There is a tension between historical accuracy and literary artistry.
Some preachers are so concerned with historical accuracy that they are blind to the literary artistry. Every narrative offers nothing more than a chance to probe the historical accuracy issues, an apologetic opportunity to reinforce our confidence in the biblical text.
Some preachers are so concerned with literary artistry that they seem unwilling to accept the possibility of historical accuracy. Every narrative is so well written that it must therefore be playing fast and loose with the facts. The listeners are impressed with the skill of the writer, but left with the distaste of deliberately fictitious presentation.
We don’t need to fall into one camp or the other. It is not either/or. It is both/and.
I believe we should be alert to all the evidence of historical accuracy, both within the text, and in biblical archeology, etc. Let’s build the confidence of our listeners in the veracity of the biblical accounts. Let’s not act as judge and jury over whether Jesus actually said this or did that.
At the same time as holding to the accuracy of the Word, we need to honour both the human author and the inspiring Spirit of God in recognizing the masterful communication that is the Bible. It is brilliantly written. We don’t have to lose one to affirm the other.
Let’s preach in such a way as to build confidence in both the accuracy and the artistry of the text. It is true and it is effective, for the God who inspired it is a God of truth, and a God of great communication!