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Don Stewart :: Is Every Statement of the Bible True?

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Don Stewart

When we read the Bible, should we regard every statement as true? Can we confidently read any portion of Scripture and act upon any statement? The answer is no. A distinction needs to be made between the accuracy of the statements in the Bible and their truthfulness.

The Truth Of Every Statement Is Not Guaranteed

Divine inspiration guarantees the accuracy of every statement, but not the truth of it. For example, every time Satan spoke, he lied. Jesus said of him.

He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it (John 8:44).

The only truth in the statements of Satan is that he actually said them - nothing more.

The Serpent Lied When Making Promises To Eve

In the Garden of Eden the serpent promised Eve that she and her husband would be like God if they ate of the forbidden fruit.

And the serpent said to the woman, "You will not surely die. For God knows in that day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil" (Genesis 3:4,5).

The statement of the serpent is recorded accurately, but the statement is not true. Other examples can be found in Scripture where people made statements that are against the clear teaching of the Lord and His Word.

There Are Human Misstatements In The Bible

There are also human misstatements in Scripture. The religious leaders said to Nicodemus about the origin of Jesus.

Are you also from Galilee? Search and look, for no prophet has arisen out of Galilee (John 7:52).

If this is the proper understanding of what the religious leaders said (and there is some controversy as to what exactly they did say), then this statement of the religious leaders was not true. The prophet Jonah was from the region of Galilee.

An Example From The Book Of Job

We find that a large section of the Book of Job contains statements that are recorded accurately but are not true - the people actually made these misguided statements. After Job and his three friends had been discussing Job's problems, God made the following comments.

Then the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind: "Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge? Pay attention like a man, I will question you, and you shall declare to me. Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell me, if you have understanding" (Job 38:1-4)

God called what they were saying, "Words without knowledge."

According to the Lord, the previous discussion of Job and his friends was ignorant and uninformed. The unspiritual words of Job's friends, as recorded in the Book of Job, do not have the same usefulness to lost humanity as does the gospel of Jesus Christ. However both are exactly what God intended to include in His Word and each has its place and its divine purpose.

God's Word Will Accomplish Its Purpose

The Lord has said.

So shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and succeed in the thing for which I sent it (Isaiah 55:11).

There Were Laws That Have Been Done Away With

There is also the record of laws and practices that have been done away with. The New Testament says of these laws.

Therefore let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or sabbaths, which are a shadow of things to come, but the substance is of Christ (Colossians 2:16,17).

Believers during the Old Testament period were commanded to obey these regulations. The New Testament believers are not.

The Old Testament Was Written For Our Instruction

The New Testament says these Old Testament accounts were written for our instruction.

These things happened to them to serve as an example, and they were written down to instruct us, on whom the ends of the ages have come (1 Corinthians 10:11).

Therefore all Scripture has been fully authorized by God but not all Scripture has the same purpose or application.

Summary

Although every statement and event recorded in Scripture actually happened not every thing recorded is true. Each statement of the Bible needs to be read in context. We need to know who is speaking to see whether the statement, though recorded accurately, is in harmony with the truth of God. The Bible records misguided statements as well as lies. There is also the recording of certain commandments and laws in the Old Testament that are no longer applicable in this age. Therefore we should not expect to find Christian doctrine in every statement of the Bible.

While there may not be Christian doctrine in every statement of Scripture all things recorded in the Bible can be read with profit. The Old Testament was written for our instruction. While it contains things that are not longer binding on believers there are still lessons that can be learned from a careful study of its contents.

CONTENT DISCLAIMER:

The Blue Letter Bible ministry and the BLB Institute hold to the historical, conservative Christian faith, which includes a firm belief in the inerrancy of Scripture. Since the text and audio content provided by BLB represent a range of evangelical traditions, all of the ideas and principles conveyed in the resource materials are not necessarily affirmed, in total, by this ministry.

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