My mom was a world-class quilter. Her museum-quality handiwork once hung in the Colorado state capital. I have several of her quilts, each painstakingly stitched by hand.
A quilt features many pieces of cloth arranged by color or size into an ornamental pattern. Similarly, the Bible is a collection of variously shaped pieces (books) penned over sixteen centuries in three languages on three continents by at least forty authors. And who knows how many editors, redactors, priests and scribes played a role in the finished product. Miraculously, it’s a beautifully cohesive and coherent whole.
There’s nothing else like the Bible on the planet. There are other holy books that have spawned world religions; other anthologies of sacred writings that are revered by millions, but nothing with the intricacy or impact of the Old and New Testaments.
I believe the separate pieces were fashioned by human artisans and sewn into a divinely designed pattern. They used the thread and cloth (words and metaphors) available to them and God used the prophets and people available to him—without making them puppets.
Some say there’s not a stitch out of place in Scripture; that the original fabric is flawless. But this blanket (sic) statement is difficult to defend. An “all or nothing” argument creates more problems than it addresses and makes it harder for many to accept the book’s main message.
How can the Bible be inspired without being inerrant? The same way a teacher or pastor can be effective without being infallible. God works with what he has and somehow manages to “write straight with crooked lines.”
The important thing is that his book is authoritative in our lives.