I Was Wrong

Hi Pascal,

You mentioned that at least one of the issues I was having trouble with in the genealogies of Jesus (specifically, the cursed line complication I talked about in A Skeptical Response to the Bible – Romans 1:1-7 and Paul and Gamaliel, Forbidden Ancestry, and the Throne of David) may not have been a serious issue. I expected to be wrong about some of the things I’ve written here, so the news did not come as a surprise. When I looked it up I noticed that you were correct. I am thankful for your patience and argument. It is, indeed, a relief to have one issue that isn’t as significant as I feared. It doesn’t make much of a dent overall in my confidence in the Bible, but I do owe you a debt of gratitude for keeping me from one of my biggest fears… misrepresenting the truth. I want to find the truth, not distort it. Let’s look at my error a little more closely to see how this happened and how I can make such errors less likely in the future.

I quoted this:

“This is what the Lord says:… none of his offspring will prosper, none will sit on the throne of David…” – Jeremiah 22:30

That’s the reading I was struggling with and the verse segment I presented. But as you pointed out, that’s not the whole verse.

Here’s the full verse in NIV:

This is what the Lord says: “Record this man as if childless, a man who will not prosper in his lifetime, for none of his offspring will prosper, none will sit on the throne of David or rule anymore in Judah.”

This context makes it less clear that the whole judgement will be extended passed his lifetime. Many skeptics may still argue that it still is a problem, but I give the Bible the benefit of the doubt whenever I can. Perhaps that’s my own motivated reasoning. I can accept this reading enough to put this issue aside.

Here’s the full verse in the Strongs I usually refer to.

So what happened? I care so much about being accurate. Why did I miss this? I think I heard it misquoted, copied it from a different source than the Bible that didn’t include the whole verse (the sources insisted it was an error), spent so much time trying to disprove the error by assuming it was a different Jehoiakim, confirming to my dismay that it was the Jehoiakim that was actually in Jesus’ lineage, and listening to video after video and article after article that also mentioned this problem (and ways around it – even the Christian ones which confirmed of the issue) – eventually I just forgot to go back to the source material and read it all. This honestly is my biggest fear with blogging about the Bible. I don’t want to mislead or misrepresent what it says. I’m very careful to read everything closely. But I made a mistake. Somehow, I just did.

I’m truly sorry. I’m honestly equally skeptical of the arguments coming from both sides in this debate, but I missed this one. Thank you, Pascal, for revealing it to me.

This doesn’t solve any of the other problems, which are great and numerous, but it does remind me that I need to spend even more time confirming and double-checking sources. There are still many other issues (a very small taste) I have with the genealogies which we’ve already discussed (and some I haven’t brought up because they sound a bit extreme), but as I mentioned at the beginning, genealogies were never a significant issue for me. I was just staying on topic to issues I saw related to Romans 1:1-7.

Because I’m so concerned with accuracy, my approach has been to never quote the Bible here without first fully/closely reading every passage in context, checking Strong’s, and looking for explanations on as many sides of the argument that I can find. I’ve written so much, that this one slipped through. I vow to redouble my efforts.

Honestly, I’m not interested in bringing up issues I’ve found while reading the Bible. It’s not something I enjoy. I think it would be good if some people were a little less certain (for many reasons, including helping them understand and tolerate skeptics). There are some things about the Bible they need to see to realize that it isn’t as airtight as we hope, but I don’t want this to continue to be that blog (any more than necessary). I don’t want to attack the Bible, or to be wrong when doing so. It’s hard to know who to trust as a source, and even when you do none of us fully know the original intents of the authors. Add simple mistakes on top of that and it’s a recipe for propagating half-truths (or half-issues) about the Bible. I just wanted to provide a taste of what I’m seeing so you can get an idea that my distrust is warranted. I hope I’ve done that, because we’re both ready to move past this Bible critique soon. 🙂

Pascal, I greatly value your friendship. Thank you for helping me past this problem and preventing me from adding to other people’s mistrust of the Bible with what I now view as a non-conclusive issue.

Gentleness and respect,
–Russell

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