RED FLAG WORDS, ROOT IDEA AND PROBING QUESTIONS
Well hello everyone! Another Monday has come around again. And with it another work week. Ahhh you might say, but look at it as a chance to minister to people God’s word.
Speaking of God’s word, we will conclude our series on biblical skeptics today. Remember the root idea behind the biblical skeptic is; The Bible is man-made (they question the Bible’s relevance, reliability and authority). And red-flag words we’ve already discussed are legends (any event in the past that can’t be explained naturalistically [scientifically], literally (a person who takes the Bible literally is naive or uneducated while “intelligent people” read the Bible with critical “sophistication”), and translations (the idea that he Bible today has many conflicting texts as opposed to the original writings).
When someone questions the Bible, “...we should first engage the Rood Idea that is the basis for their skepticism (“The Bible is man-made”). We need to present the Bible in a way they can relate to it first on a practical level, then on a transcendent level. We might start by saying something like, “I understand your skepticism. No one ever said the Bible was an easy book.” then we should ask the Probing Question: “If God really gave us a book, how would we know it came from Him?”1
Most skeptics (and believers too) don’t understand how the Bible has been preserved and passed down through the generations. We can use the analogy of a recipe from a great aunt. But some of it’s smudged and a corner is ripped and a critical part is faded. So you call two cousins who also have the recipe and they fax you their copies. Both look different for your copy but only slightly. For example the first cousin spelled out the words “teaspoon” and “cup” and she had each step numbered. The second “cousin” used the word “stir” instead of “mix”, and “pot” instead of “saucepan”. So by crosschecking my faded copy with the other two, I can confidently identify any errors and rewrite an accurate copy.
This example demonstrates “...how scholars test ancient Bible documents. Even if some copies contain errors, become damaged, or are altered by a copyist, and accurate record can still be assembled by comparing the thousands of other manuscripts found all over the world. Even copies with errors would not all have the same errors…. Errors and corruption will stand out against the huge number of manuscripts that agree…. The vast majority of surviving Bible manuscripts have only minor variances between them (in most cases, merely single words) and no variance that affect meaning.”2
This is much different than what many skeptics believe. They tend to think the Bible was written similar to the “telephone” game where the outcome is much different than the original input.
When asked asked what’s so special about the Bible, we can reply “there are two ordinary reasons and two extraordinary reasons why I believe the Bible came from God and is different than any other book.
Let’s look at ordinary and extraordinary in regards to the Bible.
- The Bible accurately depicts human nature and is honest about people. It documents their faults, failures, as well as the feats of an events’ hero. For example (amongst hundreds of examples), king David’s affair with Bathsheba and Peter turning his back on Jesus, Jonah not wanting to bring God’s message to the Nenevites, and the disciples being simple men. This is probably the most outstanding illustration that the writers were not biased. Why in the world would they include the most unflattering details about heroes of the Bible?
- “The Bible is historically accurate…. Secular records and archaeology repeatedly verify the Bible’s accounts of people such as king David, Pilate, the Hittites, many other s and details of places such as Sodom, Gomorrah, Nineveh, Nazareth, and Rome.
But there are many good books on human nature and history, so that alone isn’t convincing. The Bible should give us something beyond that , other wise, why should we trust it above other books?”3
- “The Bible predicts specific future events. It includes something supernatural that is also verifiable by recorded history. Hundreds of years before the events, the Bible predicted:
- The rise of four specific world powers (Dan. 2:37-40; 8).
- Nebuchadnezzar’s destruction of mainland Tyre and unique defeat of island Tyre by Alexander the Great’s coalition over 250 years after Ezekiel’s prophecy (Eek. 26).
- The four-way division of Alexander’s kingdom (Dan. 11:3-4)
- Jesus’ crucifixion (Ps. 22).
- “The Bible was written by as many as (or more) forty authors thousands of years ago. Yet its teachings are consistent.
- The consistent character of God across both testaments (i.e. God’s compassion and judgement).
- Consistent themes across both testaments; blood atonement, unblemished lamb, only son of miracle birth as a sacrifice, virgin birth, justification by faith (not works), self identification of God, final judgement.
- The complementary (not contradictory) accounts of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection in the four Gospels.”4
It is pertinent we acknowledge that the Bible makes amazing claims. And that is just what we should expect from any book that professes to be the Word of God.
Take care and God bless!
This week in the night skies; for the northern hemisphere “Thursday, June 12
Full Moon (exact at 12:11 a.m. June 13th EDT). The Moon shines in the dim legs of the constellation Ophiuchus. Look for Antares well to its right.”5
For the southern latitudes; “Tuesday, June 10 For southernmost Africa, the Moon occults (covers) Saturn around 19 hours Universal Time. ”5
1-4 Foster, Bill. “Meet the Skeptic, A Field Guide to Faith Conversations.” Master Books, Green Forest, AR, 2012. Pp 118-123.