List of Common Bible Student Biases

The following list is a work in progress, so please be patient as it takes form.

Common thinking errors are frequently the result of “cognitive biases”—tiny “programs” of thinking that kick in in certain circumstances, and that predictably lead to erroneous conclusions in certain circumstances.  Example:  Billy was once robbed by an Italian, so he has since trained himself that “all Italians are thieves”.  Every time he sees or hears about an Italian, this thought (“all Italians are thieves”) comes immediately to his mind.  Obviously, however, not all Italians are thieves, so Billy is going to be wrong fairly often when he draws his conclusions about specific Italians from this bias.

What follows is a list of similar micro-programs that I have have observed in the way some folks think about the Bible and its contents.  Eventually, I’ll include some comments for all of what follows, but early on in this project, it may simply be a list.

Now, you may disagree in some instances below, thinking that not everything on the list is a bad idea.  But here’s a challenge:  If it’s good thinking, can you prove it!  I biased thinker simply doesn’t care if his biases are true or not.  So, do you care, and can you prove that your ideas are true?

  1. If I were wrong about my interpretation of this passage, I would know it.
  2. If something in the Bible were really, really important, the Bible would say so.
  3. If a Bible prophecy were fulfilled already, the Bible would record the fulfillment of it.
  4. If I don’t understand a passage, it’s probably not all that important.
  5. If it’s not in the Bible, I don’t need to know it.
  6. Everything I need to know is in the Bible.
  7. If something really important had happened (in Bible times), it would be in the Bible.
  8. If an interpretation feels wrong, it must be wrong.
  9. If an interpretation feels right, it must be right.
  10. If I can imagine something that seems to fit the words of a passage, then whatever I imagine must be a proper understanding/application of the passage.
  11. Psalms are “just poetry”, and should not be taken too seriously as a source of useful information.
  12. All Hebrew writings in the Bible are examples of parallelism, and therefore, the second of each pair can be dismissed as not adding anything further to what the first added.
  13. The Bible is complete in the information it gives.
  14. Everything in the Bible was put there by God.
  15. No scripture that was ever written failed to make it into the Bible.
  16. No scripture exists except what is in the Bible.
  17. The Bible was written “to us”, and should be read as if we were the primary audience God had in mind.


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