My Answer to Ten Unprofitable Bible Critics

The Challenge:

It is hard to study the Bible when Bible scholars keep questioning the authenticity of the Bible and provide evidence of mistakes.

Ten Negative Critics:

  1. Bart D. Ehrman

– Findings: Ehrman has written extensively on the textual inconsistencies and historical inaccuracies within the New Testament. In his book *Misquoting7 Jesus*, he details how scribes altered the texts, either intentionally or accidentally, which has led to significant variations in the manuscripts.

  1. John Dominic Crossan

– Findings: A co-founder of the Jesus Seminar, Crossan argues that many of the gospel accounts are not historical records but rather theological constructs. He suggests that the resurrection stories and many miracle accounts were later additions to enhance the divine image of Jesus.

  1. Richard Carrier

– Findings: Carrier is a proponent of the Christ myth theory, arguing that Jesus of Nazareth is a mythical figure rather than a historical person. He points out numerous historical and textual inconsistencies within the gospels and other New Testament writings.

  1. Gerd Lüdemann

– Findings: Critiques the historical reliability of the New Testament, particularly the resurrection narratives. He argues that many of the events described are theological constructions rather than historical events.

  1. Robert M. Price

– Findings: Another advocate of the Christ myth theory, Price argues that much of the New Testament is mythological rather than historical. He highlights numerous parallels between Christian texts and earlier mythological stories, suggesting that early Christians borrowed heavily from surrounding cultures.

  1. Thomas Paine

– Findings: In his work “The Age of Reason”, Paine critiques the Bible from a deist perspective, arguing that it contains numerous contradictions and immoral teachings. He questions the authenticity of many of the biblical books and highlights inconsistencies in the narrative.

  1. Julius Wellhausen

– Findings: Wellhausen is known for his documentary hypothesis, which suggests that the Pentateuch (the first five books of the Bible) is a compilation of documents from different sources rather than a single, cohesive work. He identifies inconsistencies and duplications that support this theory.

  1. Karen Armstrong

– Findings: Armstrong explores the historical context of biblical texts, arguing that many stories in the Old Testament are not historical accounts but rather mythological narratives that reflect the beliefs and experiences of ancient Israelite society.

  1. Hector Avalos

– Findings: Avalos critiques the Bible from a secular humanist perspective, arguing that it is a human creation full of errors, contradictions, and outdated moral teachings. He examines the historical and cultural contexts in which the texts were written to highlight their human origins.

  1. Thomas L. Thompson

– Findings: Thompson, a proponent of the Copenhagen School of biblical criticism, argues that much of the Old Testament is mythological rather than historical. He suggests that many of the stories, such as the Exodus and the conquest of Canaan, are literary creations rather than historical events.



PixelMistakePicasso Why bother with the negative views of unbelieving and/or apostate Bible scholars?

That is not the way to study any literature. I have several volumes in my personal library which argue that Shakespeare did not write Shakespeare. I certainly do not go first to them to learn how to understand Shakespeare!

Neither should you give any credence to the opinions of any of the scholars you mention in your Opening Post before you have become absolutely familiar with the content of the Bible itself by taking the steps I previously described for you:

Read three chapters of the Gospel of John each day of the week so that you read the Gospel of John’s 21 chapters weekly for two months. This reading should enable you to become so completely familiar that you can literally think your way through the Gospel of John chapter by chapter “with your eyes closed.”

Next, read the New Testament through three times or more by reading it long enough each day (for a total of at least 20 minutes). This does not mean 20 minutes at one sitting. My suggestion is that the cumulative total for the day add up to 20 minutes or more. Read the New Testament often enough each week (at least four days a week) on a continuing basis to experience the benefits such reading will bring.

Continue, beyond that, to read the rest of the Bible (the Old Testament or Hebrew Scriptures) three times or more until you are very familiar with its content, especially its narrative and wisdom literature and historical portions.

I have found it helpful to study the Bible topically by studying the topics of special interest to me by using such resources as Nave’s Topical Bible or one of its several modern equivalents and the Thompson Chain Reference Bible.

To dig still deeper, I have found it helpful to consult the cross references found in standard editions of what are called Reference Bibles and far more completely in the original Treasury of Scripture Knowledge and now in The New Treasury of Scripture Knowledge and The Ultimate Cross Reference Treasury.

As for the so-called Bible scholars you have named in the Opening Post:

(1) Bart Ehrman. When he is writing for the academic and scholarly audience about the field of his expertise (textual criticism, not historical or literary criticism) he is sometimes helpful and more level-headed. When writing for a general audience he may be sensational but he is sensationally wrong.

(2) John Dominic Crossan. Pay no attention to the so-called “Jesus Seminar.” They are proceeding upon wrong principles to start with. They may be out to make a name for themselves but their alleged “findings” are nonsense.

(3) Richard Carrier. Anyone who thinks our Lord Jesus Christ is a “myth,” in whatever sense this word is taken, is making a fool of him or herself. The historicity of the life of Christ is proven fact, as is the historicity of the 27 primary source first century documents now compiled in the New Testament.

(4) Gerd Lüdemann. Anyone who thinks the historical record contained in the New Testament of the resurrection accounts are merely “theological constructions” rather than records of actual historical events shows their utter lack of understanding of the nature and purpose of the Gospel records. They are thinking anachronistically–applying the standards of historical writing employed by scholars today by imposing them upon the writings of the First Century. Rather, readers must read “very old books” sympathetically and approach them on their own terms.

(6) Thomas Paine. Benjamin Franklin once criticized Paine for having written his Age of Reason. Franklin told Paine he was spitting into the wind and the wind would drive his spit back on to his face. Paine has been thoroughly answered by a number of authors. Deism has been resoundingly and irrefutably answered by Charles Leslie in his work titled “A Short and Easy Method with the Deists.” I have presented Leslie’s argument in modern English in detail on my Real Bible Study site. Just enter “Leslie” in the search box to access my article.

(7) Julius Wellhausen. The “Documentary Hypothesis” is nonsense. I have recently spent considerable time studying this unfruitful theory. No two exponents of the theory agree with one another. To suggest that just because the names of God within the text are used by different writers is nonsense. For a scholarly refutation of Wellhausen and his followers study carefully the writings of Oswald T. Allis, including his titles The Five Books of Moses as well as The Old Testament: Its Claims and Critics.

(8) Karen Armstrong. I believe Karen Armstrong’s claims are overblown. I prefer the expertise in these matters represented by John D. Currid, as in his book Against the Gods: The Polemical Theology of the Old Testament.

9. Hector Avalos. I am not familiar with Avalos. I can say that such views need to be contrasted with two titles which certainly demolish his views. Vishal Mangalowadi, The Book that Made Your World: How the Bible Created the Soul of Western Civilization and Alvin J. Schmidt, How Christianity Changed the World.

10. Thomas L. Thompson. Anyone who questions the historicity of the Exodus and the conquest of Canaan must be living on another planet. I just lately purchased and read two books by Steven Collins titled Let My People Go! Using Historical Synchronisms to Identify the Pharaoh of the Exodus and Discovering the City of Sodom: The Fascinating True Account of the Discovery of the Old Testament’s Most Infamous City. The work of Charles Leslie I previously mentioned likewise supplies irrefutable proof of the historicity of the Exodus event recorded in the Bible.

Link to my summary of Leslie’s unanswerable argument:

Daily Bible Nugget #600, 2 Peter 1:16

This entry was posted in Apologetics Issues--Other Faiths, Bible Historicity and Validity, Bible Study Tools, How to Study the Bible and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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