Mistakes in the Bible?

Here's a great topic for conversation we've recently launched at Gathering - our Sunday lunch discussion venue at Christ Community Church. For the past month we've been looking at the historical reliability of the Bible ... the process by which the scriptures have come down through the ages ... the archeological evidence of the people and places mentioned in the Bible ... and the way history-telling worked in ancient times.

This next week at Gathering we're going to tackle the issue of inerrancy. Is the Bible free of errors that would make it inconsistent with itself, factually inaccurate and ultimately an unreliable guide to knowing and following God? To jumpstart our consideration, let me give you a sample of author Bart Ehrman's recent best seller "Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why."

“Because the early Christian texts were not being copied by professional scribes, but simply by educated members of the Christian congregations... we can expect that in the earliest copies mistakes were commonly made in transcription." (p. 51)

"Even scribes who were competent, trained and alert sometimes made mistakes. Sometimes, though they changed the text because they thought it was supposed to be changed. This was not just for certain theological reasons, however. There were other reasons for scribes to make an intentional change – for example they came across a passage that appeared to embody a mistake that needed to be corrected, possibly a contradiction found in the text, or a mistaken geographical reference, or a misplaced scriptural allusion. Changes were made and the author’s original words, as a result, may have become altered and eventually lost." (pp. 55-56)

"One of the leading questions that textual critics must deal with is how to get back to the original text - the text as the author first wrote it... It is an enormous problem. In fact it is such an enormous problem that a number textual critics have started to claim that we may as well suspend any discussion of the "original" text because it is inaccessible to us.” (p.58)

Well, there we have it folks. Mistakes in the Bible. What do you think of Ehrman's assertions? If true, how much damage is done to the Christian claim that the Bible is infallible and authoritative? Send me your thoughts and reactions. Hit on the comment link below and give me your best shot. Or swat me a quick e-mail and we’ll dialogue some this week. To e-mail me directly send to:


More from me and Bart as I hear back from you! Feel free to check out the web-page about The Gathering at: