At Christmas—what we can believe about the Bible

For centuries the authenticity of the Bible went unquestioned in the Christian Church. But within more recent history, debates have developed about the "historical accuracy" of the Bible. Scholars have published numerous views, for example, on what has come to be called "the quest for the historical Jesus." Questions range from "What are the exact words of Jesus?" to "Was there really a historical man, Jesus?"

At Christmastime, this kind of debate no longer seems academic to us. We read "the Christmas story," the account of Christ Jesus' birth as recorded in the Gospels, and want this deeply moving, beautiful story to be true (Our heart assures us that it is.)

Research concerning the historical accuracy of the Bible is important, but does the real value of the Bible depend on historical verification? In his book The Bible Makes Sense, Walter Brueggemann says, "I suggest that the Bible is precious to us because it offers us a way of understanding the world in fresh perspective, a perspective that leads to life, joy, and wholeness." And Christian Science adds that as we read the Bible looking for this "fresh perspective," something wonderful happens. We discover that we can prove the veracity of the Bible in our own lives; we ourselves can experience the truth of the Bible's message through healing.

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"How shall this be...?"
December 23, 1991

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