ese other problems.

Were the Authors Right about Everything?

The authors were human just like the rest of us. They were not perfect, they could make error judgements just like any other human. Even the most godly men make mistakes, even when they write things out. The difference is that when the realize they have made a mistake, they correct themselves.

The Maturing Process

In the life we grow and mature. The things that we think we know when we are younger, when we grow and mature we see how little we knew when we were younger. Paul the apostle was no different. When he was younger he said, "I am not the least among the Apostles." That was a prideful statement made by an immature man, and shows that not everything he wrote was perfect in faith and practice. Much later in life, after he had matured more, he said, "I am the least...." This showed how he had grown and matured over the years.

Like any of us, the apostles and prophets all had to grow and mature over the years. The advice they gave earlier in life was not as good as what they gave while later in life. If we look closely, we can see evidence of some of the apostles and others actingly immaturely and had to be corrected. i.e. look at how Peter ate with the Gentiles until the Jews came, then he drew back. Paul corrected him for his hypocracy. In another instance take a look at how Paul and ... got into a sharp disagreent about John Mark rejoining them after Mark had disserted them earlier. The argument was so strong that they split up. This was an immature behavior.

When we begin to realize that the apostles were human, and had human frailties like the rest of us, we begin to see how improperly they acted at times.

Does that mean that what they wrote was worthless. Of course not!

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Demystifying the Word(s)

I would suppose that the documents of the Bible (see footnote below) were originally written as very practical everyday letters and documents to help others live a responsible and fruitful life. However, over nearly two thousands years of retranslations and adding religious meanins to the original Greek and Hebrew words, the meaning of the writings can be altered considerably. But, once we remove the layers of layers of built up religiosity from the defintions of the words in the Buble, then we can begin to understand the original intent of the authors.

Let's start with a very basic but foundational concept. In the period of time that Christ was on the earth (and before this time), very few people could write. (see history of writing_) So writing was more in awe. Scripture was a term for writing in general, and for generic written documents.

(note to myself: look up the history and usage of writing in general. Also look more into the word "scripture")

The books1 2 in the Bible were originally written as individual documents, letters, etc. At the time they were written there is no indication that any of the authors intended their writings to become part of a "holy" book. The authors wrote each document for a specific purpose, some of which we know and some that we don't know.

The documents of the bible are very practical and they have the ring of truth.

Religious people have taken the term "scripture" and made it into a "spiritual" term. But is there really an indication that at the time of this word's usage that it was considered anything other than the act or ... of plain writing?

The word Bible originally meant "book", as in it contained scriptures (documents).

Truthful words are helpful whether or not they are said to be "inspired by the Spirit". But, to go a step further than that, since God is the very embodiment of the truth, all truthful words are "inspired by the Spirit".

Definitions of the words.

As I look through a Greek or Hebrew dictionary of "Bible" words, one thing I notice is sthere is of then the "Religious" definition of the words and then there is a natural or plain definition. It's almost as though there are two primary definitions of the same word. I often wonder if the religious definition was put there to support people's religious beliefs. Then the natural definiton seems more like the real definition that was actually used in the time period that was written about. It seems to me that if we would just strip away all the religious definitions of the words then we would have a closer understanding of what the original authors really meant.

[note to myself: look up "revealed truth" as used in religion."]

  • 1. Bible:

    Look up Bible at Dictionary.com early 14c., from Anglo-L. biblia, from M.L./L.L. biblia (neuter plural interpreted as fem. singular), in phrase biblia sacra "holy books," a translation of Gk. ta biblia to hagia "the holy books," from Gk. biblion "paper, scroll," the ordinary word for "book," originally a dim. of byblos "Egyptian papyrus," possibly so called from Byblos (modern Jebeil, Lebanon), the name of the Phoenician port from which Egyptian papyrus was exported to Greece (cf. parchment). Or the place name might be from the Gk. word, which would then probably be of Egyptian origin. The Christian scripture was refered to in Gk. as Ta Biblia as early as c.223. Bible replaced O.E. biblioðece (see bibliothek) as the ordinary word for "the Scriptures." Figurative sense of "any authoritative book" is from 1804. http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=Bible

  • 2. Main Entry: bi·ble

    Pronunciation: \ˈbī-bəl\ Function: noun Etymology: Middle English, from Old French, from Medieval Latin biblia, from Greek, plural of biblion book, diminutive of byblos papyrus, book, from Byblos, ancient Phoenician city from which papyrus was exported Date: 14th century

    • 1 capitalized a : the sacred scriptures of Christians comprising the Old Testament and the New Testament b : the sacred scriptures of some other religion (as Judaism)
    • 2 obsolete : book
    • 3 capitalized : a copy or an edition of the Bible
    • 4 : a publication that is preeminent especially in authoritativeness or wide readership

    http://www.merriam-webster.com/netdict/bible

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Words Versus Concepts

 

The writers of the different documents of the Bible describe their lives and what they had experienced and learn ed. They give us examples of how to live our lives. Many of their writings give us examples of how to live our lives. Some of those are examples of what NOT to do, and the consequences.

The lessons, concepts, and examples are what is important, not the words that were used to express them. Other words could have just as well be used to tell about them and the message would have been just as valid.

When people get stuck in idolizing the words that are in the Bible, they  then they

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Reading the book

 

Attitude in Reading

Our attitude will make a lot of difference in what we learn and/or understand from our reading.

Prideful Reading

Some people read with a purpose of proving that they are right in their (opinions that they call their) beliefs. They look for words and phrases that support their opinions. They disreguard or retranslate in their minds anything that may contradict their opinions. This may be so automatic or habitual that they don't even realize they are doing it.

Reading for understanding.

It takes a lot of work to think out what you are reading. Many people just read the words and don't think about the true meaning of what they are reading. Nor do their think about the implecations of the words they are reading in relation to their own opinions.

Transformational Reading

"be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only". There are many good books out in the world, the Bible being one of them.
Read carefully to try to understand what has been written. Use a dictionary and/or a thesaurus to look the meanings of words that you don't understand.
Rewrite out the passage(s) in your own words, according to your own understanding.

The reading is only of value if we put it into practice. In a way, the understanding is cyclicyle. We can't really do it unless we understand what to do. The other part is that we won't really begin to understand until we start to do what it says. At the beginning we will make many (seeming) mistakes. But, if we are open and aware, we will learn much in the mistakes that help us to succeed.

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Study it Out

We have some excellant examples of intelligant thinking people....

Luke 1:1 "Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled among us, just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word. 3Therefore, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, it seemed good also to me to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, 4so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught.

The Bereans: Acts 17:11 "11Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true."

 

These are excellant examples of people wanting to know something was true and studying it out.

Any reasonable person should ask these questions, and more ...

  • Is the Bible true?
  • Is every part of the Bible true?
  • To what degree is it true?
  • What is important, the words or the concepts?
  • Is the Bible inspired?
  • What is meant by the Word of God?

People of true faith should not believe something just because they have been told that it is true.

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Giving Biblical Advice?

Giving Biblical advice is a false concept.

Stop and think about it. When a man says that he gives "Biblical advice", what is he implying? Why does he use that phrase? The implication is that his "Biblical" advice is correct, right, and true, and should be followed. If the "bible" is the word of God, if it is infallible and inerrant, then would not any advice given from it also be infallible and inerrant? Really?As any rational person can see, with there being thousands of various denominations and cults all claiming to follow the Bible, there is no guarantee that such advice would be practical or right.

Relying upon such advice hinders a person from developing a strong moral reasoning character.

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History of the Bible

 

 

When we look at historical events we need to realize

  1. There are the events that actually happened. There is a lot more happening, and a lot more people being affected by what happens, than anyone can ever know.
  2. Each person who ...... the event interprets it within the framework of his own past experiences, biases, prejudices,  and his ability to understand and express what he knows or has learned.
  3. Written documents (of history, prophecy, poetry, psalms) etc. don't just get automatically written. They are written by educated people who have learned how to read, write, and to adequately express themselves.
  4. There are the perceptions of what happened of the people who actually lived through the events. They generally saw and interpreted the events by how those events affected them. They were also limited in their awareness and understanding by what they saw, heard, and experienced.
  5. There are the perceptions of what happened of
  6. Each person cherry-picks the bits of the event that happened that tends to (prove their case?).
  7. A true historian will thoroughly investigate, research, to find out what actually happened. He will also truthfully and accurately record events to the best of his ability and understanding. He will be truthful, honest, and ... in his writing out the record. Even so, he will only see what he sees from his limited perspectives.

How can we know if a written document is truthful and acurate?

  1. The document can be verified by what is known elsewhere. We probably won't be able to very every word and sentence in the document, but we should be able to verify bits and pieces of it.
  2. Our ability to recognize and understand whether or not something is true depends greatly on our awareness, education, knowledge ....
  3. Throughout history, when very few people could read, they depended upon those who could read.
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Bible Copies and Translations

 

The religious beliefs of a translator will greatly affect how they translate the text. There is not a direct word for word corelation between Greek and English.

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The Dark Ages

Is it just a coincidence that after the "Word of God" was canonized (about 393-397 AD) into a book that the dark ages ( starting about  400 to 500 AD) followed this event?

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Is the Bible Reliable?

There has been much talk today about whether or not the Bible is the Word of God, whether or not the Bible is inerrant, authorative, the final authority in all things relatiing to faith... In this post I won't address any of those issues. The one issue I will address is if the Bible is reliable. But, before we can attempt to answer that question we must examine what we mean by reliable. First, let us look at what the dictionary says about the definiton of reliable:

re·li·a·ble:adjective
    1. consistently good in quality or performance; able to be trusted.
    "a reliable source of information"
    synonyms:    dependable, good, well founded, authentic, valid, genuine, sound, true More

Now, let's look at what "Bible" means

Bi·ble:noun
    the Christian scriptures, consisting of the 66 books of the Old and New Testaments.

The English word "Bible" comes from bíblia in Latin and bíblos in Greek. The term means book, or books, and may have originated from the ancient Egyptian port of Byblos (in modern-day Lebanon), where papyrus used for making books and scrolls was exported to Greece.  http://christianity.about.com/od/glossary/qt/Bible-Definition.htm

So we can see that the Bible is not one book but is a collection of 66 books. For simplicity sake, the 66 books are referred to as the Book (the Bible). Before we can answer the question of whether or not the Bible is Reliable, we have to first determine, "reliable for what purpose?"

Let us that a hyperthetical example of f farmer named John Abernathy. Mr. Abernathery has spent many years being a farmer, he has studied the sciences of raising plants, crop rotation and nurrishing the soil. He has learned to maintain and repair his equipment. Let us just assume that he is extremely proficient at everything necessary to being a good farmer. Now, let us assume that his neighbor, Bill Crombly, had a heart attack and needs a bypass operation. Mr. Abernathy was called to come treat Mr Crombly for his heart condition. Now the question is asked, is Mr. Abernathy reliable? Well, yes and no. He is a very reliable farmer, but would not be reliable as a heart surgeon (unless he also had that specialized training.)

Now, let us go back to the Bible. is the Bible reliable? I would ask, reliable for what purpose? We need to take a look at each individual book of the Bible and examine why it was written, to whom it was written, for what purpose it was written. Assuming the each book was written by a man of integrity and honor, I see no reason why it should not be considered reliable for the purpose it had originally been written.

However, when men come together and put all those individual books together into one large book and make extraordinary claims about the book, I see no reason why this new reason should be considered reliable. If you will carefully examine each book of the Bible, you will find that not one of the individual books makes any mention or claim to being part of a larger book. While the original purpose of the book may have been reliable, the new extraordinary claims of the book may be suspect. These new claims are that the those original 66 books are now part of a special "holy book" called "The Word of God". Then, from this erroneous claim, other .... claims have been added, such as the Bible is "inerrant", "infallible", the final authority in all things related to faith. in addition, claims have been repeatedly made that God speaks through the Bible.

Now, returning to the our original question, "Is the Bible reliable?" Again, I ask, reliable for what purpose? If you want to know what the original thoughts of the writer were, then perhaps we can assume that it is relatively reliable. But, it you want to know if the claims made about the Bible are true, then you may run into problems.

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Quality of Writing

There is a difference between well thought out, well researched writing and emotional .... off-the-cuff writing.

If we have the mind of Christ, then a well thought out document will reflect Christ's mind.

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Scriptures

What does the Greek word for scripture really mean?

In Christianity there is much said about the "Scriptures". But what did the Apostles and other really mean with they wrote in their original languages? Let's look at what a Greek dictionary says about the word:

G1121 (Mickelson's Enhanced Strong's Greek and Hebrew Dictionaries)
G1121 γράμμα gramma (gram'-mah) n.
1. a writing, i.e. a letter, note, epistle, book, etc.
2. (plural) learning
[from G1125]
KJV: bill, learning, letter, scripture, writing, written
Root(s): G1125
[?]

I'm no expert and I'm not a Greek scholar, but some things seem evident to me. During a time when very few people could read or write, those who could (including the apostles and prophets) valued greatly the ability to read and write. They knew how important it was to keep a written record and note about what someone wanted to remember or to learn. It is much easier to remember something accurately if you keep a written record and refer to it as needed.

Take a look at the above defined Greek word "G1121 γράμμα gramma (gram'-mah) n.", which has been translated in the Bible as "Scripture." Gramma looks strikingly similar to our English word "grammar".

It really seems to me that when authors of the biblical (book) content talked about scriptures, they meant "the act of writing" or "the product of writing". Plain and simple,there was no religious meaning to it. They knew the importance of learning and of the written document.

When we have a corrected view of the word "γράμμα gramma" means, then written documents take on a whole new meaning. We begin to realize the great value of the process of writing and of the written documents. We understand that God has spoken to many people through many writings, and that he will continue to speak through current and future writings.

Before we leave this subject, let us understand that God is not limited to speaking through written texts. He speaks to us in many other ways as well.

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The Law and the Prophets

"Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?" Jesus replied: " 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.'This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments."

It's not important that we memorize a whole mountain of Bible verses. More important is living by the message of these and similar verses.

Word of God - Bible?

What the word of God is....

What the word of God is not....

It is simplistic to say that any one book (i.e. the Bible, or any other religious book) is THE Word of God. If there is a God, and if he spoke to prophets and others, who wrote it, is it rational to believe that God quit speaking once some words were written down and bound into a book? It is more rational to believe that if God spoke over a long period of time to people in the past that he also continues to speak.

It doesn't matter whether we think the Bible is the Word of God or not. The bible is whatever it is no matter what we think about it. What we think or believe about the bible does not change what it is.

"The Word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword...." This says that when God message comes to us, it hits us where we are, down to the deepest reaches of our souls.

Bible, Only Way to God?

It has been said that the Bible is our (only) way to know and come to a personal relationship with God. When Christians are asked "What about those who have never had access to or heard the words of the Bible?" They answer that the heavens and the creation are a clear evidence of God, therefore the unbelievers will be judged because God had made himself plain to them through the creation. Therefore He will judge them based upon God revealing himself through creation and then rejecting God's proof.

This is a contradiction. If the Bible is the only way that we can come to God, then God can't judge those who have never had access to the Bible. Conversely, if God can judge people because they have rejected his proof displayed in creation, then that shows that people can come to God without reading the Bible.

In addition, if people can't come to God without the Bible, then all the people throughout the ages who didn't have access to, and never heard of, the Bible, those people are going to hell. In this case, God is an unjust tyrant who condemns people to hell with no way to escape it. But if God reveals himself through his creation and people will be judged by that, then that proves the Bible is not (the only) the way to God. It shows the God can bring people to himself through whatever means is appropriate to each person.

People who haven't heard

What happens to people who haven't heard the gospel or the bible.

If God has made provision to judge those who haven't heard by something else, then that shows that there are other ways to come to God besides the gospel.

The Word to Us

The word means a message for each of us individually and/or corporately. The Word is any messages, whether it be written, spoken, a thought, picture, landscape, location, etc. that gives me messages of help, hope, correction, insight, etc. God speaks to us through many vehicles. But the core of his message is  (always the same?)

Contains the Word of God

It is obvious that there are a number of places throughout the documents of the bible that say that the "word of the Lord" OR "the word of God" came to this individual or to that person. But what the text says it is clear that the word of God came to that person. However, just because a document or letter "contains" a message that is the word of God does NOT mean that the document itself is "the word of God". If that would be true, then ANY letter, document or book that contains any those word of God messages would have to be considered the Word of God. For example, if I wrote a letter contained any of those verses , then my whole letter would be a Word of God.

Implecations

The Bible either has errors or it doesn't have any errors. What are the implecations of either way?

If the Bible is indeed the Word of God, what would the implecations be? Would it be free from errors? If the Bible has errors, would that mean that it is not the Word of God?

If someone claims that the Bible is inerrant, does it mean that:

  1. They have exhaustively researched and studied it out themselves and they know for certain that it is error free.
  2. Are they relying upon the claims that they have heard others make "inerrant.... Word of God"

If someone believes that the bible is error free, then:

  1. The Bible is truly error free.
  2. The bible has errors, but they are relying upon the word of others about it being error free.
  3. If the Bible has errors and they don't know it, then some possibilities are:
    1. They haven't studied it out for themselves.
    2. They are blind to the errors
  4. If the Bible has errors and they do know it, then some possibilities are:
    1. They are lying to cover up the errors.

Making A Claim of Inerrancy is Huge!

Claiming the any book is totally perfect and completely free from error is a huge statement of great magnitude. To make a statement like this there would have to be exhaustive tests given the Bible to examine every aspect. Even then, could anyone be certain that every possible tests that could reveal any error had been given. What would the test criterea be?

  1. On what basis does anyone claim that the Bible is inerrant? Is it just a matter of one's belief with no proof or evidence to back it up?
  2. What criteria was used to prove that the Bible has no errors?
  3. What is considered an error?
  4. What test method was used?
  5. How did they seek to discover any errors in their test methods?
  6. Who did the testing?
  7. What are their biases and prejudices?
  8. What have they to gain or lose depending upon the outcome?
  9. What are their perceptions of what finding an error might mean?
  10. What is the credibility of the testing persons, methods, and equipment?
  11. How many other books or materials have they rated?
  12. What was the outcome of those ratings?
  13. Who certifies and monitors them and their equipment for reliability and accuracy?
  14. Show me where any of the authors of the documents of the Bible made any claims that their documents were free from error. Show me where the authors made any claim that they were writing the Word of God.

If someone knows that the Bible has errors and doesn't say anything about the errors,

I would assume that all books have some errors of some kind. If the information or instruction in the book works, then the errors don't make the information in the book any less valuable

Inerrant in Original?

I see many writings that say that the Bible was inerrant in it's original form. So, my thoughts are: No original exists today, so no one has seen the original. Consequently, no one can prove that the originals were without error.

But, even if the originals were written with divine inspiration (so that the were without error), then God could and would protect the subsequent copies and translations from error. However,

  • are the copies error-free?
  • Are all the translations error-free?
  • Why are there so many translations?

Even with all the modern typesetting and computerized equipment of today, many documents still have errors. Therefore we have proofreaders. To say that Paul never made mistakes with any of his writings is not reasonable.

If not the Bible, who will be our teacher?

God himself will be our teacher

These verses have been endlessly quoted by Christians to prove that non-christians will be judged.

God's Wrath Against Mankind

"Romans 1:18-20 The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse."

Well, if it is indeed true that non-Christians (who have never seen a Bible) can be held accountable because God has revealed himself through nature, then it is also true that people can find God through nature (without ever having seen or read the Bible). This clearly shows that the Bible is not the only way to find God.

Notes

1Pet 1:23 You have been born anew, not from perishable but from imperishable seed, through the living and enduring word of God.

When you use the word "the", you usually mean that there is only one. When you say that the Bible is "THE" word of God, then that means there is only one. There is none other. When you say that the Bible is THE Word of God, this is what you are also saying:

  1. God only speaks by means of the Bible. God doesn't speak to us any other way.
  2. Everything that God has to say to us is contained in the Bible.
  3. God stopped speaking almost two thousand years ago. He hasn't spoken since.

Word of God Came to Me

Although I had read and studied the Bible for years, the word of God never reached me during all those years. The word of God came to me and became real through my journey through my journey through the Oregon criminal justice system

Working Premise

When we begin with a  premise about a subject we distort the outcome. For example, if we believe that the earth is flat, and we "know" that to be true, then everything we discover must fit within that parodym or we won't accept it. In other words, we only accept proof that supports our premise.

For  example, if we begin with a premise that says that Christianity is the one true religion we will only accept evidence that supports our premise. This is true for the other religions as well. If we believed that Buddism, or Atheism was the only true belief, then we would likewise only accept evidence that supports our premise.

For example here is a text box from my son's Science book. 

"Thinking Christianly1 

1. Study everything the Scriptures have to say about the subject, not just a single verse. 

2. Determine whether the Bible speaks directly about the theory. If it does, then you must believe the Bible and you must reject the theory or modify it to conform to what Scripture clearly states

3. If there is disagreement because the Bible does not make a clear statement on the theory, then the presuppositions for each position must be examined. If the theory is based on any presupposition that excludes God as Creator or denies the Bible as true, then one must be cautious about accepting or rejecting the theory, because it is possible to have a workable scientific model based on wrong presuppositions

4. Investigate the possibility that conditions affecting the theory in the past may not be identical to conditions today. To assume conditions were the same gives credence to the uniformitarian view of the universe, which claims that the present is the key to the past. 

5. Research what other Christian scientists say about the apparent contradiction."

 

Notice the underined text (underlined by me) in the box above: in #2 it says that "must believe the Bible and you must reject the theory or modify it to conform to what Scripture clearly states". Here the premise is that the Bible is true and anything that contradicts the Bible is to be rejected. the author if that "Thinking Christianity" text is working with the supposition that the Bible is the infallible inerrant2 Word of God.

In much of today Christian "Faith", a presupposition is asserted and then everything has to fit into faith system. It doesn't matter if something is true or not, what is important is if one believes something to be true. 

 

 Instead of beginning with a presupposition, such as that "The Bible is true" or (or view of) "God is true, we should begin fresh to find out what is true and what is not.. A good beginning point would be to use something like the Scientific Method.3

Here are some Scientific Method Steps4 

Scientific Method Step 1: Make Observations
You may think the hypothesis is the start of the scientific method, but you will have made some observations first, even if they were informal.
Scientific Method Step 2: Propose a Hypothesis
It's easist to test the null or no-difference hypothesis because you can prove it to be wrong. It's practically impossible to prove a hypothesis is correct.
Scientific Method Step 3: Design an Experiment to Test the Hypothesis
Scientific Method Step 4: Test the Hypothesis
Scientific Method Step 5: Accept or Reject the Hypothesis
Scientific Method Step 6: Revise the Hypothesis (Rejected) or Draw Conclusions (Accepted)

These steps are also common 

Scientific Method Step 1: Ask a Question
Scientific Method Step 2: Make Observations and Conduct Background Research
Scientific Method Step 3: Propose a Hypothesis
Scientific Method Step 4: Design an Experiment to Test the Hypothesis
Scientific Method Step 5: Test the Hypothesis
Scientific Method Step 6: Accept or Reject the Hypothesis

A main difference in Christian faith and in the scientific inquiry is that the christians begin with the idea that they are right. In science the quest is to find what is true, but also realized that there is a lot that can't be proven.

 

 My Background

I was raised by parents who called themselves Christians, but had their own set of beliefs. As a result I developed my own set of beliefs about God, the bible, church meetings, etc. Part of my belief system was what seems common in the Christian world today. That belief was "The bible is the inerrant, infallible, Word of God, the final authority in all things relating to faith and practice".

However, when I went through some very long and difficult years my religious beliefs crumbled. I realized that my beliefs weren't based upon truth. Although my faith in God has been greatly strenghthened,  I've had to rethink and evaluate much of what I once thought and believed about the Bible and religion. As I write these pages, my working premise is that various parts of the Bible were written by some godly men. (They wrote as honestly and truly as they were capable of writing. They wrote about what they had seen and learned about history and God's working.) However, the perceptions of the Bible by many today is distorted and has gotten way off track. The Bible has been made into a form of an idol. (Everything is based on the Bible, and it is called the "Word of God".)

Much of what I've been learning over the years is kind of fragmented, and just in my head. I decide write these pages to help me to put together what I've been learning. In other words, I'm mainly writing these pages for myself so that I can better understand all this myself. These web pages are a collection of ideas and beliefs that I've been learning over the years. This section of pages are focused on what I've been learning about the Bible. I'm writing these pages to clarify:

  1. What do I think or believe about the Bible
  2. What is true?

It is my intent to study, research, and write about the Bible:

  1. What is the Bible?
  2. Who actually wrote the various parts of it?
  3. How is it perceived?
  4. What is it's purpose?
  5. How can it be used?