“I had a very high view of Scripture as the inerrant word of God, no mistakes of any kind – geographical or historical. No contradictions. Inviolate. My scholarship early on as a graduate student showed me that in fact these views about the Bible were wrong. I started finding contradictions and finding other discrepancies and started finding problems with the Bible.”
– Bart Ehrman, a religion scholar said in Biblical Archaeology Review
None of the scholars in the Biblical Archaeology Reviewarticle believe in the inerrant quality of the Bible. This doesn’t surprise me. Scholars have argued against the authority of Scripture for much longer than I have been alive. They have a point when it comes to modern translations.
I believe that the Bible as originally written is God’s divine Word. While most of the modern translations are pretty good, they may not be 100% accurate. That’s where the Holy Spirit comes in. Jesus said that God’s Spirit would lead us in all truth.
When you consider how many manuscripts there are of the Hebrew Scriptures and all the corroborating evidence from history for stories in the Bible, it seems clear that we have plenty of evidence to support the veracity of Scripture. There will always be questions and room for doubt. That is why it requires faith to believe.
I believe the Bible was written at a real time in history, which may make it hard to understand some things today. Bits of truth can be lost in translation or clouded by false ideas of how things were thousands of years ago. Historians and researchers may understand many things about antiquity. But they don’t know everything. Scholarship is constantly evolving, and we all trust somebody when it comes to the past.
The editor made the point that faith is not just about what you can intellectually explain. The Bible explains faith as the evidence of that which is unseen. Faith extends beyond visible proof or human explanation.
Jim Strange, a leading Biblical archaeologist and Baptist minister, said, “My faith is not based upon anything like a propositional argument. When I indulge myself in all this scientific research and explication, I’m not doing anything about faith.
Strange makes some interesting points. But he almost gives the impression that the physical evidence he finds routinely contradicts Scripture. Based on what I have researched, that doesn’t seem to be the case. Sure, there are plenty of alleged discrepancies and doubts about certain aspects of Scripture. But there are countless things that can be considered strong support too.
In the end, it does all come down to faith. And that is something that by its very nature must extend beyond man-centered scholarship.