Truth and Fiction in the Bible

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Truth and Fiction in the Bible

Postby Exit40 on Thu Dec 22, 2016 6:03 am

Truth and Fiction in the Bible
Published: Thursday, December 22, 2016
The Robin Lane Fox book The Unauthorised Version. REVIEW BY KEVIN BALDEOSINGH

The sub-title of this book is Truth and Fiction in the Bible and, given the season, this review starts with British historian Robin Lane Fox’s statement about Christmas.

“We can argue with renewed confidence for the date when Jesus died (March 36 AD) but, like early Christians, we do not know when he was born,” he says. Some of the first Christians, Fox notes, argued for November 3, others for May or April. Not until the fourth century were Christians recorded as celebrating Jesus’ birth on December 25 – a date used by pagans to mark the birth of the sun god in the winter solstice.

It’s also important to note what Fox means by calling his book an “unauthorised version” – he is not primarily concerned with the factual nature of the Bible nor its lack thereof, but with figuring out what the Bible authors originally intended to say, “insisting that it can undercut what Churches, literary critics or modernising readers now claim that the scriptures meant.”

However, as a historian, Fox is faithful to the facts, as measured by the standards of historical scholarship. “Whereas scientists have tested the stories of Creation to see if they correspond to facts, it is for historians to test the stories of the Nativity to see if they correspond to historical truth,” he writes.

For example, he cites Luke’s Gospel recording King Herod and the governor of Syria as contemporaries around 6 CE, but historical records show that occupied their two offices ten years apart. In fact, Herod was already dead when Luke has him ordering that every first-born male be killed....

Continues

**** Anyone familiar with this type of 'historical fact' issue of purported Biblical errors, like Herod being dead ? D. ****

God Bless

David
Eph 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God

T'was Grace that taught my heart to fear.
And Grace, my fears relieved.
How precious did that Grace appear
The hour I first believed.
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Re: Truth and Fiction in the Bible

Postby Abiding in His Word on Thu Dec 22, 2016 8:24 am

Exit40 wrote:
**** Anyone familiar with this type of 'historical fact' issue of purported Biblical errors, like Herod being dead ? **


I've had a book for years entitled "Alleged Discrepancies of the Bible" published in 1992 (433 pages). The author, John Haley has skillfully tackled those scriptures that seem to contradict others and gives numerous reasons for the alleged discrepancy. He mentions differences of dates in passages; differences of authorship; different methods of arrangement; peculiarities of the Oriental idioms, diverse meanings of the same word, etc.

For example of the type of "alleged discrepancies" some have noted...the omnipresence of Jesus

Matt. 26:11 "For you always have the poor with you; but you do not always have Me. 

Matt. 28:20 ".... and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." 

The book is divided into:
Doctrinal Discrepancies
Ethical Discrepancies
Historical Discrepancies

My thoughts about this topic:

The moral influence and efficacy of scripture is not essentially impaired by the the "contradictions" but should caution us to remain faithful to the "spirit" which gives life rather than the "letter" which kills. So many times I've seen scripture verses used as "clobber verses" which tend to reflect the Bible in terms of a law book with God using a scoreboard keeping track of failures rather than a revelation of the Messiah who was born of a woman as a spiritual deliverer who came to set us free from sin and death.
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Re: Truth and Fiction in the Bible

Postby shorttribber on Thu Dec 22, 2016 8:27 am

Answer: AT Robertson, the Greek Bible scholar explains: "A definite allusion by Luke to a series of censuses instituted by Augustus, the second of which is mentioned by him in Acts 5:37. This second one is described by Josephus and it was supposed by some that Luke confused the two. But Ramsay has shown that a periodical fourteen-year census in Egypt is given in dated papyri back to A.D. 20. The one in Ac 5:37 would then be A.D. 6. This is in the time of Augustus. The first would then be B.C. 8 in Egypt. If it was delayed a couple of years in Palestine by Herod the Great for obvious reasons, that would make the birth of Christ about B.C. 6 which agrees with the other known data When Quirinius (Kurêniou). Genitive absolute. Here again Luke has been attacked on the ground that Quirinius was only governor of Syria once and that was A.D. 6 as shown by Josephus (Ant. XVIII. I.I). But Ramsay has proven by inscriptions that Quirinius was twice in Syria and that Luke is correct here also. See summary of the facts in my Luke the Historian in the Light of Research, pp. 118-29."
Even though some who grasp at straws to try and discredit Luke's statement and the Bible in general, the fact is there was a taxing of the whole Roman Empire under Augustus. This fact is accepted by scholars today, even the most skeptics agree that Luke's statement is a fact.

The verse says, (And this taxing was first (protos) made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.) (Luke 2:2) The word "first" is the Greek word protos .

Many better Bible scholars would render the words thus, "This registration was previous (protos) to Cyrenius being governor of Syria"--as the word "first" is rendered in Joh 1:15; 15:18. In this case, of course, the difficulty vanishes. p??t?? protos pro'-tos contracted superlative of 4253; foremost (in time, place, order or importance):--before, beginning, best, chief(-est), first (of all), former.

John bare witness of him, and cried, saying, This was he of whom I spake, He that cometh after me is preferred before me: for he was before (protos) me. (John 1:15)

If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before (protos) it hated you. (John 15:18)

Of course if a person is looking to discredit God's word, they will go to any length. Any honest person who truly studies the Book of Luke, knows he was methodical in the details he gives of the life of Christ and that he was 100% accurate. This has been proven again and again by honest men.

I hope this helps. " Let thy mercies come also unto me, O LORD, even thy salvation, according to thy word. So shall I have wherewith to answer him that reproacheth me: for I trust in thy word." (Psalms 119:41-42)

"Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him." (Proverbs 30:5)

Our trust in God's word is not a blind trust, but based in facts that came be proven. The problem is not with God's word, but with those who will not accept our Creator and Savior.
The Wisest men have changed their Counsels and Resolves upon second thoughts, much more upon experience, and approaching evils not at first discovered. Rev. Herbert Croft, 1675

Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counsellors there is safety.

Find seven years of tribulation plainly stated in the Bible.
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Re: Truth and Fiction in the Bible

Postby Mark F on Sun Jan 01, 2017 11:29 am

shorttribber wrote:Answer: AT Robertson, the Greek Bible scholar explains: "A definite allusion by Luke to a series of censuses instituted by Augustus, the second of which is mentioned by him in Acts 5:37. This second one is described by Josephus and it was supposed by some that Luke confused the two. But Ramsay has shown that a periodical fourteen-year census in Egypt is given in dated papyri back to A.D. 20. The one in Ac 5:37 would then be A.D. 6. This is in the time of Augustus. The first would then be B.C. 8 in Egypt. If it was delayed a couple of years in Palestine by Herod the Great for obvious reasons, that would make the birth of Christ about B.C. 6 which agrees with the other known data When Quirinius (Kurêniou). Genitive absolute. Here again Luke has been attacked on the ground that Quirinius was only governor of Syria once and that was A.D. 6 as shown by Josephus (Ant. XVIII. I.I). But Ramsay has proven by inscriptions that Quirinius was twice in Syria and that Luke is correct here also. See summary of the facts in my Luke the Historian in the Light of Research, pp. 118-29."
Even though some who grasp at straws to try and discredit Luke's statement and the Bible in general, the fact is there was a taxing of the whole Roman Empire under Augustus. This fact is accepted by scholars today, even the most skeptics agree that Luke's statement is a fact.

The verse says, (And this taxing was first (protos) made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.) (Luke 2:2) The word "first" is the Greek word protos .

Many better Bible scholars would render the words thus, "This registration was previous (protos) to Cyrenius being governor of Syria"--as the word "first" is rendered in Joh 1:15; 15:18. In this case, of course, the difficulty vanishes. p??t?? protos pro'-tos contracted superlative of 4253; foremost (in time, place, order or importance):--before, beginning, best, chief(-est), first (of all), former.

John bare witness of him, and cried, saying, This was he of whom I spake, He that cometh after me is preferred before me: for he was before (protos) me. (John 1:15)

If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before (protos) it hated you. (John 15:18)

Of course if a person is looking to discredit God's word, they will go to any length. Any honest person who truly studies the Book of Luke, knows he was methodical in the details he gives of the life of Christ and that he was 100% accurate. This has been proven again and again by honest men.

I hope this helps. " Let thy mercies come also unto me, O LORD, even thy salvation, according to thy word. So shall I have wherewith to answer him that reproacheth me: for I trust in thy word." (Psalms 119:41-42)

"Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him." (Proverbs 30:5)

Our trust in God's word is not a blind trust, but based in facts that came be proven. The problem is not with God's word, but with those who will not accept our Creator and Savior.



Excellent commentary
Mark

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Find a seven year covenant Jesus makes with anybody plainly stated in Scripture.
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Re: Truth and Fiction in the Bible

Postby Jericho on Sun Jan 01, 2017 1:40 pm

The more you study apologetics you discover that any supposed contradictions in the Bible are really just apparent contradictions. They may seem like contradictions, but they are really not. There is always an explanation, even if we may not know it.
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Re: Truth and Fiction in the Bible

Postby Abiding in His Word on Sun Jan 01, 2017 2:16 pm

Jericho wrote:The more you study apologetics you discover that any supposed contradictions in the Bible are really just apparent contradictions. They may seem like contradictions, but they are really not. There is always an explanation, even if we may not know it.


Good word, Jericho. The rule of scripture interpreting scripture normally sheds light on difficult passages and we find, as you said, the explanation for what appeared to be a contradiction.

There are, of course, other factors to be considered in researching scripture; i.e. culture, history, idioms, metaphors, similies, etc. All play a part in arriving at a correct understanding.
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Re: Truth and Fiction in the Bible

Postby Jay Ross on Sun Jan 01, 2017 5:10 pm

A classical one that has caused many to disbelieve the Chronological data presented in the Book of Genesis with respect to when Abraham was born is found in Stephen's defence Acts 7:4 before he was stoned to death where he said that Abraham left Haran after his father had died. Many have taken Abraham's father that had died before he left Haran to be Terah whereas if we consider the chronology of the Book of Genesis, Stephen was referring to Noah having died before Abraham left Haran to go down into the Land of Canaan.

A second passage that has cause problems in our understanding of how long the descendants of Jacob spent in Egypt is found in Galatians 3:17 where it states: - "What I mean is this: The law, introduced 430 years later, does not set aside the covenant previously established by God and thus do away with the promise."

We know that the covenant was initially given to Abraham before he left Ur of the Chaldeans when Abraham was around 50 years old, but the final piece of the covenant Given to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob was given to Jacob, just before he left to actually go down to Egypt with his family of 70 souls. The number that actually went down with him would have been many more when we include the servants and wives etc.

Both of these verses depend on how the respective verses are interpreted. However, a revealing clue which indicates when Terah actually died can be found in Genesis 22:20-24 if we consider Abraham's and Isaac's unfolding stories.

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