8 Bible Misconceptions Your Church Should Address

By Mark Driscoll -March 18, 2021

bible misconceptions

Over the years, I’ve come across many Bible misconceptions. Some of these are due to rampant biblical illiteracy, and others to simple misunderstandings about how the Bible was copied and transmitted over the years. Many Bible misconceptions can be cleared up simply by learning how to interpret the Bible, but some require a more detailed response, especially from the church pulpit.

 8 Bible Misconceptions Your Church Can Address

1. “You can’t trust the Bible because it’s been translated so many times.”

This misconception assumes that we don’t have an abundance of manuscript evidence in languages such as Greek and Hebrew supporting the Bible. As a result, it makes the added assumption that the Bible may have started out in some original ancient languages a long time ago, but has since been translated and retranslated over and over again into so many different languages that we can’t trust it anymore.

This is simply not true. We have access to literally thousands of manuscripts and fragments that are used in translating the Bible, not a long chain of degraded translations.

2. “The Bible is full of mistakes and contradictions.”

This misconception is usually just thrown out without any supporting evidence.

Always ask for a specific example when you encounter this misconception. But be prepared, because some people may have specifics or even several examples, and you’ll want to know how to respond.

In reality, though, to say the Bible is full of mistakes and contradictions usually stems from a lack of understanding of the principles of biblical interpretation. Many capable scholars have addressed questions about Bible difficulties.

3. “You can make the Bible say whatever you want it to say.”

This only applies if one takes a relaxed view of Scripture, such as a relativistic attitude that rejects that the author had real intent and meaning.

Also, if we treat the Bible fairly in our interpretation, following the basic principles of hermeneutics, then we can’t make it say what we want it to say.

I once heard a seminary professor say that the Golden Rule of interpretation is, “Seek to interpret a text just as you would like others to interpret your words, whether written or spoken.”

4. “The Bible says … ”

This misconception claims the Bible says something specific, when it really doesn’t.

As an example, some will state that the Bible says, “God helps those who helps themselves.” Sorry, that was Ben Franklin, not the Bible. Some will claim the Bible supports the abuse of women, that it encourages slavery or some other major allegation. There’s a long list of things people say the Bible supports when, in reality, it doesn’t.

5. “Power-hungry church councils decided what to include in the Bible.”

The idea is that at some point, usually much later than the time of the New Testament, church councils met and included whatever books and ideas in the Bible would best help consolidate their own power. This is simply false.

Church councils formalized and officially recognized writings that God’s people had already accepted and used as inspired Scripture for hundreds of years, in the case of the New Testament, and thousands of years in the case of the Old Testament. Some of these councils include the Council of Laodicea (A.D. 363); the Council of Hippo (A.D. 393); and the Council of Carthage (A.D. 397). Church councils simply acknowledged the Scriptures that were already known and trusted by Christians everywhere.

6. “The New Testament was written hundreds of years after the time of Jesus.”

The implication of this misconception is that so much time passed between the writing of the Bible and the actual events it records that there’s no way it could be accurate. Supposedly, the gap between the reality and the writing allowed ample time for corruption, legends and even myths to develop.

In actuality, the time between the New Testament events and when they were recorded is very short, especially when compared with other ancient documents. Paul wrote 1 Corinthians, for instance, within about 25 years of Jesus’ life. That’s not enough time for myth or legend to develop, because eye-witnesses were still living and would have objected to what Paul wrote and the church taught if it was historically inaccurate.

The earliest surviving manuscript fragment of the New Testament, from the Gospel of John, dates to about A.D. 130. That’s very close to when John actually wrote his Gospel, between A.D. 70–100. And although it’s still being verified, New Testament scholar Daniel Wallace reports that a fragment from Mark may very well be dated to the first century, making it an even earlier fragment than the one from John.

7. “The Bible is an old, outdated list of rules that no longer apply.”

While the Bible is old, it is definitely not outdated.

Not only is it filled with practical wisdom, but it lays out God’s plan of redemption for humanity. Its insights are timeless, relevant and useful in everyday life.

A quick reading of Proverbs, for example, will yield much wisdom and timeless advice.

8. “The Bible excluded other, more accurate, manuscripts.”

Dan Brown’s novel The Da Vinci Code popularized the idea that there were originally numerous competing “gospels,” and church leaders chose their favorites.

Supposedly, the four Gospels in the New Testament are biased, and in reality there were dozens or maybe even hundreds of other gospels to choose from. You’ll hear about the Gospel of Thomas, the Gospel of Barnabas, the Gospel of Philip or even the Gospel of Judas. Occasionally, these “other gospels” get a burst of media attention, as though they somehow seal the doom of the New Testament.

There are three lines of evidence that argue against the reliability of these other “gospels.”

First, the manuscript evidence for them is terrible, especially compared to the manuscript evidence for the New Testament Gospels.

Second, all of these other writings were written down much later than the New Testament.

Third, the ideas they present are often completely foreign to what the New Testament Gospels are about, sometimes offering up advice that is just plain bizarre.

In the case of the Gnostic Gospel of Thomas, it’s not even in the style of the New Testament Gospels, instead serving as a sort of collection of sayings. Some of the material is orthodox, while other parts are strange and outlandish. For example, in Saying 114 of the Gospel of Thomas, Peter supposedly says, “Women are not worthy of life.” Jesus responds not by clearing up Peter’s mistake, but by saying he, Jesus, will make the woman into a man so she can then enter the kingdom of heaven. That hardly sounds like the gospel we see throughout the rest of Scripture.

When it is rightly understood and wisely interpreted, we can be confident that the Bible is accurate, reliable and trustworthy.

The Bible is uniquely and solely God’s completely trustworthy revelation to us today.

VIDEO Limbaugh on the ‘True Story of Thanksgiving’: ‘They Turned Loose the Power of a Free Market’

Jeff Poor 28 Nov 19

Wednesday on his nationally syndicated radio show, conservative talker Rush Limbaugh continued his annual tradition of telling what he deems the “true story of Thanksgiving.”

His rendition first appeared in his book, “See, I Told You So,” and proclaims the origins of Thanksgiving had been mischaracterized over the years.

The real success story of the Pilgrims stems from their rejection of a socialist form of governance, Limbaugh argues.

Transcript as follows (courtesy of RushLimbaugh.com):

LIMBAUGH: I don’t know what you were taught about Thanksgiving, but I was taught a version that goes like this: The Pilgrims showed up, and they were incompetents. They were well-intentioned good-hearted people but incompetent, and they didn’t know how to do anything. They were stumbling and bumbling around in a foreign place, had no idea even where they were.

And as they’re on the verge of starvation, the Indians stumbled upon ’em — across them — and showed them how to basically live, gave them everything, showed them how to grow crops and kill turkey and build tepees and stuff, and so the Pilgrims survived, and we were giving thanks, that Thanksgiving is to acknowledge the Indians’ role in saving the first Pilgrims. Now, it’s a quaint story, and it has attached itself to a number of people, but it is nothing to do…

Well, I can’t say that it’s nothing to do, but it is very far removed from what the first Thanksgiving is really about. Thanksgiving. George Washington first proclaimed it, Thanksgiving. Well, who was thanking who for what? That’s the root of the error. The root of it is that the Pilgrims must have been giving thanks to the Indians for saving them. That’s not what the Pilgrims were thankful for, as you will soon hear.

“The story of the Pilgrims begins in the early part of the seventeenth century (that’s the 1600s for those of you in Rio Linda, California). The Church of England under King James I was persecuting anyone and everyone who did not recognize its absolute civil and spiritual authority.” The first Pilgrims were Christian rebels, folks. “Those who challenged [King James’] ecclesiastical authority and those who believed strongly in freedom of worship were hunted down, imprisoned, and sometimes executed for their beliefs” in England in the 1600s.

“A group of separatists,” Christians who didn’t want to buy into the Church of England or live under the rule of King James, “first fled to Holland and established a community” of themselves there. “After eleven years, about forty of them” having heard about this New World Christopher Columbus had discovered, decided to go. Forty of them “agreed to make a perilous journey to the New World, where [they knew] they would certainly face hardships, but” the reason they did it was so they “could live and worship God according to the dictates of their own consciences” and beliefs.

“On August 1, 1620, the Mayflower set sail. It carried a total of 102 passengers, including forty Pilgrims,” now known as Pilgrims, “led by William Bradford. On the journey, Bradford set up an agreement, a contract, that established” how they would live once they got there. The contract set forth “just and equal laws for all members of the new community, irrespective of their religious beliefs,” or political beliefs. “Where did the revolutionary ideas expressed in the Mayflower Compact come from? From the Bible.

The Pilgrims were a “devoutly religious people completely steeped in the lessons of the Old and New Testaments. They looked to the ancient Israelites for their example. And, because of the biblical precedents set forth in Scripture, they never doubted that their experiment would work.” They believed in God. They believed they were in the hands of God. As you know, “this was no pleasure cruise, friends. The journey” to the New World on the tiny, by today’s standards, sailing ship. It was long, it was arduous.

There was sickness, there was seasickness, it was wet. It was the opposite of anything you think of today as a cruise today on the open ocean. When they “landed in New England in November, they found, according to Bradford’s detailed journal, a cold, barren, desolate wilderness. There were no friends to greet them, he wrote. There were no houses to shelter them. There were no inns where they could refresh themselves.” There was nothing.

“[T]he sacrifice they had made for freedom was just beginning. During the first winter, half the Pilgrims — including Bradford’s own wife — died of either starvation, sickness or exposure.” They endured that first winter. “When spring finally came,” they had, by that time, met the indigenous people, the Indians, and indeed the “Indians taught the settlers how to plant corn, fish for cod and skin beavers” and other animals “for coats.” But there wasn’t any prosperity. “[T]hey did not yet prosper!” They were still dependent. They were still confused. They were still in a new place, essentially alone among likeminded people.

“This is important to understand because this is where modern American history lessons often end. Thanksgiving is actually explained in some textbooks as a holiday for which the Pilgrims gave thanks to the Indians for saving their lives, rather than what it really was. That happened, don’t misunderstand. That all happened, but that’s not — according to William Bradford’s journal — what they ultimately gave thanks for. “Here is the part that has been omitted: The original contract” that they made on the Mayflower as they were traveling to the New World…

They actually had to enter into that contract “with their merchant-sponsors in London,” because they had no money on their own. The needed sponsor. They found merchants in London to sponsor them. The merchants in London were making an investment, and as such, the Pilgrims agreed that “everything they produced to go into a common store,” or bank, common account, “and each member of the community was entitled to one common share” in this bank. Out of this, the merchants would be repaid until they were paid off.

“All of the land they cleared and the houses they built belong to the community as well.” Everything belonged to everybody and everybody had one share in it. They were going to distribute it equally.” That was considered to be the epitome of fairness, sharing the hardship burdens and everything like that. “Nobody owned anything. It was a commune, folks. It was the forerunner to the communes we saw in the ’60s and ’70s out in California,” and other parts of the country, “and it was complete with organic vegetables, by the way.

“Bradford, who had become the new governor of the colony, recognized that” it wasn’t working. It “was as costly and destructive…” His own journals chronicle the reasons it didn’t work. “Bradford assigned a plot of land” to fix this “to each family to work and manage,” as their own. He got rid of the whole commune structure and “assigned a plot of land to each family to work and manage,” and whatever they made, however much they made, was theirs. They could sell it, they could share it, they could keep it, whatever they wanted to do.

What really happened is they “turned loose” the power of a free market after enduring months and months of hardship — first on the Mayflower and then getting settled and then the failure of the common account from which everybody got the same share. There was no incentive for anybody to do anything. And as is human nature, some of the Pilgrims were a bunch of lazy twerps, and others busted their rear ends. But it didn’t matter because even the people that weren’t very industrious got the same as everyone else. Bradford wrote about how this just wasn’t working.

“What Bradford and his community found,” and I’m going to use basically his own words, “was that the most creative and industrious people had no incentive to work any harder than anyone else… [W]hile most of the rest of the world has been experimenting with socialism for well over a hundred years — trying to refine it, perfect it, and re-invent it — the Pilgrims decided early on,” William Bradford decided, “to scrap it permanently,” because it brought out the worst in human nature, it emphasized laziness, it created resentment.

Because in every group of people you’ve got your self-starters you’ve got your hard workers and your industrious people, and you’ve got your lazy twerps and so forth, and there was no difference at the end of the day. The resentment sprang up on both sides. So Bradford wrote about this. “‘For this community [so far as it was] was found to breed much confusion and discontent, and retard much employment that would have been to their benefit and comfort.

“For young men that were most able and fit for labor and service did repine that they should spend their time and strength to work for other men’s wives and children without any recompense,’” without any payment, “‘that was thought injustice.’ Why should you work for other people when you can’t work for yourself? What’s the point? … The Pilgrims found that people could not be expected to do their best work without incentive.

“So what did Bradford’s community try next? They unharnessed the power of good old free enterprise by invoking the undergirding capitalistic principle of private property. Every family was assigned its own plot of land to work and permitted to market its own crops and products. And what was the result? ‘This had very good success,’ wrote Bradford, ‘for it made all hands [everybody] industrious, so as much more corn was planted than otherwise would have been.’ …

“Is it possible that supply-side economics could have existed before the 1980s. … In no time, the Pilgrims found they had more food than they could eat themselves. Now, this is where it gets really good, folks, if you’re laboring under the misconception that I was, as I was taught in school. So they set up trading posts and exchanged goods with the Indians. The profits allowed them to pay off their debts to the merchants in London.

“And the success and prosperity of the Plymouth settlement attracted more Europeans and began what came to be known as the ‘Great Puritan Migration.’” The word of the success of the free enterprise Plymouth Colony spread like wildfire and that began the great migration. Everybody wanted a part of it. There was no mass slaughtering of the Indians. There was no wiping out of the indigenous people, and eventually — in William Bradford’s own journal — unleashing the industriousness of all hands ended up producing more than they could ever need themselves.

So trading post began selling and exchanging things with the Indians — and the Indians, by the way, were very helpful. Puritan kids had relationships with the children of the Native Americans that they found. This killing the indigenous people stuff, they’re talking about much, much, much, much later. It has nothing to do with the first thanksgiving.

The first Thanksgiving was William Bradford and Plymouth Colony thanking God for their blessings. That’s the first Thanksgiving. Nothing wrong with being grateful to the Indians; don’t misunderstand. But the true meaning of Thanksgiving — and this is what George Washington recognized in his first Thanksgiving proclamation.

Follow Jeff Poor on Twitter @jeff_poor

https://www.breitbart.com/clips/2019/11/28/rush-limbaugh-true-story-thanksgiving-turned-loose-power-free-market/

 

 

VIDEO Historian Wilfred McClay: Thanksgiving Established Fundamental American Values Centuries Before 1776

 

ROBERT KRAYCHIK

Fundamental American values manifested in the story of Thanksgiving centuries before the Declaration of Independence and Constitution, explained Wilfred McClay, author of Land of Hope: An Invitation to the Great American Story and professor of history at the University of Oklahoma, in a Tuesday interview on SiriusXM’s Breitbart News Tonight with hosts Rebecca Mansour and Joel Pollak.

Mansour invited McClay’s assessment of criticisms of the November holiday among left-wing teachers calling for students to “unlearn” a “feel-good” Thanksgiving “myth.”

McClay said of leftist contempt for Thanksgiving, “I think it’s a reflection of what — for some people — is the obsession with the politicization of all aspects of life, and everything has to be brought into conformity with some kind of ideological worldview.”

LISTEN:

McClay continued, “It’s almost like a kind of revolutionary religion, like in the French Revolution, the way they abolished the calendar, and tried to reinvent civilization from the bottom up. It’s the kind of mentality [against] something that really … is one of most admirable holidays imaginable. Of course, we aren’t the only ones that have Thanksgiving in the world, but it is integral to our essential practises, and it’s an expression of gratitude.”

“It has religious roots,” said McClay of the history of Thanksgiving. “In the 1620s — there’s some debate over when the first Thanksgiving was, whether it was in Virginia or whether it was in Plymouth, but it’s in the 17th century — it had religious overtones, particularly with the Pilgrims in 1621.”

McClay added, “It is an amazing story. Of course they had come in pursuit of freedom to practise their religion and raise their children as they saw fit. They had come from the Netherlands, where religious liberty was available to them, but it was a hard place to live for various reasons, and particularly for their children, to have them grow up not speaking English and all of that, so they got on the Mayflower and came on over.”

“It was a terrible, brutal first winter,” stated McClay. “They suffered from disease and exposure, and about half of them died. Many of them never came off the ship because they saw the landing as so dangerous, but they did have favorable contacts with some of the native tribes, the Patuxet Tribe [and] Squanto, and he taught them how to cultivate corn, what plants to eat and what plants not to eat.”

“[Squanto] was an intermediary,” explained McClay. “He helped [the Pilgrims] form relationships with the Wampanoag Tribe. … They had this celebratory feast in November 1621 to celebrate a successful harvest of corn that Squanto had helped show them [how] to cultivate. So that’s seen as the historical origin of it, and it was, by all accounts, by everything we know about it, and we don’t know a lot.”

McClay remarked, “Puritans were great about keeping journals and diaries. They saw success or failure as evidence of the degree to which they were being faithful to God. … That’s what their settlement was all about. They saw this as a mission, this errand into the wilderness.”

“Ten years later, John Winthrop, who led the Massachusetts Bay Colony, which became Boston — he gave this magnificent speech … where the phrase ‘city on a hill’ comes from — makes it very clear this was a religious enterprise, so they’re grateful to God [for] the success in finally getting through — or at least having the materials to get through — the coming winter,” added McClay.

Fundamental American values were being developed by the early colonists, explained McClay.

“What they did was enact social compact theory that had been sort of kicked around in Europe — especially in Britain — for awhile,” McClay noted. “They created a body politic out of the consent of those who were aboard the ship, and they had the foresight to realize they should [and] could do that … two centuries before the Declaration of Independence, the idea that government is based on the consent of the governed, which of course is one of the fundamental American ideas. So all of this is prefigured by the Mayflower Compact.”

McClay said, “There’s a kind of audacity about these [first colonists] that we miss, I think, in the historical accounts. Their journeys were dangerous. The habitats into which they were coming were brutal, and they lost many lives, and yet they had this sense that …. they were on a mission of God, ‘The eyes of all people are upon us.’ … They were so deeply committed to the vision of what they were doing, and that was the germ of what became, ultimately, a great nation.”

The Puritans sought religious restoration via their settlement enterprise, explained McClay.

“[The Puritans] wanted to just have a faithful remnant of a church that they thought had become corrupt in England, and in Europe, in general,” McClay shared. “What they really wanted to do was recreate what [William Bradford] called, ‘the primitive church,’ and that doesn’t mean people running around with spears and that sort of thing. It meant a church that resembled the church of the time of the apostles and Jesus and immediately after Jesus’s crucifixion and resurrection, the early time of the church, when it was simpler, when you didn’t have a lot of pomp and ceremony and popes and bishops running around in fancy robes and the accumulation of wealth and worldly power.”

McClay added, “It’s proper, I think, that we really trace Thanksgiving more to the Puritans, to a kind of reverent Thanksgiving.”

“[Left-wing criticism of Thanksgiving] doesn’t touch the validity of the holiday for us, because we don’t necessarily ground what we value of Thanksgiving in that historical episode. It’s not like the founding is, where it really matters what the language of the [Declaration of Independence] and Constitution was, and we want to try to stay as close as we can to the original intent of those documents. We don’t have that same kind of relationship to the first Thanksgiving, so I think it’s kind of a phony charge, what it does reflect to me is this pervasive politicization of American life, particularly from a left, radical, critical perspective.”

McClay described Thanksgiving as an “aspirational” holiday.

“A myth, properly understood, is not a falsehood,” McClay said. “We say that we believe all men are created equal. In some literal way, of course that’s not true, so what do we mean? Do we mean all men are created equal in the eyes of God? Maybe, although secular people might object to that formulation, but we certainly mean we have a kind of aspiration towards recognition of — in some ultimate way that’s very hard to define — the equal worth of all individual people. That’s really, I think, fundamentally religious. It’ s hard to imagine that existing out of a Juedo-Christian understanding of human beings.”

McClay went on, “We have this day because we aspire to reconciliation to one another and a recognition of just how profoundly indebted we are to those who came before us, to our parents, to our surrounding society, to our neighbors and friends, that there’s so much that we take for granted every single day.”

“How are you going to go through life?” asked McClay. “How are you going to go through the world? Are you going to go through it thinking that everything is your due and everything you don’t get [means] you’re being cheated by the world? Or do you think, ‘Why do I have something rather than nothing? Isn’t that great?’”

McClay continued, “The Christian view — I’m sweeping widely, here — is that we don’t really deserve anything. Our sinful nature is that we don’t really have anything coming to us, that it’s God’s graciousness that is the source of all these good things that we really don’t deserve.”

“It is a time in which we recognize our own insufficiencies, that we are not islands unto ourselves and that we depend on others, and that there are so many people in our lives to whom we owe profound gratitude, and just the bounty of existence,” determined McClay. “These are all reasons for gratitude.”

McClay contrasted gratitude and ingratitude.

“Gratitude is the proper disposition of a healthy human soul, and it’s the proper disposition of a good citizen in a democratic society,” assessed McClay. “If we lose those things and we become, sort of, brats — and I’m not meaning to say all the radical critiques of American society are bratty, most of them are, but not all of them — brattiness is a kind of ingratitude and a feeling that, ‘I deserve it all and whatever I don’t get is a form of expropriation.’ It’s the seed of other good things, other forms of mutual appreciation and reconciliation that can occur, and to take that away atomizes people.it leaves people without a means to reach out to one another.”

Left-wing critiques of Thanksgiving are generally a part of a broader political campaign to undermine America’s founding, concluded McClay.

Breitbart News Tonight broadcasts live on SiriusXM Patriot channel 125 weeknights from 9:00 p.m. to midnight Eastern or 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Pacific.

Follow Robert Kraychik on Twitter @rkraychik.

https://www.breitbart.com/radio/2019/11/28/historian-wilfred-mcclay-thanksgiving-established-fundamental-american-values-centuries-before-1776/

Don’t Be Defined by Your Mistakes

God’s mercy is bigger than any mistake you’ve made. Don’t let your past determine your future. Receive His mercy today, and get ready to step into the fullness of your destiny.

by Pastor Ray Patrick

As we approach the end of the year, we have a tendency of looking back and reflecting on our mistakes and shortcomings of what may have been. When we make mistakes, we get down on ourselves and think, “if only…” “I should have…” “What if…?” It’s easy to feel like you’ve missed the best plan for your life, then we get discouraged and stop pursuing our God-given dreams. But understand today, just because you’ve made mistakes or failed in some way, it doesn’t cancel God’s plan.

Great news! God never disqualifies you. He never says, “go sit on the side. You’ve blown it too many times. You’ve got too many weaknesses.” No, God always gives you another chance! Hallelujah! Some of the great people in Scripture made very poor choices. The apostle Paul started off as a murderer, yet his destiny was bigger than his mistakes. He ended up becoming a great leader, and writing over half of the New Testament.

Today, as you evaluate this past year, know that your mistakes, your failures, and your poor choices don’t have to keep you from your God-given destiny. With God, it’s not about the way you start in life, it’s about the way you finish. Receive His grace today, embrace His Word and the bright future He has in store for you!

“I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith.”

(2 Timothy 4:7, KJV)

Pray With Me
Yahweh, thank You for Your grace and mercy to me. Father, I trust that my days are ordered by You. Please help me not focus on my mistakes and poor choices, but on my destiny in You. God, I ask that You strengthen and empower me to fulfill Your call on my life. I love You and bless You today, in Christ’s Name! Amen.

 

Original here

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