How Accurate Is The Bible?

Accuracy is verifiable, quantifiable and measurable.
How much inaccuracy are you willing to invest in? 0%? 10%? 25%? 50%? How accurate do you want your road map? How accurate do you want your Scripture? All Christian Arguments can be reduced to the dependence on the presumption that the Bible is accurate to some degree. Accuracy is verifiable, quantifiable and measurable.

A Map is a model of the real world.
It is made to represent the world to some degree of accuracy decided upon before it was ever made. We can make value judgments about the map using whatever criteria are important to us. One criteria that should be important (because it is the purpose for the map) is how accurate it represents whatever it is that it is supposed to represent.

If we have to go somewhere and we are uncertain about how to get there, we can use a map. A map eliminates uncertainty to a degree because it represents a model of the world that we can use for planning. It gives us the ability to make choices and decisions that not only translate into success, but how comfortable it is to get there. We can see where the towns are in relation to one another, make rough guesses about the best route at a glance, make decisions about time and resources based on what resources are found along the path, we can make value judgments about those resources ahead of time. All in all it gives us the ability to form a strategy for the trip that probably has a high degree of likelihood for success. So a successful outcome for the trip really does reduce to the degree of accuracy of how well the map models the real world, and to what degree we are willing to tolerate and overcome whatever inaccuracies there are in the map.

The Bible is like a map.
Jesus describes himself as "the way" and goes on to further describe himself as a kind of "Model" to show what God is like.

John 14:6-11
6 Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.
7 "If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; from now on you know Him, and have seen Him."
8 Philip said to Him, "Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us."
9 Jesus said to him, "Have I been so long with you, and yet you have not come to know Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; how can you say, 'Show us the Father'?
10 "Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father is in Me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on My own initiative, but the Father abiding in Me does His works.
11 "Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me; otherwise believe because of the works themselves.


Jesus confirmed the Old Testament was the word of God by referring to it as such and referring back it frequently.

- Matthew 1-1:21, judgment of Tyre and Sidon
- Matthew 5:18, validates scripture
- Matthew 12:3, verifies Davids actions
- Matthew 12:39ff, verifies Jonah and the whale
- Matthew 15:3, validates scripture
- Matthew 15:6, validates scripture
- Matthew 15:7-9 He refers to the first part of Isaiah's work (Isaiah 6:9), verifies only one Isaiah
- Matthew 19:1-6, verifes Adam and Eve
- Matthew 19:8, 9, Moses wrote the Pentateuch
- Matthew 21:16, validates scripture by citing Psalm 8:2
- Matthew 22:31, validates scripture
- Matthew 24:15, verifies Daniel was a prophet
- Matthew 24:37, verifes Noah and the Global Flood

- Luke 4:17-21, He cites Isaiah 61:1, 2, verifies only one Isaiah
- Luke 11:51, the murder of Abel by his brother Cain
- Luke 17:29, 32, the destruction of Sodom and the death of Lot's wife

- Mark 12:26, calling Moses
- Mark 12:29-31, Moses wrote the Pentateuch

- John 6:31-51, manna in the wilderness
- John 7:19, Moses wrote the Pentateuch
- John 10:35, validates scripture

So how accurate should we expect the Word of God to be?
If we use a weighted raking we can get a rough idea. God is perfect, and man is not. So we can expect that man will be less accurate than God, but if God is helping man, then man should be more accurate that if he were working alone.

1. God is more accurate than man
2. Man is less accurate than God but more accurate with help from God
3. Man alone is less accurate

That should serve as a rough guideline and the first metric in an attempt to quantify the accuracy of the Bible.

Jesus intended us to use himself and, by extension, scripture as a model or a map for how to live our lives.
He intended it to reduce uncertainty about how to live a righteous life. Scripture was intended to eliminate uncertainty to a degree because it represents a model of the world that can be used for planning. It was intended to give us the ability to make choices and decisions that not only translate into success, but how comfortable it is to live with them. We can see where our goals are in relation to one another, make rough guesses about the best choices at a glance, make decisions about how to spend our time and resources based on what resources are found around us, we can make value judgments about those resources ahead of time. All in all it gives us the ability to form a strategy for our lives that probably has a high degree of likelihood for success. So a successful outcome for life really does reduce to the degree of accuracy of how well scripture models the real world, and to what degree we are willing to tolerate and overcome whatever inaccuracies there are in scripture.

Accuracy is verifiable, quantifiable and measurable.
How much inaccuracy are you willing to invest in? 0%? 10%? 25%? 50%? How accurate do you want your road map? How accurate do you want your Scripture? All Christian Arguments can be reduced to the dependence on the presumption that the Bible is accurate to some degree. Therefore, the probability of the likelihood that their conclusions are correct depend directly on the degree of accuracy of The Bible as a representation (or model) of events in the world past and present.

25 comments: