Fiction and Fables with a Splattering of Truth in between:
If you believe the Bible is a collection of fictional narratives and fables or contains errors (in its original manuscripts) or is just one authority among several other equal authorities can you honestly believe 2 Timothy 3:16?
“All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness;” -2 Timothy 3:16
Honestly, how can a book that contains errors be “profitable for teaching… and correction”. There is little sadder than dedicating your life to studying something, so that you know every single detail of it, all its ins and outs, only to find out it’s a lie. This could be a nice segway into the reasons the theory of evolution still holds such a dominant, unassailable position within academia, despite the plethora of new evidence against it from the fields of genetics and information science, but I digress!
Seriously, teaching something that is wrong is not profitable at all! In fact, teaching something that contains some truth mixed with error (which is what most of the “erranists” or neo-orthodox theologians claim) is even worse than not profitable, it’s dangerous. The problem is that nobody knows which bits are true and which bits are false so you can’t be too “faithful” to any truths taught because the “truth” may actually turn out to be one of the errors! There is certainly no way whatsoever you could “correct” somebody from a book that contains truth mixed with error.
-“The Bible says you can’t leave your wife for a younger model (1 Corinthians 7:10)”.
-“No it doesn’t, that bit was an uninspired bit! I only believe the teachings of Jesus and he taught LOVE, and I really love my neighbour’s younger wife!”
If the Bible contains errors or is only partially inspired then it is of no use for correcting anyone.
So anything other than an inerrant and fully inspired Bible which is the supreme authority in all matters of Christian faith and practise would make the claims of 2 Timothy 3:16 false.
If the argument above didn’t totally convince you then perhaps we should look to Jesus for clarity on this issue and follow his lead, we are followers of Christ after all!
Did Jesus consider the Scriptures the authoritative, God-inspired, inerrant Word of God?
For me, this is the real clincher! If we claim to be followers of Christ – Christians, we must follow Christ’s example and view the Scriptures as Jesus viewed them. Jesus believed the Word of God was “unbreakable” (John 10:34).
In Luke 24:25 Jesus rebuked foolish ones for “not believing all that the prophets have spoken”. Jesus clearly didn’t believe that only some of what the prophets spoke was authoritative. In Matthew 5:18 Jesus taught that even the “jots” and “tittles” (the smallest squiggles on Hebrew letters) of the language were God’s Word.
Read Matthew 4:1-11. When Jesus was dealing with his arch-enemy the Devil during his temptations in the wilderness, how did He defeat the Devil? Jesus answered the Devil every time with the phrase “it is written”, he then went on to quote a scripture to indicate how man should live. If Jesus believed the Bible was just a collection of myths and fables he would never have responded in the way he did, far less if he believed he could be quoting a mistake because a fallible man penned it! Furthermore, in Matthew 22:29 and in John 8:58 Jesus based his whole argument from Scripture on the tense of one word.
“You are in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God…have you not read what God said to you, ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? He is not the God of the dead but of the living.” -Matthew 22:29
Jesus said the words above to refute the Sadducees. The Sadducees did not believe in a resurrection or in an afterlife. Jesus refuted this error by resting his argument on the tense of one verb, “I am the God of Abraham”, not “I was the God of Abraham” implying Abraham still lives. Jesus believed every individual word of Scripture had the authority of God behind it.
Paul followed suit, also taking every individual word of Scripture as God’s Word and authoritative. He based a whole argument of his on one word of Scripture just like Jesus did. In Galatians 3:16 Paul reminds the Jews that the promises made by God to Abraham were to “a seed” not Abraham’s seeds. Paul’s argument being that being a Jew is not enough to receive all the blessing promised to Abraham, the promises could only be received by being one with Abraham’s true seed – Jesus Christ.
It’s a good thing that the biblical “errantists” and the neo-orthodox theologians weren’t around in Jesus’ day, as they would have refuted both Paul and Jesus straightaway for daring to make an authoritative theological argument on one (possibly errant) word of Scripture!
In the end it’s up to each Christian to decide how to take the Bible. There are many liberal and neo-orthodox scholars who don’t believe in the high view of biblical authority and inerrancy I have advocated here, and many of them have lived very Christian lives and done many charitable deeds.That said, there are also a great many very nice, friendly, caring atheists who (apart from not believing in God) lead very “Christian” looking lives, full of kindness and charitable deeds.
The problem comes when you are called to give your life for a certain belief or principle you believe is Christian. This has been the case for a great many Christian martyrs all throughout history and could soon be the case again in the secularised western world.
Are you really going to give your life for something the Bible says Jesus taught when you don’t really trust the accuracy and reliablility of the Bible in the first place? – I would bet NO!