The Bible is Fiction?

Posted by Matt Postiff November 21, 2013 on Matt Postiff's Blog under GeneralĀ 

USA Today and report that a pastor in California noticed Bibles mislabeled for sale as "fiction." Costco relabeled the Bibles and apologized. Problem solved.

Or is it?

There are many people who would agree that the Bible is fiction. They would argue that Costco should have kept the category as is because it is accurate. But on what basis do they make that claim?

The news articles did not impart information that would help readers to know whether the Bible is actually fiction or not. Here are some thoughts to fill in that gap.

The first four New Testament books (Matthew, Mark, Luke, John) are biographies of Jesus written by eyewitnesses and close associates. The fifth book, Acts, is a history of the early church, also written by an eyewitness. As they consist of eyewitness accounts and have been confirmed in many points by archaeology, they can hardly be called fiction. Those who suggest these writings are fiction would do well to consider the historical evidence for Jesus in comparison to any other major figure of the ancient world whose existence they acknowledge.

The remainder of the New Testament books are letters from Paul, James, John, Peter, and Jude to particular recipients. As such, they are first-century "epistles" of great historical value that discuss the Christian faith. Such letters are not in the fiction genre but are rather of the epistolary genre.

As for the Old Testament, the first five books were written by the hand of Moses. They record events before his lifetime, such as creation, and many events in which he was a firsthand participant. Many of these events, again, are substantiated by archaeological evidence. No one can doubt that the law of Moses was a historical reality and greatly influential upon the Jewish people. Joshua and Judges and the books of the Hebrew Kings (Samuel, Kings, Chronicles) are also historical books. The prophets basically predict Israel's demise and call the nation back to faithfulness to its covenant with God made through Moses. These are ancient documents of no small import, many replete with fulfilled predictive prophecy and prophecies that have not yet come to pass. The argument can be sustained that none of these books are fiction.

The poetic books are the remaining section of Scripture that I haven't mentioned. These books, such as the Psalms, contain Israel's hymnody and wisdom for living. These may be called poetic in genre, but not fiction. Many Psalms, for instance, reflect back on the historical realities of the nation of Israel. Proverbs mirror the historical Mosaic covenant.

True—our atheist opponents will say that the Bible's content is fictional. Some events recorded in the Bible, such as the creation account, are rejected in favor of evolutionary origins. Other parts of the Bible are rejected because they are not convenient to an un-holy lifestyle. But all this is a reflection on a belief system or worldview, not on the Bible itself. The Bible presents itself as non-fiction.

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