Reasons for the Bible: The Bible is Consistent

by Kyle
published November 28, 2015


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The Bible is easily the best-selling book ever printed. According to the Guinness Book of World Records, more than 5 billion copies have been sold in English alone. Maybe about 500 million people speak English in the world today. That means about 10 copies per English-speaking person.

The Bible also perhaps bears the distinction of the most misquoted book ever printed. Quotes like “God helps those who help themselves,” “Love the sinner but hate the sin” and “God works in mysterious ways” appear nowhere in the Bible. Most of what people think they know about Hell comes from Dante’s Inferno instead of the Bible, the fruit Adam and Eve ate is never identified as an apple and the narrative about a little drummer boy is a complete fiction.

Much more insidiously, the Bible is quoted properly, but out of context. For example, the Bible says, “Eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow we die” (Isaiah 22:13 and 1 Corinthians 15:32). But the context reveals that the quote is offered ironically as the opposite of what the book is actually trying to teach. Others have adopted Philippians 4:13 as their life verse or content for their permanent tattoo, “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.” However, the context (Philippians 4:8-12) reveals that “all things” does not include passing the test you didn’t study for, getting the raise you didn’t earn or even winning the Heisman Trophy you didn’t even play college football to win. The context shows that you can be content in every circumstance through Christ. The context shows that you can do the things Christ has given you to do — not necessarily all the things you want to do.

The Bible reveals itself as being surprisingly consistent. And that’s one reason I love and believe in the Bible: It is internally consistent.

Internal consistency means that within the Bible, there are no contradictions. When understood as a whole, the Bible does not contradict itself. In fact, it paints the same picture of the world on every page.

God, the creator of all things, is both loving and angry, vengeful and merciful, “the just and the justifier” (Romans 6:23). Humans, his creation, are unequivocally sinful and depraved by their own choices, deserve death, but enjoy God’s grace because at the very least they do not die in the instance of their sin. More than that, they enjoy sun, rain, food, drink, friendship, family and love, which are all given from the hand of God no matter how hard they think they worked for it. Some people are even redeemed, made new and regarded as righteous by putting their faith in God and allowing him to do so, despite their continuation in sin. God made payment for the sin of mankind by offering himself — as Jesus Christ who is fully God and man — to accomplish justice and to offer grace to those who will accept it. Abraham enjoyed this relationship with God the same way Paul did. In short, “The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23).

I won’t bore you with a list of verses that support this picture. It’s the main message of the Bible. The Bible never deviates from this message. Various stories may magnify different sides of a message that has balance and tension within it. That does not amount to a contradiction, just a focus on one facet or another.

More beautifully, when someone understands the main message of the Bible, the Bible produces a consistent kind of person, someone who looks more and more every day like Jesus.

“Wait,” you might say, “What about the Crusades? What about the Salem witch trials? What about the other numerous atrocities committed in the name of Jesus by Christians?”

May I suggest that not everyone uses the name of Jesus legitimately? Our culture almost universally accepts the same argument about Islam. Failure to think the same way about followers of Jesus perpetuates a double standard.

In fact, the difference is that the atrocities committed by Christians are done contrary to the scripture they profess to believe. A Christian who believes that killing an unbeliever sends someone whom God created and loves to hell will not easily take a life. They won’t even easily mistreat someone because of God’s love for them. They won’t even speak harshly to them. A Christian only does these things when they depart from what they claim to believe.

It may just be a trait peculiar to me, but I have enormous respect for consistency, and the Bible offers more consistency than any other system of belief. More than that, though, it makes reasonable all the traits we like. The value of human life, the beauty of humility, the logic of science and the goodness of both the physical and spiritual worlds are all made rational in the Bible.

What do you think?

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