You and I don’t have to believe in the Bible as the ‘strictly exact’ words of God. Some people call that ‘inerrancy’ or ‘without error’. Humans, who are not perfect, have written the Bible. Nothing in the Bible claims that it is inerrant. The Bible itself claims to be ‘inspired’ or ‘God breathed’. Some of the sermons I have preached over the years are inspired but God knows they weren’t perfect. They were conveyed by the Spirit of God.
I don’t believe the Bible is 100% factually correct and the moment I realized that was the moment I felt freer to read the Bible as it was written. I didn’t have to be insecure, anxious or defensive about each word and every story. The only reason people want to defend inerrancy is that they believe if one error is found then the whole Bible will be proven wrong. NOT.
The Bible is a revelation of God’s plan for his creation, particularly humanity. It’s not a science book. It’s a love story written in narrative, symbol, poetry with the complete revelation found in the person and work of Jesus Christ who is ‘every’ word, thought or expression of God. It’s why Jesus is called THE WORD OF GOD.
Some Christians are more hung up on a ‘historical Jonah being swallowed by a whale’ than the real story of Jonah, which is about the grace, and forgiveness of God. Read it sometime.
Some people spend too much time fighting over the seven days of creation and the issue of evolution and the Big Bang and they miss the Big Picture that there is a God who out of love brought this creation into being so God could share His love with you and me, so that we could know why we are here and what God’s plan is for now and eternity, so that we could join with God in this great project.
I will tell you this. There is not a cell within me that doesn’t believe that the Bible is God’s Word as a story of redemption and reconciliation, an account of people who broke God’s will and God’s heart, people who are not puppets but creations given free will to live with or without God. This book, the Bible is a magnificent library of 66 different books written over thousands of years with a single most important theme: God from all eternity has been relentless in his search and rescue mission for his creation. It’s is layer upon layer of truth concerning restoration. And it includes love and violence, much gone wrong and much more being made right.
It IS God breathed. You can read it and just ‘feel’ the breath of God blowing through the pages of history and into each of our lives. It’s a beautiful story, IF we as believers don’t get caught in a trap of defensiveness. And IF we as skeptics just let it breathe it’s life into us we will know, without a policy or doctrine, that God is in this place and that Jesus is the centerpiece that brings it all together though his teachings, his death and resurrection.