One part of my answer to this is the question “What kind of errors?” However, my first gut reaction to this question is: “Sure there are, but what’s the point?”
Lettuce answer the first question: “What kind of errors?” Because we live in an age of information, I decided to look up these errors and contradictions.
The first site, which you can find here, lists all sorts of contradictions and errors. Among my favorite contradictions are those that follow:
Matthew 19:26 – “But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, ‘With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.’”
Judges 1:19 – “And the LORD was with Judah; and he drove out the inhabitants of the mountain; but could not drive out the inhabitants of the valley, because they had chariots of iron.”
2 Samuel 6:23 – “Therefore Michal the daughter of Saul had no child unto the day of her death.”
2 Samuel 21:8 – “But the king took..the five sons of Michal the daughter of Saul.”
Now, let’s give Michal some credit; she could have had all five sons on the day of her death.
How about some errors?
Leviticus 11:20-21: “All fowls that creep, going upon all four, shall be an abomination unto you.” I certainly hope so, because I know of no fowl that walks on four legs.
And speaking of abominations, how about the camel and the hare:
Deuteronomy 14:7 – “…as the camel, and the hare, and the coney: for they chew the cud, but divide not the hoof.” Hares don’t chew cud, and camels “do divide the “hoof.”
Now, these are silly examples. This site goes through some 143 contradictions in the Bible and provides explanations for why they may seem like contradictions. Take a look through them; they are thorough.
This brings me to my second point: “Sure there are errors and contradictions in the Bible, but what is the point?”
Why does it matter that there may be errors in the Bible? It matters (and doesn’t matter) depending on how we see the Bible. If we see the Bible as a book of facts, if we believe everything in the Bible is a claim to truth, fact, and reality,then yes, I suppose it does matter if there are errors.
And yet, we must dispute the very notion of “facts,” whether anything can indeed be verifiable or falsifiable. Sorry readers, but this is where it gets heady.
Some say there are things that are verifiable, some say there are not, and some say there are some that are and some that are not. But let’s say, for the sake of discussion, that there are things that are verfiable and these things are necessary for developing claims to truth(s), and that these things we know as “facts.”
Now, we seek these “facts” to develop “truth claims,” which we use to construct/develop/emerge descriptions of verifiable realities, philosophies, ethics, politics, and faiths.
Whither we find or identify these “facts?” All sorts of venues of discovery have been argued as sources of these facts. Among them are nature itself, science and its method, human reason, personal experience, powers and authorities, and sacred writings.
Thus, we have come to the issue of the Bible, wherein many/some claim that the Bible is a source of these facts which are used in developing truth claims to reality and all it constitutes.
Is this so? Is the Bible claiming to describe all of reality through presenting facts as truth claims to this reality? I don’t think so. I think the Bible is less than this, but paradoxically more than this. It is not a fact book, it is so much more. The truth that we encounter in the Bible is a truth that goes beyond facts and figures.
Then, what becomes of the Bible? Tune in Wednesday as I answer “What is the Bible and what does it mean to you?”