Is the Bible true?
Unlike many Christians, I was not raised believing the Bible. I considered it a holy book, but one that I never read and even if I had wanted to read I did not have one. If on rare occasions I opened a bible to read it, I never could understand. It pretty much looked like Greek to me.
When a friend of mine begun to witness to me, he gave me a bible, but I could not understand anything that I read, it was basically a closed book to me. After I got saved the Lord open my mind and I begun to understand what I was reading in the Bible; it seemed pretty straightforward and correct to me, but pretty soon Satan begun to attack my faith in the Bible. Some atheists and heathen pointed to me some contradictions or supposed errors in the Bible, I knew the Bible was the word of God, but I looked at the errors they pointed out and I really had no answer to give them.
Being a new Christian I was ignorant of many things, but I trusted that somehow I would learn those truths. Now that many years have passed and I see that many of the errors in the Bible only exist in the imagination of the atheists and the contradictions are not really contradictions, but a mere lack of understanding. A little bit of knowledge about the customs, rituals and cultures of the ancients will dispel many of the "contradictions" that some find in the Bible.
Nothing would please the heathen and Atheists more than to find actual mistakes in the Bible, in order to refute the Bible. Per example, I say that have always sustained that the Bible has no mistakes only misunderstandings or misinterpretations. Of course to a critic this statement would be in error. For I did not "always" believe this, when I say "always" It should be understood that I mean from the time I became a Christian.
The Bible omits a lot of details and the critics take the absence of those details as an error. Just because something is not said that does not make it a mistake. The biblical accounts by their very nature must omit a lot of details; otherwise the Bible would be over 100 times its current size. Only what was thought essential to the narratives was included in the scriptures.
The critics of the Bible look for anything they can call an error in the Bible, at one time their list of "mistakes" in the Bible was a lot longer, but thanks to archeology and a better understanding of the ancient world, their list has gotten a lot smaller.
Some of the errors in the Bible have been found to just simply be errors of translations, due to a lack of knowledge or linguistics. An error in translation is meaningless, for the error is in the translator not in the original message.
There were some minor errors in the copying of the bible, but those mistakes were easily discovered by comparing multiple copies, and choosing the most correct copy. Even gross error like the “Comma Johanneum” were eventually corrected.
Revolutionary and amazing discoveries have been made since the King James Bible was translated back in 1611. Thousand of new fragments of old biblical texts and non-biblical texts have given us a more faithful understand of the original words in the text. Also the new acquired knowledge of archeology, mathematics, botany, geography and natural sciences has allowed a more precise translation of the original texts.
There was a time when atheists laughed at the notion of Moses writing the Pentateuch because according to them writing was not invented at that time. Well archeology soon discovered that not only writing existed at the time of Moses but actually had existed for over a thousand years. These findings revolutionized the concept of the ancients as primitive's nomads. The Atheists had egg on their face, but they did not give up.
Archeology has found a lot of artifacts and writings confirming the events of the times of Moses. The Egyptians are known to rewrite their history. They erased major defeats and devastation from their records, and rewrote accounts to their benefit. They were perhaps the first to rewrite history to fit their current political correct views. But there are plenty of mentions of "apiru" (Hebrews) in the writings of Egypt.
According to the Egyptians records, the Apiru came into Egypt from Palestine, they were later enslaved, and eventually they were expulsed. A papyrus called "The Ipuwer Papyrus" mentions the ten plagues of Egypt. The place where Moses crossed the Red Sea has been found, and the chariots of Egypt have already been photographed in the bottom of the water where Moses crossed the Red Sea.
Archeology has even proven events older than the time of Moses. The war of Abraham against the kings of the east was thought to be a myth, but the Ebla Tablets that were discovered in northern Syria proved it a reality. Even Adam and Eve are mentioned in ancient texts. Ancient coins depict Adam and Eve. In the tale of the water god Enki there is mention of a lady of the rib. The Sumerian hero Gilgamesh mentions his search for a tree of life and it also mentions a serpent.
Stories of the flood are universal; it seems that every ancient culture has a tale about the flood. So are the stories and legends of giants and great demi-gods. The tales of the Greeks have many tales of men who were part god. Tales of giants are abundant in the Greek, Roman, and Egyptian mythologies, as well as those of India cultures. So the genesis account of the sons of God mingling with the daughters of men and producing giants seem to have certain validity.
Of course after the time of Moses we have much more evidence for the biblical accounts. Jericho is already well known and no longer a myth. The conquests of Joshua no longer are put into doubt. A piece of stone has confirmed that David was a king of Israel. The three Hebrew children mentioned in the book of Daniel are mentioned by name in another stone, so no one can doubt their real existence.
Contradictions in the Bible?
There are no contradictions in the Holy Bible only misunderstandings. The heathen and Atheists would love to find contradictions in the Bible in it, in order to refute the Bible.
Some atheists read into the Bible their own prejudices and ideas, they are reading into the text things which are not there. Others attempt to judge the ancient texts by today's publishing standards. Others apply their own logic to force a contradiction where none exists.
The following are some of the "contradictions" in the Bible.
(1) a) David took seven hundred horsemen from Hadadezer (2 Sam. 8:4),
b) David took seven thousand horsemen from Hadadezer (1 Chron. 18:4)
Explanation: The counting is being done differently; in Samuel they are only counting the number of horsemen units. In Chronicles the actual number of people that formed those units is given. One horseman unit consisted of 10 people. So 700 units of horseman actually contained 700 x 10 = 7,000 horsemen.
(2) a) Ahaziah was 22 years old when he began to reign (2 Kings 8:26)
b) Ahaziah was 42 years old when he began to reign (2 Chron. 22:2)
Explanation: Ahaziah was 22 years old when he begun to reign under the tutelage of his mother Athaliah. Yet he was 42 years old when he begun to reign under his own power. This also explains the reason why he only reigned in Jerusalem for one year.
(3) a) Saul's daughter, Michal, had no sons (2 Sam. 6:23),
b) Saul's daughter, Michal, had 5 sons (2 Sam. 21:6)
Explanation: Michal had 5 sons with Adriel the son of Barzillai, but after coming back to David, she did not have any children with David. So from the time she mocked David, till the time of her death she was barren.
(4) a) Lot was Abraham's nephew (Gen. 14:12)
b) Lot was Abraham's brother (Gen. 14:14)
Explanation: Lot indeed was Abraham's nephew, but the custom in those times was to call a close relative a brother. It was just a form of affection for a close relative. Even today in many cultures people who are not related at all call each other brother.
(5) a) Joseph was sold into Egypt by Midianites (Gen.37:36)
b) Joseph was sold into Egypt by Ishmaelites (Gen. 39:1)
Explanation: Midianites and Ishmaelites are the same people, they are a synonym. Later when Gideon battles the Midianites, we find that the Midianites and the Ishmaelites are one and the same people.
(6) a) Saul was killed by his own hands (1 Sam. 31:4)
b) by a young Amalekite (2 Sam. 1:10)
c) by the Philistines (2 Sam. 21:12)
Explanation: Saul was indeed killed by his own hand; the young Amakelite was just lying, expecting a reward. The Philistines killed Saul in the sense that he died while in battle with them. The Philistine archers had already mortally wounded him, so he just finished the job.
Enough! We could go on and on trying to answer every single "contradiction" that the Atheists have found, but these should suffice to show us that if we have a problem understanding a scripture, then we should do some research before jumping to conclusions.
Is the Bible fairy tales?
There are some things in the Bible, which seem a little strange, but nonetheless are there. Some have argued that those are just mistranslations, which they possible could be.
What about a serpent speaking in the Garden of Eden. There are many explanations for this. One is that is quite possible that before the fall of man animals could and indeed speak with man. Another explanation is that the word serpent really means a different kind of being. Another is that the devil used the serpent as a go between the physical world and the spiritual world.
What about Baalam talking donkey? It was a one-time miracle; there is no repetition of it anywhere else.
What about the stories of Ruth and Esther? Those stories were real; the fact that they resemble fairy tales is just coincidental.
Is the Bible immoral?
Then there are those who say the Bible is immoral. That it teaches evil things. Those are evil accusations which will quickly be seen as just that. They try to apply today's standards of moral conduct to people in ancient times, which had a different code of conduct.
If all people come from Adam and Eve wouldn't that make the early generations the products of incest between brothers and sisters? The prohibition against incest was not established at that time. It was quite common for ancient people to marry close relatives. Abraham himself married his half sister.
What about Noah cursing Canaan, instead of his father who was the one who mocked Noah? For two reasons if Noah had cursed Ham then all his descendents would have been cursed, by cursing only Canaan it limited his punishment. Also the first born was the most precious thing to a father.
What about the incident between Lot and his daughters. The Bible does not say that it approves of such event only that it took place.
If one of the commandments is you shall not kill, then how could then God told Moses to raise an army and go to war? The commandment is more properly translated as you shall not murder. It was murder and not just killing that was prohibited.
What about all those death penalties commandments? For cursing father and mother, for homosexuality, or even for breaking the Sabbath? Israel was a theocracy ruled by God and God had every right to impose any prohibitions and penalties for breaking those prohibitions.
How can God kill people? God can do anything he wants he is God. He owns life and he can take it away. Life is his to take away any time he so desires. He slew Onan because he was wicked, he slew the sons of Aaron for their wickedness, and he slays as he sees fits and no one can judge God.
What about Joshua destruction of all the inhabitants of the Land? The land had to be cleansed from corruption; to allow those people to live would leave a lot of the corruption, diseases and evil customs to survive. The anakin or giants had to be destroyed in order to cleanse the human race from that strain of corruption. Total annihilation was the only way to completely destroy that corruption and prevent them from returning. It was a very drastic measure, but if not taken, it would eventually infect the Israelites and destroy them.
Actually the Israelites disobeyed God and did not destroy all the inhabitants of the land. With time the Israelites also partook of the religious rites of the heathen and God had to send them into captivity as punishment.
Of all the rest of the wars that God allowed his people to wage, most were acts of self-defense, if Israel had not taken up arms they would have been destroyed. The right to self-preservation or self-defense is a recognized right. That is a reason a person can kill another and walk out of court a free man. That is the reason countries can raise armies to defend the inhabitants from being attacked by another country.
If God is all good how can he permit evil? This is a very interesting question but one that is more a matter of philosophy than a question of the morality of God. The atheist thesis goes like this
If God is all good then he must destroy evil
If God can not destroy evil, he is not all powerful
If God allows evil then he can not be all good
Why would an all powerful God who is love allow evil to exist? Perhaps it is to illustrate what evil is in comparison to good. Or it could be that God allows humans the capacity for choice, to do evil and to do good. If God stopped humans from doing evil, he would take away their freedom of choice. Regardless of the reason why God chooses to allow evil, it is his decision to make.
The Bible is the true record of God and his dealings with man. We may not understand and comprehend everything that is written there but we must accept it as true.
Just because we do not understand every passage of scripture does not mean that the word of God is wrong. All it means is that we have limited knowledge and we need to study more.