Frequently Asked Questions
Do discrepancies in Biblical stories and the method in which the Bible was written justify a skeptical attack on Biblical Authority?
Biblical writers had to change the form of their message to address the socio-politico and religious context of their day. Their freedom to add a personal flavor to the Biblical message accounts for the fact that man played an important role in the course of penning God’s Word. Yet, the actual substance of the message was undistorted. One such instance is seen in the gospel of Matthew 5:3 where it is written, “blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Whereas, the gospel of Luke 6:20 echoes the same words in a different form, “Blessed are you who are poor for yours is the kingdom of God.” What were Jesus’ actual words and is this a technical discrepancy that justifies a skeptical attack on the authority of the Bible?
Matthew, a Jew was addressing a Jewish audience, most of whom had become spiritually complacent and morally bankrupt. These were professional teachers of the law who saw little need to depend on the Messiah to enrich their spirituality. “Blessed”, for Matthew, is a state of spiritual dependence on God rather than a state of spiritual complacency, which arises from a sense of personal good works. Like the poor who constantly have to depend on others for their needs to be met, Matthew redefines true spirituality as a wholistic dependence on God’s provision through His Son Jesus Christ. Luke on the other hand, was addressing a more inclusive crowd which was a composite of the different strata in the society, including the poor. In choosing to use “blessed are you poor” instead of “blessed are the poor in spirit”, Luke uses inclusive language which signaled the all-encompassing scope of the good news, even to the neglected poor.
God’s Word is a literary history of the Creator’s dealings with His created, yet divine and absolute in its authority. Like we mentioned earlier, man’s role is pivotal in the course of this transmission. God’s magnificence would remain untouched despite Him not creating the physical universe. However, it is only in the course of His interaction with His creation that God’s magnificence comes into full display and the divine moral law imprinted on the soul of humanity. If the Bible had to be a verbatim narrative for it to be truly considered God’s Word then God ceases to be personal and becomes an abstract entity fated for human speculation.