The #2 Most Harmful Religious Belief—the Inerrant Bible

It was the worst year of my entire life!

1994 was the center of more than a year of intense pain, anguish, and depression; but I was not ill, I had a good job, and my marriage was great. It was also a time of deep grief, though all my friends and family were fine. My problem was not physical, financial, or relational. It was the time of My Spiritual Crisis and my inconsolable grieving of the loss of God.

Inerrant Bible

My Spiritual Crisis

I was raised a fundamentalist and embraced it wholeheartedly. However, as I matured I began to question some things I was taught. I still believed in the complete accuracy of the Bible, but I sometimes understood it differently from what I had learned. One such issue was the creation stories of Genesis. Though I had held a literal view of the stories, I came to understand that, instead, they were written for a different purpose than explaining the way things began. I still accepted the stories as true, but in a different way. Changing my understanding did not cause me any problems.

However, soon afterwards I recalled that Paul talked about Adam in Romans 5 as though he really existed as the first human. With a shock I realized Paul was mistaken—and my long, exhausting spiritual crisis ensued instantly. I was shaken to the core. If Paul was mistaken on this point, then how could I believe anything?

For more than a year I suffered anguish and depression and grieved the loss of God. I went through the motions of life, but I felt hollow, alone, and directionless as I mourned my loss, because the Bible I depended on was not what I thought it was.

Then I discovered Jesus as the foundation of all my spiritual belief, and everything turned around. Trusting Jesus was a more solid foundation for me than trusting an inerrant Bible had ever been. I still loved and honored the Bible, but I saw it quite differently than before.

Inerrancy—a Common Way of Understanding the Bible

The Bible is very important, but there are two very different ways to approach the Bible. We all read the Bible as though through colored glasses, and the glasses we use make all the difference in grasping what we read.

The glasses represent our assumptions about what the Bible is. In fundamentalism the assumption is called inerrancy, which means that the Bible came from God himself. Every word in every book is somehow a revelation from God, and no errors or problems exist. The Bible is authoritative in every word it says, and we can trust every word of it to be true and accurate.

In addition, inerrantists believe the Bible was somehow protected by God so that only the books God revealed are collected in our current Bibles and that no authentic books from God were left out. These views are quite common among believers today, especially among evangelicals and fundamentalists.

THE Proof-Text

One result of this thinking is ‘proof-texting’. Inerrantists often make a doctrinal claim of some sort and support it with scriptural references. The passages are usually not explained or even considered within their larger textual contexts. The fact that the words are in the Bible are sufficient to know that the words are true and undeniably support whatever the quoter thinks they mean.

So it is not surprising that when inerrancy is challenged, inerrantists are ready with proof texts. By far the most important one is 2 Timothy 3:16:

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.

There are several problems with using this passage to prove inerrancy.

First of all, the basis for placing this book in the Bible is assuming Paul as the author; but among the ‘Pauline’ books there is none (other than Titus) that is more doubted among biblical scholars as coming from Paul. Of course, this does not bother inerrantists because they are certain God directed the inclusion of only authentic books.

Secondly, the passage does not even hint at inerrancy. God-breathed (inspired) can be understood in a number of ways, and inerrancy isn’t a likely one. I agree that the ‘scriptures’ are useful in the ways the writer suggests, but the author does not elaborate on what this means. It is a general observation, not a doctrinal one, and it only speaks to inerrancy if one already presupposes that it does.

However, there is a third devastating problem. The ‘scriptures’ to which the author refers is the Old Testament. No New Testament collection existed when this book was written, and if Paul wrote this then many of the books of the New Testament did not yet exist. The larger context clarifies the problem even further:

But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

The recipient addressed in this letter had learned his faith (presumably about Jesus) from others who told him about it, and in addition he had known the ‘scriptures’ since infancy; this could only refer to the Old Testament. Unless the author intended to include his own personal letter in his statement, this passage is not part of the ‘scripture’ he calls ‘God-breathed’. Yet inerrantists claim biblical inerrancy based on this passage because this passage is inerrant—a circular argument.

Many ‘prophets’ claim to speak the direct word of God but have no evidence other than their own. I can say I have an inerrant message from God, but hopefully no one will just take my word for it. I suspect any person who claims inerrancy for themselves.

But this author does not claim inerrancy for himself or any other ‘scripture’. He makes a simple and reasonable statement, in a personal correspondence, that has been magnified in application far beyond its original intent.

Why Do Some Believers Teach Inerrancy so Fervently?

Later, I will discuss how thinking the Bible is inerrant causes great harm. Why would teachers of inerrancy teach such a harmful doctrine? I don’t think they do so in order to do harm; they do so because they believe it—they embrace this perspective because they were taught this way by someone else. It is part of their tradition, but it is a tradition of baggage.

Rather than castigate teachers of inerrancy, I think it is better to point out the reasons why it is misguided and to provide a better alternative. And there is a more realistic alternative to inerrancy of the Bible; we will talk about that next time.

Photo Credit: mark_turner_505 via Compfight cc
In this series:

6 Religious Beliefs that Cause Tremendous Harm
The #1 Most Harmful Belief Among Christians—Angry God
4 Ways that Believing God is Angry and Harsh Hurts People
The #2 Most Harmful Religious Belief—the Inerrant Bible (Today’s Post)
A More Realistic Alternative to Inerrancy of the Bible
4 Huge Ways Believing the Bible Inerrant is Tremendously Harmful
How Legalism Stunts Our Spiritual Growth
How Should We Respond to Those who Teach Harmful Beliefs?

Six religious baggage issues

Photo Credit: Christian Evolution
The purpose of this blog is to support those re-evaluating traditional religious beliefs. If you find the blog helpful, consider following to avoid missing future posts.
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Have a great day! ~Tim
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58 Responses to The #2 Most Harmful Religious Belief—the Inerrant Bible

  1. Great post Tim! This is an argument I often make when people ask why I even care if some people think and teach inerrancy. I see young kids who will on day have their paradigms shattered. I am going to share it but I want to wait until the next post is linked too.


    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      Thanks Eric! Let me point out that there will be two additional posts on inerrancy:

      1. A More Realistic Alternative to the Inerrancy of the Bible
      2. Reasons Why Believing the Bible is Inerrant is Harmful


  2. michaeleeast says:

    A credible and intelligent discussion of inerrancy.
    A new book by Richard Holloway “How to read the Bible”
    touches on these issues. It is short but pithy.


  3. consultgtf says:

    Sir, let me understand your point correctly, Bible is…
    Old testament- Totally/Completely believing in God, under His protection fully, but only few people.
    New testament- We are trying to the people to come back to God?
    Now- We are asking/requesting people, to atleast think about God…

    My son brought a photo, a black and white one, which we thought was lost… but it brought the full family to one place, and discussions started for hours…It was a photo of our, Great grand parents!
    Moral of the story:- Bible is God talking to us in different situations, Bible teaches us, how to live with examples of people who lived thousands of years back, though we may have developed from bullock-cart to Jet/Rockets…

    but The TEN COMMANDMENTS, still holds good from that day, even for tomorrow!
    That is GTF’s Commandments, Alfa & Omega


    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      Consult, I agree that the Bible is about people in various times, cultures, and situations; but I would have to say that I believe a bit differently. Much of the Bible is not God talking to us, but is written by people taking about God.

      The 10 Commandments are no more binding than the other laws of the Old Testament. All the laws and religious rules are now replaced by the way of love that Jesus taught, which takes us much further than the laws in behaving appropriately.


      • consultgtf says:

        Sir, according to me, By not following The Ten commandments only we have all the sufferings,

        Jesus did not get us new laws though! All are from the Old testament, Torah only, modified for the people of that age to understand, like Paul was writing letters to different people but the moral of all the letter was/are same, otherwise why would or could Nathan from India read and understand the same? that too after 2000 years.

        Sorry, the laws are made binding or not binding only when we follow!

        In India, the vehicles travel opposite to the road rules followed in America does it mean that the rules are not binding?

        This is my real concern, we are trying to replace God!
        (Jesus gave a modified version, for the reasons known to us only!)


        • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

          Thank you for sharing your opinion, Consult. In a couple months I will be addressing the harmfulness of living by religious rules, and I will be sharing more on the way of love that Jesus taught.


  4. I like your analysis of II Tim. 3:16. I might add that the inerrantists read a lot into “theopneustos” (God-breathed or God-inspired). There’s an unspoken assumption that it means a lot more than we might mean by “inspired” in other contexts, for example speaking of a movie as “inspired by a true story.” How do we know Paul doesn’t mean something like that? Well, maybe something a little stronger, but there’s a great leap involved in reading this passage as saying every word is directly “breathed” by God and inerrant.

    Another way I like to think about this issue: Inerrancy teaches that all Scripture speaks with one voice, and that is God’s voice. A more reasonable view, I’ve come to believe, is that we hear many voices in Scripture including (if we’re listening!) God’s voice.


    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      Alan, I really like your excellent comment on the word ‘inspired’. I think many parts of the Bible are inspired in the way you suggest. I also find works of other authors and poets inspired in the way they speak to me.

      The stories of Jesus’ teachings and actions are more than that–they guide my life, but even then the writers’ of the gospels are not inerrant in the way it is defined by inerrantist believers.

      As with you, I don’t flat-read the Bible as though it is one voice; it is many uncoordinated voices speaking their understanding of God and Jesus.


  5. Thank you for your approach to this delicate topic. It is a reality, as your own writing indicates, that there are many whose faith is tied to an external point of reference. If that referent is not absolute, then that person feels cast adrift and without a guide for nothing is certain. For many, that external absolute has somehow become this concept of The (inerrant) Bible. I’m not sure how or where that concept came to the fore, but it is deeply troubling both for those who ascribe to that ideal, and to those who have continued on with biblical study and come to realize additional understandings as to the nature of scripture (and have kept their faith).

    I’ve often wondered exactly how to address this question with a person, without the conversation becoming combative and confrontational. Just as someone pounding on a bible and beating me over the head with their 2 or 3 pet scriptural chunklets is a turn-off for me, I quite sure that anything that appears to be bible-bashing is a turn-off for people who just want something to believe in – and who are convinced that they’ve found it.

    So as ministers – where do we go from here? (I’m using the St. Augustine interpretation of the word minister eg. To move through the village having conversations with folks).

    It’s evident to me that Jesus himself referred to sacred texts by their individual character. He quoted from the scroll of Isaiah, he quoted the Psalms of David, he made extensive reference to the writings of Hosea and Ezekiel. Jesus also referred to what was written in the Law vis-a-vis. the Ten commandments as well as other laws from Deuteronomy. In other words, there was no “The Bible” as a codified single book for either Jesus or his disciples. They had, instead, sort of a working library.

    But back to the question of faith here. To me, going down the path of an inerrant bible (lowercase intentionally) is to move very close to the door of Idolatry. Idolatry is the practice of worshipping a physical object said to be endowed with the voice of a deity. As such, an idol can not be questioned. It is always marked with rather mystical rites, such as oracle requests. The powerful somehow always have an inside access to its favors, exemptions and entitlements. And idols always require outward shows of devotion which increase in cost over time. An idol demands love, but is powerless to love you back. Some may think I’m talking about God here, and I am not. I’m speaking about the human tendency to put an object in the place of God….going all the way back to Aaron, when Moses shattered scripture rather than share it with people lustful for their idols.

    I think that leaving room for the scriptures to breathe by avoiding the man-made “inerrant” descriptive enhances the ability of the divine message to move more freely. For instance, it allows me to focus on the social justice and return to faith message of Ezekiel, rather than focus on the way he frames his discussion. Scripture leads someone to encounter the divine, not because some human in some century or another has declared to be perfect and unquestionable, but because the scriptural message speaks to the human soul, and engages us with the divine.

    eh, my two cents. Thanks for the blog. Cheers.


    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      Country, you have contributed a number of very good points here. It is obvious that you have dealt with the issues surrounding inerrancy. I like your comparison of inerrancy to idolatry

      I also like your question “Where do we go from here?” in dealing with those who are vehement in the defense of inerrancy. It is an important, but difficult, issue. I think providing a better alternative in looking at the Bible, which I hope to do here shortly, is a possible step. But we cannot easily change the minds of inerrantists because it is so foundational to their entire paradigm of Christianity. However, there is a constant stream of inerrantists who begin to question inerrantist assumptions; it is these, who are already asking questions, that need our support and assistance in their scary journey out of inerrancy.

      As to where the idea of inerrancy originated, I think it has roots in Church history but received a significant boost when the reformers broke away from some aspects of Catholic thought. The Catholics called on tradition as their authority, and the Protestants had to counter that with a different authority, which was the Bible.

      But in the late 19th century, the developing evangelical movement in America was alarmed by two threatening forces from Europe–biblical criticism and Darwinism–which they thought undermined the integrity of the Bible. In response, they began to emphasize biblical inerrancy as developed by B.B, Warfield of Princeton University. When the movement coalesced around the ‘Five Fundamentals’ in the 1920s, inerrancy was among the five.


    • Chas says:

      I like that definition of ‘to minister’ = move through the village having conversations with people. It is the way that God leads me to walk in.


  6. gcleaver2014 says:

    I firmly agree with you–except that I might rank it the #1 most harmful belief propagated within many churches and denominations. It took me far too many years to reach that understanding. As I look back, I realize how much belief of an infallible Bible claimed to be fully inspired by God was indeed personally very psychologically damaging and harmful to me. From age nine onward I knew intellectually the Bible contained obvious inconsistencies and contradictions, especially regarding the nature of God, but it took me many years to admit to myself that much of the content of the Bible reveals more about humankind’s understanding of God and search for God than God’s revelation of itself. This is especially true for the Old Testament. It troubles me that conversation and discussion of such concepts is so denigrated (and sometimes seemingly near forbidden) in many fundamentalist and evangelical denominations. Such opposition to genuine discussion of biblical understanding is a cult-like aspect characteristic of far too many churches.


    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      Cleaver, I think you are right that, in many circles, questioning inerrancy in any way is strictly impossible; it IS very cult-like. Yet many of us have escaped anyway. I hope people like us who have overcome the baggage of inerrancy can gently assist those who are now in the fearful process of pulling away from it.

      You are probably correct about this being the #1 most harmful belief today instead of being #2. If I were planning this series again, I would likely make it #1. The reason I chose Angry God as #1 was because Angry God is much older and more widespread than inerrancy.


  7. SMB says:

    So nice to know I am not the only one who believes that the bible is a book of people’s diaries and stories over the years…their relationship and understanding of this relationship with the God of all. Thank you for sharing. BTW, we had a rabbi come to do a series on Exodus….he said that the words we translate for commandment is really a word we don’t have….more like “strong suggestion” . As a person who speaks more than one language, I can tell you that some words do not translate, so as Americans reading the bible, we might not always get the true “feel” of e words. Maybe this will help some people who struggle like I did.


    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      SMB, you are not alone; we are not alone. But there are many who are painfully working through the issue of inerrancy who feel very alone and isolated. At the beginning, it is for some a fearful time.

      The language/translation issue is one that does not seem to affect most inerrantists. As it applies to the words of Jesus as written in the Gospels, few consider that they were written in Greek–which is not the Aramaic language in which Jesus spoke them; so there is no way that we have access to the actual words of Jesus. But we do have the teachings and actions of Jesus as his earliest followers remembered them–and that is powerful in itself.


      • To hear the way some fundamentalists talk, you’d think the Bible was originally written in King James English.


        • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

          This was almost what I thought during my 10 years in fundamentalism. At least I knew the KJV was the only legitimate translation. (Revelation 22:18, 19):

          “For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.”

          If other translations happened to come into our possession–we burned them!


      • Chas says:

        Tim, I had not really appreciated the difficulty that people who have been raised in rabid inerrancy have in coming out of it, since I was not subjected to it as a child. God did not call me to follow Him until I was 47, so, although I believed that the bible was inerrant at first, it was easy for me to understand that God was drawing me out of it. He also had a good friend at church realize that the bible was inerrant at a similar time, enabling us to discuss it and agree on it.


        • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

          It is true, Chas, and is much like a superstition. If you think a thing is magical and powerful, it is very frightening to deny those qualities, because…What if you are wrong?! Then you will be somehow punished for denying it.


  8. Hi Tim, just wanted to say that I really appreciated this post, and I’m with you all the way! I too have found I simply cannot stomach the doctrine of inerrancy, and I believe it to be a deeply unhelpful misreading of the Bible.

    Interestingly, 1994 – your terrible year – was also for me (certainly at the outset) a time of the worst depression and mental anguish I’ve ever known. It was also, not entirely coincidentally, the time when I was beginning to come back to faith in Christ after some very prodigal years!


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  12. mike and brandy says:

    how have you come to know Jesus or Truth about God and Jesus apart from a reliable and trustworthy source (the bible)?
    going thru a bit of my own desert wanderings lately and am afraid I’m losing my faith.


    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      Hello M&B,

      I used to be a Christian fundamentalist, but over time I began to question some of the things I was taught. Over a period of years I changed my views on a number of fundamentalist doctrines after studying each one in some depth.

      However, after a crisis of faith over the issue of inerrancy, I discovered Jesus as the foundation of all my belief. My faith and confidence is much stronger with the teachings and actions of Jesus as my reliable and trustworthy source instead of an inerrant Bible.

      If you are interested, you can read about my spiritual crisis of faith and my discovery of Jesus as my foundation at

      If you have more specific question that you don’t want to discuss in a public blog post, or think I might be of further help, feel free to email me at


    • Hi mike and brandy,
      Mainly just wanted to echo what Tim said above!

      I think at some point many of us get to a place where we feel dissatisfied with our faith, and feel that we can’t really connect with many of the religious ideas or practices we’ve been taught. We often feel that’s a bad thing, as though we’re ‘falling away’, but actually I think it can be a good thing – the stirring of something deeper. Call it ‘godly dissatisfaction’ if you like! 🙂

      How we progress from there depends partly on our personality. For me it’s been partly about discovering a more mystical, contemplative approach to faith rather than the very Bible-based evangelical one I’d learnt as ‘the only way’. It was also about questioning everything and then coming (very gradually) to new ways of understanding things. So I haven’t necessarily rejected all the old doctrines but I now understand them in very different ways.

      It can be a pretty uncomfortable process though, as well as an exciting and liberating one! I really wish you all the best with the next stage of your journey.

      Harvey / ‘The Evangelical Liberal’


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  14. Gideon Marx says:

    I don’t want to enter into a huge discussion but the issue of Adam as first human can serve as an example. Inerrancy is depended on understanding. If I understand Homo sapiens sapiens to mean: man creative and aware, it separates Adam from other men and he is the first ‘human’ as we now understand the concept.


    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      Good point, Gideon! I think it is appropriate to think of Adam, symbolically, as the first real human among their ape-like relatives. However, there was probably a population of such individuals rather than just one outstanding individual who became the ‘first man’; and I don’t think we can associate such a person, or population, with the Adam of the Genesis story.



    The road to the truth about God and His plan for mankind is found in the Bible and the Bible alone. Those who believe that the Bible is not trustworthy, and filled with errors are the ones who trust extra-Biblical writings for the absolute truth.

    Why anyone would trust Bible commentaries and church creed books for the complete truth about God is mystifying? It that reasoning based on faith? Is that reasoning a product of wisdom from God? God tells us to pray for wisdom.

    How is it possible to not trust the Bible and then use the Bible, that you believe it not trustworthy, for your bases for writing absolute truth in church catechisms and other books that contradict Biblical facts?

    It is irrational to deny that the Bible is not God’s only trustworthy source for truth and then use it to argue opposite doctrines found in creed books and Bible commentaries that have been written by mere men.

    Trust the Bible and the Bible alone for God’s view or trusts the uninspired writings of men.

    Scriptures are inspired by God.

    The views of men are inspired by their own opinions.

    2 Timothy 3:16 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God……(NKJV)

    What could be more irrational than using a Bible you do not believe is the absolute truth and the only truth as the proof to validate a position contrary to Scripture?



    • Gideon Marx says:

      Here is your mistake. You do not know what ‘All Scripture’ means. Nobody does. What Scripture did Paul use? Did he mean Scripture that was still going to be written? Did he by saying this endorse the sayings of the Sages (Pharisees) and so the Talmud? Did he mean Scripture to include the Book of Enoch? The Scripture now found among the Dead Sea Scroll? You simply cannot use Timothy to make your argument.


      • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

        I like your response, Gideon. I think you are right on target. It is really good to see your comments, and I hope you continue to interact with us here on Jesus without Baggage.


    • Dear Steve, I understand where you’re coming from – I’ve been there myself, not all that long ago. But the alternatives are not ‘scriptural inerrancy’ or ‘irrational thinking’. And those of us who turn from a belief in inerrancy do not look for absolute truths elsewhere – rather, we accept that absolute truth cannot be fully available to us in this world, though it may exist in heaven. So we do not abandon our commitment to seeking reality, but we do not rely solely on a single source to lead us there (or if we do, we look to Jesus rather than the Bible as the real ‘Word of God’).

      An unswerving commitment to scriptural inerrancy requires one to turn a blind eye to what is obvious to most of us who have studied the Bible for years – that it simply is not inerrant, does not claim to be inerrant, and does not need to be inerrant in order to fulfil its purposes.

      Even if the claims of 2 Timothy were meant to apply to the whole Bible as we now have it (which they clearly aren’t), what they claim is divine inspiration, not inerrancy. The one does not imply the other.

      And even if we did have an inerrant Bible, we have to translate and interpret it to get to its meaning, and we cannot do this without a degree of human bias and potential misunderstanding. Those who claim that their reading of Scripture is led by the Spirit are always in competition with others who interpret it differently but also claim divine guidance.

      I understand why you feel the need to defend inerrancy, and I know that nothing I can say will deflect you from that path. But I wish for your sake that it could.

      Bless you,


      • consultgtf says:

        Bible is word of God, but those who can understand and live accordingly are very few, on the other hand those who can understand and whose FREE WILL is very powerful are galore! Only those will find fault in it.

        Imagine, if a formula was written about 3500 years back is still having the same effect, but in different environments also then we need to respect that formula! not find unwanted fault.
        Most always read Palms, others and for hitting others they use letters from Paul! Which is more than 1900 years old?
        NO ONE READS OLD TESTAMENT,WHY? which is the real treasure! Each and everyone’s life situation is already depicted in/by someone else, For which we don’t want to know how GOD punished for doing a sin like that.
        It is very simple, we have poster portraying a drunk driver getting involved in accidents, all his body parts shown outside his body after the accident, which means don’t drink and drive, but drunkards like me will never like see such posters as we are know that, it is OUR FATE ONE DAY! as we drive only after drinking!


        • Ex-evangelicals like me often like to say that it’s Jesus who is the real ‘Word of God’ (as in John 1), whereas the Bible is the ‘witness to the Word’.

          Many of us still value the Bible, even love parts of it, but for us it’s Jesus who’s utterly central, and the Bible comes second. And where parts of the Bible seem to go against the utter goodness, love, mercy and compassion that we see in Christ, we choose to follow Christ rather than those parts of the Bible.


          • consultgtf says:

            Sons of GTF, like us would like to these basic questions,
            Who is God
            Who is Jesus
            What was thought by Jesus, if differ from Old testament means that he was different.

            Prophets have been telling, we die if we sin and what is the difference now after you all voted for Jesus as god? (Trinity)
            John wrote what was his thought, though it was thought of many who contributed in his name.

            Is Jesus greater than God Thee Father?
            Or his teachings applicable for different world? As the Ten Commandments are still valid.

            Just FYI, Jesus never died to be risen, He lived a normal life and died in Kashmir Vally.


          • Hi ConsultGTF, the classic Christian (trinitarian) understanding is that Jesus is equal with God the Father, but Jesus is not above the Father, and Jesus does not replace the Father. What Jesus does is show us the Father more clearly than we could see before. We believe that when we look at Jesus, we see the Father.

            So Jesus did not come to replace the old commandments with a new set. Rather he came to show us what the old commandments were always really about, what underlay them – the divine qualities of mercy, justice, goodness, faithfulness and above all self-giving love.

            But perhaps above all, Jesus came to show us that we can’t by ourselves fully achieve these qualities. Rather, Jesus enables us to have God live within us by his Spirit, incarnating these divine qualities within us so that we can start to become truly loving, merciful, good etc.

            Well, that’s my own understanding at least.


          • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

            Well said, Evan.


          • jesuswithoutbaggage says:


            I must disagree with you regarding Jesus’ death and resurrection, as you are no doubt already aware. I firmly believe that Jesus died in Jerusalem as reported by the various early believers who wrote the New Testament.

            His death and resurrection defeated the power of death and assures us of our own future resurrections to live with him in the Father’s eternal community of peace, reconciliation, and joy.


      • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

        Evan, I have been a way for a few days and just now read Steve’s comment. But you, and Gideon, did an excellent job of answering his questions. Every point you made was solid and drove right to the center of the issue. I have no need to add to what you and Gideon wrote.


    • Chas says:

      The bible was written by men and is based on their understanding. Our understanding is from God (through the Holy Spirit), so the inspiration is in the reader, not in the writer.


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  20. freeoneindeed says:

    Excellent post Tim! Like you, I was devastated when I found out this truth about the Bible. I didn’t study to learnt it, I just knew it from within. Once I accepted it, I was set free, once more, from the baggage of religious tradition. Reading your post affirms what I’ve come to believe in my heart. Thanks you for your faithful and diligent search for truth!


    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      Thanks for the kind words, Jose. It truly is good to find others waling along the same road in our journey.


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  23. Bob says:

    2 Timothy 3:16
    I believe Adam Clark is correct when in his commentary he says, “This sentence is not well translated; the original – πασα γραφη θεοκνευστος ωφιλιμος προς διδασκαλιαν, κ. τ. λ. should be rendered: Every writing Divinely inspired is profitable for doctrine, etc.”
    Notice there is no “is” between writing and Divinely inspired (or God-breathed) in any greek text and yet the greek ἐστιν (“is”) appears in all other emphatic statements that I have researched. This completely changes the meaning of the sentence and it now makes sense. The “is” is not in the Wycliffe Bible (1395), Tyndale (1525) or Miles Coverdale Bible (1535).
    scroll down to verse 16
    see also

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