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By Sean McDowell
The Bible is the most influential book of all time. Given its impact over literature, history, governments, philosophy and more, it should come as no surprise that there are many misconceptions about its nature. Christians need to avoid these misconceptions because Paul said, “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth” (2 Tim. 2:15).
It is also critical for non-Christians to avoid these misconceptions. After all, in my experience and research, many non-believers reject the Christian faith as a result of one of these misconceptions. If non-believers are going to reject Christianity, they at least need to know what it really teaches rather than rejecting a straw man.
Here are my top five misconceptions of the Bible:
MYTH #1: The Bible is a magical book. People often use the Bible to find God’s will for their lives by randomly opening the pages and drawing conclusions from the first passage they read. I have seen people blindly open the Bible, point their finger at a random passage, and then finding meaning for their present predicament from the particular passage. Such an approach is more like magic than good exegesis. Since the Bible condemns the use of magic (Mal. 3:5; Rev 22:15), but encourages careful study (Titus 1:9), we should avoid using it in such a mystical fashion.
MYTH #2: The Bible is a literal book. The Bible undoubtedly includes factual material, which is meant to be taken literally, such as the claim that John preached a baptism of repentance during the reign of Tiberius Caesar (Luke 3:1-3), or that Jesus experienced crucifixion (Mark 15). But the Bible also has poetic and metaphorical language not meant to be taken literally. For instance…
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