Objections to the Bible: It was written by men

by Kyle
published August 1, 2015


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The Bible is simultaneously the most popular and most hated book in the world.

The idea that a collection of ancient religious literature is singularly inspired by God, uniquely communicates his nature and will and holds authority over every human endeavor is an incredible claim. If we’re being honest, it bears noting that the majority of humanity does not believe that the 66 canonical books of the Christian Holy Bible measure up to their own claims. As irrational as it sounds, even large swaths of Christianity do not believe in the absolute authority of revealed scripture.

But I do. And I’d like to spend the next couple months explaining why.

I’ll do so by first examining several objections to the Bible’s accuracy, authenticity and authority. Then I’ll build a positive case for all three by summarizing the answers to each objection. If you want to see a succinct argument for why I believe the Bible, sit tight, be patient, and wait a little while.

By far, one of the most common objections to the Bible’s accuracy, authenticity and authority is the well-established fact that humans wrote the Bible, and humans are the worst.

The main problem with this line of thinking, though, is the way it casts doubt on every other book ever written. How can we trust any other historical account? Most of the books of the Bible are the result of one or more people writing their own experiences. John, for instance, wrote what he saw and understood about Jesus. Daniel recorded what he saw, heard and lived through as well. The scribes who recorded and compiled First and Second Chronicles reported the history of their own nations. Ezekiel wrote what he heard God say to him. Moses did the same, along with recounting his own experiences.

If we cannot trust the myriad people who recorded the events of the Bible to do so reliably, then why should we trust anyone to do so reliably? Does this mean we can only trust historical data recorded between the early 1830s when the first camera was invented and 1990 when the first edition of Photoshop was released? Is all but only one-and-a-half centuries of human history suspect? Or can we trust humans to record historical data in writing? I love books. I especially love history. Too bad every single book I have was recorded by men as well as the Bible.

Maybe the problem we have is in believing only modern, western, English-speaking people are able to reliably communicate objective facts. Our culture is rife with an ethnocentrism that looks at any other culture or mode of thinking as primitive, backward or superstitious while ironically preaching tolerance at the same time. Communicating in a different language from a different cultural context in genres modern western people aren’t used to does not make that communication unreliable. We do not want people in another part of the world living two thousand years from now to think we are incompetent idiots. We should not make the same cruel assumptions of others.

So if the people who recorded the Bible were indeed normal people who had extraordinary encounters with a living God instead of bumbling, superstitious idiots — who would be the better witness? Can we presume to know how events really happened thousands of years ago better than the people who were actually there?

One amazing thing that makes the Bible more believable is that it was not written by a man. It was written by many men. The word “Bible” actually comes from a Latin word meaning “library.” The Bible is a collection of writings which reveal the one true God, not one monolithic work. This is one way it differs from many other “religious texts.”

The texts of the Bible were written by more than 40 different people from vastly different backgrounds over the span of a little more than 1,500 years. Paul was a tentmaker and part-time scholar who wrote most of his letters in the late first century. Luke was a gentile physician. John was a fisherman writing at the same time as Luke and Paul. Moses was an exiled prince writing around 1400 B.C. Between Moses and the New Testament, there was David, a shepherd who grew up poor. His son Solomon grew up in wealthy luxury. Jonah and a few other prophets were official priests and prophets, but Nehemiah was a bureaucrat who had more in common with the Babylonians than he did with his Israelite ancestors.

That so many people from such diverse backgrounds and cultures over such a long period of time could produce works that agree with each other on ethics and basic theology so closely argues for the accuracy, authenticity and authority of the Bible rather than against it. There is an astonishing level of internal consistency in the Bible given all the factors working against a collection like it.

Corroboration like that points to truth. Maybe it doesn’t seal the case for the truth of the Bible, but it certainly means that an objection like, “Men wrote the Bible, so it isn’t trustworthy” can’t hold much water.

So yes, men, under the influence of God’s Spirit, wrote the Bible. Men, who had no real reason to agree with each other because of their vast differences in time and culture other than an authentic common experience with the one true and living God, wrote the Bible.

What do you think?

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