Bible Catechism – Lesson 13

Lesson 13:
The Bible And History

1. Is the Bible an historical book?

The Bible is not an historical book per se; it is primarily a religious book; but it does contain a certain amount of historical teaching, which benefits from inerrancy, like all the rest of the Bible.

2. Why would historical teachings benefit from inerrancy?

A great number of historical facts are intimately united to our Faith in such a way that one cannot deny the historical facts in the Bible, without denying the Faith.

3. Give an example of such a connection between our faith and history.

The historical fact of the Resurrection of Our Lord cannot be denied without denying our Faith at the same time, for: “… If Christ be not risen again, then is our preaching vain, and your faith also is vain …” (I Cor. XV, 14).

4. How are we to account for the apparent contradictions between the Bible and history?

There are several reasons which account for these apparent contradictions:
– Most of the time the apparent contradiction is due, either to a poor understanding of the text, or to a poor understanding of the context.
– When this is not the case and we have historical sources which contradict the Bible, it is the Bible which, time after time, is finally proven right.

5. Give an example of the Bible being proven right against historians.

Barely two hundred years ago, most of the non-Catholic historians denied the existence of the Assyrian and Babylonian empires, because the only known historical references of the time came from the Bible. The archaeological excavations of the last century not only proved the existence of both empires, but located their capital cities: Babylon and Ninive. No self-respecting historian will doubt the existence of these civilizations now.

6. So the Bible is always historically correct?

Yes, it is undoubtedly better to take God at His Word, than any self-proclaimed “Expert historian.” Most of the historians who cling to an historical interpretation which contradict the Bible, do so because of their religious prejudices, and not for any serious historical or scientific reasons.

7. Can history be of any help to the study of the Holy Scriptures?

Yes; a good historical background is very useful for a proper understanding of many parts of the Bible.

8. Is the Bible helpful in the study of history?

Yes: both as an historical source and as a guideline to avoid errors. 

 

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