The Table Podcast

Engaging Challenges to Biblical Inerrancy

In this episode, Dr. Darrell Bock, Dr. Andreas J. Köstenberger, and Dr. Michael Kruger discuss the inerrancy of Scripture and engaging common challenges to the trustworthiness of the Gospels.

Inspiration of Scripture
  1. Encountering Challenges to Biblical Inerrancy
  2. Engaging Challenges to Biblical Inerrancy
Timecodes
00:15
Questions about the sequence of controversies in Mark 2:1-3:6
02:58
Questions about the plausibility of Quirinius’ census in Luke 2:1-6
08:42
Advice for understanding challenges to the reliability and historicity of the Bible
12:19
Questions about the scene where Jesus walks on the water
Transcript
Dr. Darrell Bock
Another example of the same kind of thing, I’m concentrating on the Gospels because a lot of times, these are where the problems show up. It is text like Mark 2:1-3, 5, and 6, where we get 5 controversies literally on top of one another, one after another. They follow in sequence almost as if Mark is saying at the beginning of this Gospel, I’m going to lead off by telling you the type of things that got Jesus into trouble and they literally are one after another. Luke does the same thing. He has the same five controversies in the same basic order, but when we go to Matthew, lo and behold, these five controversies are stretched out across four Chapters, from Chapter 8 to Chapter 12. So what’s going on there?
Dr. A. Köstenberger
Clearly, you have on the assumption of Mark writing first, which as you know, many believe is the case. You might have Luke roughly or pretty closely following Mark in order, while Matthew may have followed a more topical arrangement. Many believe that Matthew organized his Gospel along the lines of five major discourses on the blueprint of the Five Books of Moses and then he alternates those major discourses with major narrative sections. Again, Matthew presenting his Gospel almost like some sort of a catechesis, a teaching tool, possibly, for converts to Christianity.
Dr. Michael Kruger
Yeah, once again, what you have, it looks like somatic bundling going on. If you look at Luke and Mark, taking all those convergent stories and putting them together, obviously, you’re making a theological point there. You’re bundling them together for emphasis. Matthew spreads them out for maybe other reasons. Andreas mentions one as the potential Five Books of Matthew structure. Either way, it’s once again, an issue that chronology isn’t definitive for Gospel authors and shouldn’t be used, certainly, as a point of contradiction.
Dr. Darrell Bock
Yeah, and in fact, in the Mattheian passage, you’ve got a series of triads that happen in the way in which those are unfolded you get three events and then you get three saying and then you get three events and three says. There are structural things happening on both ends that are where either topics or juxtaposition is happening that looked very planned, there’s no doubt about that. There is a cause and effect and association that’s involved in doing historical writing to point out relationships and sometimes those mean more to the author than simply giving you the sequence of what it is that you’re dealing with. Let me add one more to the Gospel listing and this one is a little bit different. You mentioned the Quirinius census.
Dr. Darrell Bock
There’s no doubt that’s probably one of the more famous and probably one of the more difficult problems that we face in the New Testament. It’s certainly rates high on my list of issues in Luke, acts that are difficult to discuss in all honesty. Here the issue is not so much what’s going on within the Scripture, because we don’t have any other mention of this, here the issue is the association of what’s going on in the historical material that surrounds Scripture and that’s more or less contemporary to it. Michael, you want to kinda lay out the nature of the problem for people?
Dr. Michael Kruger
Yeah, you’ve got a key issue here with the date of Quirinius’ census and what we know from Josephus, if I’m not mistaken on this issue, and they don’t match up and one of the key issues is who’s right? Is Josephus right about when the census was offered? Is Luke right? There’s also the issue of not just the dating, but also the extent of the census. Could there have been a census like this, where people would have to go back to their hometown? That whole issue whether that’s plausible or reliable. Actually, you can very much take a similar solution, I think I’ve heard you, Darrell, give at some point in the past on this, suggesting that the census would have taken many, many years to complete.
Dr. Darrell Bock
Yeah, we’re not in the age of the internet. This is the ancient world.
Dr. Michael Kruger
That idea of whose name attached to it, maybe the one who finished the census, not the one who instituted the census, which is part of the potential solution here. Regardless, I think you also have to take time to look at the fact that maybe Josephus is wrong. I read an article just recently, and maybe one of you can remind me where this appeared. I want to say it was in one of the major journals where someone was actually challenging the reliability of Josephus’ account in this regard and that Josephus may have been confused about the census. You have to also keep that issue in mind. It’s not always you immediately assume that an external report is reliable. That the Gospels have to adjust. Sometimes it can be the opposite.
Dr. Darrell Bock
Yeah, and of course, the way Josephus lays this out is he identifies the census, he ties it to Quirinius, Quirinius’ dates for when he could have had supervision over this would have been around A.D. 6 or whatever and of course, it’s associated with Jesus’ birth, which is much earlier. That’s the actual –
Dr. Michael Kruger
About 4 B.C. I think is right.
Dr. Darrell Bock
That’s right, that’s the nature of the problem.
Dr. Michael Kruger
About a ten year gap.
Dr. Michael Kruger
Exactly and people say, look, see here, Luke got this wrong. It’s clear that the infancy material is made up to get Jesus down to the Jerusalem area, that kinda thing. That’s how the text is handled, but I just think we don’t know enough about the logistics of how long administratively such things take. Now, sometimes I use modern analogies with a little bit of humor just to keep people thinking with me on this and I say, if you think about how much and how long it takes our government sometimes to institute its policies from the time something is proposed to the times it’s actually enacted, I said, you might get this and how this could have happened and what the nature of the associations are. Sometimes the process of administration goes very, very slowly between conception and planning and the actual institution of something that’s in place. Andreas, you have anything you want to add to this particular example?
Dr. A. Köstenberger
First of all, I know you’re too modest, but let me do that and refer listeners to Darrell’s two volume massive commentary on Luke and I often refer people to what you do with the evidence, but it’s also a good case study that sometimes we just have limited evidence. We simply don’t know a few things, at least, related to New Testament chronology and I think this is one such case. Hopefully, more evidence will be forthcoming, but in the meantime, the question is are we going to give the New Testament and Scripture a sympathetic reading, especially when it proves trustworthy. In all the many instances where it is corroborated by external evidence or are we going to apply some sort of a skeptical mindset to Scripture and are essentially putting the burden of proof on the Scriptures to prove itself innocent and we already pronounce it guilty at the outside. I think that’d be a serious mistake, but that’s exactly what you find in some of those ah-ha moments types of scholars.
Dr. Darrell Bock
Yeah, I think it’s important to remind people that when you’re dealing with material that goes back 2000 years, what we actually have dug up and found that allows us insight into these periods is actually pretty minimal of certainly of what was originally all there. We don’t have vast arrays of government records. We don’t have any government records from Pilot at all. Everything that we know about him is what someone else tells us about him, that kind of thing. We’re only dealing with a very thin layer of what possibly we could know if we had access to more material. That should build a little bit of modesty about what it is that we know. In fact, much of what we know about the history of first century Israel, if we didn’t have Josephus, we would be in a terrifically tough bind in terms of figuring out what’s going on and that’s another thing worth reminding people as we think about these array of kinda New Testament issues that come up.
Dr. A. Köstenberger
Just in general I would just encourage people to consult excellent, more technical commentaries that are available, New Testament Introductions, whether it’s The Cradle, the Cross, and the Crown. We have detailed analysis of these, some books like Mike mentioned, some of the books that he’s done on the subject. The blog posts that Mike actually asked me to respond to, one of the ah-ha moments. What I found is that there was this assumption that there’s this problem and the person was the first one to stumble over it and then I went straight to Darrell’s commentary and to Don Carson’s Matthew commentary and what I found is those scholars lo and behold, had already were well aware of the difficulty and had very adequately addressed it. Sometimes we, if we don’t consult the commentaries, then we’re really missing out.
Dr. Michael Kruger
I’ll add to that. One of the sort of MOs of the critics is to try to present these things as new discoveries that no one’s ever noticed before and to Andreas’ point, that becomes very frustrating from the perspective of Evangelicals that have looked at these things, because we know that these things have been addressed time and time again throughout the history of the Church and often times even back to the early patristic writers, have dealt with a lot of these issues. When those contradictions are presented by the critics without any acknowledgement of prior discussions of this, it becomes very frustrating, because it almost makes it look like, look, here in 2014, I did a Ph.D. somewhere and look what I discovered and then I became aware the Bible is not what I think it is. Course our response is, where have you been in the history of the discussion here because it’s been discussed many times before.
Dr. Darrell Bock
Yeah, it’s an interesting psychology. I don’t know what other word to use. It’s kind of emerging in these conversations about what is going on and, of course, these discussions have been with us for quite some time. The old classic book that lead to the definition of fundamentalism, The Fundamentals, the five volumes that were put out at the beginning of the 20th century, were responses to many of these kinds of questions that have come up and they’ve come up again and again and again and again and the responses exist again and again. I wanna mention another resource, since we were mentioning resources, Broadman Holman is in the process of putting out what’s called the Apologetics Commentary on the Bible, which is designed specifically to go through the Scripture in sequence and deal with the kinds of questions skeptics raise about the trustworthiness of the Scripture.
Dr. Darrell Bock
That’s actually the assignment for the writers. They’ve only produced volume one so far. This is Matthew through Acts, but their plan is to cover the whole of Scripture with these volumes and in many of those volumes, these issues will come up. The options and discussions are there. In some cases, there are footnotes to direct you to more complete presentations of the evidence and that kind of thing. Again, I want to be fair. I don’t want to suggest that every one of these problems has a clean resolvable solution that you sit on when you’re all done and you say, yeah, that’s how you solve this one. There are several problems that exist where you go, there are two or three, four explanations that might work and it’s not clear which one of them actually is in play here, but here at least the options that are in play that say the writer didn’t get this wrong, because they’re dealing with it from a different perspective. Let me raise another example that’s of a slightly different character. I’m thinking of the scene where Jesus walks on the water and at the end of the scene in Mark, you get this discussion about the Disciples were hard headed and they just didn’t get it. The end of the scene in Matthew, you get the discussion, and they worship the Son of God.
Dr. Darrell Bock
You couldn’t get two more different capstone endings to the same event and so someone comes along and they say, how in the world can you get such two distinct opposite ends to a particular incident? One’s very negative about where the Disciples are, the other’s very positive about where the Disciples are. What do we do with a text like this?
Dr. A. Köstenberger
I often in my New Testament Introduction classes here actually hand out a handout with exactly those types of passages to so-called misunderstanding motif and then I show them there’s a little over half a dozen passages, certainly in Mark, where he adds this editorial comment at the end saying that the Disciples still did not understand or even uses the Greek word sclerokardia, which means they were hard hearted in their understanding.
Dr. Darrell Bock
Yeah, you don’t wanna get sclerosis in the Scripture.
Dr. A. Köstenberger
No. In Matthew and those say, maybe seven or so Markian passages, there’s a negative commentary in a few of them, but not nearly as many and so clearly you see that for Mark this is a particular burden to show that. I think prior to the resurrection, nobody, not even the Disciples, not even Jesus’ inner circle, truly understood who he was. We see that in all four Gospels. That even where Peter confesses Jesus is the Christ, the passage you mentioned earlier, in short order, it turns out that he wasn’t thinking about a crucified Messiah. You see again it’s more a matter of emphasis that may be stronger in Mark, for some reason less strong in Matthew, and I think that’s actually very helpful. We sometimes think of those differences as liabilities, but in many ways, they’re actually assets, because they give us a clue as to what was important for the different Evangelists.
Dr. Michael Kruger
Yeah, the reaction of the Disciples is so multidimensional, even the same event, they can have multiple types of reactions and even phases of those same reactions where they’re initially shocked by something and then moments later in the same event, they begin to see it in a little bit of different light, and then eventually they worship Jesus, at least in some sense of things, and what you end up seeing is that the author has Andreas said, tend to hone in on one part of a multidimensional reaction. I’ll give you another example of this. The thief on the cross instance; Luke’s the only one that tells us about the thief on the cross repenting. The other Gospel accounts make it clear that both thieves on the cross keep scoring on Jesus the whole time. Is there a contradiction there? Again, you’ve got a multidimensional response from the individuals on the cross over a period of time and that response ebbs and flows and changes. Luke hones in on a change that the other Disciples are silent about. It’s a very similar situation to the walking on water.
Dr. Darrell Bock
Yeah, I like to tell people that historical events have depth and because they have depth, you’ve got to ask yourself, what angle is the particular author looking at? When Mark seems to be looking at the angle of why didn’t the Disciples click in at the beginning when Jesus showed up on the water and said, yeah, we should appreciate who’s here. He describes it as being hard hearted, they don’t get it, but if you ask what resulted from the event, and if I can use the NFL phrase, “upon further review”, where did the Disciples end up on the other end when they looked at the end of the event and they looked back and they said, man, someone who could do that, that tells us something about who he is and it led into a reflection and worship. Those two things don’t contradict each other. They actually show between them the growth. The complaint sometimes comes that, why don’t we get an author who does that for us? Who puts that all together for us in the kind of seamless way that I’ve just described it and that’s actually – in one sense it’s a good question, but it’s also a question that, who can answer that question? I can’t get in the mind of the author and know why they’ve made the choices that they’ve made. I can just deal with what it is that they give us.
Dr. Michael Kruger
I think it also has to do with the limitations of any history. Modern world where people think in terms of video recordings more than they think in terms of narratives, they’re thinking of history as why isn’t it almost like I’m watching this being filmed, and someone just writing it down in certain words as it’s being filmed? They don’t realize that history in one sense is always limited. Always has a dimension of finiteness to it. You can’t cover the depth in any one account. Where’s the account that includes everything? It’s such a missed question for people, because it assumes that you could do that, but I tell my students all the time, even if you had filmed it, you wouldn’t have what you think you have. Because you still have to film it from a certain angle and you didn’t capture something in the background or off the scene over here and so every history is incomplete.
Dr. Darrell Bock
Yeah and I think the other thing that I want to say in talking about depth, ’cause I think this is important to think through, too, is that sometimes you don’t understand the significance of an event until subsequent events take place that put it in a context. Sometimes you get the idea of, this idea came from the early Church or it came or it emerged later. Then with the additional suggestion that because it’s late, somehow it’s not historical, but that doesn’t follow at all. Again, I’ll use another illustration, sports to me, runs like theology, sometimes. We’ve all watched games where the announcer, because there’s a turnover or a fumble or an interception in an American football game, for example, will say, “Mo is shifting”, but you actually don’t know if the momentum has actually shifted and that’s the turning point of the game until the game plays itself out and you see what happens on the other end of the fumble recovery or the interception.

Sometimes you understand what’s happening at a particular event upon further review and a writer has a choice between explaining how that event happened at the time at which it was experienced with the uncertainty about whether this was going to unfold in a certain way or not or he can choose to identify it as the turning point, precisely because he knows how the rest of the game turned out and that this was the turning point in the game. Neither of those views impacts the historicity of what it is you’re describing. It’s just that the frame of the historical comment and historicity is different and so you’re bringing in different factors as a result. I think when I talk about depth of history and historical events and recording history, I’m trying to remind students of that dimension of the equation as well.

Dr. A. Köstenberger
Absolutely, and I think you all know the work by Richard Bauckham, Jesus and the Eyewitnesses of the Gospels, is eyewitness testimony and I think for our viewers and our listeners just to remember that the Gospels are first and foremost eyewitness testimony as opposed to this older approach that looks at the Gospels as just kind of literary text that are being cut and pasted together in some shape or form and that there’s this living dimension that you brought up there with the football analogy, that defies this one-dimensional analysis and I think ironically, you have Bible critics sometimes be more fundamentalistic and rigid in their thinking than those of us who are supposedly the narrow minded ones.
Dr. Darrell Bock
Yeah, I – no go ahead.
Dr. Michael Kruger
That’s exactly the Bart Ehrman problem, as we all know, is it, Bart coming out of his Evangelical background, which is more on the fundamentalist side, had certain ideas of what inerrancy had to mean and all it took was some small issue in the Gospels to just shatter that whole thing and as Andreas points out, historically, the Evangelical conception of inerrancy has been much more sophisticated than that. We get accused of sort of having no sort of awareness of the genre complexities. We get accused of not taking into account all these issues, but I would argue the opposite is often true. Is that when you look deep into the Evangelical understanding of inerrancy, it’s fairly developed. Whereas, a lot of the accusations of what counts as an error, actually the ones take a more fundamentalist approach.
Dr. Darrell Bock
Yeah, let me give one more example. We’re probably going to exhaust our time, just by talking about Gospel examples, but that’s fine, we can come back and do this again. Let me give another example that’s a famous one that Bart Ehrman put forward in Jesus Interrupted, and it is the sayings of Jesus on the cross as he’s experiencing his suffering and he argues that in Mark we get Psalm 22:1, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” We get Jesus despairing and wrestling through the agony of what he’s going through and then we come to Luke, and Luke says, “Into your hands I commit my spirit.” This is a confident Jesus. There’s no indication of despair whatsoever. You put the Gospels together and you kind of have this schizophrenic picture. Is Jesus this despairing person on the cross? Or is he this confident person on the cross? The suggestion is I have to choose between one of those two options. I can’t think about, again using the picture of depth, the idea about Jesus moving through a variety of emotions while he’s hanging on the cross. That’s one that I like to point out and then I have a trump card I want to eventually play on this one, but what do you guys think about that particular example?
Dr. A. Köstenberger
Darrell, as you know, you and I and Josh Chatraw have written not one, but two books, Truth Matters and Truth in the Culture of Doubt, where we take up that example at some length, but just in brief, Psalms 22, which Jesus prays, expresses trust in the end and at the same point, you see in Luke Jesus being in the Garden of Gethsemane in deep agony, saying, “Not my will, but yours be done” just shortly before that, so even in Luke you see Jesus agonizing over his impending death. He’s not just this emotionless machine that does not deeply sense what is about to happen to him and likewise in Mark, you see Jesus very confident and trusting all the way through multiple times predicting his forthcoming crucifixion and resurrection and like you said, only someone who can narrowly just kind of compartmentalize pericope in the Gospels can end up with those surface apparent contradictions, but if anyone does not approach the Gospels already with this skeptical mindset, but gives it a more open minded, empathetic read, will realize that both Gospels show Jesus both in agony and trusting God all the way to the cross.
Dr. Michael Kruger
I would add that this highlights one of the major fallacies of Ehrman’s reasoning, he does a lot, which is the argument from silence. If a Gospel says something about Jesus, it must mean that nothing else happened and these other things didn’t take place and he takes the silence of one Gospel as evidence that it didn’t happen, but as we all know, that’s a fallacious argument. Just because one Gospel doesn’t record a certain emotion of Jesus, doesn’t mean he didn’t also have that emotion. Ehrman absolutizes the accounts he comes across. He does this with Christology, he does this with lots of things, where he says if an author leaves something out, he must not have believed it. Once again, historically, you just can’t say that. Lots of things get left out. The cross was a long period of time, as we know, he hung there for hours and hours, going through a whole range of emotions would make sense in the recounting of it.
Dr. Darrell Bock
Now here’s the trump card. If you actually look at these accounts and lay them next to one another, what you find is that Mark alludes to a second cry from the cross. When you lay the Lukan account next to the Markian account, the point at which the remark of trust appears, is exactly at the point of Mark where that second cry remark is made. It’s almost as if Luke has come along and said, Mark didn’t tell you what Jesus said here, but here’s what Jesus said here. Granted Luke doesn’t have the “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” part of the account, fair enough, but he doesn’t slot this saying in the same position where “My God, my God, thou hast forsaken me” appears in Mark. He has it later in the account and it goes right into that slot.
Dr. Darrell Bock
If you look at it in a synopsis where you compare the accounts next to one another, you can see that’s what’s going on. That already suggests to you that something’s happening here that shows that we’re not at the exact same point and we aren’t looking at the portrait at the same point of time. Again, adding this idea of depth that comes with these events. Our time is almost up. I do have one more example that I think is probably one of more famous examples and actually I think it has to be said like the Quirinius one, is one of the harder examples and that is the timing of when Jesus gets crucified. Is the Last Supper a Passover meal in which case the Passover lambs have already been sacrificed or is the time when Jesus is said to be on the cross in John, where the association with Passover lambs is made with his sacrifice there, is that the time? This is one in which you – you got a lot of sacrifices in a lot of days, you can’t have Passover lambs being sacrificed in both those time slots. Something is going on. How do you guys handle that one?
Dr. A. Köstenberger
I think in the Synoptic Gospels, Matthew, Mark, and Luke, it’s clear that it is a Passover meal, because you see Jesus essentially celebrating this meal with his inner circle, with the 12, and I think most would agree that that’s in fact what you have. I think most scholars then question whether or not John matches the Synoptic portrayal, but personally I think it’s important to understand that the Passover was not just one day. It’s an entire week and it commenced with the celebration of the Passover, but then it continued in the Festival of the Unleavened Bread and so I think in John you see that Jesus also celebrated a festive meal with his Disciples in the upper room and even though we don’t have the words of institution of the New Covenant, I think best evidence suggests that even there you have John presenting Jesus as celebrating a Passover with his Disciples. I’ve written a lengthy article on this in a book edited by Tom Schreiner if anyone wants to look at all the technical details, but it –
Dr. Darrell Bock
You’re the Johannine expert, but I’d at least put on the table that when you read John 6, regardless of what you think about whether the sacramentalism is in that Chapter or not, there seems to be – that seems to be written with at least some sense of an awareness that there is a Last Supper or the Lord’s Table, that kind of thing, so that even though John doesn’t depict that in the upper room, he does allude to it. In fact, John’s Gospel, I think this is important to say, if you compare John’s Gospel to the Synoptics, about, and this is a rough percentage, 85, 88 percent of it isn’t duplicated anywhere in the Synoptics. It’s almost as if John, and John’s certainly gotta be aware the general Synoptic tradition out there, even if he’s not aware of the individual Gospels, per se, has come along and said, I’m gonna tell you more about Jesus than these other accounts that you’re familiar with and kind of give you some additional stuff around it. He doesn’t feel the need to repeat a lot of the things that they’re already very aware of. That’s how you handle it, Andreas. Michael, how do you handle the dating issue and the crucifixion?
Dr. Michael Kruger
There’s several passages that the critics point out as evidence that the Passover lambs were happening on Friday, not on Thursday. I find most of them entirely unpersuasive. The only passage, I think, presents at all a challenge, is the one in John 18 where it says that the Jewish leaders did not want to enter into the house of Pilot for fear they’d be contaminated, of course, and not be able to take the Passover. In the Greek term there, Pascha, is what’s being used. That almost looks like it proves their case. The problem though is that ritual impurity due to a gentile is easily solved by bathing and waiting for sundown and then you can partake in the meal that night. Whatever thing they are worried about partaking in must have been at night, which would have been the main Passover meal, because they wouldn’t have had any trouble washing, waiting for sundown, and being pure for the evening meal. What I tell my students when we talk about this issue is that whatever is bothering the Jewish leaders there in terms of a meal they can’t participate in, it cannot be the evening meal, otherwise entering into a gentile household would not be a problem. I suggest that’s one of the other smaller meals throughout the week that are often happening midday. The term Pascha, as Andreas pointed out, has a wide semantic range and can mean all kinds of different things. I think that argument from John 18 actually proves the traditional understanding, not the critics’ understanding.
Dr. Darrell Bock
Yeah, my take on this goes to where Andreas started, which is, and again I’ll use an analogy. When we think of Pascha and we think of unleavened bread, it’s all one feast in the Jewish mind and what’s interesting is is that we have examples where Passover is used for the entire week and unleavened bread is used for the entire week. I think Josephus does it in the reverse and the point here is is that you’ve got eight days, now technically, you can distinguish the Passover part that comes from the beginning, from the unleavened bread that follows in the week that follows. You can do that, but often times in popular shorthand, as is often the case, they called it all Passover, they called it all unleavened bread, and the analogy is, it’s like our Christmas season and I usually do this illustration. I said, how many of you work in an office that has a Christmas party?
Dr. Darrell Bock
And everyone puts up their hand. How many of you celebrate that Christmas party on Christmas Day at the office? And of course, almost no one puts up their hand, because no one’s at the office on Christmas. The point that I’m making is that this holiday casts a shadow over the period. We’re in a certain period and the period itself is what’s represented here and so there are actions that Jesus can partake in in the midst of this whole that can have association without necessarily identifying the particular day that we’re on in relationship to it. If Jesus is hanging on a cross and they’ve just celebrated the Passover, that can be put in a chronological framework that makes that all very acceptable and it brings up another distinction that it probably is a good place for us to kinda wrap up and summarize and that is, that sometimes the idea of inerrancy communicates a level of precision that the text itself is not attempting to generate. The text can be accurate without being precise. In other words, without answering the specific question we may bring to it, because the text is not attempting to answer that question, it’s doing something else and so distinguishing between accuracy and precision in dealing with inerrancy is an important way to keep yourself from being tripped up by making the Bible do more than it’s attempting to do.
Dr. A. Köstenberger
I totally agree with that, Darrell. I hope your paper, I think it’s a paper at ETS that you gave, will be published in some form, because –
Dr. Darrell Bock
It actually is published in a book that was edited by James Hoffmeier and Dennis Magary, I think the title of it goes, Does History Matter to the Faith or something. That’s a bad paraphrase of the title, but it’s something like that.
DR. MICHAEL KRUGER
See, it wasn’t very accurate, but it still –
Dr. Darrell Bock
Exactly, right –
Dr. Darrell Bock
I bet you people will be able to find the reference because they get the gist.
Dr. Michael Kruger
Got the gist of it.
Dr. Darrell Bock
Yeah, exactly. Michael, you want to add anything to the chronology example that John –
Dr. Michael Kruger
The analogy that I always give my students about precision versus accuracy is what do you say when someone asks how old you are? If you ask a person how old they are and they say, I’m 50, for example, and you say, technically you’re wrong, because you’re actually 50 and 6 months and 3 days and this many hours and minutes, you would laugh at that. In our general use of dates in terms of how old we are, we always round it out and give the general timeframe and in that sense, you’re not precise, but you are accurate, and I think that feeds your distinction.
Dr. Darrell Bock
Again, I think we have to remember we’re dealing with popular literature written as ancient historiography that’s used to certain conventions, all these things are in play as we deal with these examples in the New Testament. We’ve only scratched the surface of some of these examples that have been dealt with. I’m going to ask you guys to reserve a date in the future when we can come back to this for a podcast to be named later, since we use sports analogies here. Hopefully, we can pick up on some of the other examples, but I hope that the thrust of what people are seeing in the examples that we’ve gone through and kind of talked our way through, in some detail in some cases, is that there isn’t reason simply to walk away from the Scripture and say, it’s just errors. In fact, I like to make the case that the easy position to take is to say, it’s just wrong and not look at it. To just label it as wrong and walk away. Sometimes it’s in the midst of doing the work and asking how this might work that you actually perhaps surface what the potential relationship may be and you actually gain a depth to your Bible reflection and your Bible study that’s valuable to pursue as you look at the background and look at the other features that are in play. I wanna thank you guys for being a part of this, probably round one and look forward, hopefully, to having you back in the future and discussing an issue of importance about inerrancy and my hope is is that this discussion has proved helpful to those of you who have listened. We thank you for being a part of The Table and look forward to having you back with us again soon.
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Darrell L. Bock
Dr. Bock is senior research professor of New Testament and executive director for cultural engagement at Dallas Theological Seminary. He has authored or edited more than 40 books, including Jesus according to Scripture: Restoring the Portrait from the Gospels, Jesus in Context: Background Readings for Gospel Study, Studying the Historical Jesus: A Guide to Sources and Methods, Jesus the Messiah: Tracing the Promises, Expectations, and Coming of Israel’s King, Who Is Jesus?: Linking the Historical Jesus with the Christ of Faith, and Key Events in the Life of the Historical Jesus: A Collaborative Exploration of Context and Coherence.
Theology
Sep 19, 2017
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What Makes a Good Sermon? In this episode, Drs. Darrell L. Bock and Abe Kuruvilla discuss what makes a good sermon, focusing on preparation, sermon structure, and application.
Sexuality
Sep 12, 2017
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Grace and Truth in LGBT Engagement - Classic In this episode, Dr. Darrell L. Bock and Caleb Kaltenbach discuss balancing grace and truth in LGBT engagement, focusing on Kaltenbach’s experiences in the gay community and in...