Would A Chronological New Testament Help Address The Problem of 'Biblical Inerrancy'?

Over at Huffington Post, Marcus Borg writes that we could all benefit from reading a chronological New Testament. He states, "This matters not just for historical reasons but also for Christian reasons."

"About half of American Protestants belong to churches that teach that the Bible is the inerrant "Word of God" and "inspired by God.""

I have written in these pages of the problems with biblical literalism and the belief in biblical inerrancy, and I feel strongly that many of the most divisive social and political issues would not be issues if we as a society could accept that Biblical inerrancy is a relatively recent development.

Borg writes:
The key word is "inerrant." Christians from antiquity onward have affirmed that the Bible is "the Word of God" and "inspired" without thinking of it is inerrant. Biblical inerrancy is an innovation of the last few centuries, becoming widespread in American Protestantism beginning only a hundred years ago. It is affirmed mostly in "independent" Protestant churches, those not part of "mainline" Protestant denominations. Catholics have never proclaimed the inerrancy or infallibility of the Bible, even as many have not been taught much about the Bible.

Biblical inerrancy is almost always combined with the literal and absolute interpretation of the Bible. If it says something happened, it happened. If the Bible says something is wrong, it is wrong.

For Christians who see the Bible this way, whatever Paul wrote to his communities in the first century is absolutely true for all time. For them, whatever the Gospels report that Jesus said and did really was said and done by him. So also the stories of the beginning and end of his life are literally and factually true: he was conceived in a virgin without a human father, his tomb really was empty even though it was guarded by Roman soldiers, and his followers saw him raised in physical bodily form.

These Christians are unlikely to embrace a chronological New Testament. It would not only change the way the see the Bible and the New Testament, but also make them suspect and probably unwelcome in the Christian communities to which they belong.
Read the full post here.

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