Is the Bible Literally True? LIVE Q&A – November 2, 2023
Is the Bible Literally True?
We come to the Bible believing it is the place where God has spoken to man, perfectly and comprehensively.
We believe what is written in 2 Timothy 3:16-17: All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.
We can study God, but we can’t put Him under a microscope or test Him in a laboratory. We can only confidently know about Him what He chooses to reveal to us. We are also confident that what He chooses to tell us is profitable and useful for us.
We believe the Bible must be understood literally, that is, as straightforward and true according to its literary context.
The Bible should be understood literally – how else could it be understood?
The Bible is much more than a book; it is a library of books, and books written in different literary forms. Some portions of the Bible give a historical account, others are poetic, and some are prophetic.
We must understand the Bible literally according to its literary context. For example, when David wrote in Psalm 6:6: All night I make my bed swim; I drench my couch with my tears… he used a poetic literary form. We understand he didn’t literally mean he cried so much that he flooded his room and set his bed afloat.
Psalm 119:128 says: Therefore all Your precepts concerning all things I consider to be right. With great confidence, the Psalmist proclaimed the inerrancy of God’s Word. It was right, not wrong; and it was right concerning all things.
- When the Bible gives us history, it is right and true; the events actually happened as described.
- When the Bible gives us poetry, it is right and true; the feeling and experiences were real for the writer and ring true to human experience.
- When the Bible gives us prophecy, it is right and true; the events described will come to pass, just as it is written.
- When the Bible gives us instruction, it is right and true; it truly does tell us the will of God and the best way of life.
- When the Bible tells us of God, it is right and true; it reveals to us what the nature and heart and mind of God are, as much as we can comprehend.
If we don’t approach the Bible this way, then we can only come to it with how we feel about the text, and we decide what is true or false about the text – making ourselves greater than the text itself. Though the teachings of Scripture have many applications, they only have one true interpretation. Sometimes the interpretation is easy to discern and sometimes not, but God meant something with the text revealed to mankind.
“The only proper way to interpret Genesis 1 is not to ‘interpret’ it at all. That is, we accept the fact that it was meant to say exactly what it says.” (Henry Morris)
We believe the Bible is not a book of science; yet where it touches science, it speaks the truth. After all, if the Bible is false in regard to science or other things that we can prove, then we cannot regard it as reliable in regard to spiritual matters that we cannot objectively prove.
Sometimes the literary form of the text is disputed, or sometimes isn’t clear. Is this passage history or poetry? Was this a literal description or a figure of speech? These are valid questions.
When we say that two people met, “head to head” – we understand that they didn’t literally knock their heads together.
When we say something must “stay on track” – we understand that they don’t literally mean something is a railway car or a streetcar that must remain on its rails.
When Jesus said, the Son of man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth (Matthew 12:40) – it should be understood that He used a rabbinic figure of speech of His day, that could refer to any part of a night or a day.
When Jesus told the rich young ruler to sell all he had, give the money to the poor, and follow Him (Mark 10:17-27) – it should be understood that He spoke this specific command to this specific man. It wasn’t a general command given to all the followers of Jesus. There were men specifically described as rich to whom Jesus did not give this command.
Yet, even while it isn’t aways easy to detect every use of hyperbole, poetic exaggeration, figures of speech, commands given to individuals and not to all, and the rest – the only way to understand the Bible is to understand literally. It says what it means and means what it says.
What is the best fulfilled prophecy in the Bible to share in order to help someone believe?
What is the best fulfilled prophecy in the Bible to share with an unbeliever with the goal of helping them to believe that the Bible is true?
That’s a great question. Some very intricate predictions have been accurately fulfilled. For example, in Daniel 10-11, we find comprehensive depictions of the rise of kingdoms following Alexander the Great and their effects on the Jewish people in the Promised Land. Some liberal scholars have suggested that the predictions were written after the events because they find it hard to believe anyone could have foreseen such precise details. However, this perspective is not entirely accurate.
In the book of Isaiah, a prophecy relates to Tyre and Sidon. The importance of these predictions, whether about Tyre and Sidon in Isaiah or the Grecian Empire in Daniel 10-11, is because they are complex. They are very detailed and complicated.
To make it easier, let’s concentrate on the prophecies related to the arrival of Jesus Christ. The life of Jesus includes several events, including His birth in Bethlehem, His work with marginalized individuals, His crucifixion (as predicted in Isaiah 53 and Psalm 22), and His resurrection, which is detailed in various passages. The fulfillment of these prophesies during Jesus’ time on Earth is very convincing.
It’s essential to consider that if the predictions about Jesus’ first arrival were accurately fulfilled, and if Jesus Himself predicted His identity and Second Coming, we should heed His words. Believing in Messianic predictions, which are plentiful and trustworthy, grants us the opportunity to explore the New Testament, particularly the Gospels, and see how well these predictions converge with Jesus’ life.
Sir Lancelot Charles Lee Brenton said, some of the translators of the Septuagint were by no means competent to the task. How reliable is his commentary on the Septuagint?
For those who don’t know, the Septuagint is an important early translation of the Hebrew Scriptures into Greek that happened a few centuries before Jesus Christ was born. I’m discussing the Septuagint translation without going into too much detail on its reliability. At times, a critic might question the quality of the Septuagint translation. While examining the New Testament, I found certain instances where individuals raised doubts about the Septuagint’s translation quality. The concerns may arise from the translation’s perceived vagueness or limitations, leading some to view it as suboptimal.
It wouldn’t be surprising if the Septuagint were found lacking as a translation. However, the Septuagint played an important role in providing Scriptures for the early Christian Church. The New Testament Church mainly read the Hebrew Scriptures in Greek, using the Greek Septuagint text. I have a copy of the Septuagint which is translated into English from the original Greek.
In my understanding, the Septuagint’s value as a translation is not as significant as its historical importance. Nevertheless, God used it, and it served as the Bible most commonly read by the early Christian Church.
What translation of the Bible does the Enduring Word website use?
We use the New King James Version, although there are many excellent Bible translations available. Options like the ESV, the classic King James Version, the NIV, the Legacy Standard Bible, and even the New American Standard are all popular choices among readers. There are many great Bible translations to choose from, but I personally prefer the New King James Version. However, the New King James stands out to me for its unique strengths.
First, I like Bible translations that honor the Textus Receptus. Even though I don’t say that the history behind the old King James Bible is perfect every time, I think it should still be considered when translating.
Second, I think the King James and the New King James are beautifully simple. Maybe it’s because I’ve studied them for so long, but they stick with me and are easy to understand. The New King James Version’s direct, brief language helps me remember it better compared to other translations. It has a poetic touch that some modern translations lack.
You can find the Enduring Word Bible Commentary at enduringword.com. We also offer a free app. You can check it out. The Enduring Word app gives a great platform to read our Bible Commentary, and you can access it without any fees or in-app purchases. I’m thrilled to share that in October, for the first time ever, we had more page views on our app than on our main website. This accomplishment is a testament to the hard work and dedication put into the app by our team. It’s truly exciting to see our app gaining such popularity and making the Word of God more accessible to people. Praise the Lord for that!
What book in the Bible is the best place to start, in particular for a person needing direction in a financial crisis?
I recommend the book of Philippians to you. Philippians primarily focuses on the theme of joy and how to experience joy in any situation, especially during times of financial pressure. The Philippian church was known for their generosity toward the apostle Paul. This book highlights God’s promises of blessing and provision for believers who practice generosity.
Beginning with Philippians is a great option. It’s also helpful to examine the Gospels and jot down notes in your Bible or in a separate notebook each time Jesus discusses money. You may be amazed to discover that these occurrences are more common than you first assumed.
How can we defend the Bible without saying, “The Bible says…”?
Hi, Pastor David, I believe the Bible is God’s word and true from front to back. Praise Lord. My question is, how can we defend the Bible without saying, the Bible says, Is that even possible?
It’s possible to defend the Bible without referencing its contents directly. Its significance speaks for itself. It stands as the most influential book ever written, shaping the Western world and beyond. The Bible’s far-reaching impact on the world is well-documented. No other book has exerted such profound influence.
The Bible’s continuity and unified perspective on controversial topics are remarkable achievements considering that it was authored by individuals from diverse backgrounds and locations. Objectively, the Bible is an exceptional and incomparable work. Although one could theoretically suggest the existence of a superior book, such a scenario only remains theoretical because nothing surpasses the Bible’s significance.
Even for those who may not believe, it is worth reading the Bible from beginning to end, starting with Genesis and concluding with Revelation. This is because the Bible has had a greater impact on the world than any other text. This evaluation is entirely objective.
When it comes to looking at the Bible as God’s word, it’s important to realize that believing in its divine origin does require some faith. Nevertheless, it’s not a huge leap of faith, but rather a rational one. My trust in the Bible is not based on blind faith, but on recognizing that it’s the most extraordinary and impactful book throughout history, and that God has used it significantly throughout the ages.
Can you explain how humanity was added to Jesus’ nature without changing His personhood?
Regarding Philippians 2:5-11. Humanity was added to Christ’s nature, he did not become less as God. Please clarify how this does not merit, a change in the personhood of Christ to align with Hebrews 13:8, a Jesus Christ as the same yesterday, today, and forever.
You’re right, and I appreciate how you explained the concept. The Incarnation means humanity was added to Jesus’s divine nature, not taken away from it. It’s important to understand this point. If you’re asking whether this was a change, it was, but only to Jesus’s humanity, not his divinity.
You correctly quoted the Bible verse from Hebrews 13:8, which says “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” However, it’s important to note that this statement mainly applies to Jesus’ divine nature. As God, Jesus remains unchanged through all time. But if we look at this verse from a human perspective, we see that it doesn’t necessarily hold true.
Let’s take a moment to reflect on this. Jesus progressed through different life stages, advancing from infancy to toddlerhood, through boyhood, adolescence, and young adulthood until He achieved maturity. If you compare a grown man to his three-year-old self, you will observe changes, though there is no discernible genetic alteration. If you compare a grown man to his three-year-old self, you will observe changes, though there is no discernible genetic alteration. The external features evolve over time. Hebrews 13:8 emphasizes that Jesus is unchanging in His divine nature, while He did grow, learn, and develop in His humanity.
It’s important to note that Jesus retains His humanity even after being resurrected and glorified. He is still the same God-Man mentioned in 1 Timothy, which states that there is only one God and one mediator between God and humanity, and that is the man Christ Jesus. Therefore, Jesus kept His humanity when He went to heaven and still has both His divine and human nature forever.
Do you think it’s wrong or sinful for churches to have “Trunk or Treats” or Christian’s to let their children go trick or treating, as long as costumes aren’t scary?
I think every Christian should decide for themselves whether or not to celebrate events like Halloween. It’s not my place, or anyone else’s, to make that decision for them. If a parent doesn’t feel like Halloween is right for their family, I would tell them, “I respect your choice, and God bless your decision. Do what you feel is best.” Alternatively, if a parent thinks that their children enjoy dressing up and participating in the fun aspects of Halloween without involving any occult or demonic components, that is completely acceptable. They should follow their beliefs, as God permits freedom in both situations.
Moreover, I believe this freedom also pertains to churches. If they prefer to arrange alternative events such as harvest festivals or trunk-or-treat activities, it is a choice for each congregation to make. Since there is no direct instruction on this matter in the Bible, individuals or churches should rely on their conscience to make a decision.
Is it ok for a female believer to baptize another person?
If a sister in Christ baptized a new believer, and it was not in a formal church setting but in the open (pools/ocean), is this faith commendable (if she didn’t know about leadership structure) or out of order and need to be repeated?
I can’t find any command in the Bible that says only certain people, like church officers, pastors, or deacons, can do baptisms. Even though it’s a tradition in Christianity, there isn’t a clear rule in the Bible about it. From what I can tell, any Christian can baptize another believer, not just church officials.
I understand that some may disagree with my viewpoint that baptism does not require a church authority, like a pastor, bishop, deacon, or elder, to initiate individuals into the family of God. This is because some believe that these church leaders act as gatekeepers for entrance into the kingdom. Nonetheless, I respectfully challenge this belief because I do not see it explicitly presented in the scriptures.
Someone told me that in Matthew 28, the Bible instructs disciples to baptize and make disciples, and there may be a Greek construction that implies only men should perform the baptisms. I haven’t researched this myself, so I can’t confirm or deny it. I’m only mentioning it as a concern that’s been brought to my attention. If this is accurate, it would back up the idea that men usually perform baptisms. However, I would like to investigate this further with more biblical knowledge.
From what I understand at the moment, there is no specific biblical demand for a baptizer to have certain qualifications. I’m striving to follow what the Bible explicitly teaches and also grant Christian adherents the liberty for matters not specifically determined or established by clear biblical principles.
Who are the cowardly in Revelation 21:8?
Revelation says that the cowardly will be the first thrown in the Lake of Fire. What does John mean by the cowardly here?
Revelation 21:8 – But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.
I would define “cowardly” as people who won’t take a stand or make sacrifices for their beliefs. This definition captures a significant part of what it means to be cowardly. While it may not cover each aspect of the term, it definitely includes those who lack the guts or ability to fight for what is true and just when confronted with opposition. It’s kind of like when Jesus said, “If you deny me in front of others, I’ll deny you to my Father in heaven.” I think there’s a strong similarity between these two statements. Basically, the “cowardly” are people who don’t have the courage or strength to defend or make sacrifices for their beliefs.
Who are the “dead in Christ” in 1 Thessalonians 4:16?
Jesus was prophesied in the OT: Are those who believed in Him in the OT considered the dead in Christ? If not, who are those to be raised up if when we now die we ascend to heaven? (1 Thessalonians 4:16)
1 Thessalonians 4:16 – For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first.
I think the main point of 1 Thessalonians 4:16 is not aimed at the Old Testament saints. Although they may be included, they are not the main group in question. In terms of 1 Thessalonians 4, Paul is speaking to believers who were worried that their fellow church members, who had passed away during their time, would miss out on Jesus Christ’s fantastic return. Paul wanted to reassure the Thessalonians in 1 Thessalonians 4 that those who have died will not miss out on Christ’s return. He wanted them to feel at ease and not to worry.
Even though this message may apply to Old Testament saints in a general resurrection, it’s important to note that it mainly concerns the deceased believers in the Thessalonian community. Paul intended this statement to apply to all “the dead in Christ,” not just the Thessalonians, with a special focus on those who were of immediate concern to the Thessalonian believers.
Does Mathew 24:40-41 refer to the rapture, judgment, or something else?
Kindly expound on Mathew 24:40-41 – one will be taken and the other left – does it mean rapture, judgement or what? Thanks again for always enlightening me on Scripture!
Matthew 24:40-41 – Then two men will be in the field: one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding at the mill: one will be taken and the other left.
Feel free to check out my commentary on enduringword.com for biblical insights. I’ll briefly share my thoughts on Matthew 24:40 with you.
Many Bible interpreters believe that this verse suggests a judgment rather than the rapture of the church. But I see no evidence that calls for a judgment interpretation alone. Rather, I think this passage describes the rapture, as explained in 1 Thessalonians 4.
I’m curious to know why some people think this passage is only about judgment and not about the church being caught away. If you have an explanation or perspective, please share it in the comments. I’m excited to learn more about this topic.
Since the Bible was primarily written to Jewish people, how much of it applies to us?
Concerning the Bible, the majority of the verses were spoken to the Jews, how do we know if the verse is applicable to us?
It’s important to know that in the Old Testament, God mainly communicated with Jewish people. The New Testament, particularly the Gospels that recount Jesus’ ministry, similarly focused on the lost sheep of the house of Israel.
However, it’s crucial to recognize that God’s ultimate intention was always to reach the entire world through His interaction with the Jewish people. This plan starts with God’s promise to Abraham in Genesis 12. In this covenant, God promised a land, a nation, and a blessing that would extend to every family and every nation on earth. Even when God was working exclusively through the Jewish people, His heart encompassed the entire world.
When we think about what God says and does, we should remember that it applies to everyone, unless there’s a good reason to limit it to Israel only. Sometimes, like with the Mosaic law, there might be a good reason for God to only give specific guidelines to Israel. Nevertheless, it’s important to remember that God’s main goal, even when interacting with Israel, was to connect with and bless all the nations of the world.
If Jesus is the firstborn over all creation, was He created just like us (Colossians 1:15)?
How can we interpret or explain Colossians 1:15? If Jesus is the firstborn over all creation, does it mean that Lord Jesus was created by his father, just like a normal man like us?
Colossians 1:15 – He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.
In the Bible, “firstborn” is often used as a title of importance rather than just referring to the eldest child in a family. Being the firstborn in Biblical times had a meaning of greatness and privilege. So, it’s interesting to note that when God assigns Jesus the title of “firstborn” in Colossians, it’s not a reference to His birth order or creation but rather highlights Jesus’ supremacy over all of creation. In other words, this means that Jesus has the most important position over all of creation.
To illustrate this idea, let’s look at David from the Old Testament. David was one of the youngest sons in his family, with seven or eight older siblings. However, God calls David His “firstborn” in the Psalms. This might seem strange since David wasn’t actually the firstborn in his family, but it shows that he was in God’s most favored position. God selected and raised David above his brothers, fittingly giving him the title of “firstborn.” This same principle applies to Jesus, who, as the “firstborn,” holds the preeminent position over all of creation.
Can you explain replacement theology? Is it biblical?
Our fellowship has been taught over a couple of Sundays that the northern tribes of Israel are “lost” and have been absorbed by other nations, such as ours, Europe, etc. (“replacement theology”) This seems to be very bad teaching in that God’s covenants with Israel are being dismissed at best and at worst, God doesn’t keep His promises.
God’s promises of restoration for Israel encompass not only the southern kingdom of Judah but also the northern kingdom of Israel. The belief that there are “10 Lost Tribes” is not true. God knows where they are and they hold an important place in His divine plan. They will have a future as part of the Jewish people, particularly under the new covenant. This agreement involves bringing Israel together in the end times, uniting them in their belief and reliance on Jesus Christ as their Messiah.
It’s crucial to emphasize that God has neither rejected nor replaced Israel. They continue to play a vital role in His unfolding plan for the ages. Several biblical passages suggest that God intends to reunite the northern kingdom of Israel (including the 10 northern tribes) and the southern kingdom of Judah (made up of the two southern tribes). This reunification is an important part of the fulfillment of the New Covenant. Therefore, I believe that the idea of the 10 Lost Tribes being dispersed or associated with Anglo-Israelism or similar concepts lacks a solid biblical basis.
What’s your view on tithing?
God’s people should tithe. The New Testament doesn’t emphasize tithing, although it is present. Instead, the New Testament urges believers to give generously. Tithing is a helpful standard for giving, where individuals are encouraged to donate about 10% of their income. Those who are currently unable to reach this level of giving should work towards achieving that standard. Many people of faith can give more than 10% of their income as a tithe. They shouldn’t limit themselves to this percentage. Instead, the focus is on giving generously. Tithing was mandatory for Israel in the Old Testament, but the New Testament emphasizes giving generously.
How can we answer those who said we do not need to pray for Israel?
God has a remaining role for Israel in His unfolding plan of the ages. So, I’m going to pray for them. Please remember that Jesus said that He would not return to the earth, to Jerusalem, until the Jewish people said, “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord.” Jesus Christ is going to return, not to a Christ-rejecting Israel, but to a Christ-embracing Israel. And God will use the events of the very last days to help bring Israel to full faith in Jesus. Their restoration has begun, but it’s very incomplete.
God still has a place for Israel in his unfolding plan of the ages. Pray for Israel. And pray for the people of Gaza as well. Even as I say this, there’s a great conflict between Israel and Hamas in Gaza right now. Pray for Hamas. Pray for Gaza. Pray that the Christian believers in Gaza would be protected and blessed and would find the strength to oppose the tyrannical Hamas government. Pray for people in Hamas, that they would be convicted of their sin, and put their trust in Jesus Christ. Pray that God would bring salvation and revival to the people of Gaza. That’s what they need, so that they can build a productive, fruitful society, instead of one that is hell-bent on destroying Israel.
Do angels have free will? Lucifer chose not to bow before God, and other angels chose to be on his side.
Do angels have free will? Lucifer chose not to bow before God, and other angels chose to be on his side. Do angels have free will now?
Here’s what we understand. Angelic beings had the chance to choose between being loyal to God or rebelling against Him. Even though the Scriptures don’t directly state this, it seems that their time for making these decisions has ended. Similarly, for humans, the present time is a period of choosing, but it won’t go on indefinitely. It’s important to recognize that there was a time when angels had a real choice to either remain loyal to God or rebel against Him. However, it appears that this opportunity for choice has ended for them, just like it will for the rest of humanity.
Do I need to be afraid of possibly “falling away”?
Can you help me not have fear about possibly “falling away” that the Bible speaks of? I am so worried.
The mere fact that you’re worried about it is tremendous news. If you had really turned your back on God, you wouldn’t care about falling away. You wouldn’t have anything to do with Him. Every time fear rises up within you, I want a smile to come upon your face to say, “Because this matters to me, God must be doing a work in my life. Thank you, Lord, for the work You’re doing in my life.” Hope that’s encouraging to you.
Does God condemn sorcery, magic, divination, etc., because they have actual power, or because they’re shams? Is Kabbalah demonic?
Does God condemn sorcery, magic, divination, etc., because He agrees these practices have inherent power and accuracy so humans should not dabble in it? or does He say that all these practices are shams? Also, is Kabbalah demonic and to be avoided?
I would say both. Much of what goes on in the name of sorcery, magic, and divination is a sham. Visiting a palm reader is not a good idea, and I strongly advise against it. Palm readers often provide false and deceiving information to their clients. On the rare occasion that there is any truth to their predictions, it tends to be of a sinister and demonic nature. Therefore, I would advise you to avoid such practices as they contradict God’s teachings for believers.
Kabbalah is a kind of Jewish mysticism that many people believe falls outside the realm of godly teachings. It does not align with God’s principles and is not suitable for believers. It’s better to concentrate on reading and studying the Bible for true spiritual wisdom and guidance.
What happened to Moses’ wife and children?
What happened to Moses’ wife and children? l am made to understand that good parenting culminates to good children – why is nothing mentioned of Gerishom or Eliezer?
It seems that you may be interpreting the absence of information as something negative. It’s important to note that although the Bible doesn’t mention Moses’s sons taking his position directly, this doesn’t imply a negative outcome. In fact, there is no indication that this was a bad thing.
We do know that Moses traveled with his children during his journeys, including when he returned to Egypt. There’s another matter about the circumcision of Moses’s children. However, it’s crucial to remember that the absence of specific details does not automatically imply a negative outcome.
It’s quite possible that Moses’s wife died in the desert and his sons inherited the promised land. There’s no solid reason to think differently, and this is a logical conclusion based on the information in the Bible.
Why was Rahab praised for using a lie to conceal the spies in Jericho (Joshua 2)?
I understand that this may sound surprising, but there are circumstances where lying might be considered the right thing to do. For instance, Rahab in Jericho lied to the soldiers in a bid to conceal the whereabouts of the Israelite spies. She believed that betraying God’s people would be a more severe transgression than providing false information to those who posed a serious threat.
It’s essential to acknowledge that we may not always agree with this perspective, and we might be concerned that people could misuse this justification to lie in various situations. Yet, the truth is that individuals may lie and rationalize it for personal motives, regardless of what we believe. Ultimately, it depends on the particular situation and the moral decisions people make, and God’s all-knowing ability to comprehend their intentions. In Rahab’s case, her decision to protect the Israelite spies through a lie was seen as a lesser evil when weighed against the alternative of betraying them.
What is the basic teaching of those who don’t believe in the Pre-Tribulation rapture?
The main arguments against the pre-tribulation rapture are usually based on two criticisms: its newness and the accusation of escapism.
Many critics contend that the pre-tribulation rapture is a modern and unconventional doctrine that strays from the traditional teachings of the church. Additionally, they claim that it promotes escapism.
It’s crucial to emphasize that neither of these objections finds substantial support in the Bible. While there are indeed biblical objections to the pre-tribulation rapture, these particular criticisms are based on different grounds. I’ve discussed my reasons for supporting the pre-tribulation rapture in these two audio sermons: Part 1 and Part 2.