Question: What does Biblical Criticism mean? Is it describing atheists and agnostics who deny the Bible as the Word of God?
Answer: In a secular sense, it may be thought of that way; but, as applied biblically, it is not. Biblical Criticism is the science which seeks, by careful and detailed inquiry, to secure the exact words of the original manuscripts of the Bible. There are two branches:
- Historical Criticism. This seeks to determine the age (date), authorship, composition, sources, character, and historical value of the documents, as judged by internal evidence. It does not hesitate to use the sciences of History, Geography, Ethnology, and Archeology. This is known as higher criticism.
- Textual Criticism. This seeks to determine the exact and correct text of the Scriptures as it existed in the original documents, when freed from errors, corruptions and variations which have come into it during the long process of copying and recopying. This is called lower criticism.
- Canon. This word also has reference to our line of thinking. Canon is from the Greek word “KANON,” which is probably derived from the Hebrew “KANEH.” The meaning is, “a measuring rod or rule.” Secularly, it could be applied to carpenters or masons using a line to keep things straight. As applied to Scripture, it is the measuring rod or straight-edge, the testing rule, or critical standard by which each book of the Bible must be tested before it was admitted as a part of the sacred Scriptures.
Our Bible, the Word of God, containing sixty-six books by forty different writers, and written over a period of approximately 1500 years, has not one—yes, not one—discrepancy or contradiction. Many scientific facts were recorded before man ever became aware of them. The reason is simple.
“All scripture (the Bible) is given by the inspiration of God (i.e. “God breathed.”), and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.” - 2 Timothy 3:16