Tuesday, Jan. 3 A Case for Inerrancy
The synoptic gospels are just that—similar, but they have a lot of differences, too. They are different as to what is included, the order in which events took place, and more importantly, they at times seem to conflict, which leads some people to conclude that the Scriptural accounts are unreliable. This undermines belief that the the Bible is inspired and inerrant. That kind of critism is unnecessary. All seeming discrepancies can be reconciled. Let me give you an example. I’m indebted to Peter H. Davids, an Austrian Bible scholar for what I want to share with you. He deals with the differences between the Matthew and Luke accounts of Satan testing Jesus. We all know that the two authors have different backgrounds and different emphases in their coverage of Jesus’ ministry. Matthew focuses on the life of Christ from a Jewish perspective with many references to O.T. Scripture. Much of what he wrote assumes a considerable knowledge of the O.T. by his readers. Luke, who also wrote Acts, was most likely a Gentile convert and would not have the same focua on the O.T. that Matthew did. Mr. Davids suggests that Matthew’s account parallels the Israelites in the desert. Moses fasted for forty days and nights while on Mount Sinai to receive directions for Israel. Like Jesus, Israel was in the desert and was being tested. There is one significant difference in the two events: The Israelites failed the test, Jesus didn’t. Davids goes on to a second difference between Matthew and Luke, the order of the three tests. The first test is the same in both gospels, but the second and third are switched. I don’t have space to explain Mr. Davids’ rationale, but it made sense. He also made a general statement that helps a lot. “Exact chronology is a relatively modern fixation; ancient writers were very happy to compromise chronology if by so doing readers got a better grasp on the inner meaning and real signficance of the facts.” Differences don’t necessarily imply error.