Don’t Myth The Boat
By J.R. Ensey
Impossible! Beyond the laws of physics! Could never happen!
Who ever heard of a whale swallowing a man and then spitting him out on the shore? Or
the universe standing still during a battle? Or fire falling from heaven to destroy a city? Or—
get this—a world-wide flood and eight people and hundreds of species of animals being
saved by boarding a giant boat!
Fairy tale stuff!
Never in the history of mankind have so many tried so hard to mythologize the Bible.
They desperately try to convince us that things like that just do not happen. “Just myths,”
Can we really trust the Bible? Are the stories really true?
The amazing Book we call the Bible was written over a period of approximately 1600
years by 40 different men. It was written on three continents—Africa, Europe, and Asia. Yet
it is inerrant, containing undiluted truth that has been proven accurate many times over, and
is read and trusted by millions worldwide. It has been subjected to criticism, scrutiny, and
close examination for centuries, but it has outlived each of its critics. It is still the world’s
best selling book.
The story is told of a visitor to a blacksmith shop who watched the smith pounding away
with his hammer on the anvil, shaping a horseshoe. Noticing the beating being given the anvil,
the visitor asked, “How many anvils have you worn out over the years?” “None,” replied
the smith, “This is the same one I started out with. But I have worn out a lot of hammers,”
pointing to several which had been discarded in the corner of the shop. The Word of God has
been beaten upon by many skeptics and doubters over the centuries. It is still around; they are
gone. The home of the famous eighteenth century French atheist, Voltaire, who declared that
he would see the demise of Christianity in his lifetime, was turned into a Bible publishing operation
after his death.
Those who say that the Bible is not scientifically reliable, is historically inaccurate, outdated,
or is the work of man alone, are inevitably crushed beneath the juggernaut of truth and
proven experience. They are left behind with the dust of time covering their writings while
the Bible is still read from thousands of pulpits each week. “Heaven and earth shall pass
away, but my word shall never pass away” (Matthew 24:35).
The Bible itself claims to be the Word of God to man (II Timothy 3:16; II Peter 1:20,21).
It claims that even though it was written by human authors, it was inspired by God. The word
“inspired” means “God-breathed.” The Bible originated in the mind of God, then the Spirit
influenced the individual Bible writer to put down the message God wanted mankind to have.
“Moved” is literally “borne along” by the Spirit. That doesn’t mean that their own personality
or individual style of writing was overpowered, but that they were kept from error as they
The individual writers affirmed the Scripture’s claims for itself by accepting the other
parts of the Bible as the Word of God. When Daniel read Jeremiah’s prophecy that the Babylonian
captivity would last 70 years, he accepted it as true and began to pray and plan accordingly
(Daniel 9:2). Peter accepted the supernatural origin of the writings of the Old Testament
prophets (II Peter 1:21), as well as Paul’s epistles (even though he said some things
Paul wrote were difficult to understand - II Peter 3:15,16). John said the writings of the apostles,
along with his own writings, were inspired and authoritative (I John 4:6). Paul claimed
the words he wrote were directly from God (Galatians 1:11,12; I Thessalonians 2:13; I Corinthiwords
he wrote were directly from God (Galatians 1:11,12; I Thessalonians 2:13; I Corinthians
B. Another reason that we can trust the Bible as the Word of God is its astounding unity
and supernatural preservation. The writings of man are marked by disunity and contradiction.
Virtually every book written by more than one person contains discrepancies or significant
differences in philosophy, facts, emphases, or ideas. Even those written by one author
may contain contradictions in fact or logic. Bible scholars are amazed at a book written by 40
different men, coming from many different walks of life, composed in three languages, with
400 years between the Old and New Testaments, yet manifesting continuity and consistency
in doctrine and facts.
As branches, roots, trunk, and leaves comprise one tree, so the parts of the Bible make up a
single unit. Its prophecies match, the doctrines agree, the narratives are quoted accurately in
other parts of the Scripture. Even though none of the original manuscripts written by the biblical
authors are known to exist today, we can be confident that the Bibles we use most today
(KJV, NKJV, NIV, etc.) are accurate translations from those original texts. The Old Testament
books were either recorded on papyrus (a grassy reed whose inner bark was dried and
glued together to form a paper-like substance) or parchment (the scraped and dried skins of
animals). As these would show wear from use, or needed to be read at different places simultaneously,
they would be copied by scribes. These copyists were pressed to be extremely accurate
and were governed by rigorous procedures.
For hundreds of years the methods of the Masoretes, a sect of Jewish scribes, were scrupulously
followed. First they would count all the letters on a page. Then when they finished
copying the page, they would count the letters on the copy to see if the numbers agreed. This
would keep them from copying a word twice, omitting a word, skipping a line, or copying
the same line twice. If the counts did not agree, they would destroy the copy and start again.
Because of that system the texts that came down to us through the years is virtually errorfree.
The Bible’s accuracy in science is often challenged but not disproved. Simply because
the Scripture mentions “the four corners of the earth” (Isaiah 11:12; Revelation 7:1) some cry
that it is favoring a flat earth. Not at all. This passage is merely referring to the four directional
extremes: North, South, East, and West. Others claim that a whale’s throat is not large
enough for one to have swallowed Jonah. The Bible, however, informs us that “God prepared
a great fish” (Jonah 1:17). Believers know that if God can create the whale, He can
make the whale’s throat large enough to accept a man.
Doubters appeal to such passages as the sun standing still for Joshua, Balaam’s talking
donkey, or the walls of Jericho falling flat. Some, of course, cannot be verified scientifically
today, but some can. The remains of Jericho reveal that it could have happened just like the
Bible describes. Christians believe in miracles, so a cock crowing in a timely fashion, or a
dead man raised to life again, or the blind being made to see is not difficult to accept.
The Bible is not a science textbook. It often uses figures of speech to describe facets of life
that science attempts to describe in different terms. When the Scripture speaks of the sun setting,
it is a way of saying that day is giving way to night, not an attempt to affirm that the sun
moves and the earth is stationary. If the Bible used scientific language to describe everything,
no library could hold all the volumes it would take to tell it. And other generations could not
understand it. Should it have been written in terms known in that day, we would scoff at its
simplicity. Should it have been written in the language of today, certainly no one in any previous
generation could have comprehended it. For instance, only 76 root Hebrew words were
used in the first chapter of Genesis to describe the creation. How marvelous is our God!
When the Bible is interpreted correctly, and science arrives at proven conclusions, they are
found to be in perfect agreement.
It is convenient for those who do not wish to abide by the moral codes and high ethical
standards of the Bible to attempt to discredit it. If they can succeed in convincing themselves
that it is only a myth, some dreamer’s concoction, then they feel comfortable to live by their
own standards. They would not have to repent of sin, be baptized in the name of Jesus, or receive
the Holy Ghost. They would not have to fear the judgment.
Our advice to them: Don’t myth Noah’s boat! If they do, when the old ship of Zion sails
away to glory (they shudder at such a metaphor!), they will “miss” the Boat!