Is the Bible Truly “Infallible”?

I came across a radio preacher on my way home from work one night scanning through the FM stations. He was using scriptures from the Bible to “prove” that the Bible was the “infallible Word of God.”

He was quoting Scriptures like:

All Scripture is inspired by God…” 2 Timothy 3:16 New American Standard Bible (NASB).

Wait. Let’s be real. This verse begs so many questions. What “Scripture” is Paul referring to here? Well, he’s not referring to the Big Black Book you have collecting dust on your night stand, because he didn’t have one of those. It was organized and bound long after Paul penned those words to Timothy.

The preacher was quoting an Old Testament Psalmist who says “The Law of the Lord is Perfect” as more “proof.” But the Psalmist is obviously speaking of the Law of Moses which we Christians don’t hold to anymore anyway (at least we shouldn’t).

Enough with the nonsense. This type of “preaching to the choir” proof of Scripture has to stop. There are two problems here. One is obvious, one is ironic:

First of all and obviously, this “logic” of selling the Bible with the Bible is an absurd argument. Do we seriously think we are going to convince people to believe the Bible because of some random verses it contains? If I write the following: “Everything I write in this post is true,” do you now feel inclined to take MY words as gospel?

Secondly, and ironically, not only is it silly to use verses in the Bible to prove that the Bible is “Infallible,” the truth is…

The Bible is Not Infallible.

If we have any hope of this current generation taking The Gospel of Jesus Christ seriously  we are going to have to come clean about the inconsistencies and flaws the Bible contains.

Is every last word in our Protestant Bible true and accurate? No.

What the What?! 

“But the Bible is the Perfect Word of God! Every word in it is breathed by God himself,” you say.If every word contained in the Protestant 66 books are truly God’s Own Words, apparently He enjoys contradicting himself, and He can’t remember who died when and how much money was paid for what. If God wrote it, He really should have got himself an editor.

Okay, maybe you’re getting offended right now and your “heresy meter” is starting to go off. Let’s just be objective and take a look.

Really? No Errors Anywheres? 

Here’s the definition of Infallible:

:  incapable of error : unerring :  not liable to mislead, deceive, or disappoint :  certain

By this definition the Bible can not be called infallible. Consider the following examples. We’ll start with some simple ones that involve numbers that just don’t jive.

Money for a Floor: In 2nd Samuel 24:24  David buys the “threshing floor” from Arahuah. He pays 50 shekels of silver.

In 1st Chronicles 21:22-25, a different account of the same story, it is indicated that David pays 600 shekels of gold for the property.

How many stalls? 1st Kings 4:26 gives account of the 40,000 stalls Solomon had for his horses.

2nd Chronicles 9:25 states Solomon had 4,000 stalls for his horses.

A Dead King Rages? In 1st Kings 16:6-8 we are told Baasha, King of Israel dies and his son Elah takes his throne in the 26th year of Asa, King of Judah’s reign.

But in 2nd Chronicles 16:1 we are told King Baasha fortified Ramah against King Asa in the 36th year of King Asa’s reign. Baasha is alive and well 10 years after 1st Kings tells us he died?

Are these transcription errors? I don’t know, but they are errors. The Holy Scripture, supposedly perfect, has some peculiarly irregular accounting errors.

One Sin…Okay, Maybe Two: Now how about 1st Kings 15:5 where we are told, “David did what was right in the sight of the Lord, and had not turned aside from anything that He commanded him all the days of his life, except in the case of Uriah the Hittite,” (NASB, italics mine).

For those of you not familiar with the Sunday School Story: Uriah was the first husband of Bathsheba, whom David had killed to cover up the fact she was pregnant with David’s child. Definitely a shameful act which the writer of 1st Kings is not willing to overlook.

But wait, 2nd Samuel 24:10-17 details the account of how David sinned in taking a census of his people against the Lord’s wishes. And it must have been a bad sin too, because 70,000 people ended up dead because of it.

Why does the writer of 1 Kings bother being so emphatic about David obeying God in everything, save one thing, if that is simply not true?

If every word of the Bible was effectively written by God himself, and God is perfect and true, why is the text not consistent and accurate?

If the Bible is not even accurate with numbers, how can we believe anything else it says? I know this is a very scary thought for those of us who have based our entire lives and way of thinking on the belief that everything in the Bible is true.

Most of us Christians  like to think our faith is completely rooted in a personal faith in Christ Jesus himself. But if we are honest, we will see that in most cases our faith is completely contingent on this idea that the Bible is the actual unerring Word of God. Take away the belief that every word of the Bible was “breathed by God” and most of us would be lost and confused.

How Did We Get Here? -or- Why Are Preachers So Chicken Shit? 

Why are our Christian Leaders not willing to face the inconsistencies in the Bible?  Have they really been studying it and not noticed? How can preachers be selling the Bible saying every word is true when it is clearly not? Maybe it’s because they don’t think we can handle the Truth. Maybe it’s because Christianity is a multi-billion dollar industry and they would all lose their jobs. Maybe its because without that Big Black Book  they wouldn’t have anything to beat you over the head.

I discovered some Bible inconsistencies years ago on my own, but I was completely unaware of the majority of the scripture examples I shared earlier in this blog post until a few short weeks ago. Can we at least admit how stupid we Christians look to insist that every word of the Bible is true when not even the numbers and dates are consistent? I hope you opened the Bible for yourself and looked up the verses I quoted above.

My Motivation: Why am I writing this? Why do I feel compelled to publicly challenge this Book we all pull so much faith from? I’m not challenging the narrative of the Bible. I’m challenging the way the Truth of the Scripture has been sold to us and how we continue to sell it. To be believers in God and His Christ must we really believe that every last word of the Bible was breathed by God?

Consider the introduction Luke writes to his Gospel clearly admitting he was not an eyewitness and that he consulted multiple sources for his book.

I feel compelled to start this conversation about the inconsistencies of the Bible for a very important reason:

I know people who grew up in church who have thrown out the Bible and it’s entire narrative when they discover the Scriptures don’t live up to the claim that they are “perfect” and “inerrant.” By selling them this idea that the words of the Bible are “infallible” we give them permission to throw out baby Jesus with the Holy Water.  Because if the claims we make about the Bible are not true, and inconsistencies are found, the logical thing for them to do is dismiss the Scripture and its Story entirely.

We are between a rock and a hard place. If we continue to insist on proving that the Bible is the Word of God because every word is unerring we will lose an entire generation of critical and objective thinkers, because it’s not. And if we want to “make disciples” as we have been instructed, we must look at these 66 books we call the Protestant Bible in a different light.

Personally, I’m not afraid to confront this idea that the Bible is not perfect. You know why? Because everything we humans believe we know is based on the words of another human being. It’s not the words that are important it’s The Source.

I believe the Biblical narrative is full of holes and errors so that we can look through it to understand it’s true message. Besides, the Bible is not the Word of God. John tells us the Word is God. God is the Word. In the beginning was the Word. Am I set free by words on a page or the Truth they contain?

In my opinion, The God who created Heaven and Earth didn’t bother to make the words of the various writings match because truth is not found in “jots and tittles.”

Personally, I want to know the truth at all costs. I want “the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help me God.” Even the truth about the Truth. Because if I know the truth, The Truth will make me free.

Do you want to be free? I pray you do.