The Bible is not God

Many people seem to confuse faith in God with faith in the inerrancy of the Bible. Ergo, if you question the Bible, you’re questioning God. Not so–the Bible and God are not the same thing. God is…um…let’s see here…okay, let’s just say God is God. (We’ll solve that easy question later.) But the Bible? That’s a quantifiable, human-made compilation of some really awesome/terrifying/boring stories written by humans about God. We might say that many of these humans were divinely inspired, but that is not the same thing as saying that the Bible is on par with God (or Jesus).

This question came up at another site when somebody made the following statement:

“As the Bible is ALL ABOUT Jesus to declare it to be in error is to cast doubt about Jesus.”

(Here’s what I had to say):

You are conflating faith in Jesus with faith in the accuracy of the Bible, but one does not depend on the other. It is belief in Jesus Christ – not in biblical accuracy – that is the source of our salvation. Whether we believe the Bible is “in error” to some degree is ultimately a secondary matter.

Believing in Jesus Christ as Savior does not mean that you must avert your eyes to the contradictions, and yes, there are plenty, found in the Bible. Neither must we make excuses for depictions of horrific violence, nor for the disturbing ancient practices found in the Bible. The Bible itself does not claim that it is infallible, just like it does not claim that it must be taken 100% literally.

Having said that, I do not believe that the Bible is “in error” so much as “in flux”. Throughout both the Old and New Testaments there are full on disagreements between the biblical authors themselves–particularly how previous texts should be interpreted, or what God’s real priorities were.

In some cases, biblical authors wrote texts designed to “correct” what they saw as flaws in the standard versions of particular stories. (For a classic example of this, read the David narratives in II Samuel, then read how the author of the Chronicles retold the story, changing significant details as he saw fit.)

But you can call into question some parts of the Bible without saying the whole thing is useless! The Bible was written by faithful Israelites and Christians, many of whom we would consider to be divinely inspired. It is our heritage, and there is much to be learned from our ancestors.