The Bible Does not Always Speak the Truth
by C Michael Patton
Just after my wife and I were married, she worked as a teller at a bank. One of her co-workers was a devout Muslim who was schooled in Muslim apologetics against Christianity. Every day she would come home with a list of objections that he had to the Bible. Three out of four times the objection would involve something in the Bible that he found offensive. Sometimes it was commands that seemed wrong (God told Abraham to sacrifice Isaac). Sometimes it was statements about God that he thought demoting (the Bible speaks about the “eyes” of the Lord, but he does not have eyes). But most of the time it was about the immoral acts found in the narratives of the Old Testament. The one that stands out most is the offense he took with the story of Lot’s daughters. Yeah, the incest thing.
But his problem was clear. He thought that just because something was in the Bible that something was true, good, and representative of God’s will. What I had to convince him of was that if it is in the Bible, it is not necessarily true.
We follow the Bible in what it teaches, but not everything it records is intended to be teaching in the proper sense. Our goal as Christians is to be good interpreters of the Bible, being able to discern when something is being taught or when something is being told. This way we don’t get flustered, and find ourselves in the odd place of trying to defend the morality of adultery, incest, or child sacrifice (you know, that crazy story of Jephthah in Judges 11:30-39?).
Here are five ways that we can mistakenly believe that the Bible is teaching truth or principles when it is not…
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