What question do I hear most often from students on college campuses?
Anything about the Bible: its dubious authorship, unfairness, contradictions, oppression of women/gays/slaves, etc.
Many such questions can be answered simply by interpreting the Bible correctly.
How? It’s not easy.
Our goal should be to understand what the biblical authors intended to say within the context of their world. That is, the ancient world.
Then (and only then) can we begin to apply the teachings of the Bible to our world, our personal lives.
Analogously, imagine a person two thousand years in the future trying to interpret “ancient” newspaper accounts of the strange game of basketball.
Words and phrases such as pick-and-roll, field goal, and dunk would be head-scratchers.
Conflicting stories would fail to meet 23rd century standards of precision and honesty.
A skeptical reader could easily come to the following conclusions:
- Goal posts must have been part of every BB court so that players could make “field goals.” That’s assuming the reader knows about football.
- Referees acted as tools of oppression against losing teams. They were bribed by winning franchises in collusion with league officials.
- Conflicting accounts in various newspapers regarding big games indicates that the games are fictitious. Unhistorical. Never happened. (Close agreement between sources indicates the same.)
- Wilt Chamberlain is a mythological giant whose amazing statistics were cleverly planted in all the old records.
By the way, what’s a newspaper?
On the topic of Bible interpretation, I’d recommend the superb book, How to Read the Bible for all its Worth by Fee and Stuart.