A Little Girl and Her Bible (Guest Post by Jennifer Dukes Lee)

Lydia is 11 years old now.

I’m guessing she must have been seven or eight when she went a little bit crazy with a green highlighter on the pages of her Bible. She marked up page after page, line after line, in her first “big people” Bible. It happened a few weeks after she got it.

She must have done her artwork under the covers, after we tucked her in and turned out the light. She could read by the glow of her night-light, I suppose, and maybe with the little numbers on her digital clock. Those numbers cast a soft, red glow from her night stand.

And while we thought she was sleeping, she had flipped pages of Scripture, marking thousands of words in green.

I asked Lydia later why she did that, why she marked all those words in green. And she said it was because of what I’d told her.

“I watched how you marked up your Bible with a green highlighter, and when I asked you why, you said it’s because you liked to mark your favorite parts.”

Her favorite part was … well, all of it, I guess.

I’ve marked my Bible plenty over the years. I’ve highlighted favorite passages, a psalmist’s beautiful turn-of-a-phrase, some bit of Scripture that pulled me out of a pit. God knows I’ve cried big, fat tears while streaking that green highlighter across the page.

But what Lydia had done? It was different. She had marked about half of Exodus, huge sections in Matthew, whole paragraphs in Genesis and a chunk of Scripture in Acts that she’s particularly fond of, seeing how her name is in the sixteenth chapter.

She marked the story. Not the perfect endings — but the painful middles. She marked the plagues, and the parts about Passover, and the wailing in Egypt.

She marked the hard parts, the scary stuff, … and also the celebrations and the promises.

It’s a wild story, and yeah, it’s a bit unruly. There are these huge gaps between the happy verses. Some of it’s deep valley-ish. Some of it’s highly mountainous.

But it’s still God. It’s His Story.

And now? It’s all green.

I don’t know. Maybe I’m overthinking, over-spiritualizing, over-sentimentalizing things. I’ve been known to do that. I mean, she could have been just another little kid who got a little bit crazy with a highlighter, a kid who wanted to see what it would feel like to mark page after page.

Except that she said it wasn’t like that at all.

She said she did it because of this –

Because of the story.

“The story is my favorite part. How it all goes together,” she told me. “And when I started marking words, I didn’t know how to stop.”

Jennifer Dukes LeeBIO: Jennifer Dukes Lee (@dukeslee) is an award-winning storyteller and a grace dweller, blogging about faith at JenniferDukesLee.com. She is author of the book, Love Idol: Letting Go of Your Need for Approval–and Seeing Yourself Through God’s Eyes (Tyndale House Publishers, 2014). Jennifer and her husband live on the Lee family farm near Inwood, Iowa, with their two daughters.

Posted by Jonathan

“Noah” Generates a Flood of Bible Readers Over the Weekend

noahposterChristian critics have given Noah mixed reviews, but one thing Darren Aronofsky’s epic did accomplish was to get people reading the original story of Noah in the Bible. Over the weekend, visits to the Noah story in Genesis 6-9 at Bible Gateway saw a 223% increase over the previous weekend! I imagine this represents a lot of Noah viewers looking to compare the film with the original story, or people just refreshing their memory of a classic Bible story that everybody’s suddenly talking about.

Predictably, the Noah film drew mixed reviews from Christian critics over the weekend: some reviewers appreciated the biblical themes and questions raised by the movie, while others sharply criticized its departures from the Genesis account. (I’ve not seen the film, but shared a few discussion questions here.)

As the Noah conversation kicked into high gear last week, we ran a poll asking “Should Hollywood be making Bible-based movies?” The results are interesting in light of Noah‘s reception. A hefty majority—just over 60%—answered that Hollywood adaptations of Bible stories are acceptable only if they adhere strictly to the details of the original story. A smaller percentage of respondents (28%) feel that Bible stories are a good fit for the big screen and can withstand artistic license. And about 11% think that Bible stories should never be grist for the Hollywood mill.

All of the discussion surrounding Noah, and the extent to which so many people are publicly chatting about the details of an Old Testament story, have got us wondering how much the Bible actually comes up in everyday conversation. Let us know by voting in our new poll:

How often do you talk about the Bible in your normal course of conversation?

View Results

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Posted by Andy

Considering “Noah”: What Makes a Good (or Accurate) Bible Film?

Are you planning to watch the Noah movie? Unless you’ve managed to stay completely off the internet in recent weeks, you’ve witnessed some of the many ongoing discussions, reviews, and debates about the film’s merits, both as a work of art and as a dramatization of an important Bible story. The movie premieres today in U.S. theaters, so everybody can finally weigh it against their expectations.

Whether you’re going to see the film or not, we’d be remiss if we didn’t encourage you to read the Bible’s account of Noah and the Great Flood. It’s found in Genesis 6-9, and is a surprisingly quick read—particularly if you’ve never read this classic story, take five minutes to check it out.

And once you’ve read the original story, you can consider whether or not the movie looks promising:

I haven’t seen Noah, and beyond an appreciation for some of director Darren Aronofsky’s past films, I have no particular expectations about this new film. However, I think this Christianity Today interview with Darren Aronofsky is useful reading for anyone who is primarily concerned about the film’s fidelity to the biblical account. In it, the filmmakers describe Noah not as an attempt to reproduce the biblical Noah story, but as a sort of contribution to the midrash—the Jewish rabbinical tradition of stories and interpretations meant to explore and expand on the scripture narrative:

Christianity Today: In developing the script, you have the biblical text, obviously. What attention did you pay to other sources, such as the Book of Enoch [an extrabiblical Jewish source traditionally attributed to Noah's great-grandfather]?

[Filmmaker] Ari Handel: We read a lot. We read Enoch, we read the Jubilees, we read a lot of midrash [Jewish literature that explains Torah], we read a lot of different legends, and in midrashic tradition, there are tons of competing stories and legends and ideas circulating.

Which is to say, the Noah film is based on a lot more than just Genesis 6-9; it’s based on a slew of Jewish and other extra-biblical texts and legends, as well as the filmmakers’ own perspective. The discontinuity with the Genesis account here strikes me as subtly different from the changes that Bible-based films usually introduce into their stories for the sake of drama. Most such movies aim for faithfulness to the original text but make compromises; Noah, by contrast, doesn’t set strict faithfulness to the Genesis account as a top priority in the first place.

Does that affect our ability, as Christians, to enjoy or draw insight from Noah?

The answer, of course, will vary from person to person, Christian to Christian. Here are a few questions to consider in light of all this:

  • When reproducing a Bible story in film, is strict adherence to the biblical account’s details always the best goal? Could you imagine a scenario in which a non-literal adaptation might be more faithful to the heart of the story?
  • If you allow for some dramatic changes, are there nonetheless certain elements of the Noah story that must be present in an adaptation of it? What are those key elements in the Noah account?
  • Is there value in coming up with new interpretations and asking “what if?” questions about Bible stories, or is that spiritually dangerous? How do you draw the line (if any) between useful speculation about a Bible story, and harmful distraction?
  • Is there a “gold standard” for Bible story film adaptations—a film that you feel perfectly combined faithfulness to the source material with cinematic storytelling skill?
  • If you’ve seen Noah, do you think it captures the spirit of the Bible story? Why or why not?

Whether you watch Noah or not, whether you think it’s a great film or a travesty, hopefully its time in the pop culture spotlight will give you a chance to have some good conversations about the Bible this weekend!

Posted by Andy

“Forgive as the Lord Forgave You”: Desmond Tutu and Impossible Forgiveness

What’s the hardest act of forgiveness you’ve ever done?

Forgiveness is central to the Christian story—both Jesus’ forgiveness of us, and our forgiveness of others. This promise of God’s forgiveness (so appropriate to contemplate during Lent!) is one of the most powerful, reassuring messages in the Bible:

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. — 1 John 1:9 (NIV)

But the Bible’s emphasis on forgiveness is not always comfortable. Consider Matthew 6:14-15, in which Jesus declares that forgiveness is not an optional exercise of faith:

For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins. — Matthew 6:14-15 (NIV)

Forgiveness isn’t too hard to dispense when the offense is of the mild, everyday variety committed by people we like or love: a careless remark, a forgotten chore, a tardy arrival. But forgiveness becomes harder when the person we’re forgiving is an enemy, and harder yet when the offense is something truly serious. Yet the Bible doesn’t distinguish between different levels of forgiveness; it simply directs us to forgive as we have been forgiven.

History has given us many examples of incredible acts of forgiveness—acts of forgiveness so extreme that upon reading about them, we can only nervously wonder if Jesus truly expects us to display this level of grace. Consider Corrie Ten Boom’s forgiveness of a German guard who worked at the concentration camp where she and her sister had suffered horribly. Is it possible for an ordinary person to extend such grace?

desmondtutuOr consider this story about forgiveness in the aftermath of South African apartheid, as related by Desmond Tutu and his daughter Mpho in The Book of Forgiving, their new book. By a strange coincidence, when Tutu’s publisher sent this excerpt to Bible Gateway wondering if it was relevant to our ministry, I had just finished reading André Brink’s brutal novel A Dry White Season, about the injustice of apartheid, and had found myself wondering how such institutionalized evil could be confronted, let alone forgiven. Here’s Tutu’s account of superhuman forgiveness:

“He had many wounds.” She spoke with the precision of a coroner. “In the upper abdomen were five wounds. These wounds indicated that different weapons were used to stab him, or a group of people stabbed him.” Mrs. Mhlawuli continued her harrowing testimony to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. She spoke about the disappearance and murder of her husband, Sicelo. “In the lower part, he also had wounds. In total, there were forty-three. They poured acid on his face. They chopped off his right hand just below the wrist. I don’t know what they did with that hand.” A wave of horror and nausea rose in me.

Now it was nineteen-year-old Babalwa’s turn to speak. She was eight when her father died. Her brother was only three. She described the grief, police harassment, and hardship in the years since her father’s death. And then she said, “I would love to know who killed my father. So would my brother.” Her next words stunned me and left me breathless. “We want to forgive them. We want to forgive, but we don’t know who to forgive.”

As chairman of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, I have often been asked how the people of South Africa were able to forgive the atrocities and injustices they suffered under apartheid. Our journey in South Africa was quite long and treacherous. Today it is hard to believe that, up until our first democratic election in 1994, ours was a country that institutionalized racism, inequality, and oppression. In apartheid South Africa only white people could vote, earn a high-quality education, and expect advancement or opportunity.

There were decades of protest and violence. Much blood was shed during our long march to freedom. When, at last, our leaders were released from prison, it was feared that our transition to democracy would become a bloodbath of revenge and retaliation. Miraculously we chose another future. We chose forgiveness. At the time, we knew that telling the truth and healing our history was the only way to save our country from certain destruction. We did not know where this choice would lead us. The process we embarked on through the TRC was, as all real growth proves to be, astoundingly painful and profoundly beautiful.

What’s your reaction to this story? Could you imagine yourself extending this kind of grace to somebody else—somebody who wasn’t even asking for your forgiveness? Tutu uses the word “miraculous” to describe the decision to forgive rather than take revenge, and I think that’s a profound insight: I think true forgiveness on that level is possible only through the extension of God’s grace to us. I am thankful that we serve a God who can strengthen us in every good deed and word—and who can move our hard hearts to forgive even our worst enemies.

If you’re interested, you can learn more about The Book of Forgiving here. You might also enjoy this recent interview with Tutu—in which, among other things, he explains why the Bible is “dynamite” to injustice and human evil:

Posted by Andy

“Knowing Him” Easter Devotional Begins This Sunday

Knowing Him Easter devotional

Our Lent devotionals have been underway for several weeks now (perhaps you’ve signed up for one of them!), and we hope they’re helping you keep focused on Jesus as Easter approaches.

If you didn’t catch those devotionals when they launched at the beginning of Lent, we’ve got good news: there’s one remaining Lent devotional set to launch this Sunday, March 30: Knowing Him, written by Mel Lawrenz. Sign up here.

You may recognize Mel as the pastor and author who writes the Everything New devotional, and whose work appears regularly here on the Bible Gateway blog. Knowing Him is a daily email devotional centered on the premise of Philippians 3:10: “I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection of the dead.” Here’s how Mel describes it:

The readings will get into the story of Jesus’ last week, including the trial, crucifixion, and resurrection. We will also explore the meaning of forgiveness, atonement, redemption, and other things Jesus accomplished for us.

Mel’s also encouraging people to re-use and share the Knowing Him devotionals (with appropriate attribution) at your blog, church, study group, etc. (See here for details.)

So if you’re looking for a thoughtful, reflective devotional to walk you up to Easter Sunday (or if you missed out on the earlier Easter devotionals), this is a great option. Visit our Lent devotions page to sign up.

Posted by Andy

Did the Early Church Invent Jesus’ Divinity After the Fact? Michael Bird Discusses Bart Ehrman’s New Book (And An Unusual Rebuttal)

Bart Ehrman’s newest book, ‘How Jesus Became God.’

Did Jesus’ disciples believe that Jesus was God? Was Jesus’ divinity something that was attributed to him after the fact—perhaps even centuries later—by the early church? That’s the argument of Bart Ehrman’s latest book, How Jesus Became God: The Exaltation of a Jewish Preacher from Galilee, released this week.

Ehrman, of course, is no stranger to controversy; his books have challenged many orthodox Christian beliefs about God, Jesus, the early church, and the Bible. So what’s noteworthy about the latest Ehrman book? What’s interesting is that it’s being released alongside a counterargument: a book called How God Became Jesus: The Real Origins of Belief in Jesus’ Divine Nature—A Response to Bart Ehrman, by a team of five Bible scholars. (And not only are the two books being released side-by-side, but they’re being published by two arms of the same publishing company: HarperOne and Zondervan, both subsidiaries of HarperCollins.*)

One of the contributers to How God Became Jesus is theology professor Michael Bird (who you may recognize from our blog roundtable last year about the doctrine of biblical inerrancy). When Bird read the manuscript of Ehrman’s book, he was inspired to write a rebuttal of what he considered Ehrman’s unconvincing argument.

It’s a fascinating situation, both because the topic (the divinity of Jesus) is an important one, and because it’s rare to see an argument/counterargument presented so straightfowardly in print. When we at Bible Gateway heard that Michael Bird had sat down with Emily Varner of Academic Publishing Services to talk about the reasons behind this unusual rebuttal, we were intrigued—and we’re thrilled to present to you the entirety of that discussion. Here is that discussion, in which Bird discusses the reasons behind this rebuttal, some of the weak points in Erhman’s arguments, and how we should critically consider claims like those in How Jesus Became God.

A Conversation with Michael Bird

Emily Varner: Tell us about deciding to put this book together.

‘How God Became Jesus,’ a rebuttal of Ehrman’s newest book.

Michael Bird: Well, I was walking around the book stalls at SBL, and saw the poster for Bart Ehrman’s new book, How Jesus Became God. From the blurb, I reckon I had a pretty good idea as to what he was gonna say, and believed that a timely and thoughtful response should be made. And—to be honest—while I have a great respect for some of Ehrman’s works on textual criticism and early Christian history, I’m rather fed-up with the often extravagant and inflated claims that either he or his publicity team makes in his popular level books about Jesus, the Bible, and the early church. I’m weary of getting emails from some distraught undergrad who heard the latest overstated or unguarded remark that Ehrman or one of his acolytes are saying on the TV, web, or in print. So I wanted to put forward an alternative view to take him on and show that he’s not holding all the aces. So I approached a few friends whom I know to be eminent scholars but would share my interest (Simon Gathercole, Chris Tilling, Craig Evans, and Chuck Hill), and suggested we write a short response to Ehrman. My editor at Zondervan, Katya Covrett, who always has a mixture of curiosity and concern when I share new ideas with her, thought this crazy idea could work. HarperOne was gracious enough to give us a pre-pub copy of the book, which we read and reflected on immediately, we then wrote up our responses over Christmas, and the whole thing came together remarkably well.

EV: What bad outcomes of Ehrman’s How Jesus Became God are you hoping to counter with How God Became Jesus?

MB: There are a number of elements we want to contest or qualify. First, early views on Jesus as a “divine” figure were not just cut and pasted onto him from the polytheistic world of Clash of the Titans with Greek gods who become human or Emperors who become a god at death. Second, there is Jesus’ selfunderstanding. While Jesus saw himself as a prophet, he seems to have also thought of himself as more than a prophet. He spoke with a divine authority, identified himself with God’s own activity in the world, believed that in his own person he was embodying the return of the LORD to Jerusalem, and he would be enthroned right beside God in the future. Third, regarding whether Jesus was buried and his body just thrown in some ditch as carrion for scavengers, we show that the burial traditions in the Gospels have a lot more going for them than Ehrman alleges. Fourth, we strive to show that, against Ehrman, Paul did not think of Jesus as an angel who became human, but as a pre-existing being, who was part of the very identity of God. Fifth, and finally, the various challenges the early church faced in developing a grammar and framework for thinking about Jesus as fully God and fully human also need to get the proper nuance and commentary, which is not always given to them.

EV: What strengths do the contributors to this book bring to the table?

MB: Well, I have worked in fields as diverse as historical Jesus, the life and theology of the Apostle Paul, and Jewish messianism. Craig Evans has special expertise in the background of the New Testament and especially in working on the Gospels. Simon Gathercole is well known for his work on Paul’s theology, the pre-existence of Jesus in the Gospels, and studies in non-canonical Gospels. Chris Tilling is an expert in Paul’s christology in its ancient context. Charles Hill has worked largely on the Gospel, Letters, and Revelation of John as it was used and interpreted in the early church. So that’s quite a suite of skills and research experiences that we bring to the task.

EV: One of Ehrman’s claims about How Jesus Became God is that it took him eight years to research and write the book. Yet your book was put together in short order. How are you confident that the contributors have sufficiently dealt with the challenges Ehrman has leveled against the “early Christology club”?

MB: Yes, we did write the book quickly, very quickly, however, all of the contributors have been working in the field of Christian origins for decades. For example, no one would doubt Craig Evans’s ability to discuss archaeological evidence for crucifixion and Jewish burial practices, he’s intimately familiar with the area. Similarly, Chris Tilling, though he was a newly minted PhD, has just written a PhD thesis on Paul’s Christology. He is probably more conversant than anyone around at the moment with the interpretive issues pertaining to Paul’s understanding of Jesus and the vast secondary literature—in English and German—that discusses it.

EV: You applaud Ehrman for raising historical questions about Jesus for the twenty-first century, but reject his conclusions. What historical discoveries make it possible to do new studies now?

MB: Well we have a much better understanding of the nature of monotheism for one thing. The ancient world was not all Clash of the Titans and we can nuance a bit better what we mean by “monotheism” and how we understand monotheism in relation to intermediary figures like Angels, God’s Word, and Wisdom, etc. We also have more archaeological evidence from places like Meggido, where we can see the various ways in which Christians were venerating Jesus as “God.”

EV: One refrain that seems to echo throughout the book is a criticism of Ehrman for not accounting for how deeply rooted Early Christianity was in Judaism. Can you explain this?

MB: One claim that gets repeatedly made in How God Became Jesus is that the New Testament depictions of Jesus, especially in Paul’s letters, appear to be what many scholars call a “Christological monotheism,” which where Jewish monotheism has been redefined in light of the person and work of Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus is regarded as part of the divine identity, which is why he is a fitting object of worship, he’s not a second god, not a lesser god, but part of God’s own being and activity, while remaining a distinct person in himself.

EV: Is How God Became Jesus just a catchy play on the Ehrman book, or does it have a deeper theological or historical meaning?

MB: Well partly, “yes,” but on another level the titles reflect the two positions. For Ehrman—and others—plotting the beliefs about Jesus in the early church is really plotting the evolution of belief in Jesus as the one who proclaimed God, to the later point when he was proclaimed as God. We don’t deny that it took time for the earliest churches to sort out in their own minds who Jesus was, to determine what Scriptures best expressed his purpose and identity, to find the best grammar and terminology to talk about him. It was a messy process with many steps forwards and few backwards. That said, we think the evidence points to the fact that early on, certainly within 20 years of his death, Jesus was identified and worshipped in such a way as to make it clear that he was regarded as being intrinsic to the God of Israel’s own identity. It wasn’t that Jesus was a man who became God, rather, it seems, as far as our sources tell us, it was God who became man, the man Jesus of Nazareth.

EV: How would you respond if someone said, “Doesn’t this discussion just boil down to faith (‘just trust the church teaching’) or respect for the Bible (‘the Bible says it, that settles it’)”?

MB: Well, yes, in one sense, you either believe the church’s testimony or you don’t. The important question is, however, what does the church’s testimony about Jesus found in Scripture actually say? Ehrman and friends think that it does not give a clear or consistent presentation of his divine nature, but ebbs and flows over different ways of identifying him as divine in vague or incomplete senses, and the NT language about Jesus has been largely misread or misunderstood. Okay, maybe some good points are scored by Ehrman here and there, but for the most part, we are not convinced by the evidence or the reasons that Ehrman provides for thinking that Jesus was “divine” in the senses that Ehrman maps onto the various books of the New Testament.

* Full disclosure: Bible Gateway is a part of HarperCollins Christian Publishing, although Bible Gateway was not involved with either of the books discussed in this blog post.

Posted by Andy

What’s the Place of the Bible in American Christianity? Surprising Results from a New Survey

There have been quite a few surveys in recent years looking to better understand the ways that American Christians do and don’t put their personal faith into practice. Every time I hear of a new survey, I never know if I’m going to be pleasantly surprised or just depressed by what it reveals about the American church. Well, a new survey this month provides some food for thought, and some good cause to hope that a lot of Americans do make the Bible a central part of their religious life.

The survey in question was undertaken by the Center for the Study of Religion and American Culture and contributes a hefty batch of new data to fuel the ongoing discussion about Christianity in America. The Bible in American Life Report contains a lot of fascinating detail, particularly about how American Christians interact with the Bible.

The complete 44-page report is worth reading in full, but they’ve nicely summarized some of the most interesting findings. What jumps out at you from this list of findings (quoted from the survey report)?

  • There is a 50/50 split among Americans who read any form of scripture in the past year and those who did not. Among those who did, women outnumber men, older people outnumber younger people, and Southerners exceed those from other regions of the country.
  • Among those who read any form of scripture in the past year, 95% named the Bible as the scripture they read. All told, this means that 48% of Americans read the Bible at some point in the past year. Most of those people read at least monthly, and a substantial number—9% of all Americans—read the Bible daily.
  • Despite the proliferation of Bible translations, the King James Version is the top choice—and by a wide margin—of Bible readers.
  • The strongest correlation with Bible reading is race, with African Americans reading the Bible at considerably higher rates than others.
  • Half of those who read the Bible in the past year also committed scripture to memory. About two-thirds of congregations in America hold events for children to memorize verses from the Bible.
  • Among Bible readers, about half had a favorite book, verse, or story. Psalm 23, which begins, “The Lord is my shepherd…” was cited most often, followed by John 3:16.
  • Bible readers consult scripture for personal prayer and devotion three times more than to learn about culture war issues such as abortion, homosexuality, war, or poverty.
  • There are clear differences among Bible readers consulting scripture for specific reasons. Age, income, and education are key factors.
  • Those reading the Bible frequently consult it on culture war issues more than two times the rate as those who read it less frequently.
  • Less than half of those who read the Bible in the past year sought help in understanding it. Among those who did, clergy were their top source; the Internet was the least cited source.
  • Among Bible readers, 31% read it on the Internet and 22% use e-devices.
  • Bible reading differences among religious traditions followed predictably the historic divides between Protestants and Catholics, and between white conservative and white moderate/liberal Protestants. However, reading practices defy some stereotypes about certain groups.

(Be sure to read the complete report for the full context behind these highlights.)

I’m struck by the popularity of the King James Bible (it’s popular with Bible Gateway visitors, but not quite to the extent that this report found in broader American culture); and by the (pleasantly higher than I would’ve expected) percentage of Americans who regularly read and even memorize Scripture. That the Internet is the least popular source for finding help in understanding the Bible is a surprise, although it’s reassuring to hear that Christians are turning to trusted clergy with their Bible questions.

What else stands out to you, either from these highlights or from the rest of the report?

Posted by Andy

The “Can We Still Believe the Bible?” Blog Tour

Can We Still Believe the Bible?
The Can We Still Believe the Bible? blog tour is underway through March 27 among 11 scholarly bloggers to discuss the book of the same title by Craig L. Blomberg, distinguished professor of New Testament at Denver Seminary.

In the book, Blomberg argues that a careful analysis of the evidence shows there is reason to be more confident in the Bible in the 21st century than ever before.

Throughout the world, people accept or reject the inerrancy of Scripture, remaining unaware of ancient standards of trustworthiness while thinking that inerrancy must mean that the Bible conforms to modern standards of precision in reporting. Few wrestle with what inerrancy means for literary genres besides history or biography, but many insist that all narrative genres must report nonfictional events.

[My book's] main claim is that the Bible very much can be trusted, even in light of the kinds of skepticism sketched out here.

Read the Introduction.

The tour bloggers are:

  • Daniel B. Wallace (PhD, Dallas Theological Seminary)
  • Ken Schenck (PhD, University of Durham)
  • Joel L. Watts (MA, United Theological Seminary)
  • Lee Martin McDonald (PhD, University of Edinburgh)
  • Phillip J. Long (PhD, Andrews University)
  • Darrell L. Bock (PhD, University of Aberdeen)
  • Michael Bird (PhD, University of Queensland)
  • Nijay K. Gupta (PhD, University of Durham)
  • Matthew Montonini (MA, Ashland Theological Seminary)
  • David B. Capes (PhD, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary)
  • Craig S. Keener (PhD, Duke University)

Follow the tour postings, then buy the book at BibleGatewayStore.com.

Posted by Jonathan

Should Digital Bibles be Used in Inaugural Ceremonies? Bible Gateway Visitors Weigh In

Nearly six out of every ten people (57%) say a digital Bible on a mobile device has no place whatsoever in political and judicial swearing-in ceremonies and that only a print Bible is acceptable. That’s according to Bible Gateway’s latest online poll, in which more than 5,000 people voted.

We posed the question after Nassau County, NY, Executive Edward Mangano was sworn in for his second term earlier this year using an iPad and Bible app when officials were unable to locate a physical copy of the Bible.

Our poll asked Does a digital Bible on a mobile device have the same significance as a print Bible in political and judicial swearing-in ceremonies? Out of a total of 5,057 votes cast in the survey, the majority (57%, 2,882 votes) said, “No, only a print Bible is acceptable.” Less than one-quarter (22%, 1,097 votes), said, “Yes, either digital or print is acceptable.”

A further minority (9%, 437 votes) were agreeable to a digital Bible but with the stipulation that “the Bible text must be showing on the screen or it doesn’t count.”

Only 4% (220 votes) believed that “a digital Bible should be the preferred method” over a print Bible.

And 8% (411 votes) voted that neither a digital nor print Bible should be used. They said, “A Bible is not necessary for such ceremonies.”

For those believing in the appropriateness of a digital Bible, we encourage you to download Bible Gateway’s critically-acclaimed and award-winning free Bible app for iPhone, iPad, Android, and Kindle Fire at http://m.BibleGateway.com/app. It offers multiple text and audio Bible versions in a variety of languages, Bible reference books, reading plans, reminders, and more.

Our next Bible Gateway poll asks “Should Hollywood be making Bible-based movies?” Cast your vote below:

Should Hollywood be making Bible-based movies?

  • Yes, but ONLY if the exact content of the Bible is strictly adhered to (69%, 678 Votes)
  • Yes, the stories of the Bible are great content for the big screen and can withstand artistic license (35%, 339 Votes)
  • No, the Bible should never be used by Hollywood as entertainment (0%, 129 Votes)

Total Voters: 981

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Posted by Jonathan

New Rick Warren and Max Lucado Email Devotions Join Our Easter Library

How is your Lent journey coming along? If you made a Lent commitment of some sort, have you been able to stick to it, or has it been a struggle?

If you haven’t noticed, we’ve made two new additions to our Lent email devotional library in the last week. Each is based on the writing of a prominent Christian writer you just might have heard of. They are:

  • On the Road to Calvary: Easter Reflections by Max Lucado: Where is your life taking you? Are you on a brief journey from painful encounters? Take a seven-day Lent devotional journey with Max Lucado. This devotional begins the day you sign up for it, and is a good choice for anyone looking for a short but encouraging Lent devotional to read.
  • The Daniel Plan: Are you making lifestyle choices that honor God’s will for your life and health? Every Wednesday, The Daniel Plan newsletter will encourage you with one brief healthy tip from the national bestselling book of the same title by Rick Warren, Daniel Amen, and Mark Hyman, along with a corresponding Bible verse.

Sign up for either or both of these devotionals here.

Don’t forget also that Mel Lawrenz’ Knowing Him Lent devotional will begin on March 30 and run through the final weeks to Easter. Between these and the other items on our Lent devotions page, there are plenty of options for you to choose from. So whether you’re looking for an intense daily Scripture reading or a reflective, once-a-week devotional, we’ve got you covered.

Posted by Andy