There are a lot of reasons why people become disinterested in and dismissive of the Bible despite being in awe of other literary, historical, and religious works.
Many of those reasons have to do with misunderstandings and outright lies concerning the text.
With the Bible being the most famous, infamous, read, studied, given, stolen, and ridiculed book in the history of the world it’s understandable how and why there is such stigma and hearsay.
However, even a reasonable amount of laymen research can begin to point us in the right direction and uncover the truth behind the confusion.
Today I’m exposing seven myths about the Bible and intend to leave you with seven Bible myths debunked. Some are easy and others are a bit more challenging. Myth is myth, however, so let’s get started!
Myth #1: The Bible is Irrelevant to the Modern World
It’s easy to delve into the scriptures only to discover a completely foreign world: patriarchy, stone temples, sacrifices, barbaric brutality, and… sandals? You mean like, flip-flops, right? Maybe those people weren’t so different from us.
Seriously, though: understanding modern near-Eastern culture is difficult enough, right? We also have to contextualize the time period.
And trust me, the Bible covers a LOT of history. Are we talking about Hebrews as a slave race, Israel in its golden age, or the entire world brought to its knees by the Roman Empire?
With the hundreds of diverse settings we can explore in the Bible, it’s easy to get lost and assume this is a book written for another time and another people. But as we explore the most important literary themes in the Bible, we can actually discover that it’s timeless.
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Not only that, but it’s timeless message is that throughout all the ages there is a plan for God to reach people and a hope for salvation from our sin and the sin-stained world we live in. God exists infinitely, outside of time, and steps into time to pursue His favored creations, humans.
Myth #2: Meanings have been Lost in Translation
“After being translated from language to language to language to language and finally to English, most of the Bible is translated inaccurately. There is almost nothing left of the original thoughts” How many times have you heard this? It’s an absolute sham and an outright lie.
Not only do historians and Bible scholars still have access to many of the original Biblical manuscripts, but the vast majority of our modern English translations have been rigorously and painstakingly translated directly from the most authoritative of those transcripts. That’s how Bible translation works.
Bible translation is not a quick and easy process, of course. Unlike other internationally best-selling books which are usually translated by one or a handful of multilingual translators, Biblical translation teams and committees often consist of fifty to hundred people or more. It requires entire teams of people including linguists, translators, historians, theologians, and anthropologists.
Next you time hear “mistranslation” used as a cop-out argument or blanket statement, I encourage you to actually look into the verse in question. Read alternate translations and examine cultural and Biblical context. You can even look up the passage in its original language! Don’t just assume the meaning can’t be discerned.
Myth #3: Scripture Condones Genocide, Rape, Slavery, Etc.
This topic alone requires a much larger examination than I can give here, but let me give you the 10,000 foot overview: no, it doesn’t.
Modern Bible critics have much to learn about the Bible (particularly the old testament) before their arguments will become in any way credible. Merely saying things like “God actually commanded parents to stone their children if they disobey!” displays one’s ignorance on the topic and actually shows me you haven’t read much of the Bible.
One of the primary issues we have with Bible literacy today is one of context. People tend to ignore the ten commandments and all other moral mandates given by God throughout the Bible and zero in on these few isolated passages that detail apostate Israel’s law codes or God’s instructions to various people in very specific circumstances.
“But this means the Bible contradicts itself!” Not really. Let’s take for example the passage I mentioned above where the Bible supposedly tells us to kill our children when they get rowdy. This and many other brutal-sounding laws in Deuteronomy are examples of a loving God making a merciful compromise with His undeserving people. Whaaat?
Let me quickly explain: first, these laws were written to Israel (God’s people) during a very specific point in Hebrew history when the Israelites were not following God. Not to all followers of Yahweh throughout history.
Second, these laws were significant moral improvements (compromises) God gave to the Israelites in comparison with the nations and cultures surrounding them.
Third, all of these laws were either changed, abolished, or fulfilled by Christ – replaced by a higher standard of morality directly from God.
Myth #4: The Bible is Inconsistent with Science
Another one of the big myths about the Bible is its supposed contradiction with science. Scripture from the Bible has more or less always been countercultural and today’s “age of reason” zeitgeist likes to assume all religion is silly superstition and anti-science.
In actuality science confirms the Bible – archaeologically, historically, anthropologically, biologically, astronomically – every time. Ironically, most of the very people who call themselves skeptics are those who are unwilling to be skeptical of their own stubborn belief systems
An often cited example is Isaiah 40:22 which describes the earth as a circle, which, in the original language reads more like “sphere” than it does like “disk.”
Two very good scientific and well-sourced websites I recommend are Answers in Genesis as well as God And Science. Their views differ on several subjects yet they both vie to defend the Bible from a scientific point of view while teaching science through the lens of the Bible.
I guess I should mention that the Bible is inconsistent with extremely popular modern views such as evolution and a self-creating universe and fatalistic determination and what have you. At which point I would also mention that unprovable scientific theories based off circular reasoning and false evidence should not be touted as fact.
Myth #5: Contradictions and Errors Aplenty
This myth is similar to myth #2. There are so many supposed mistakes and contradictions in the Bible it would be overwhelming for most anyone to check into all of them. Of course, most people who believe this myth won’t even check a few of them in detail yet continue to perpetuate this lie because it is convenient for their beliefs.
A majority of these supposed contradictions simply come from a failure to examine context and writing style. The rest of them might take a good bit of study. But if one thinks that our English Bible versions have been translated five or six or more times through language and language, they are not the type to truly examine the accused passages in their original texts.
If hundreds and hundreds of contemporary Bible scholars along with the thousands more Bible scholars over the course of the last two thousand years all agree in the inerrancy of the Bible, it’s probably inerrant. These are people who devote their lives to scriptural interpretation and study and know the scriptures in and out.
Sometimes there might be a slight hiccup in translation that can cause confusion, and sometimes errors may seem evident to the untrained eye. But when the curtain is really peeled back and we take a look at passages contextually and understand their original meanings, the so-called problems disappear.
Myth #6: The Bible is Merely a Religious Text
One of our culture’s gravest most erroneous mistakes is seeing the Bible merely as a book of religion and dogma: rules and regulations that tell us how to live and what to believe so that we can be accepted by God. This is stunningly far from truth!
Yes, the Bible does contain religion and rituals and doctrine. All throughout the text of the Bible, however, dead and vain religion is rejected by God because He sees hard and selfish hearts behind it. Religion is not a means of getting to God but rather a picture of the faith we have in Him.
There is much more than religion found in the Bible. There is literature, there is poetry, there is history, there is even erotica. The Bible is not about religion so much as it is about God’s loving relationship with us. Every hint of religion in the Bible is a pointer to and is overshadowed by Jesus’ sacrificial salvation of mankind.
Myth #7: The Bible was Written to Control People
The unfortunate truth in this myth is that the Bible has been and often is used to control people. Overbearing parents and dangerous cults alike have twisted and perverted scripture to beat down and unlovingly dominate the spiritually helpless into subservience. But when one actually begins to study the Bible we see that its very purpose is for our spiritual liberation and well-being.
There are several instances in the Bible of the Lord freeing oppressed people and using people in positions of servitude to perform very important tasks (see Genesis 39:1-6). All of this leads up to an incredible crescendo of Christ fulfilling all law so that He becomes our sin-bearer and sole mediator between us and God.
Jesus came to bridge the gap between humanity and the Father God forevermore, freeing us from ritual sacrifice and high priests. More importantly, freeing us from the power of sin.
Not to mention, of course, many beautiful examples in history of the Bible being used in the context of freedom. It was the translation of scripture into the common man’s language that freed people from the overbearing papacy of Rome.
It was scripture which inspired colonial immigrants to flee from the tyranny of England. And it was once again scripture that was used and followed by abolitionists to illegally teach blacks, many of which would go on to flee in the underground railroad. The Bible teaches and preaches freedom over and over.
Of course there are many, many more myths about the Bible but these are some of the big ones I hear often. Thanks for reading! I hope you enjoyed me tackling these myths about the Bible. My mission to study and teach truth drives me to see many Bible myths debunked!
Are there more Bible myths you’d like to see addressed on my blog? Would you like to write about some yourself? Were you encouraged in your faith by reading this?