In the May 14, 2014, Sioux Falls Argus Leader, Billy Graham answers a question from a reader about the Bible. The reader says, “I find the Bible very uplifting whenever I read it, but no more inspiring than some of the other books I read. Why do people like you say the Bible is unlike any other book but is in a category all its own?”
The Christian preachers have developed ways of dealing with this kind of question. Regardless of what the scholars say about the way the Bible came to be, the preachers, like Billy Graham, claim that God wrote the Bible or, if actually scribed by men, those men were divinely inspired.
Billy Graham was educated at Wheaton College in Wheaton, IL, Bob Jones University in Greenville, SC and Trinity College in New Port Richey, FL. Although Billy claims all three of these schools, he dropped out of both Bob Jones and Trinity (then called the Florida Bible Institute) and graduated from Wheaton College with a degree in anthropology.
While it is possible that Billy never took a course in Bible History, it is unlikely. That means that Billy, like most preachers, probably had learned how the Christian Bible was assembled from a much large group of books used by Christians in the centuries following the death of Jesus. Billy should know that there were books that were rejected by those who were in control of church business around 300 CE and books that almost but not quite made it into the final canon.
In spite of this, Billy takes the same position as many preachers – that the books of the Bible are the inspired word of God.
Billy answers the reader’s question by saying that if the Bible were just a collection of books, the reader would be right. Billy then drops his bombshell: The Bible is different because God inspired the authors of the Bible.
Billy’s answer raises many questions. To look at just one of those questions will suffice to illustrate the problem with taking a Gospel as an inspired works. If God inspired the authors who wrote the Gospels of Mark, Matthew, Luke and John, why did those authors include information that is contradictory?
In Luke 22: 7-8 (ASB) “And the day of unleavened bread came, on which the Passover must be sacrificed. And he [Jesus] sent Peter and John, saying, ‘Go and make ready for us the Passover, that we may eat.’” The Gospel of Luke clearly says Jesus is captured during the night following the Passover meal and he is crucified the next morning.
In the Gospel of John, 19:14, Jesus is delivered to Pilate at the sixth hour (noon) of the day of preparation for the Passover, that is, the day before the Passover meal is eaten and Jesus is then crucified on that day.
The Gospel of John says Jesus died on the day before the Passover meal and the Gospel of Luke says Jesus died the day after the Passover meal. There is no way to reconcile these two references – one or the other MUST be wrong. How could God inspire both these stories if at least one of the stories is false?
Billy Graham and the other preachers want to claim the Bible inspired source to keep people from asking embarrassing questions like those above. By maintaining that the Bible is the inspired word of God they can deflect these worrisome questions.
You can read all of Billy’s answer here.
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