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My professor says it is a fact that the Bible is full of errors and contradictions. Why should I read such a faulty book?

By Stanley Horton

My Harvard professor said Exodus 37:17-24, which describes sevenfold lamps, was in error because such lamps did not exist in Moses’ time. Later I took part in an archaeological expedition in Dothan in Israel and watched workmen uncover a sevenfold lamp dating from 1400 B.C., right from Moses’ time.

Critics once said the Hittites never existed because the Greeks and Egyptians didn’t mention them. Then a whole Hittite civilization was discovered. The Greeks and Egyptians did mention them but got the name so twisted no one recognized it. The Bible had it right.

That did not satisfy the critics. They said, "That may be true, but the Horites are fiction." Others said Sargon never existed. Some even said King David never existed. But Horites were proved to be the same as Hurrians. Sargon’s palace has been excavated. Recently, an ancient inscription was discovered that mentions David’s name and kingdom.

Again and again the Bible has been proved true. It is the critics who are in error due to their unbelief and insufficient knowledge.

Other supposed errors include chronological difficulties caused because the Babylonians, Egyptians, Greeks and Romans all used different systems of measuring time or dating. One cause of apparent contradictions is that one passage may use round numbers; another may give the exact figure, depending on the purpose of the writer.

Most of the errors critics talk about are copyists’ errors. Because the books of the Bible were copied by hand it was easy to make spelling mistakes, misread a word, or leave out a word or a line. By comparing the many ancient copies that have been discovered, scholars can determine the original reading in the vast majority of cases. These cases where we can’t be sure are mostly differences in spelling or word order. None of them affect the teachings of the Bible in any way.

Remember also that the Bible uses everyday language because it was written for the common people, not for scientists. Actually, scientific language did not develop until modern times. Most of us still use the language of appearance, just as the Bible does. Who says, "What a beautiful earthset," even though we know that it is the earth’s turning that causes the sunset?

The Bible is a wonderful revelation of God and His plan. It will not lead us astray.

For more on this subject, see Bible Doctrines, by Menzies and Horton.

Stanley Horton, Th.D., is distinguished professor emeritus of Bible and theology, Assemblies of God Theological Seminary; coordinator of the Pentecostal Textbook Project; and general editor of Logion Press, Springfield, Mo.

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