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The Books of the Bible
Who Wrote the Bible?
An Overview of the Bible’s Storyline
Is the Bible Today What Was Originally Written?
“[T]he oft-repeated claim that early Christian scribes were unprofessional and untrained simply does not fit with what we know about early Christian manuscripts nor about early Christian literary culture.”
Jesus in all the books of the Bible, including the Jewish Bible — i.e. the Christian Old Testament
Where Do Bible Chapter and Verse Numbers Come From?
Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties
Countering Bible Contradictions
Does the Bible Contradict Scientific Principles?
[Most Christians are taught that “inerrancy” refers not to the translations available to read today but instead to the ” autographa ” — or original manuscripts, in their original languages — which are universally unavailable to read today. With that critical prerequisite understood, there still remains a debate between inerrantists about what, exactly, the term “inerrant” means given differing interpretations of the original manuscripts (the precise content of which manuscripts, again, scholars have to infer today — see the hyperlinked article cited just above — since those manuscripts are unavailable to examine directly). With that debate in mind, this first resource offers a valuable introduction.]
Is the Bible inerrant?
A dialog between Drs. Michael Licona and Richard Howe.
[Not surprisingly, Dr. Licona has had to answer many good questions posed by many good Christians about his Greco-Roman Biographical inerrancy hermeneutic, which, as revealed in the above-cited “dialog” with Richard Howe, differs from the traditional perspective on biblical inerrancy.]
Why Don’t the Gospel Writers Tell the Same Story?
New Testament scholar and apologist Michael Licona’s new book argues that ancient literary devices are the answer — and that’s a good thing for Christians.
Mike Licona responds to Craig Blomberg’s critique of his GRB hermeneutic
The Inerrancy Debate
[Dr. Licona has also debated opponents of biblical inerrancy.]
Ehrman–Licona Dialogue on the Historical Reliability of the New Testament
[With the above-cited debates in mind, the following citations will be divided into two groups. The first group of citations will represent — at least to some extent — the perspective of Mike Licona while the second group of citations will represent — at least to some extent — the perspective of Richard Howe.]
Group 1: The Greco-Roman Biographical [Liconain] Perspective on Inerrancy
Why Genre Matters for the Biblical Inerrancy Debate
[That lecture — by Dr. Craig Blomberg (Denver Seminary) — agrees in principle with Licona on the Grego-Roman Biographical genre of the NT Gospels but, as noted above, Dr. Blomberg also differs with Licona on related matters.]
“It was far more important to the ancient historian that we grasp the meaning of history than that we get the chronology straight. Thus Matthew groups the sayings of Jesus in five major ‘books’ by topic… Luke has another way of grouping his material… In each case we get topical groupings, which give us an orderly account in that they order the material so we can better understand it. In neither case do we necessarily get the exact setting in which Jesus said all of the material. To do that would likely have made the material harder to understand, for it would have been split over large portions of the Gospel. Exact chronology is a relatively modern fixation; ancient writers were very happy to compromise chronology if by so doing readers got a better grasp on the inner meaning and real significance of the facts.”
—F.F. Bruce, Ph.D., Hard Sayings of the Bible, Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 1996, 454–455.
“It is potentially misleading to say ‘all Scripture tells the truth‘ if we thereby convey the impression that ‘Scripture is nothing more than factual expressions‘… The Chicago Statement [on Biblical Inerrancy — a Traditionalist document drafted in 1978] remains a useful and helpful guide. Nevertheless, some new questions have arisen [asked by people such as Mike Licona], and some old ones have surfaced in new contexts. Moreover, a formal statement, despite its lengthy affirmations and denials, doesn’t engage all the questions swirling around it, but rather stakes out a position. The position itself may still be defensible, but the discussion is ongoing… Just as it’s possible to ignore what Scripture says about its own truthfulness, it’s possible to so focus on internecine debates about inerrancy that one forgets to promulgate the gospel, forgets to walk in humility before God in his holiness, forgets to love brothers and sisters in Christ as Christ has loved us. God still says he favors, not those who defend inerrancy, but those who are humble and contrite in spirit and who tremble at his word (Isa. 66:2).”
— D.A. Carson, Ph.D., New Testament.
“Why the differences [in different biblical accounts of the same events]?… [S]ome people today have made a big issue out of the differences… Sometimes it was to condense narratives… Sometimes it was to contextualize… Sometimes it was for greater precision of wording… Quite often it was for style… Ancient readers didn’t expect ancient [Greco-Roman] biographies to be in chronological order, and moving material around was considered [by the original writers and readers of those GRBs to be] a matter of arrangement, not of accuracy. And ancient expectations are what we need to consider: it is simply anachronistic to judge documents by standards that didn’t exist in their day, or genres that didn’t exist in their day, even when modern genres evolved from ancient ones with the same names. To ignore genre and the expectations that a writer could take for granted that his readers shared is like ignoring the language or culture in which a work is written… In fact, most ancient historians paraphrased and adapted the wording of their sources more than the Gospel writers do… Still, in what is probably a majority of cases, except where we find a pattern, one scholar’s guess is as good as another’s. Maybe it was for style. Maybe it was to abbreviate. Maybe it was to provide a few more vivid details the author heard elsewhere. Maybe one author adapted some wording to bring out a different emphasis. Sometimes these observations help us preach a particular Gospel’s message more faithfully, but often we just scratch our heads.”
—Craig Keener, Ph.D., New Testament.
“All one has to do is compare Jesus’ words between the Gospels to see we are not reading his actual words in all of them (i.e., as if the Gospels are transcripts). For example, compare Jesus’ words in his Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5-7 with Luke 6:20-40. It will not do to say these are different events, since immediately after in both, he goes into Capernaum and heals a centurion’s servant. Moreover, while most scholars agree that Matthew has added some of Jesus’ teachings offered on other occasions and arranged them artistically with some he had given in his Sermon on the Mount, simply compare his words in the parallel teachings found in the Sermon and you’ll see redaction has often occurred to varying degrees.”
—John S. Feinberg, M.Th., Ph.D., Philosophy; Light in a Dark Place: The Doctrine of Scripture, Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2018, pp. 244–245.
“Our conclusion so far is that the Sermon on the Mount is not the report of a continuous sermon of Jesus, any more than the series of parables in Mt.13, but is a collection of sayings of Jesus. For what purpose was this collection organized? How was it arrived at? Here it is helpful if we remind ourselves of a result of the work of the well-known English New Testament scholar C.H. Dodd, who has made the basic observation that in the earliest period everywhere in Christendom there was a twofold type of sermon, namely preaching and teaching, Kerygma and Didache. These two concepts are unfortunately constantly confused, although each of them, at any rate according to Pauline linguistic usage, are quite differently characterized.”
—Joachim Jeremias (1900-1979), Lutheran theologian, quoted in Jesus and His ‘Works’: The Johannine Saying in Historical Perspective, University of Aberdeen Press (UK), 1993, by Peter W. Ensor.
“If the Johannine Evangelist condensed some teachings of Jesus while expanding others, and if this rendering of Jesus’ teachings also counterbalanced Mark in several ways, John’s distinctive presentations of Jesus’ teaching ministry might be seen not so much as an affront to history but as an alternative presentation of it. Granted, the Johannine Jesus speaks with the Evangelist’s words and thought-forms, but even a paraphrase may at times gets closer to the historical truth than a direct quotation.”
—Paul N. Anderson, M.Div., Ph.D.; The Riddles of the Fourth Gospel: An Introduction to John, Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2011, p. 216.
“John does not always give us the actual words (ipsissima verba) of Jesus. But to an extent that is true of all the Gospel writers. Apart from anything else, it is likely that Jesus spoke mostly in Aramaic; what we have then in the Gospels is a translation. But it is possible to go further than this: it is well known that translations (e.g. of the Bible) can be of different sorts: some are very literal, others are much freer in the actual wording, but may convey the original sense better. The Gospels arguably translate literally sometimes and much more paraphrastically at other times… [T]he Gospel… writers offer us extracts and summaries, putting things into their own words and making clear the meaning of what was said… John is perhaps more often in the free translation rather than the literal translation camp… [T]he Synoptics and John are so close that there is no reason to deny that Jesus said exactly what John says he said. But the conclusion could also be that John has paraphrased Jesus’ words in order to make their meaning crystal clear…”
—David Wenham, Ph.D., “A Historical View of John’s Gospel”, Themelios, vol. 23, no. 2 (1998): pp. 17–18.
“In the opening paragraphs [of this chapter], we noted that the term history is used in at least two different senses: history-as-event and history-as-account… [T]he latter… might better be termed historiography… [S]ince an account of something (just like a painting of something) is not literally that something, one may legitimately describe the account as or the painting as in one sense fictional… [But] because the term fiction is also used to designate a genre of literature that is not constrained by any ‘something’ external to it (i.e. by any referential constraint), the term is not ideally suited to discussions of historiography and could profitably be replaced by less ambiguous terms such as artistry or crafting.“
— V. Philips Long (Ph.D., Cambridge), professor of Old Testament, Regent College, Vancouver, BC.
[Ironically, even many supporters of the Traditional perspective concede many points cited by GRB/Licona supporters. Norm Geisler (d: 2019) was one such Traditionalist.]
“[W]hy not assume the differences in the Gospels are due to the separate sources, individual interests, and creativity of the different authors?”
—Norman L. Geisler, (M.A., Theology, Ph.D., Philosophy); Christian Apologetics, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1976, p. 321.
[John Frame is another.]
“When Jesus quotes Moses, there is usually no reason to expect that his quotation will be precise. In ordinary language it is perfectly proper to give the gist of someone’s words without precision.”
—John M. Frame, D.Div., The Doctrine of the Word of God, A Theology of Lordship, Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishing, 2010, pp. 175–176.
Group 2: The Traditional [Howeian] Perspective on Inerrancy
Biblical Inerrancy: A Compendium of Online Traditionalist Resources
Inerrancy and inspiration of the Bible
The Rationality of Belief in Inerrancy
Inerrancy and World View
Answering Modern Challenges to the Bible
God’s Inerrant Word
An International Symposium on the Trustworthiness of Scripture
Early Church Fathers on Sola Sciptura
A (Failed) Argument Against Biblical Inerrancy
Why I Believe in Inerrancy
Evangelical Self-Identity and the Doctrine of Biblical Inerrancy
“Where do these phantom passages come from?”
Why Can’t We Just Read the Bible?
MUST I LEARN HOW TO INTERPRET THE BIBLE?
How to Interpret the Bible
Taking the Bible “Literally”
The Tabula Rasa Fallacy
Commenting and Commentaries
How to Interpret the Bible
How to Interpret Your Bible Correctly
Interpreting Scripture by Scripture
Background in Biblical Interpretation
How to Do a Word Study
Course Materials on Biblical Hermeneutics
Inerrancy and New Testament Exegesis
What is Redemptive-Historical Interpretation?
4 Good Reasons Not to Read the Bible Literally
[Based on the evidence presented on this page, ASND agrees only conditionally with Mr. Lose’s conclusions. For some excellent discussions about those conditions (which differ significantly from Mr. Lose’s “reasons“) listen to this (the first discussion on biblical literalism begins at about 56 minutes into the program and the second discussion begins about 1 hour 52 minutes into the program) ].
“… holiness of the biblical text remains, even if mistakes are made…”
[Wouldn’t that depend on the type of “mistakes” made?]
Misreading Scripture with Western Eyes
The Bible & Women:
“The Bible often gets a bad rap for being ‘anti-women.’ But an examination of what the Bible actually says — and how women are actually depicted — paints a very different picture.”
[Yes, the article was written by a woman.]
“… in choosing what passages you would take as models for your behavior, you chose narrative passages rather than prescriptive ones.”
[That book review, too, was written by a woman.]
THE DEAD SEA SCROLLS AND THE NEW TESTAMENT WORLD
Does God condone slavery in the Bible?
Does the Bible promote slavery?
Slavery, John Locke and the Bible
Slavery in the Old and New Testament
Was [American] Slavery God’s Will?
Why Is the New Testament Silent on Slavery?
Did Daniel Accurately Predict a Succession of Nations?
The Evidence Says Yes.
Five common objections to biblical prophecy debunked
How the Bible Came Together
The Canonicity of the Bible
IIs the Biblical Canon Closed?
The Apocryphal / Deuterocanonical Books: An Evangelical View
The Definition of ‘Canon’: Exclusive or Multi-Dimensional?
How We Got Our Bible And Why We Believe It Is God’s Word
The Apostolic Bible Polyglot
A numerically coded Greek-English interlinear Bible with auxilliary works.
Fifteen Myths about Bible Translation
Five More Myths about Bible Translations and the Transmission of the Text
[For those (one or two, maybe) who will actually read those essays and wonder why the author did not include any end note references — seemingly suggesting that he is expert enough to know it all himself, it turns out that in Dr. Wallace’s case, he actually is (at least on these particular topics). And yes, the first fifteen myths about which Dr. Wallace wrote are already posted on ASND’s main Bible page.]
Choosing a Bible Translation
What Bible Should I Own
Crucifixion nails, Noah’s Ark, and the Jesus Tomb: how should we respond to sensational archaeological claims?
Unearthing the Ancient Near East
What archaeology tells us about the Bible
Bible Secrets Revealed [?]:
An Evidence-Based Response to the History Channel Series