What does God say about... whats in the Bible...


Active Member
With my mom's recent sickness (she almost died, said the doctor) she's been more vocal about her beliefs (shes a Christian).

One day on the way to get a check-up done, she told me that it doesn't matter what the Bible says, per se, but instead what matters is the point of the stories in the Bible. She says she has had pastors tell her that. The one example she used (that I can remember) is when Jesus fed a very large group of people with limited fish and loaves of bread. She said it doesn't matter if he actually fed 5,000 people with 2 fish and 5 loaves of bread, but the point behind the story that Jesus is a miracle worker.

I apologize if none of this makes sense, its almost midnight and I am super tired.

This is a dangerous path and what some call a slippery slope.

The concept is definitely used in some section of scriptures. The feeding of the 5k is one of them. People in the first century used numbers totally differently than we did today. So taking the concept is completely valid. Personally, on this instance, I would say the number is reported is likely low. In those times crowds were counting only by men of a certain age.

Using this concept in other areas is very risky to me. Jesus' life- born of a virgin, lived a perfect life without sin, healed the sick, made the blind to see, was crucified on the cross and rose from the dead. One can really not alter those because they are prophecies about the messiah that must come true. So, I would be concerned if a Christ Follower began to question or limit those stories.

The Older Testament was often questioned as being not historically accurate due to the issue that it listed and had stories of ancient civilizations that archeologist had no record of existing. So, those stories and histories were questioned. Then, archeologist begin to uncover remains and ruins from these people groups.

So, while I understand what she is saying, I am not in favor of casting a blanket statement like the one you reported. While I don't think she is going to hell in a hand basket, and I am not questioning her salvation. I believe we all must hold to a very holy and sacred view of the Bible. It simply is the most amazing document ever written. It's ability to last in tact and with such high accuracy amazing even the staunchest of critics who challenge it. We have no other book like it in all of ancient writings. It has been tested and examined more than any other book or document. It has been found by Christians and skeptics who have taken the time to study it. To be a profoundly incredible book of history, spirituality and accuracy to the original text.

I hope that answers the question.
Paul wrote to Timothy (2 Tim 3:16-17, NIV)

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

Simply put, God inspired Paul to write that the Scriptures (which only consisted the OT, at that point) were inspired by God directly for a reason. Now, is it possible that some points were not recorded accurately? Sure. Icthus addressed that point (the numbers). But that's only because God was specifically working with ancient Israel. He wrote the story, and provided enough information that we can look back today and understand that it wasn't 5,000 people... but 5,000 men over the age of 20 PLUS women and children.

Some other things are meant specifically as a hyperbole. When Jesus commands us to forgive our brother for sinning against us seventy times seven times, He wasn't telling us to keep track and only forgive our brothers 490 times. He was telling us that we need to forgive a number of times that is beyond counting.

Even Jesus spoke in parables - lessons that were meant to teach, not tell history. Did the Good Samaritan actually exist? Sure, it could have... but most likely Jesus was just telling a story to make a point.

Could there be other places in the Bible that we would see such things? I don't see why not. But let The Spirit guide you on how to study and read the Bible. Above all things, it's God's book... look to Him for directions.
A while ago I made a thread about Propositional and Experiential Expressionism, as well as talking about Cultural-Linguistic Expressionism and how they work.

Actually, to give you a Cliff Notes version, there are multiple ways to view the meaning in the Bible:

1. What the text says in a good translation.
2. As if everyone everywhere is talking about the same religious experience, and this is just the Jewish or Greek way of talking about it.
3. As if every book was a specific way of communicating between specific people in specific places and specific contexts, and it's not so important what is said as what it means or meant to those people in those places and contexts.

It sounds like your Mom is closer to type 3 than you are. You sound like you fall closer to type 1.

All 3 are respectful to scripture, have their strengths, and have their pitfalls. In general, however, most Christians in a given culture or group (say, evangelicals as a whole or North Americans as a whole) tend to share one or another view type. North American believers tend towards type 1, which may be why you find your mother's statement so shocking.
You make my head hurt. But that's a very interesting point. I'd suggest a 4th group... those that interpret the Bible based on what other people tell them is in it. That is likely where the majority of North Americans are, from my experience.