When I was a kid, I went to church. I didn’t really know anything about what was in the Bible, I just heard the message preached. When I grew older, I began to study evidences for the truth of Christianity. Partly to understand my faith better, and partly to defend Christianity against attacks from other religions. I discovered that defending the Christian faith is known as Christian apologetics. Christian apologists were the people who wrote the apologetics books. I would come to learn that there are many different points of view about Christian apologetics, just like there are many different views of Christianity itself.
As it happened, the first group of apologists I encountered believed the Bible is inerrant, without error in any way. I believed what they believed, because they were the only ones educating me about the Bible. Later, I heard different points of view, and came to realize that the Bible is not inerrant. Rather, it contains many errors, such as the fact that almost half the New Testament was forged. But I did not reject my Christian faith because the Bible contains many errors.
I realized that errors are a part of the world we live in, an imperfect, sin cursed world. And the Bible was written down and copied for thousands of years by groups of people who are imperfect sinners. That’s a lot of time and opportunity for errors to occur. But I also realized that the core of the Biblical message doesn’t change, regardless of the errors. God is still God, Jesus is still Jesus, the core message has been preserved, even if some errors have crept in.
I thought about what the first disciples received. Most of them were illiterate, and they heard about Jesus because someone told them about him. They didn’t even get a written text at all. They had to rely on the memory of a friend of a friend of a friend of someone who heard about Jesus. They had to base their faith on the oral Gospel, what people could remember and retell. It was the Holy Spirit’s testimony to their heart that they believed. Who did I think I was to expect some perfect book? I realized that my faith also had to be based on the Holy Spirit’s testimony to my heart that Jesus is my Lord and Savior. The Bible carried that message to me, so it is special, but it doesn’t have to be perfect. It doesn’t have to be without error.
I also noticed that even modern newspapers are constantly correcting mistakes they’ve made in previous publications. Even though they can directly interview the people they are reporting about, even though they can take pictures of what they’re writing about, they still make mistakes. Do I consequently reject as false everything I read in the newspapers? Of course not. I recognize that the core of the story being presented is true, even though there are some errors. Just like the Bible.