I thought I might do a little something, this year, that would help me focus on what this season is really about, and maybe it could help you, too. I’m going to take the story of Jesus’s birth, found in Luke 2, and go verse by verse, 1 through 24, to see what happens. Here we go…
(This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) Luke 2:2 NIV
The passage above has been read a million times, by people all over the world, when reading the beloved story of Christ’s birth. It’s a point of historical reference given by Dr. Luke, or so it seems. But, truthfully, I’ve never done any digging on it, or Governer Quirinius, for that matter. When I did, I opened a BIG theological can of worms.
It seems that regardless of the incredible historical accuracy with which Luke recorded his account (in references to 32 countries, 54 cities, and 9 islands), he was off on this one. According to widely known historical accounts, Quirinius was governor of Syria from AD 6-9. This one fact has been used over and over and OVER to dispute the accuracy of the Bible. One verse of the Bible out of 31,102 verses has been played as the trump card.
However, there has been new evidence that has come to light. The verses says, for instance, that this was the first census taken while Quirinius was governor, which implies there was a second. It seems that the same Greek word used for governor in Luke 2, is a word that mean “leading, or in charge of,” and is also used to describe his leadership in Syrian military conflict from 12 to 2 BC. A Latin inscription discovered in 1764 adds weight to the idea that Quirinius was in a position of authority in Syria on two separate occasions. There was definitely a taxing during this time and therefore, quite possibly, an associated census, the details of which may have been common knowledge in Luke’s time, but are now lost to us.
I think what it all boils down to is that we either believe the Bible as the inspired Word of God, or we don’t. Much like we believe that the little baby born to a virgin and laid in a manger was, in fact, the Savior of the world, or we don’t. It’s a faith issue. We are a planet filled by human beings with limited human understanding, picking apart the Word of an unlimited God. We are not supposed to get it all of it, or there would be no need for Him in our lives.
I, personally, believe it all to be true because of what He has written in the pages of my own story, and in times of doubt, all I have to do is read back over it to be reminded of His faithfulness. If you are among the naysayers who are getting hung up over the Governor Quirinius’s in your life, read back over the pages of your own life and you’ll see.
The Truth is written all over it.
All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness…~ 2 Timothy 3:16 ESV
Once again I’ll go over what God has done,
lay out on the table the ancient wonders;
I’ll ponder all the things you’ve accomplished,
and give a long, loving look at your acts. ~ Psalm 77:11-12 MSG
I really like the Advent studies. Thanks for doing the digging. I’ve read so many accounts of where unbelievers study the bible to disapprove it and can’t and end up becoming strong believers of God’s word…..I certainly believe it to be true and am so thankful for His faithfulness in my life!!