Fundamentalism (Part 2 of many)

The Bible is inerrant. Everything written is factual truth, every word, sentence, account, number, date, and sequence of events…

In Fundamentalism, the Bible is the ultimate authority.

I regard the Bible as the God’s Word, the ultimate authority.

It is not the Bible itself. It is how the person who uses the Bible.

I have no disagreement that the Bible is God’s Word. First of all, the Bible is not one book. It is a collection of literature, mainly Jewish literature. It consists of poetry, history, foretelling visions, warnings, letters, etc. Above all, the Almighty God used people to manually write, compose, and transcript the material. There are many helpful resources to show the canonicity of the Bible. I will not bore myself in discussing it here.

II Timothy 3:16 – 17 “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” Usually, this is the proof text for the inerrancy of the Bible.

“It is God-breathed.” It does not mean that the Book fell from heaven. Over forty men wrote it over a two thousand year time span.

“It is God-breathed.” It does not mean those writers simply acted like court stenographers. Each piece of literature shows its own individual style, target audience, emotion, agenda, and cultural influence…

First of all, the Bible is not written in English. The Old Testament is mostly written in Hebrew. A few chapters in the prophecies of Ezra and Daniel and one verse in Jeremiah were written in a language called Aramaic. Aramaic was a common spoken language in Jesus time. Jesus probably spoke Aramaic. Some Aramaic words were used in the New Testament. The New Testament was written in Greek.

Since the authors of the New Testament were all Jewish, why did they use Greek? Greek was the predominant language at the time in that part of the world. The authors used Greek simply because it was the way they communicate in written form, even they might speak Aramaic. Many Jews could not even read Hebrew anymore. The Old Testament was translated into Greek called the Septuagint, and were widely used in synagogues.[1]

The English Bible is only one of the many translations from the ancient manuscripts. Here lies one of the basic complications. No translation can extract the full meaning of the authors’ original intent. Even if the translators do their best to extrapolate the meaning of the manuscripts; there are other factors to consider.

In the Old Testament, many of the sources are oral traditions. Stories were told from generations to generations. The transmission could be accurate, but the information flow was targeted to the generation of the time so they could learn lessons with regards to their God, nation, ethics, law, etc. It was not told with the intent of teaching science, mathematics, geology, or topics that were not even invented.

As I am trying to learn more about God through the Bible, I target on the lessons I can extract from the writings. I believe the intent of the author is the key to understand the Word of God.

 

[1] http://www.biblica.com/en-us/bible/bible-faqs/in-what-language-was-the-bible-first-written/

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