People often claim there are thousands of errors in the Old Testament. It is notable who the people are: unbelievers, atheists or theologians who betrayed God. By betrayal we mean learned scholars who no longer accept the Bible as the inspired Word of God, a supernatural book.
How does one judge such comments about the Old Testament? You consult an expert. Today we want to introduce you to one: Dick Wilson. He was born in 1856 and studied theology. He decided that his life’s work would be the defence of the Old Testament. To do it, he divided what he thought would be his productive life into three periods. In the first 15 years he would study Biblical languages, in the next fifteen years the Old Testament history, and in the last fifteen years he would write down his findings.
He accomplished that goal. He became familiar with about 26 languages and dialects of the Old Testament period. He collected over 100,000 quotations from those languages to illustrate basic facts about the Old Testament. In his last fifteen years he wrote down his findings.1
In one of his books, A Scientific Investigation of the Old Testament, he writes, ‘In conclusion, let me reiterate my conviction that no one knows enough to show that the true text of the Old Testament in its true interpretation is not true.‘ 2 The results of his extensive studies convinced him that the Old Testament can be trusted.
As an example of the attacks on the Old Testament today, Wilson remarked about Genesis 14 (Abraham defeats Kedorlaomer and the kings allied with him and rescues his nephew Lot): Against the historical character of this narrative we have the assertion of …other critics of our times (only about 4,000 years after the supposed expedition) that the expedition was ‘simply impossible,’ and that the account may have been fabricated (or forged) by some person unknown, at some time unknown…. Not one item of evidence in the way of time, place, logic, language, psychology or customs has been produced to prove it. But then ….says it is ‘simply impossible,’ which is then echoed by …other learned professors. And this assertion of ‘simply impossible’ is called an ‘assured result of scientific criticism.’ 3
It is remarkable how true his statement is even today. The ‘experts’ tell us data in the Old Testament is simply impossible, and often we are swayed by them (he explains the truth of Genesis 14 in his book). Instead we should consult the Holy Spirit first and then people like him who at least know their subject.
What do we conclude? If you hear somebody talk about the many errors in the Old Testament, ask about their qualifications? Have they mastered as many Biblical languages and dialects as Dick Wilson? Have they studied the history as intensively as he did? If they did, then you can listen to them. Until then, trust Dick Wilson’s conclusions rather than people like Dan Barker, Richard Dawkins or Richard Carrier.
Please note that the criticism of the Bible will never stop. The devil will only give up when he is finally thrown into the lake of fire. Till then we have to be content that the Bible will be mocked and criticised. However, rest assured. We have a supernatural book of truth, straight from God’s heart. If we listen to it rather than to the devil and his coworkers, we will see the face of God one glorious day (Revelation 22:4).
- BH Edwards, Nothing but the Truth, Evangelical Press, 1993 (second edition), p 133-140.
- RD Wilson, A Scientific Investigation of the Old Testament, Moody Press, Chicago, 1959, p 13.
- Ibid, p 25.