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Big Mistake: Perspective


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Every now and then someone will claim the Bible is in error over verses that don’t agree with history or science. At times this appears to be true, but we must understand the purpose of the Bible. When we keep its purpose in mind, we will be better equipped to handle the questions the skeptics have and understand Scripture more accurately. So, let’s examine the purpose of the Bible and what is not the purpose.

First, what is NOT the purpose of the Bible?

1)     It is not a science book.

While it does provide scientific information (most notably the Creation account) it’s not meant to be the authority on all science. Occasionally, the Bible does what most of us do, speak in terms that we understand. For example, we all say ‘sunset’ and ‘sunrise’ when science says that the sun is still and the earth rotates around it. The Bible speaks in that same way because it is not meant to be a science book.

2)     It is not a history book.

Yes, it contains historical facts and as we make more archaeological studies, we find the Bible is truer on its history than most history books, but that isn’t its primary mission. Therefore, we can expect some things to not be historically accurate in every detail.

3)     It is not meant to be perfect literarily (not to be confused with ‘literally’).

The Bible is a treasure in terms of its literary value, but it isn’t perfect in the sense that a group of editors didn’t go through it and make corrections. Therefore, we have some discrepancies from an editorial sense. One such discrepancy is that Matthew and Luke don’t have the same order when it comes to the three temptations Jesus faced. In a sense, this helps us confirm the accuracy of Scripture in that if all this was made up, we would expect everyone to collude to get their story straight. God wasn’t worried about ‘getting His story straight’ but about getting people ‘straight’ from His story.

4)     It isn’t meant to be politically correct.

Sometimes it is hard to read Scripture when it speaks of slaves and women for example. Many believe because the Bible speaks of slavery and seems to diminish women that it agrees with those ideas when the opposite is true. The Bible was written with culture in mind. Slavery was very popular at the time and thus it speaks of it but doesn’t condone it. If you look closely the Bible would actually be seen as being ‘progressive.’ One great example of this progressiveness is the emphasis put on women in the New Testament. You will have trouble finding any other writing of that period that gives so much effort to show the value of women.

The Bible was never meant to be a science or history book. It wasn’t meant to be edited to perfection or to be proper in all its context. The Bible was meant to show us God and His plan of Salvation through Jesus Christ. When we read Scripture, we need to make sure we understand that purpose as not to be led astray. It is when we remember this goal that we don’t get thrown off by the variance of events in the Gospels or the frank writing of the Old Testament on slavery. Yet, amazingly, even though the Bible was written as a story of God and Salvation, we can still learn so much about creation, history, and correct cultural practice from the Bible. It is an amazing book when kept in the proper perspective.


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