Thesis: A thinking Christian can believe in an inerrant Bible.
1. This AM we affirmed that the Bible is the Word of God and is totally and completely free from error.
a. This is far from being a matter of opinion or question of semantics.
b. The Bible doctrine of inerrancy matters for the following reasons:
1) Bible claims to be without error (2 Tim. 3:16-17; 2 Pet. 1:19-21).
2) We need an absolute, objective standard we can rely on.
3) We need a reliable testimony about God and his will.
4) We need something to keep us morally on track.
2. Tonight we want to explore some alleged errors and seeming contradictions in the Bible.
a. Favorite "camping grounds" of those who deny inerrancy.
b. Explore them and see that it still makes sense to believe in inerrancy.
I. MANY CONTRADICTIONS HAVE SIMPLE SOLUTIONS.
A. When all the facts about a Bible difficulty are known, the "contradiction" disappears.
1. Illust. Furman Kearley tells of reading about a university football game in the morning and afternoon papers of his hometown. The morning paper reported 51,730 people had attended; the afternoon paper said 53,255. Which was correct? Actually, both were! The smaller figure was the actual ticket sales. The higher figure was the turnstile count which included many people who got in with free passes.
2. Many Bible difficulties can be explained when all the facts are known.
B. < Some examples: >
1. The time of the crucifixion.
b. Solution: Both are correct! Mark is on "Jewish Standard Time" which means third hour since sunrise--9:00 AM; John is using Roman time which means the trial was going on at the sixth hour from midnight-- 6:00 AM!
c. Illust. Few people realize that George Washington was really born on February 11, 1732 instead of Feb. 22! During his lifetime an adjustment of 11 days was made to bring the calendar into agreement with the sun. Most books report his birth as Feb. 22--some report it as Feb. 11. Both are correct!
2. Abiathar instead of Ahimelech (Mark 2:26).
a. Jesus refers to David's eating the sacred bread at Nob (1 Sam. 21) "in the time of Abiathar the high priest"; Ahimelech, Abiathar's father was really the high priest.
b. Solution: Jesus does not actually say Abiathar was the high priest when this happened. He says it was "in the time of" Abiathar. Abiathar was present--Ahimelech was his father. Abiathar went on to become high priest for many years with David and eclipsed his father in notoriety. It is like saying Robt. E. Lee was born "in the days of George Washington." Technically not true as Geo. died a few years before Robt. E. Lee was born. It is like saying the Second Great Religious Awakening happened during the days of President Jefferson. Technically incorrect. It actually began before he was inaugurated.
II. UNRESOLVED CONTRADICTIONS ARE NOT UNRESOLVABLE.
A. Some Bible difficulties disappear when all the facts are known.
1. However, for others, there may not be enough information yet.
2. In such cases judgment should be reserved until there is enough information to reach a conclusion.
B. < Some examples: >
1. Moses and the Pentateuch.
a. A century ago critics charged that Moses could not have written the Pentateuch because writing was unknown among Hebrews until hundreds of years later.
b. Archaeology has now shown that writing and great libraries existed in the Middle East for up to 2,000 years before
2. The Hittites.
a. Critics once denied that the Hittites existed, because the only evidence was 46 or so mentions in Scripture.
b. In 1906 Hugo Winckler began digging in Central Turkey and discovered the capital city of the Hittite Empire!
3. Some Bible difficulties are simply waiting for more information to be discovered!
1. There are only two ways to look at the Bible regarding truth and error:
a. It contains errors.
b. It is inerrant.
2. A "thinking Christian" can and should begin with the assumption that the Bible is inerrant.
a. Careful study will resolve many difficulties.
b. Judgment should be reserved for others until there is a sufficient basis for understanding.
c. In the mean time, we can be assured of having a book that is "useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness."