The Bible is always truthful, but not always factual.

Friday, 6/8/12

Jesus told Timothy, “All Scripture is inspired by God and useful in teaching, for refutation, for correction, and for training in righteousness.”

We all believe that, but we do not all believe it in the same way. For instance, the Catholic Church once believed that all the statements in the Bible were factual. In three places the Psalms say that earth stands firm and immovable at the middle of the universe. Following on that, the Church in 1632 condemned Galileo for heresy because it wrote that the earth rotated around the sun. In 1992 Pope John Paul II apologized to Galileo. In doing so, he was publicly declaring that the Bible can get its facts wrong.

The Vatican Council compares the seventy-three books of he Bible to a long shelf of books that contains every type of literature. It has histories, and love poetry, satires, prophesies and myths. Many of the books use poetic license that twists the facts around to make deeper truths appear.

When Martin Luther put aside church authority as a guide to truth, he made the Scriptures our only guide.  He was right in a way, because the Scriptures do teach the truth. He was wrong, however, in confusing truth with facts. Truth demands that those of his followers who insist that the Bible be taken as fact better wise up.

When I tried telling my grade school classes that the Bible is truthful without being factual, there was one Baptist boy who kept telling me, “I don’t care what you say, I still believe the Bible.”

A dozen years later that boy showed up as best man in a wedding at out place, and he thanked me for setting him straight on the Bible.  

No comments:

Post a Comment