Dec 31, 2011

Giving the Bible the Benefit of the Doubt

“Another aspect of Christian character that is needed to be a good and godly Bible teacher and scholar is a willingness to give the text the benefit of the doubt before leaping to the conclusion that the text is: (1) riddled with contradictions, (2) is unclear, or (3) is hopelessly antiquarian and thus obsolete and irrelevant. One of things that has often surprised me about some Bible scholars is that they will not give the Bible the same benefit of the doubt they will give their colleagues' theories, even if a theory is wild and wooly. This I find exceedingly odd. Why should a modern writer be given so much more benefit of the doubt than an ancient one? I see no rational reason for this, but it reflects a phenomenon I have come to call justification by doubt, as if doubting something proves one is a critical thinker and therefore a good scholar of the Bible.”

Ben Witherington III, Is There a Doctor in the House? An Insider's Story and Advice on Becoming a Biblical Scholar (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2011), 129. 

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