|My husband has recommended your site to me as of late. I have just began reading on your website and found the section entitled "Is the Bible Perfect" particularly interesting.|
I have been a Christian for about 12 years now and before that grew up in a house with an awareness of God. I have recently been discovering that I have some nagging questions in the back of my mind about the Bible and about God and his character/actions. Until recently, the past 2 years or so, I would define myself as one who tried to think as little as possible...it seemed to work for me. If you have no opinion you can never be wrong, right. Well, that's how I learned to survive through my teen years anyway. If I found a reasonable explantion for something I went with it and "preached/believed it as truth."
I've come to a point in my life where I am no longer satisfied with what I've been taught simply because it's what I've been taught. I really want to know what I believe and why I believe it. I've come to the realization that the "convictions" I have formed as a Christian were mainly formed because it was "the right decision" or the ones that sounded good. But I really didn't put a lot of thought into forming them. I realized that I have not done much investigating at all of the Bible and I have been calling myself a good Christian for so many years. I don't know how I've come to believe half of the things that I do. I'm in no way saying that everything I've come to believe is wrong...but I do think that not being willing to investigate if what you believe, i.e. investigating if it's coming from a credible source is wrong.
It's really creating some problems for me right now. At the church I currently attend I am pretty well known...mainly because my parents are well known in the church. My friends have always looked up to me as "spiritual" and a good disciple of Jesus. Recently I've been "trying to test the waters" with a couple of friends and asking them why they believe in God. You may be surprised, or maybe not, but many people don't react well to this question. Most of the responses I get are, "Why DON'T you believe in God?" Now what kind of logic is that? And another reason they give me is that they "feel its the truth, and that their life is better now than before they became a Christian." That presents two problems for me. The Bible that they hold so dear tells them that the heart is deceitful above all things...so should their feelings prove the validity of the Bible and God? And, secondly isn't it possible to live a good life without being a Christian? When one becomes a Christian they do make choices to stop doing things that harm themselves and others...and the lack of doing things does make the situation better. But I believe someone who is not a Christian can make these same "healthy" decisions in their life and the outcomes would be the same.
My husband and I are going through some tough times right now and I'm at risk of losing some friends because of the questions I have about God. I'm facing some really tough times ahead...questioning might leave me alone...but I have to do it. Ignorance is no longer bliss for me...some days I really wish it was still, but it's not.
Anyway, this brings me to the point of my letter...sorry, it took me so long to get here. I'm beginning to study out what I believe and why. I've been trying to take a closer look at the bible and all religions. I so many questions about why the bible seems to contradict itself, why God seems to have changed so drastically from the Old Testament to the New and I have a hard time with the claim that only Christians have it right and are going to heaven.
So, needless to say your section "Is the Bible Perfect" jumped out to me and I wanted to comment on a particular paragraph. It is the paragraph about 1 Kings 4:26 and 2 Chronicles 9:25. I found the discrepancy interesting. I looked the scriptures up in my bible, the NIV, and saw that 1 Kings 4:26 said "four thousand stalls for chariot horses, and twelve thousand horses...", not the "fourty thousand" you quoted. I thought that was odd so I went back to your site and clicked on the link for the scripture you provided. The link brought me to the New American Standard Bible translation. I then proceded to look up the scripture in every translation I could and noticed that The KJV and many others all said fourty, but the NIV said four as did the New International version. Wow!
I have to admit reading this paragraph on your site and the chart toward the bottom of the page have addressed some of the questions I've been having lately. I have to admit I've been one who never really questioned the Bible much or it's consistancy. I have just regurgitated the same rationalizations passed down to me on to others. The bible says that it was inspired by God and its still living and active and that nothing should be added or taken away...what about changed? I am just at the beginning of my journey to find out what the hell I believe...I feel like I don't know anything at times. But, I'm am determined to question and I believe I will have stronger convictions than ever about what I believe...and it may not be what I've been taught for so long...and that's scary to say.
I guess what I'm trying to say/ask is why does the Bible need so much clarification? Why do so many things need to be interpreted or justified? Just because it does doesn't prove to me that the Bible isn't valid...I guess I'm saying is that it just stinks. It would be nice to have a book that just spells everything out clearly. And if one translation says four and another says fourty...you are right in asking, "Who has the right version?" I'm now asking myself. I've got a lot of studying to do.
Yes, indeed, why does the Bible need so much clarification? Why must there be an army of apologists, continuously explaining away the problems? Why should a book written by God have so many problems?
Since one version of the Bible says "four" where another says "forty", which is correct? If one version had said the horses were strong but another said they were mighty, that would just be a difference in translation. But here we have differences in content. Different manuscripts say different things. And nobody can be sure which is correct, or if both are wrong. And if we cannot be sure which is right, how can we be sure any is a reliable copy of words written by God?