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1. If I say, “I hate oatmeal” and then turn to someone else and say “I love oatmeal,” I am contradicting myself.

2. If I said 20 years ago “I hate oatmeal” and now say “I love oatmeal,” I am not contradicting myself. Rather my view of oatmeal changed over time.

3. If I say “I hate oatmeal” but my son says “I love oatmeal,” that would not be a contradiction. We are two different people voicing our opinions.

The Bible works more like the second two examples, and not at all like the first. We create problems for ourselves when we assume the first example is relevant. It isn’t.

Someone might say, “Aha. I’ve got you, Enns. The first example IS the right example because God inspired the Bible, and therefore there is only one voice in the Bible: God’s. So for God to say one thing and then the opposite is a contradiction (and we can’t have that) so we know there are no contradictions.”

But surely that is simply a wrong way of thinking.

However inspiration works (and I defy anyone who thinks they have a handle on it), the following is demonstrably true:

  • The Bible is written by real live people over a long period of time (2nd oatmeal example). In some cases, the effect of time and circumstance can be seen in one person (more closely in keeping with the 2nd oatmeal example), for example, Paul, whose letters show differing tones, emphases, and even shifts in thinking.
  • The Bible records the voices of different people who have different points of view on the same topic (3rd oatmeal example), including what the Law of Moses says, how God acts toward outsiders, how many gods exist, whether the reign of Manasseh was positive or negative, when Jesus cleansed the Temple, what Paul thinks of the Law, and on and on.

The writers of the Bible spanned centuries, lived in different times and places, faced different circumstances (personal and political), and responded to those circumstances from the point of view of their settings in life. A book that brings all of this under one cover is, of course, going to exhibit a lot of diversity.

What are referred to as “contradictions” are only so if one assumes that the purpose of inspiration (however it works) is to align or override the down-to-earth diverse voices we actually encounter in the Bible.

But if inspiration means that God is all about corralling these different voices because “God wrote the Bible” then God did a pretty bad job of it.

So maybe “Does the Bible contradict itself?” is posing a false question rooted in bad theology.

The “contradictions” in the Bible aren’t contradictions, for the Bible does not reflect the “perfectly consistent mind of God,” but the diversity of time and place of the writers.

I don’t know how else to respect the Bible and what I read there but by arriving at a conclusion like this.

Others may argue that (1) since [as we all know]  God DID “write the Bible” and (2) since God by definition can’t be self-contradictory, therefore (3) any contradictions are only “apparent contradictions”—they appear so to us, but are easily resolved in God’s mind. In that case, our job is simply to trust that this is so and defend the Bible against the charge of contradiction.

But that has always struck me as a very, very bad solution.

It seems nonsensical to me to argue “God inspired the Bible, and therefore the Bible doesn’t contradict itself,” and yet—that divine inspiration produced a book that seems so untended and raises so many questions.

And it seems even more nonsensical to me to think that, in response to this untended Bible, the “truly faithful” are called by God to see past all that self-evident messiness and affirm with absolute conviction that behind it all God is completely consistent and one day when you’re dead and you face Jesus you’ll see for yourself, but in the meantime your job is not to accept the presence of “contradictions” but to defend the Bible against the charge, knowing by faith that whatever the Bible seems to be doing it isn’t really doing if you had enough faith in God to see past what you’re seeing.

And I’m exhausted just writing that.

How about another way of thinking about what appear to be contradictions in the Bible:

  1. Inspiration is a matter of faith, and no matter how fervently it is believed that doesn’t mean it is comprehended.
  2. The Bible we have is a diverse and complex literary product, not reflecting consistently one point of view.
  3. Because of #2, we can and should say that inspiration, however it works, must include in its definition the notion that the Bible was written and then edited by people living in and reflecting their particular time and place.
  4. If we believe by faith that God inspired the Bible, we need also to believe that God is OK with how the Bible actually works and therefore, by faith, so should we.

Although I never once mention oatmeal, I do talk about the nature of the Bible quite a bit in The Bible Tells Me So (HarperOne, 2014), The Sin of Certainty (HarperOne, 2016), Inspiration and Incarnation (Baker 2005/2015), and The Evolution of Adam (Baker, 2012).

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Pete Enns, Ph.D.

Peter Enns (Ph.D., Harvard University) is Abram S. Clemens professor of biblical studies at Eastern University in St. Davids, Pennsylvania. He has written numerous books, including The Bible Tells Me So, The Sin of Certainty, and How the Bible Actually Works. Tweets at @peteenns.

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  • Gary says:

    It’s kinda like first aid roller gauze. It’s really stretchy.

    One can stretch it around various–the Talmud, permutations of canons, the deuterocanonical, the Book of Mormon, maybe even the Quran too.

    Or the Quran instead.

    With the post here, I think one could strip out the Christian specifics and create a Mad Libs-style template to then be isomorphically filled in with the equivalents.

    If we believe by faith that Allah inspired the Quran, we need also to believe that God is OK with how the Book of Mormon actually works and therefore, by faith, so should we.

    Anyhow, how folks determine what is inspired by a given deity and what isn’t utterly feels like a sixth sense to me. Lacking the skill though, I can’t help but to notice that in everybody who seems to have that sixth sense it just doesn’t seem to produce as consistent of findings as the other senses. This is perhaps why I can’t help but link it to something akin to imagination. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing. I’d suggest imagining a better world is a really good thing.

    • Andrew Watson says:

      I like these points. What im finding as I enter a post post modernist phase of my faith is that, while such blanket doubt is useful (and everyone needs to get it) it also can sometimes deny people their rich ‘feelings’ and “infatuation” with the narative of God and hebrew people that the bible gives (however flawed that account might be). People have been fed the bible in a very particular literal way for a long time now (400 ish years) and so they are addicted to it in the form that they were taught to approach it. A move to a less ‘directly inspired’ bible is a very big move- and deeply personal, frightening and possibly not even possible for many. But I still think we need more dialogue on this – we have to start being more truthful about what happened and what did not happen, and even more importantly – discuss more about the difference between what God really says and what people say God says. How do we know that Joshua heard God tell him to commit a genocide?

      • Gary says:

        How do we know?

        We know that Joshua heard God tell him X, the same way we know Joseph Smith heard God tell him Y.

        It seems to be a sixth sense, a sense that is greatly inconsistent and one that only some people seem to have.

        You mention “doubt” but that’s not really a word that resonates with me. For me, it’s not a tower of something that “doubt” makes its middle hazy. It more a simple, lesser foundation from which *wonder* let’s it stretch from there. “Doubt” is such a glass-half-empty way of looking at things.

        • Andrew Watson says:

          i dont like the sixth sense being used – because really its just confident peoples minds at work. Their confidence is interperated by others as certainty. Their guesses expressed as facts. All religious writing is like this.
          When the bible says Joshua head xyz from God – we don’t know what Joshua heard.

          If you read Peter Eny’s book the bible tells me so, he points out that the genocide probably never happened at all. There is no archeological evidence discovered yet for a dramatic invasion and shift of culture. God was seen as a tribal God then so its most likely that this message about a genocide was a) either what Joshua thought/expected God to say, b)what the historian who wrote this book many manmy years after the events it depicts wanted God to have said to Joshua to create a strong identity for the jews “separate” from other cultures they arose from.

          Your are right we cant know what Joshua heard. So our best bet is to look at what we can piece together from a literary/historical perspective. No sixth sense required at all. Yet no certainty either.

          Sorry I was kinda I using the word- doubt to mean something quite different: “we cant know anything so why try”

          I think its worthwhile having an opinion – and being ready for that to change as new information is learned.

          Saying there is no point, or just going on hunches is fine if your not into all this stuff: the fun of thinking about God and the universe is not for all.
          For me the fun thinking is exploring why things are said and done. Not so much if they are true. Because that is very absolute- and much harder to determine after the fact.

          Since there is such a large world of orthodoxy, doubt usually means distrusting this orthodoxy as true – something like wondering if the bible/ Quaran/ Mormon book – are from God. This doubt is healthy yet religion only permits a small amount since it challenges its Orthodoxy. True doubters usually must leave, or stay quiet. OR the doubt is used for a reformation from within – usually lots of bloodshed as a result though.
          From what I see, life has a analogue truth – that is not able to be described accurately in discrete little truths. Religions try to create discrete truths from the analogue one we all experience. Things like creeds or statements or even books like the bible They are attempted to be approximations of truth, and sometimes not even that. The sense of community that is desired is thought to need a common understanding of truth- so that is a noble purpose for religion – however for much of history humans own tendancys for lieing for power, and pure stubbornness and pride etc seem to corrupt a pure search for better understanding.

          My best hope for humans in this time, is to be honest with each other, with what we really think, listen to each others ideas and test them out. To read much and not give up against powerful lies.

  • Gary says:

    It’s kinda like first aid roller gauze. It’s really stretchy.

    One can stretch it around various–the Talmud, permutations of canons, the deuterocanonical, the Book of Mormon, maybe even the Quran too.

    Or the Quran instead.

    With the post here, I think one could strip out the Christian specifics and create a Mad Libs-style template to then be isomorphically filled in with the equivalents.

    If we believe by faith that Allah inspired the Quran, we need also to believe that God is OK with how the Book of Mormon actually works and therefore, by faith, so should we.

    Anyhow, how folks determine what is inspired by a given deity and what isn’t utterly feels like a sixth sense to me. Lacking the skill though, I can’t help but to notice that in everybody who seems to have that sixth sense it just doesn’t seem to produce as consistent of findings as the other senses. This is perhaps why I can’t help but link it to something akin to imagination. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing. I’d suggest imagining a better world is a really good thing.

  • Clever title! When I read it, I thought I knew where you were going with it–and I was right. I loved your ‘lesson of the oatmeal’; it was quite effective and laid a good foundation for your argument.

    Of course, the idea some believers have that the Bible doesn’t have contradictions (and is inerrant) is a mere presupposition–an assumption. And this does not provide a sound basis for understanding the Bible. Thank you for this post.

  • Clever title! When I read it, I thought I knew where you were going with it–and I was right. I loved your ‘lesson of the oatmeal’; it was quite effective and laid a good foundation for your argument.

    Of course, the idea some believers have that the Bible doesn’t have contradictions (and is inerrant) is a mere presupposition–an assumption. And this does not provide a sound basis for understanding the Bible. Thank you for this post.

  • Good article. God inspired the bible but men wrote it over long periods of time and men translated it. Anything man is involved with is going to have flaws. If you inspired me to write a book it would still be my words and my slant on things. Since Jesus is the Word of God and he lives within us by his Spirit, I believe he will lead us to the truth he has for each of us in a way that relates to us.

  • Good article. God inspired the bible but men wrote it over long periods of time and men translated it. Anything man is involved with is going to have flaws. If you inspired me to write a book it would still be my words and my slant on things. Since Jesus is the Word of God and he lives within us by his Spirit, I believe he will lead us to the truth he has for each of us in a way that relates to us.

  • Gwen Stratton says:

    I was 12 when I asked my dad where Cain got his wife. I can’t remember the answer…just the feeling that it wasn’t satisfactory. Over the years whenever I read through the OT I would notice changes in how God was viewed in the Genesis narrative as opposed to many of the prophets and came to the conclusion that there was a kind of evolution of God in scripture. Then I got the idea that many Christians, many Evangelicals in particular had made an idol of the Bible…the words on the page had become more important to defend than following the way of the living word, Christ.

    Reading your books and blogs, I think your students are fortunate. They will invited to think, to be educated, not merely indoctrinated.

  • Gwen Stratton says:

    I was 12 when I asked my dad where Cain got his wife. I can’t remember the answer…just the feeling that it wasn’t satisfactory. Over the years whenever I read through the OT I would notice changes in how God was viewed in the Genesis narrative as opposed to many of the prophets and came to the conclusion that there was a kind of evolution of God in scripture. Then I got the idea that many Christians, many Evangelicals in particular had made an idol of the Bible…the words on the page had become more important to defend than following the way of the living word, Christ.

    Reading your books and blogs, I think your students are fortunate. They will be invited to think, to be educated, not merely indoctrinated.

  • Sue says:

    So do you like oatmeal or not? Try peanut butter and raisins in it; you’ll really like it then.

    Interesting article; thanks for sharing your thoughts on the Bible. Transitioning from a fundamentalist to something else has been a confusing yet liberating journey for me. I appreciate articles like this.

  • OhioSus says:

    So do you like oatmeal or not? Try peanut butter and raisins in it; you’ll really like it then.

    Interesting article; thanks for sharing your thoughts on the Bible. Transitioning from a fundamentalist to something else has been a confusing yet liberating journey for me. I appreciate articles like this.

  • Donald Johnson says:

    This is a question of how much continuity and discontinuity do we find in Scripture and what do we do about it when we (think we) find discontinuity. But this cannot help but get into our frameworks we use when we approach Scripture. If we believe things are discontinuous, then voila! We will find what we see as discontinuity. For the record, I think Scripture is a lot more continuous that many others do, but there are times when things change. From what I can tell, things can change when circumstances change as and we know, circumstances can change over time. In broad outline, I see things working in Scripture like a funnel with the bull’s eye being Jesus. I think this assumption works a better than others that assume more discontinuities.

    • Joe says:

      “If we believe things are discontinuous, then voila! We will find what we see as discontinuity.” YES!! it’s called confirmation bias and exists everywhere: at work, at home, with our spouses/children/friends/neighbors. It is nearly humanly impossible to escape and one reason if not the main reason we are so slow to change our minds about stuff when confronted with different ideas that what we already have.

  • Donald Johnson says:

    This is a question of how much continuity and discontinuity do we find in Scripture and what do we do about it when we (think we) find discontinuity. But this cannot help but get into our frameworks we use when we approach Scripture. If we believe things are discontinuous, then voila! We will find what we see as discontinuity. For the record, I think Scripture is a lot more continuous that many others do, but there are times when things change. From what I can tell, things can change when circumstances change as and we know, circumstances can change over time. In broad outline, I see things working in Scripture like a funnel with the bull’s eye being Jesus. I think this assumption works a better than others that assume more discontinuities.

    • Joe says:

      “If we believe things are discontinuous, then voila! We will find what we see as discontinuity.” YES!! it’s called confirmation bias and exists everywhere: at work, at home, with our spouses/children/friends/neighbors. It is nearly humanly impossible to escape and one reason if not the main reason we are so slow to change our minds about stuff when confronted with different ideas that what we already have.

  • Neil says:

    Peter, this blog seems to be premised on the idea that that there ARE contradictions that need defending, but you don’t mention those here. Could you give some examples?

    • Andrew Watson says:

      The contractions are heavily refuted by the “Christian Way” you only need google the contradiction to find a raft of reasons why the bible is still intact and inerrant. here is a fun little example:

      The disciples are permitted to take a staff (Mark 6:8-9).
      The disciples are not permitted to take a staff (Luke 9:3; Matt. 10:9-10).

  • Neil says:

    Peter, this blog seems to be premised on the idea that that there ARE contradictions that need defending, but you don’t mention those here. Could you give some examples?

  • Andrew Watson says:

    I think modern critical studies uses the falacies/ contradictions in the gospels to see how the myths around Jesus’s teaching life progressed through the 1st century. The contradictions are sort of as you have outlined in this article “points of view” but the gospel writers were telling the story of jesus with a clear agenda (even specified at the beginning of some gospels) – they wanted to say according to their beliefs and theology who jesus was, and so created the ‘facts’ and ‘encounters’ in the gospels largley to tell this version of Jesus. In other cases they just moved events or re ordred them from prior versions. Q gospel a collection of Jesus’s sayings used extensively in Matthew and Luke does not have the birth story or crucifiction story- These thwo stories are filled with details that are likely to be ficticious – since jesus’s birth was not ever intereresting to people untill he became much more well known, likewise with the crucifiction, the layout of the events of that night, are laid out like a liturgy, and made to fill each segment of time – this type of record keeping just does not happen! Each year after an event happens is a long time, by the time Jesus’s life was put to paper it was enough time for the mundane details of Jesus life to be very sought after(since he had become God in many Jew’s eyes), yet unfortunately mostly fogotten. His teachings live on much more well preserved, since they had touched the peoples lives. The Gospel writers may not have been the ones to create these stories or flesh them out (like the crucifiction), but the actual true events of Jesus’s life are very hard to determine because of this strong tradition that formed about Jesus’s messianic identity and ‘devine’ identity – unfortunately what we all need today is a proper account written by a disiple before jesus died. That would be completely different…. jesus was a jewish Rabbi, no miracles no ressurections. Just awesome ‘way’ and kingdom of God preacher.

  • Andrew Watson says:

    I think modern critical studies uses the falacies/ contradictions in the gospels to see how the myths around Jesus’s teaching life progressed through the 1st century. The contradictions are sort of as you have outlined in this article “points of view” but the gospel writers were telling the story of jesus with a clear agenda (even specified at the beginning of some gospels) – they wanted to say according to their beliefs and theology who jesus was, and so created the ‘facts’ and ‘encounters’ in the gospels largley to tell this version of Jesus. In other cases they just moved events or re ordred them from prior versions. Q gospel a collection of Jesus’s sayings used extensively in Matthew and Luke does not have the birth story or crucifiction story- These thwo stories are filled with details that are likely to be ficticious – since jesus’s birth was not ever intereresting to people untill he became much more well known, likewise with the crucifiction, the layout of the events of that night, are laid out like a liturgy, and made to fill each segment of time – this type of record keeping just does not happen! Each year after an event happens is a long time, by the time Jesus’s life was put to paper it was enough time for the mundane details of Jesus life to be very sought after(since he had become God in many Jew’s eyes), yet unfortunately mostly fogotten. His teachings live on much more well preserved, since they had touched the peoples lives. The Gospel writers may not have been the ones to create these stories or flesh them out (like the crucifiction), but the actual true events of Jesus’s life are very hard to determine because of this strong tradition that formed about Jesus’s messianic identity and ‘devine’ identity – unfortunately what we all need today is a proper account written by a disiple before jesus died. That would be completely different…. jesus was a jewish Rabbi, no miracles no ressurections. Just awesome ‘way’ and kingdom of God preacher.

  • danarana says:

    If you say “I love oatmeal” and someone else says “I hate oatmeal,” you’re not contradicting because both of you are making subjective statements. That’s quite different from if you were making objective-fact statements. If you say “Rabbits have four legs” and I say “Rabbits have five legs,” we *are* contradicting each other, even if neither of us is contradicting ourselves. It’s probably not best to rest your argument on an analogy that suggests (I assume you don’t actually think this) that everything the Bible says is purely about subjective preferences, and that it never makes objective-factual claims.

    • Pete E. says:

      In the post I cite the kinds of examples you are thinking of, like Manasseh’s reign and when Jesus cleansed the Temple, and they certainly fall under the larger point I am making.

      • Gary says:

        I had thought of similar too upon reading and also thought of a “God hates oatmeal” claim and its interestingness and added layer. It could be considered an objective claim about what could be either an objective claim or subjective statement, depending upon one’s concept of God and understanding of divine will.

        Peanut butter or raisins in the oatmeal might be OK, but not figs. After all, everybody knows God hates figs. (And hares chew their cuds.)

  • gapaul says:

    This defines contradictions as matters of time and point of view. But was Jesus crucified on the day before the Passover (John) or the day of the Passover (Synoptics.) Seems like “point of view” is irrelevant, and perhaps it isn’t about the beauty of asserting more than one truth. This looks like a category 1 contradiction. One or the other simply flubbed it, or maybe they both did. Am I missing the point?

  • Occam Razor says:

    I was in church not too long ago and the pastor said that the Bible was totally consistent throughout in its message. And if you say otherwise, gosh, you must think you know more than God.

    I agree with your points 1,2 and 3, but if you go that route and inject logic and scholarship into the equation, it gets very hard to make the leap to point 4.

  • Derek says:

    I think a good way to approach the seemingly disparate voices in the bible is to first find a broadly central message that runs through all 66 books, if there is one, and I think there is. The bible highlights the human problem, man’s rebellion against God. This rebellion unfolds in various forms, and God stands over humanity in holy wrath; yet he is also a loving God, and therefore, also stands over humanity in love – this love manifests in the creation of his ancient people, Israel, and the OT is laden with human rebellion and God’s righteous wrath; yet God’s love remains consistent, which ultimately culminates in sending humanity his Son. I think if one maintains sight of these two strands, then all the loose ends start to come together in one way or another.

    • Pete E. says:

      Derek my friend, I have to give you props for having the nerve to come here and put this as plainly as you have.

    • How, exactly, has Man rebelled against God? In what way has Man generally (as opposed to individual Men (and Women, e. g., Adam and Eve) resisted God? And if all humanity pushes back against God, how is this a human problem rather than a God problem? If, after all, everyone pushes back against your message…maybe it’s you.

    • Bob says:

      My issue with this is the starting point with Man’s rebellion. The central point is man misunderstanding God, not rebellion. Then God deciding to help man understand him and his ways by sending his son (not to die as payment) but to teach and bring a way of life. Your two strands present a two-faced God.

  • Mark Moore says:

    If anyone would like to look at a chart of Biblical contradictions you can Google ‘Chart of Biblical Contradictions’

    • Gary says:

      It’s based upon the Skeptic’s Annotated Bible, which is more loose than robust. Yet, I note on Facebook one commented to Dr Enns that, “In fact, [contradictions have] been a central concern of Jewish and Christian exegesis from as early as we have access to either. And frankly Origen in the 3rd century was reckoning with that fact in a more intellectually robust fashion than the average new atheist today.”

      However, like many comparisons without level playing field, it’s an “let’s put one of our best against your average or even worst.” (Pat Robertson, Richard Dawkins, Joel Osteen, etc. are favored poster children of the oppositions’ pot shots.)

      Perhaps better is average vs average comparisons. Evangelicalism’s challenge here is the exegetical chops of the average pastor, the average lay leader, the average parent, the average parishioner.

      The Skeptic’s Annotated Bible certainly warrants a nose-snubbing by Dr Enns and his academic peers regardless of their credal commitments. What doesn’t warrant such address though is the two chasms between the academy and the pulpit and the pulpit and pew. Something is really, really broken in contemporary Christendom’s look at the Bible that many find it all together easier to believe it simplistically or toss it than to engage with it in ways drastically different from that in the church lives and individual spiritualities.

      In this context, I find the Skeptic’s Annotated Bible a fascinating contemporary artifact and in ways substantially similar to the laments discussed with regard to study Bibles here recently.

  • John Rayment says:

    although I do thank you for The Sin of Certainty. It so needed to be written by an Evangelical! Just finished Inspiration and Incarnation and note that you acknowledge your thinking has changed somewhat in the ten years since writing it. At issue for me is your definition of inspiration as this might apply to the bible. On page 54-55 you seem to equate a confession of faith with a belief that the bible is God’s Word and inerrant. If by this you mean that the bible is the only way God reveals herself, that biblical inspiration is somehow superior to other revelatory methods God may choose in revealing himself to us, then I’m afraid you’ve lost me. If however, you mean that the bible is a collection of biblical author’s “God Moments”, culturally and historically situated, that reveal the evolution of human understanding of God’s nature, culminating in Jesus, then I may just stay on the back of your bus and see what else happens.

    • Pete E. says:

      Very confused with what you’re confused about, John. You are appealing to a book I published in 2005 and wonder how that represents a shift in my thinking now, even though it is now 11 years old and you acknowledging that my thinking has shifted since then?

      I also don’t use the word “inerrant” in I&I.

      • John Rayment says:

        Thanks for replying Pete,
        On page Ix of the preface you say, “I wrote I &I firmly and self- consciously in support of a “progressive inerrantist “ point of view….I would explain inerrancy as an expression of faith and trust in God, that whatever the Bible does”, etc. Seems to me you are taking a position on inerrancy here, although I’m having a hard time figuring out exactly what you are saying.

        Obviously, the bible we have is the bible God intended us to have, but in my mind that says nothing about its inerrancy, whether or not its authors got everything right, and whether or not God reveals himself to us in other ways that are every bit as inspired as the bible. Seems to me that when God instructed the Israelites to murder all the Cananites, that perhaps somebody misinterpreted a “ God Moment” here? Maybe the Bible was written by human authors, just like us, within their own cultural and historical perspectives and biases, with all the possibilities for misunderstanding God that we have today. Seems to me, as Christians, if we see Jesus as the embodiment of the absolute truth of God, then everything leading up to him is the record of the evolution of human understanding of that Absolute Truth. Since our meaning making capacity is always anchored in culture, language, and community, including our efforts to interpret the Bible, it follows that our knowledge of the Divine is always subjective and open to change.

        What makes our flood story different from the book of Gilgamesh, and inspired in my view, is how it ends. God promises unconditionally, to never do that again, and we have a sense of the dawning human realization of God’s unconditional love for humanity with all its flaws. Similarly, in the story of Elijah and the prophets of Baal, it’s the ending that makes this story inspired for me. In your recent blog you left out the bit about Elijah gathering his cohorts and murdering all of the prophets of Baal, obviously uncomfortable reading! When we encountered this story in our bible study, which was rare because our liberal minister never liked to have us read these difficult bits in the bible either, she admitted she very much disliked this story, but then directed our attention to the following chapter, where God requires Elijah’s resignation as head prophet. Maybe Elijah misunderstood his “God Moment” too?

        In conclusion Pete, I like you, come from an Evangelical background, and up until reading the Sin of Certainty, had given up hope I could ever be part of that community of faith again, for there is much I value in the Evangelical movement, its energy, its young people, and its emphasis on worship. But I’m still very reactive to anything that smacks of certainty, especially when it’s someone else defining that for me. I just don’t think that’s how it works, or how God wants us to be in this world. After reading the Sin of Certainty, I ended up doing a 10 page essay that tried to clarify my own thinking. I obviously don’t have your biblical academic credentials, but that doesn’t mean that I can escape my responsibility to think for myself. The paper I wrote is referenced with a bibliography. I sent you a copy, but maybe you didn’t get it or didn’t have the time to read it. Wouldn’t blame you if you didn’t.

        Sorry if I have offended you in any way.

        John

        • Pete E. says:

          You haven’t offended me in any way shape or form!

          I see what you were saying now. In the preface (2015), I was simply explaining how I&I (2005) espouses a progressive inerrantist view (though without harping on the term). I do not hold a progressive or any other sort of inerrantist view now. So please come back to the front of the bus.

        • Keith Jenkins says:

          You say, “Obviously, the bible we have is the bible God intended us to have.” How is that obvious? It isn’t obvious to me. I think God might have preferred having “The Shepherd of Hermas” as a representation of NT era apocalyptic thought rather than “The Revelation to John.” But even so, that wouldn’t make any difference. For “the Bible we have” to be obviously the Bible “God intended us to have,” God must have meddled not only in the process of writing, editing, and transmission, but also in the process of canonization, to a degree that makes any belief in human will a fiction.

          By saying that the “Bible we have” is what God intended for us to have, you are implying that God’s will is never frustrated. In essence, you are saying that “whatever is” is what God intends. But this clearly is not the case. To begin with, if it were, Jesus telling us to pray that “God’s will be done on Earth as it is done in Heaven” would make no sense. Plus, if God’s will is never frustrated, then God must will for a great deal of evil to take place in the world, because it does. But I don’t believe that for a moment. God may allow evil to occur (as a result of our free will, I believe), but I cannot accept that God intends the evil we witness on a daily basis.

          Doesn’t it make more sense to view the Bible as a diary kept by God’s People of our often tumultuous love affair with God? Our moments of exaltation and desolation? Our imaginings of what our Beloved is thinking or doing? Our attribution to our Beloved of the most extravagant praise we can think of? It is precious and unique and irreplaceable and authoritative to us, not because God wrote it, but because it bears witness to our experience of how God has been our God and we have tried to be God’s People. Each new member of the Community of Faith embraces it as his or her story, and in that moment and that act it becomes authoritative for them as well.

  • John Rayment says:

    although I do thank you for The Sin of Certainty. It so needed to be written by an Evangelical! Just finished Inspiration and Incarnation and note that you acknowledge your thinking has changed somewhat in the ten years since writing it. At issue for me is your definition of inspiration as this might apply to the bible. On page 54-55 you seem to equate a confession of faith with a belief that the bible is God’s Word and inerrant. If by this you mean that the bible is the only way God reveals herself, that biblical inspiration is somehow superior to other revelatory methods God may choose in revealing himself to us, then I’m afraid you’ve lost me. If however, you mean that the bible is a collection of biblical author’s “God Moments”, culturally and historically situated, that reveal the evolution of human understanding of God’s nature, culminating in Jesus, then I may just stay on the back of your bus and see what else happens.

    • Pete E. says:

      Very confused with what you’re confused about, John. You are appealing to a book I published in 2005 and wonder how that represents a shift in my thinking now, even though it is now 11 years old and you acknowledging that my thinking has shifted since then?

      I also don’t use the word “inerrant” in I&I.

      • John Rayment says:

        Thanks for replying Pete,
        On page Ix of the preface you say, “I wrote I &I firmly and self- consciously in support of a “progressive inerrantist “ point of view….I would explain inerrancy as an expression of faith and trust in God, that whatever the Bible does”, etc. Seems to me you are taking a position on inerrancy here, although I’m having a hard time figuring out exactly what you are saying.

        Obviously, the bible we have is the bible God intended us to have, but in my mind that says nothing about its inerrancy, whether or not its authors got everything right, and whether or not God reveals himself to us in other ways that are every bit as inspired as the bible. Seems to me that when God instructed the Israelites to murder all the Cananites, that perhaps somebody misinterpreted a “ God Moment” here? Maybe the Bible was written by human authors, just like us, within their own cultural and historical perspectives and biases, with all the possibilities for misunderstanding God that we have today. Seems to me, as Christians, if we see Jesus as the embodiment of the absolute truth of God, then everything leading up to him is the record of the evolution of human understanding of that Absolute Truth. Since our meaning making capacity is always anchored in culture, language, and community, including our efforts to interpret the Bible, it follows that our knowledge of the Divine is always subjective and open to change.

        What makes our flood story different from the book of Gilgamesh, and inspired in my view, is how it ends. God promises unconditionally, to never do that again, and we have a sense of the dawning human realization of God’s unconditional love for humanity with all its flaws. Similarly, in the story of Elijah and the prophets of Baal, it’s the ending that makes this story inspired for me. In your recent blog you left out the bit about Elijah gathering his cohorts and murdering all of the prophets of Baal, obviously uncomfortable reading! When we encountered this story in our bible study, which was rare because our liberal minister never liked to have us read these difficult bits in the bible either, she admitted she very much disliked this story, but then directed our attention to the following chapter, where God requires Elijah’s resignation as head prophet. Maybe Elijah misunderstood his “God Moment” too?

        In conclusion Pete, I like you, come from an Evangelical background, and up until reading the Sin of Certainty, had given up hope I could ever be part of that community of faith again, for there is much I value in the Evangelical movement, its energy, its young people, and its emphasis on worship. But I’m still very reactive to anything that smacks of certainty, especially when it’s someone else defining that for me. I just don’t think that’s how it works, or how God wants us to be in this world. After reading the Sin of Certainty, I ended up doing a 10 page essay that tried to clarify my own thinking. I obviously don’t have your biblical academic credentials, but that doesn’t mean that I can escape my responsibility to think for myself. The paper I wrote is referenced with a bibliography. I sent you a copy, but maybe you didn’t get it or didn’t have the time to read it. Wouldn’t blame you if you didn’t.

        Sorry if I have offended you in any way.

        John

        • Pete E. says:

          You haven’t offended me in any way shape or form!

          I see what you were saying now. In the preface (2015), I was simply explaining how I&I (2005) espouses a progressive inerrantist view (though without harping on the term). I do not hold a progressive or any other sort of inerrantist view now. So please come back to the front of the bus.

        • Keith Jenkins says:

          You say, “Obviously, the bible we have is the bible God intended us to have.” How is that obvious? It isn’t obvious to me. I think God might have preferred having “The Shepherd of Hermas” as a representation of NT era apocalyptic thought rather than “The Revelation to John.” But even so, that wouldn’t make any difference. For “the Bible we have” to be obviously the Bible “God intended us to have,” God must have meddled not only in the process of writing, editing, and transmission, but also in the process of canonization, to a degree that makes any belief in human will a fiction.

          By saying that the “Bible we have” is what God intended for us to have, you are implying that God’s will is never frustrated. In essence, you are saying that “whatever is” is what God intends. But this clearly is not the case. To begin with, if it were, Jesus telling us to pray that “God’s will be done on Earth as it is done in Heaven” would make no sense. Plus, if God’s will is never frustrated, then God must will for a great deal of evil to take place in the world, because it does. But I don’t believe that for a moment. God may allow evil to occur (as a result of our free will, I believe), but I cannot accept that God intends the evil we witness on a daily basis.

          Doesn’t it make more sense to view the Bible as a diary kept by God’s People of our often tumultuous love affair with God? Our moments of exaltation and desolation? Our imaginings of what our Beloved is thinking or doing? Our attribution to our Beloved of the most extravagant praise we can think of? It is precious and unique and irreplaceable and authoritative to us, not because God wrote it, but because it bears witness to our experience of how God has been our God and we have tried to be God’s People. Each new member of the Community of Faith embraces it as his or her story, and in that moment and that act it becomes authoritative for them as well.

  • Pete E. says:

    Derek my friend, I have to give you props for having the nerve to come here and put this as plainly as you have.

  • Pete E. says:

    It’s about the writer’s agenda and their understanding of the past. You’ll note I give examples like this in the post (albeit quickly).

  • Pete E. says:

    In the post I cite the kinds of examples you are thinking of, like Manasseh’s reign and when Jesus cleansed the Temple, and they certainly fall under the larger point I am making.

    • Gary says:

      I had thought of similar too upon reading and also thought of a “God hates oatmeal” claim and its interestingness and added layer. It could be considered an objective claim about what could be either an objective claim or subjective statement, depending upon one’s concept of God and understanding of divine will.

      Peanut butter or raisins in the oatmeal might be OK, but not figs. After all, everybody knows God hates figs. (And hares chew their cuds.)

  • Gary says:

    How do we know?

    We know that Joshua heard God tell him X, the same way we know Joseph Smith heard God tell him Y.

    It seems to be a sixth sense, a sense that is greatly inconsistent and one that only some people seem to have.

    You mention “doubt” but that’s not really a word that resonates with me. For me, it’s not a tower of something that “doubt” makes its middle hazy. It more a simple, lesser foundation from which *wonder* let’s it stretch from there. “Doubt” is such a glass-half-empty way of looking at things.

    • Andrew Watson says:

      i dont like the sixth sense being used – because really its just confident peoples minds at work. Their confidence is interperated by others as certainty. Their guesses expressed as facts. All religious writing is like this.
      When the bible says Joshua head xyz from God – we don’t know what Joshua heard.

      If you read Peter Eny’s book the bible tells me so, he points out that the genocide probably never happened at all. There is no archeological evidence discovered yet for a dramatic invasion and shift of culture. God was seen as a tribal God then so its most likely that this message about a genocide was a) either what Joshua thought/expected God to say, b)what the historian who wrote this book many manmy years after the events it depicts wanted God to have said to Joshua to create a strong identity for the jews “separate” from other cultures they arose from.

      Your are right we cant know what Joshua heard. So our best bet is to look at what we can piece together from a literary/historical perspective. No sixth sense required at all. Yet no certainty either.

      Sorry I was kinda I using the word- doubt to mean something quite different: “we cant know anything so why try”

      I think its worthwhile having an opinion – and being ready for that to change as new information is learned.

      Saying there is no point, or just going on hunches is fine if your not into all this stuff: the fun of thinking about God and the universe is not for all.
      For me the fun thinking is exploring why things are said and done. Not so much if they are true. Because that is very absolute- and much harder to determine after the fact.

      Since there is such a large world of orthodoxy, doubt usually means distrusting this orthodoxy as true – something like wondering if the bible/ Quaran/ Mormon book – are from God. This doubt is healthy yet religion only permits a small amount since it challenges its Orthodoxy. True doubters usually must leave, or stay quiet. OR the doubt is used for a reformation from within – usually lots of bloodshed as a result though.
      From what I see, life has a analogue truth – that is not able to be described accurately in discrete little truths. Religions try to create discrete truths from the analogue one we all experience. Things like creeds or statements or even books like the bible They are attempted to be approximations of truth, and sometimes not even that. The sense of community that is desired is thought to need a common understanding of truth- so that is a noble purpose for religion – however for much of history humans own tendancys for lieing for power, and pure stubbornness and pride etc seem to corrupt a pure search for better understanding.

      My best hope for humans in this time, is to be honest with each other, with what we really think, listen to each others ideas and test them out. To read much and not give up against powerful lies.

  • I was curious about this and found this article: https://www.ucg.org/the-good-news/jesus-wasnt-crucified-on-friday-or-resurrected-on-sunday-how-long-was-jesus-in-the (I have no affiliation with UCG, but the article is good)

    Looks like they are saying that Jesus died on Wednesday, “High” Sabbath was on Thursday (7 special sabbath days per year that can fall on any day), and Christ rose before Sunday. So he was entombed Thursday (our Wednesday night), Friday, Saturday, and rose around sunset on Saturday. It makes sense to me.

  • Gary says:

    It’s based upon the Skeptic’s Annotated Bible, which is more loose than robust. Yet, I note on Facebook one commented to Dr Enns that, “In fact, [contradictions have] been a central concern of Jewish and Christian exegesis from as early as we have access to either. And frankly Origen in the 3rd century was reckoning with that fact in a more intellectually robust fashion than the average new atheist today.”

    However, like many comparisons without level playing field, it’s an “let’s put one of our best against your average or even worst.” (Pat Robertson, Richard Dawkins, Joel Osteen, etc. are favored poster children of the oppositions’ pot shots.)

    Perhaps better is average vs average comparisons. Evangelicalism’s challenge here is the exegetical chops of the average pastor, the average lay leader, the average parent, the average parishioner.

    The Skeptic’s Annotated Bible certainly warrants a nose-snubbing by Dr Enns and his academic peers regardless of their credal commitments. What doesn’t warrant such address though is the two chasms between the academy and the pulpit and the pulpit and pew. Something is really, really broken in contemporary Christendom’s look at the Bible that many find it all together easier to believe it simplistically or toss it than to engage with it in ways drastically different from that in the church lives and individual spiritualities.

    In this context, I find the Skeptic’s Annotated Bible a fascinating contemporary artifact and in ways substantially similar to the laments discussed with regard to study Bibles here recently.

  • Sheila Warner says:

    Is there a site where your biography is available? I’m curious as to when and how you came to believe in the God of the Bible initially.

    • Pete E. says:

      So am I.

      • Sheila Warner says:

        I came to my beliefs from being raised by a family of believers. It was just part of the fabric of my life. I don’t remember a time when I didn’t believe. It was inculcated into my mind, the same as knowing to look both ways before crossing the street. I hope that you are curious enough to think about what I asked for yourself. Thanks.

      • Joe says:

        That response is priceless!! Love it

  • Sheila Warner says:

    Is there a site where your biography is available? I’m curious as to when and how you came to believe in the God of the Bible initially.

    • Pete E. says:

      So am I.

      • Sheila Warner says:

        I came to my beliefs from being raised by a family of believers. It was just part of the fabric of my life. I don’t remember a time when I didn’t believe. It was inculcated into my mind, the same as knowing to look both ways before crossing the street. I hope that you are curious enough to think about what I asked for yourself. Thanks.

      • Joe says:

        That response is priceless!! Love it

  • Uh…no. The Bible definitely makes contradicting factual claims.

    Matthew 1:16 states that Jacob begat Joseph, but Luke 3:23 says it was Heli. Only one of these claims can be true.

    In Genesis 1 God made the beast of the earth first and man later in his image. But in Genesis 2 God made Man first and then formed every beast of the field. Only one of these claims can be true.

    These are not changes in opinion. They are not differing perspectives. These are factual claims that conflict.

    Yes, the Bible was written by over a long period of time by a lot of people, and it reflected their time and place. But we must evaluate its value as history critically since it contains multiple versions of historical events. And we must reject the idea that God Himself wrote or inspired its content as an outline of objective truth. This it clearly is not, since Joseph cannot, objectively, have two fathers, and either Man or Beast came first.

    • Pete E. says:

      Like a few others, your comment shows that you didn’t connect with the rhetorical point I am making in the post. I’ll promise not to lose sleep over it if you don’t.

  • Pete E. says:

    Like a few others, your comment shows that you didn’t connect with the rhetorical point I am making in the post. I’ll promise not to lose sleep over it if you don’t.

    • If I (and others) missed your “rhetorical point,” then perhaps you didn’t make it very well.

      But I actually think I got your point well enough. You claim that the Bible “was written by real live people over a long period of time,” and “records the voices of different people who have different points of view.” And this of course explains contradictions that depend on variations of opinion or perspective among the writers to compiled the stories contained in the Bible.

      But I point out two contradictory claims of fact that cannot both be true. Joseph can have only one father, and God created either Man or Beast first. Neither depends on opinion or perspective.

      You attempt to get around this by directing the reader to a “new way of thinking” that depends on simply assuming that if God wants the Bible to contradict itself, we should be OK with that – since strong belief in the Bible as the inspired word of God needn’t imply comprehension of what this means. This of course does not support a claim that “there are no contradictions in the Bible,” It simply explains them away as part of God’s plan for use of the Bible that humans should accept by faith as how it works without expecting to understand it. So your point isn’t that the Bible doesn’t contradict itself – it’s that it makes no difference if it does.

      All of this matters because Christians make claims about objective truth and use the inerrancy of the Bible to support those claims. So, for example, homosexuality objectively offends God, and He told us so in the Bible. Factual contradictions like the ones I cite above suggest that the Bible is not the inspired word of God – He should, after all, know whether he made Man or Beast first – or at least that he inconsistently inspired the authors. If the Bible simply consists of the musings of fallible human authors, who may or may not have had their own theological reasons for claiming Man or Beast came first, it has less power as evidence for objective truth about the nature of Man, God, the Universe, and the objective truths underlying these concepts. And if the Bible simply consists of the musings of fallible human authors, who may or may not have had their own theological reasons for condemning homosexuality, it has less power as evidence for the objective truth that it offends God. If we have to accept by faith that God wanted us to wonder about simple factual matters about who begat whom and whether Man or Beast came first, perhaps He also wanted us to wonder about the objective truth about homosexuality (or abortion, or marriage, or stealing, or murder). And then of course these “truths” become much more subjective than objective.

      If you still believe I have missed your point, I would ask that you clarify. But it seems to me that the Universe looks a lot like it would if God did not exist, and so does the Bible.

      • Pete E. says:

        I think you are reacting to something else in your past and reading my post through it. I get that.

        For the record, I think it should be self-evident from the post itself and most anything I’ve written about the Bible that I am perfectly happy to talk about contradictions in the Bible. But for evangelicals, “contradictions” are impossible because it implies that there is an inconsistency in the mind of God. My post was intended (and believe me, people got it!) to take the “divine mind” off the table.

        Even though there ARE clearly contradictions in the sense in which people typically use the term, there are no “contradictions” in the evangelical sense because there is no one “divine mind” streamlining the human voices.

        Now, having said all that, there are certainly “different voices” and “differneces in point of view” among the biblical writers for which the terem “contradiction” would be overblown, resting as it were on the very same fundamentalist assumption that a book like the Bible can’t do that sort of thing. A collection of books from different tyimes and places, etc., etc., most certainly can and it does.

  • Pete E. says:

    I think you are reacting to something else in your past and reading my post through it. I get that.

    For the record, I think it should be self-evident from the post itself and most anything I’ve written about the Bible that I am perfectly happy to talk about contradictions in the Bible. But for evangelicals, “contradictions” are impossible because it implies that there is an inconsistency in the mind of God. My post was intended (and believe me, people got it!) to take the “divine mind” off the table.

    Even though there ARE clearly contradictions in the sense in which people typically use the term, there are no “contradictions” in the evangelical sense because there is no one “divine mind” streamlining the human voices.

    Now, having said all that, there are certainly “different voices” and “differneces in point of view” among the biblical writers for which the terem “contradiction” would be overblown, resting as it were on the very same fundamentalist assumption that a book like the Bible can’t do that sort of thing. A collection of books from different tyimes and places, etc., etc., most certainly can and it does.

  • How, exactly, has Man rebelled against God? In what way has Man generally (as opposed to individual Men (and Women, e. g., Adam and Eve) resisted God? And if all humanity pushes back against God, how is this a human problem rather than a God problem? If, after all, everyone pushes back against your message…maybe it’s you.

  • Bob says:

    My issue with this is the starting point with Man’s rebellion. The central point is man misunderstanding God, not rebellion. Then God deciding to help man understand him and his ways by sending his son (not to die as payment) but to teach and bring a way of life. Your two strands present a two-faced God.

    • Derek says:

      Sure Bob, but one would have to reject large portions of the bible and essentially render the narrative nonsensical in order to agree with your perspective. One would also find little reason to accept your supposedly objective view of God outside of the subjective cherry-picking you are engaging in.

      • Bob says:

        I think if you start with Geneisis as the first book, I can see your point. But I start with the gospels as the first ‘book’ since I am a Jesus person first. I then read the OT as back story and through the lens of Christ it’s more about misunderstanding then rebellion. What you call cherry picking I would call weighting and I definitely weight Christ teachings and life over all other parts of the scripture. That may be our disagreement.

  • Bob says:

    So how do we know truth, and does it matter? Is it all faith, and faith in what, since everything we received from way back then is creative interpretations of the past? When do the creative interpretations of the past and differing points of view stop, and truth begin?

  • Bob says:

    So how do we know truth, and does it matter? Is it all faith, and faith in what, since everything we received from way back then is creative interpretations of the past? When do the creative interpretations of the past and differing points of view stop, and truth begin?

  • Lee Spallas says:

    Mr. Enns,

    The below are parts of arguments I used in emails to my former church leadership who quoted you and imbedded a hotlink to this article to make the case that the Bible has contradictions. To begin..
    Let me quote:

    “If “inspired” really means “God-breathed,” then the claim of 2 Timothy 3:16 is that ALL Scripture, being God-breathed, is without error and therefore can be
    trusted completely. Since God cannot lie (Hebrews 6:18), He would cease to be God if He breathed out errors and contradictions, even in the smallest part.
    So long as we give theopneustos its real meaning, we shall not find it hard to understand the full inerrancy of the Bible.”
    ~ Brian H. Edwards

    I believe anyone who takes the stance you have conveyed simply does not understand Biblical scholarship when you waffle on believing God’s Word as inerrant. (maybe because we don’t have the original manuscripts). This is, at best, a weak argument. I believe that situation is by God’s design. Imagine how many would fall into idolatry if we had Paul’s original letters, pieces of the cross, or the robe that Jesus wore! Biblical scholars are confident of what the original autographs said because of the comparison over millennia of the dozens, if not hundreds of fragments/manuscripts copied within a few years of the originals. If you truly desired to honor God and His ability to preserve His Word, you would be studying these things and looking for reasons to believe rather than reasons to disbelieve inerrancy. I imagine that if you do not hold to Biblical inerrancy, you can choose to interpret scripture any way you want and discard or ignore things that are too hard for you or that you don’t agree with (like an eternal hell for example).
    My prayer for you, Mr. Enns, is that you are not the type of person that Jesus was speaking about in Matthew 7:15: “Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves.” I don’t know if you really know Jesus or not…

    I view the inerrancy of God’s Word as an essential. Psalm 119:89 says “Forever, O Lord, Your word is settled in heaven.” This indicates God’s Word is not only eternal, it is eternally settled as well. In John 17:17 Jesus Himself says, “Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth.” In Psalm 119:160, the psalmist says, The sum of Your word is truth, And every one of Your righteous ordinances is everlasting.” So, it’s very clear to me that God cannot err. As
    believers, we are to rely on His word for EVERYTHING.

    In John 16:13 Jesus says, “But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come.” My sincere belief is that the Holy Spirit does exactly that. He will not contradict God’s Word in any way.

  • Lee Spallas says:

    Mr. Enns,

    The below are parts of arguments I used in emails to my former church leadership who quoted you and imbedded a hotlink to this article to make the case that the Bible has contradictions. To begin..
    Let me quote:

    “If “inspired” really means “God-breathed,” then the claim of 2 Timothy 3:16 is that ALL Scripture, being God-breathed, is without error and therefore can be
    trusted completely. Since God cannot lie (Hebrews 6:18), He would cease to be God if He breathed out errors and contradictions, even in the smallest part.
    So long as we give theopneustos its real meaning, we shall not find it hard to understand the full inerrancy of the Bible.”
    ~ Brian H. Edwards

    I believe anyone who takes the stance you have conveyed simply does not understand Biblical scholarship when you waffle on believing God’s Word as inerrant. (maybe because we don’t have the original manuscripts). This is, at best, a weak argument. I believe that situation is by God’s design. Imagine how many would fall into idolatry if we had Paul’s original letters, pieces of the cross, or the robe that Jesus wore! Biblical scholars are confident of what the original autographs said because of the comparison over millennia of the dozens, if not hundreds of fragments/manuscripts copied within a few years of the originals. If you truly desired to honor God and His ability to preserve His Word, you would be studying these things and looking for reasons to believe rather than reasons to disbelieve inerrancy. I imagine that if you do not hold to Biblical inerrancy, you can choose to interpret scripture any way you want and discard or ignore things that are too hard for you or that you don’t agree with (like an eternal hell for example).
    My prayer for you, Mr. Enns, is that you are not the type of person that Jesus was speaking about in Matthew 7:15: “Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves.” I don’t know if you really know Jesus or not…

    I view the inerrancy of God’s Word as an essential. Psalm 119:89 says “Forever, O Lord, Your word is settled in heaven.” This indicates God’s Word is not only eternal, it is eternally settled as well. In John 17:17 Jesus Himself says, “Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth.” In Psalm 119:160, the psalmist says, The sum of Your word is truth, And every one of Your righteous ordinances is everlasting.” So, it’s very clear to me that God cannot err. As
    believers, we are to rely on His word for EVERYTHING.

    In John 16:13 Jesus says, “But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come.” My sincere belief is that the Holy Spirit does exactly that. He will not contradict God’s Word in any way.

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