When discussing religion with people, I have often been told by Christians that the Bible is the perfect, infallible Word of God. While, I do believe the Bible is the Word of God, I do not accept that is either perfect of infallible. I don’t think it is necessary to accept that it perfect in order for it be a benefit in my life. I generally interpret the Bible as a metaphor for how to live one’s life. As such, I often find myself explaining that I don’t believe in a literal interpretation of the Bible. There are a lot of things in there that just don’t make sense if taken literally. Take the following passages from (one from each of the four gospels). They all describe what was written over Christ’s head as he hung on the cross.
Matthew 27:37 And set up over his head his accusation written, THIS IS JESUS THE KING OF THE JEWS.
Mark 15:26 And the superscription of his accusation was written over, THE KING OF THE JEWS.
Luke 23:38 And a superscription also was written over him in letters of Greek, and Latin, and Hebrew, THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS.
John 19:19 And Pilate wrote a title, and put it on the cross. And the writing was, JESUS OF NAZARETH THE KING OF THE JEWS.
What I find so intriguing about these passages, is that none of them is exactly the same. If the Bible is inerrant, then there should not be a discrepancy here as to what each of the authors saw. Since they’re all describing the exact same scene, there shouldn’t be any variation. At least not something that would have been objectively verifiable as written words.
I have no problem accepting that the Bible was written by men, inspired men, but men nonetheless, who are fallible and prone to mistakes. With evidence such as this, it is impossible for me to accept that the Bible is without error. To do so would require me to abandon reason, and as Galileo so nicely put it, "I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use."
The error is duplicated in multiple translations of the Gospels.