That's Embarrassing! Why Does the Bible Say That?!
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That's Embarrassing! Why Does the Bible Say That?!

It was a beautiful day in Colorado. Spring was wrapping up, and my wife, my best friend, and I were looking forward to a day of fishing in the mountains. Before we made our way to a new fishing spot, I checked the water conditions. I knew that though it was a nice day in Denver, the mountain lakes, which take longer to thaw out, might still be frozen. After a quick search, we found out that our lake, according to a recent review, only had skim ice, surface ice. It was a bit of a drive and hike to the lake, but once we arrived, we were able to take a look at the lake for ourselves. And what did we find? The lake was not covered in skim ice as the review had stated, but thick ice covered 95% of the lake. We tried a few spots but with no success. We had to return home and try again another day.

The above actually happened to me, except I left out one critical part. My wife and my best friend, who were with me that day, remember the rest of the story well. I left out the part where I was visibly upset that we were unable to go fishing. I hiked down the mountain and pouted. It was embarrassing. I acted like a child over a failed fishing adventure.

Why tell you this embarrassing moment in my life? What is the point? I think we all have stories in our lives, stories from our past, that we alter as we tell others. We change or modify the account to leave out the embarrassing parts. For the most part, we edit our stories to make us good.

What is curious about this common practiceof editing out the embarrassing points of a personal account is that it is not found in the Bible. The writers of the New Testament were unashamed about including details about themselves and the closest followers of Christ that were raw and unedited. Frank Turek explains why these embarrassing details matter: [1]

“[W]hen historical accounts contain events embarrassing to the authors (or heroes of the authors) those events are probably true. Historians call this the principle of embarrassment, and it’s one reason why I think the writers of the Bible are telling the truth. There are far too many embarrassing details about the supposed heroes of the faith to be invented.”

The New Testament writers do not shy away from recording the problems the early church faced (Acts 15), or misunderstandings they may have had (1 Corinthians 14, 15). But even before the establishment of the church in Acts 2, embarrassing details are included in the gospel accounts concerning the disciples. They are described as dim-witted (Mark 9:32, Luke 18:34) or uncaring—they continually fall asleep on Jesus the night he is betrayed. The Apostles are rebuked--Peter is called "Satan" by Jesus (Mark 8:33). They doubt the resurrection (Matthew 28:17, Luke 24:11).[2]

Embarrassing details are also included about Jesus Christ, the hero of the New Testament. He is called a “madman” (Jn 10:20), “drunkard” (Mt 11:19), and “demon-possessed” (Mk 3:22, Jn 7:20, 8:48). He has his feet wiped with hair of a prostitute (Lk 7:36-39).[3]

All of these unedited and embarrassing details, from the early church to the disciples, to Christ himself, point to the authenticity of the New Testament books.[4]




[4]See “I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist.” By Norman L Geisler& Frank Turek,

Crossway, 2004.

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