Old Testament Issues that Unnecessarily Challenge Faith

Jeff discusses several issues: the flood, Jonah & the whale, Genesis’ creation account, and others.

The Bible is similar to a library. Lots of books there. Lots of books from different genres or styles there. Not all the books are historical non-fiction. Same with the Old Testament.

Some in the Old Testament is poetry. Some is parable. Some is absolute history. But not all is absolutely historical.

Did the Good Samaritan story really happen in the New Testament? Probably not.

Did Jonah really get swallowed by and remain in the belly of the whale? For three days? Almost certainly not.

Ben Spackman is a helpful source on this topic:


Some feel the Old Testament is largely fiction. Whales, arks, towers to heaven, Satan singling out Job, and more. Some feel the resurrection isn’t possible. Not historic. Same with other scriptures and miraculous events.

Chora's "Anastasis"
“Hê Anastasis” (“The Resurrection:)
A fresco painting in Istanbul’s medieval Chora Church depicts Christ standing upon the smashed doors of the Underworld, retrieving Adam and Eve from their long bondage there.
(Wikimedia Commons public domain image)

Dan Peterson shares his thoughts: Historicity: Does it matter?

Removing some of the often-present confusion on this topic of historicity, Ben Spackman articulates the Bible has multiple genres.

In Ben’s own words: “Often times when reading scripture, the assumption is made that the text is either literal or figurative, but these two categories are insufficient to describe the different genres of scriptures.

It would be more helpful to approach the Bible as if it were a library that contained books of many different genre instead of being all the same type of writing. No Christian would presume to label all scripture as parable. Likewise all scripture should not be labeled as history. The Bible contains books of satire, law codes, poetry, parables, myth, conquest narratives, and prophetic revelation among other things…”

A special focus on Book of Mormon historicity below:

Brant Gardners 2004 FAIR conference lecture, A Case for Historicity: Discerning The Book of Mormon Production Culture.

Bible: divine, human book

I like Michael Heiser’s — not a Mormon, but a believing Christian scholar — view that accounts for the data.

He doesn’t get pigeonholed on how he must think or not think about scripture.  It’s not a choice between these 2 options:  1)  Moses wrote the Torah or 2) The first 5 books of “Moses” are a lie and deception.

He says he believes the Bible is a “divine, human book.” You need both adjectives, not 1 adjective. Smart dude. Speaks like a Latter-day Saint!

Listened to this yesterday:

From LDS scholar, Ben Spackman:

Episode 45: Misunderstanding the Bible – Benjamin Spackman

More from Ben:

Episode 71: Genesis 1 – Benjamin Spackman


Michael Heiser explained how the Old Testament was formed. Lots of editing, redacting, “errors”, etc.

Shouldn’t be a surprise, really.  Languages evolved. So did the text.