- Publisher: Zondervan (1982)
- ASIN: B000OT2QXG
- Average Customer Review: 33 customer reviews
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Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties
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He recommends, "Be fully persuaded in your own mind that an adequate explanation exists, even though you have not yet found it... we may have complete confidence that the divine Author preserved the human author of each book of the Bible from error or mistake as he wrote down the original manuscript." (Pg. 15) He later observes, "Textual errors are demonstrable for 1 Samuel more frequently than for almost any other book in the Old Testament." (Pg. 169) About the discrepancy between 2 Chron 16:1 and 1 Kings 16:8 about the beginning of the reign of Elah, he admits, "Here we have a clear discrepancy in the Received Text." (Pg. 225)
He suggests, "In the case of parallel passages, the only method that can be justified is harmonization. That is to say, all the testimonies of the various witnesses are to be taken as trustworthy reports of what was said and done in their presence, even though they may have viewed the transaction from a slightly different perspective. When we sort them out, line them up, and put them together, we gain a fuller understanding of the event than we would obtain from any one testimony taken individually... Only injustice would be served by any other assumption..." (Pg. 16) Much later, he adds, "Bible critics who have never had any training in the law of evidences may decry the 'harmonistic method' all they wish: but like it or not, it is essentially the harmonistic method that is followed every day that court is in sesson throughout the civilized world." (Pg. 315)
He concludes that "the six creative days of Genesis 1 [were] distinct stages in the unfolding work of creation," and then argues that the tracks at Glen Rose, Texas show "clear footprints of some early human species [that] actually cross the tracks of those dinosaurs!" [An argument the Institute for Christian Research/ICR abandoned in 1986, it should be noted.] (Pg. 63) He adds, "evidences of similar intelligences [to modern chimpanzees and gorillas] in prehistorical 'man' are no decisive proof of humanity in the Adamic sense, nor of moral or spiritual capacity. Hence no strain is put on biblical credibility by these non-Adamic, pre-Adamic races, whatever their antiquity." (Pg. 65)
He argues, "we must conclude that either the unevangelized heathen are hopelessly lost, or else the Bible is grievously mistaken and must be corrected by those who have better theological insights than those found in Holy Scripture." (Pg. 387)
On the quotations in Jude of uninspired authors, he says, "It would be a logical fallacy to argue... that an inspired author like Jude was strictly limited to the contents of the canonical Old Testament for all valid information as to the past... In this case [Jude 14] the pseudepigraphical work has been preserved in which this same quotation is found... The mere fact that Genesis does not include this statement by Enoch furnishes no evidence against his having said it. This by no means demonstrates that everything in the Book of Enoch is historically accurate or theologically valid. Much of Enoch may be quite fictional. But there is no good ground for condemning everything that is written therein as false, simply because the book is noncanonical." (Pg. 430)
Some of Archer's conclusions may be surprising or controversial to some Christians, and no one ever agrees with EVERYTHING found in one of these "Bible Difficulties" books; but Archer's work is a substantial work of apologetics, and deserves study by all who are interested in this field.
In most places Dr. Archer gives thoughtful explanations to difficult Bible passages. It will stimilate your thinking.
It isn't hard to observe that reviewers of Archer's work and the Albright School's legacy tend either to gush or to sneer. Neither response is entirely appropriate, though the gushers win on points.
What Archer possessed that most of his critics do not is the ability to allow the biblical authors the benefit of the doubt when a statement they made seemed to contradict the evidence, common sense, or--for Archer a very important matter--affirmations common to the rest of the Bible.
No doubt Archer over-reached in the attempt to harmonize difficulties. His work must most assuredly be subjected to this claim and will with some regularity be found wanting. Yet he worked the angles before he cried 'uncle', a patience and a discipline that too few onlookers are prepared to exercise. When he argued from linguistic data, he was seldom wrong.
This book can now look quaint in the light of a generation of biblical scholarship by men and women trained in the classical disciplines and profoundly respectful of the biblical text. Archer, who did not have the luxury of such company, was fighting a rear guard battle.
If all is not fair in war, some shortcomings are at least less difficult to understand.