Perhaps no book in the history of the world has received as much scrutiny and criticism as the Bible. For generations, scholars have picked apart every aspect of this book: its history, its transmission, its veracity, its theology, its morality, etc. It has been criticized, ridiculed, mocked and condemned.
Those who are in the academic world—college students, grad students—feel this tension acutely. In fact, this is why I wrote my most recent book, Surviving Religion 101: Letters to a Christian Student on Keeping the Faith in College (Crossway, 2021).
However, in their haste to heap criticism on the Bible, occasionally critics offer arguments that actually prove to be inconsistent with one another. They make accusations against the Scripture that are mutually exclusive—they cannot all be true. Of course, such inconsistencies are rarely noticed. If a scholar is intent to find contradictions in the Bible, he will rarely find contradictions in his own arguments.
When it comes to the New Testament, there are two criticisms that have been used for years, and often at the same time. The problem, however, is that upon closer examination they prove to be largely incompatible with one another. Let us examine each in turn. [Read more…]