It’s very difficult for us, in our western minds, to see past what’s right in front of us. If something is left unproven or questionable we throw it out, we’re skeptics. So what do we do? We prove it… we rationalize and explain away everything so much that we don’t stop to see whether or not it even needs proving to be true. It’s comfortable to limit truth value to fact or fiction. Truth is that truth goes much farther than that. The scriptures are absolutely true; I will argue that to the death… but take a while to see that truth does not need us to prove it for it to be true. What if Noah never built an arch? What if Paul was never even in Rome? What if Jonah never was eaten by a whale? Could the stories still be true? It’s scary and painful, even, to ask these questions. It is at least uncomfortable for the western cultured Christian to think this way. It makes no sense to us. We need proof, we need it to fit into our box we call truth.
Shall we try to think outside the box?
I am not; in any way, out to say that the Bible is not "inspired by God." We know the stories are true because they're our stories. It's not that they happened that makes them real it's that they happen. Jonah was true because it was Jesus' story, it’s our story. Jesus was giving a picture, comparison; He did not confirm or deny the historicity of the matter when He compared himself to Jonah. He simply confirms its truth.
Personally I believe Jonah, for example, really did ride in the belly of the whale because it's more comfortable for me to believe it. If I just believe it, historically, then I don't have to stretch my mind as much.
Can you try, in honesty, for a second to see that truth is bigger than fact? Whether or not the stories really happened is worth arguing but in the end they're not just true because they happened, they're true because they happen. We know it's true because we see it, we experience it, and it’s our story.
The Bible amazes me. We should never stop questioning it and reading it because, if we let it, it’ll be different every time. We have to allow it to work on us to knead our hearts and reveal what’s there to us. They are there to inspire us to act. We learn and then act. If we’re ignorant and oblivious to what God cares about then they’re empty. Gods call is to bring Heaven here. It is to free the slaves, heal the sick, and empower the oppressed, lift up the weary. If our studies lead us to anything less than those (in whatever form we must do it in) then they are worthless, I don’t think God even likes them, He hates them. The scriptures are drenched in God, inspired by God yet we end up serving them instead of God. If we over concern ourselves with proving and defending the history of the bible then we neglect the meaning, the truth.
Doubt it, question it. Sure, prove it, discourse its content… but see that it’s big, bigger than the box. Blow up the box and see. We know Jesus is alive not just because His resurrection happened but because it’s happens and Jesus is alive… in us.