Several times in the past few months, editor Hershel Shanks has suggested that I write a column on the relationship between faith and the academic discipline of biblical scholarship. His suggestion was motivated in part by the letters to the editor generated by recent columns.
Many letters contained variations of three different questions. How can I be Christian and say the things I say? What is the relationship between historical scholarship and Christian belief? What is the relationship between “historical truth” and “truth”; must historical narratives in the Bible be considered really to have happened in order for them to be true in other important senses?
Rather than treating the above questions one by one, I will make nine brief interconnecting statements that, taken together, do much to describe how I combine academic biblical scholarship with being a Christian. Although I write as a Christian, I do not thereby intend to exclude non-Christians from the conversation.