Does the Bible contain mistakes, legends or fables?
Throughout history, skeptics have rejected the claims of the Bible to be the Word of God, arguing that it is a book full of errors and contradictions. Some of this skepticism stems from the notion that no book as ancient, as often translated, as widely disseminated as the Bible could escape inevitable human errors. Similarly, skeptics by nature are suspicious of all exclusive truth claims attributed to God because humans have a notorious history of attributing their own views to God. This skepticism comes from an underlying assumption that anything that claims to be miraculous, supernatural or “religious” is, by definition, mere superstition or myth. Denying the possibility for the miraculous, they deem any miracle story or supernatural event found in Scripture as historically suspect. From this anti-supernatural bias, these skeptics automatically categorized the Bible as the fanciful expression of ancient myths reconstructed to justify political rule over superstitious masses.
The Christian faith teaches that the Bible is historically accurate and trustworthy. As the Word of God, we can expect the Bible to speak truthfully in every subject. After all, if God is the God of truth who communicated his truth in the past and superintended its encoding, then we can confidently affirm that the Bible, in its original manuscripts, contains no mistakes.
Even a casual reading of the Bible is enough to reject labeling its stories as myths and fables. Its uniqueness is especially appreciated when the biblical writings are compared to the primitive literature of the ancient Near East, the cradle of civilization and the geographical birthplace of the Bible. In this central location, surrounded by powerful and influential nations like Egypt, Assyria and Babylon, one would expect the Bible stories to take on the absurd pagan notions and strange myths associated with the religions of ancient Near Eastern peoples. Instead of reflecting these superstitious worldviews, the Bible actually refutes them and exhibits the power and majesty of the Creator God over the inadequacies of the various pagan deities.
It is reasonable to assume that the peoples of the ancient Near East would hold certain beliefs on creation, explanations for human tragedy, floods, plagues, etc. In fact, there are a number of creation accounts and flood stories, well-known in their day, which have been deciphered by archaeologists. Scholars have discovered a few similarities between the biblical accounts and ancient stories like the Enuma Elish and the Gilgamesh Epic. However, these similarities with ancient myths are best explained as a corrupted retelling of the actual historical events of the creation and the flood. The real history is recorded in the Bible. The Bible corrects the mythological tendency to deify nature. There is no ancient belief system that comes close to the majestic truth of the Bible.
History and archaeology verify that the Bible is not an assortment of myths, fables and legends. The Bible is historical and corrects the myths held by the ancient world.