A question regarding some claims about authenticity in the Bible

I have a difficult question regarding the Bible. I have been watching many tv channels focused on history (e.g. History Channel, Viasat History) and reading blogs and websites about history. I have found that many researchers claim that the Old Testament was not written by Moses, Jeremiah, etc., rather by Hebrew politicians or scholars, who, instead of recording actual events, were inspired by ancient myths. They also claim that the New Testament was written by anonymous Christians, whose writings the Church later attributed to the Apostles (idea supported by Professor Bart Ehrman) and that OT prophecies are not related to Jesus, in the New Testament. They say that this has lead to contradictions within the Bible.
My question is: how true are these claims and, if proof shows these people are correct, how would that impact our understanding of the Bible as the Word of God?

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Dear Alexandru,
I find that many “historians” are handicapped in their methodology and their conclusions are less than logical. My favorite quote in this regard is from Jacob Burckhardt:

After a careful study of history, we see that man has rarely learned from studying history.

Burckhardt’s methodologies have helped me to understand history in a different way that you have described above. The work done by Origen of Alexandria (185 - 254 AD) on the Hexapla showed how the inspired works were rewritten by the priests and scribes over time to conform with their experiences in Babylon, the city of the devil. This once spiritual document suffered greatly at the hands of politics.

The NT suffered the same fate. The only full version of the Bible comes from the fourth century. We only have mere fragments of the original writings, demonstrating falsification and error by omission in the Codex Sinaiticus.

In essence, the historians you reference are correct that the Bible was written for political purposes, but they do not understand the methods by which it was accomplished. This does not do justice to the validity of the original texts, before they were perverted by power-hungry individuals.

There is a debate about this very subject on Youtube: Bart Ehrman vs James White.

I think you will find it enlightening.

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There is no shortage of people who want to find something wrong with the Bible.

Hey Chris,
Yes, there are even more who put their fingers in their ear, close their eyes and spout “La La La…” What is rare are people look at the history of the Bible dispassionately and analytically, finding wisdom in the pictures painted by the author and questioning the illogical contradictions in the text.

The Codex Sinaiticus is the product of a spiritual battle between the god of the dead and the God of the Living. (Mark 12:27) The god of the dead has used priests and scribes to twist the words of the prophets since the first time it was copied, therefore, what is missing is just as important as what is written.

Alexandru, thank you for your question.

There is some truth in all there statements, however please be assured that the basic Truth of the Bible is assured not by the authorship of the Bible, but by the Holy Spirit Who inspired the authors and inspires us the readers of the Bible.

The OT is a long text which does not have one author. It seems clear however that the prophets did write their own books. The historical books are based on historical sources which were compiled over the years. All books, the Bible included are subject to editing, the purpo0se of which is to clarify the holy texts.

The most controversial text is the first 11 chapters of Genesis where it appears that the authors of the book used a very old source called J and another very old source called E to determine the basic text of Genesis, which was put together and edited by P who is the priestly editor or editors. Out-dated scientific thinking is included in the Creation story because that was the standard of that time. The writers used some mythic material to expose and correct the false myths that everyone else believed.

We do not know for sure the authors of the Gospels, because writers of that time often did not sign their works. However the books of the NT went rigorous inspection to ensure that they are true. Many false books, attributed to the Apostles were rejected to the complaints of some. The gospels were written by the first Christians to ensure that the truth about Jesus Christ was preserved.

Jesus is not the Christ because He was prophesied, but because He was the Savior, Who suffered and died for our sins. The Virgin Birth prophecy is of questionable origin.

The original prophecy by Isaiah had nothing to do with the Messiah or Virgin Birth. However it became understood as a messianic prophecy and was translated that way by the JEWISH translators, so that it was interpreted that the Messiah would be born of a Virgin. We know that Jesus is the Messiah because of the Resurrection, not the prophecy.
The Bible is not the Word of God, Jesus is the Word of God. (John 1:1) We know the Bible is true because Jesus is the Messiah, not vice versa. Of course there are contradictions in the Bible, because it was inspired by God, but received by humans and intended for humans, but this does not mean that Jesus is not the Living God, our Lord and Savior, and the Logos of God.

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One thing to note is that many of these historians don’t believe in miracles or prophecy, so they will date things after a prophecy is fulfilled, and that opens the door to other authors and such.

I found this online book to give a good explanation of the problems with the Documentary Hypothesis.

http://datingtheoldtestament.com/read.htm

Another book I found helpful was A General Introduction to the Bible by Geisler and Nix.

Ehrman isn’t a Christian, and it shows in his work. He’ll say there is a contradiction without even trying to harmonize something.

I would agree that it is a good idea to read critiques of Professor Ehrman.

  1. Greg Boyd is an evangelical who went to Yale Divinity school with Ehrman and studied under Bruce Metzger. Neither believe the Bible is completely inerrant, but they are (Metzger died) Christian and believe in inspiration. Cross Vision, Benefit of the Doubt, and Letters from a Skeptic are famous ones by him. He also wrote The Jesus Legend: A Case for the Historical Reliability of the Synoptic Jesus Tradition (2007) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greg_Boyd_(theologian)
    https://reknew.org/

  2. Michael F Bird and others wrote a response to Ehrman’s “How Jesus Became God,” “How God Became Jesus.”
    https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/20802703-how-god-became-jesus

I do think it’s a good idea to read widely before coming to a more nuanced opinion. It’s not an all or nothing, in my opinion. If the NT Gospels vary a little in their accounts, it doesn’t mean that Jesus didn’t rise from the dead; I’ve even heard agnostics say that they couldn’t believe that he existed, and throw out all good evidence. The skeptical side makes unwise leaps of faith and poor judgment choices sometimes, too.

Thanks. Blessings!

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