There’s a reoccurring question that I’ve been asked by skeptics of Christianity over the years. They want to know if the words of the Bible can be trusted. After all, they were written by people, quite a lot of people actually. So how can those who hold the Bible up as an authority claim that it’s a book worth following? Those who have questions like that need solid answers.
What’s even more curious about the Bible is that it was written by people who did bad things—actually in quite a few cases, very bad things. This gives the Bible skeptic plenty of traction. Somehow, time has an effect on us so that what happened a few thousand years ago, at least in our minds, sterilizes those evil acts. We conclude that the writers of the Bible weren’t really that bad. It’s the same way a song or movie that’s dirty isn’t considered as dirty once it’s “a classic”. So what’s the proof of some major credibility issues with the writers of the Bible? I’ll give you a few that are hard to ignore.
Moses is one of the most well-known biblical figures. He was supposed to be killed as a baby in Egypt, was rescued by Egyptian nobility and raised in Pharaoh’s household. One day, he watched a slave master abusing a slave who was Jewish like himself. Out of anger, he murdered the slave master and buried him in the sand. With “murderer” on Moses’ rap sheet, he went on to write the first five books of the Bible at the end of his life.
David was a musician, warrior, and king who came onto the scene about 500 years after Moses. David ended up writing most of the Bible’s 150 Psalms (songs). But that same David committed adultery and murdered the husband of the woman he was with in attempt to cover up what he did. Basically, he commanded soldiers to place the husband in the most dangerous part of a battle and then move back from him so he wouldn’t have a chance. David’s children and entire family suffered major upheaval after that.
David’s son, Solomon, became king after him. Solomon’s biggest weakness was women. He was warned not to multiply wives but multiply wives, he definitely did. How much did he multiply? It’s recorded that he had 700 wives and 300 concubines (wives of lower social standing).
I’m sure that just about all of those women would have enjoyed a normal family life much better than being called on a few times a year or never by their man who was, well, spread a little thin. Some of his women encouraged him to worship pagan idols. Solomon wrote almost all of the wisdom literature of the book of Proverbs, wrote Ecclesiastes and, possibly, the Song of Solomon.
Jonah is credited with writing the book that bears his name. The book of Jonah is all about a prophet who didn’t want to listen to God. Imagine that. The person who was supposed to be among the most spiritual ran from God when He told him to help those who were as far from church people as you could get. God strong-armed him to Nineveh after Jonah hopped on a ship and went in the opposite direction than he should have gone.
After Jonah preached to the rebellious people, threatening that God would destroy them if they did not turn from their evil, they drastically showed remorse and reformed.
Jonah sat on a hillside and waited for God to fry the people of Nineveh like bacon. God didn’t. Jonah became furious as a result and accused God of being compassionate.
The Apostle Paul
Before a drastic conversion to faith in Jesus, Paul was a skilled hypocrite in a false religion that Jesus had condemned. It was a religious system that paid meticulous attention to the Bible and rule keeping. Outwardly, his religion looked devout. He dressed respectably, earned a respectable income and probably had a nice haircut. Inwardly he was devoid of power, couldn’t have been more dead and didn’t have any need for God. Rule keeping, sin categorizing and spiritual pride were his god of choice. That same false god is still slinking around in religious communities all over the world to this day.
Paul (Saul before his faith experience) felt threatened and disturbed by this “new” faith known as Christianity. He worked day and night to be the best religious person that he could be. To accomplish this, he murdered, imprisoned and destroyed families that followed Jesus any way that he could. He later went on to write 13 books of the Bible.
Peter, who wrote two books of the Bible that bear his name denied Jesus three times in attempt to save his neck. Just when his best friend (Jesus) needed him the most, he was nowhere to be found. Shortly after, Jesus was questioned, beaten and crucified. Peter, on the other hand, escaped with his life that day but lost his self-respect.
Great. Now What?
Do you find the lives of the writers of the Bible disturbing? There’s no way around it. They are.
Can you really trust this book that Christians hold up so high? A more important question is, “can you trust a God who employs those kinds of people to do his most important work?” Those are heavy questions. I believe that the answer to both questions is “yes” even though, at face value, everything logical would seem to go against it.
This topic of The Scandalous Authors of the Bible needs more explanation. Unfortunately, that will have to wait until my next post…