16When Herod realized that he had been outwitted by the Magi, he was furious, and he gave orders to kill all the boys
 in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had learned from the Magi.

Matthew 2:16

For many in our community the gospel account of Jesus’ life is something more akin to a Disney fairytale than it is to real history. Much of this thinking is a trickle down from the university where academics have written off much of the Bible as unhistorical.

But how fair is this understanding? Take today’s passage. Several historians and Biblical scholars of the more sceptical disposition have claimed that a massacre of this amount of children would surely be noted in other sources. And yet, only Matthew of all the gospel accounts and only Matthew of any written account records this event.

So. What are we to do with that? Well, firstly, there are plenty of moments in and around Jesus’ life that are only recorded by one gospel account. So nothing too strange there. Also, often historians considering this event have speculated that hundreds, if not thousands of children may have been killed.

But R.T. France and other Biblical scholars have plausibly suggested that it may have been as few as 10. Bethlehem was a village in a less populated area. There may have only been 1000-3000 inhabitants of the region. That leaves very few children around two years old or under. Especially when many children of the time died in childbirth of natural causes.

So actually, it’s really understandable that no one recorded this event other than Matthew. No one had reason to. Compared to some of the other things Herod did (killing his own children for example), this may have been seen as relatively minor.

What’s the point? The Bible really does stack up as history. Yes, we believe by faith. But it’s faith backed by reason, logic and history. I hope that’s encouraging for you today.

For Today:
  • Do you know someone who doesn’t believe the Bible is historical?
  • Do you have doubts sometimes about the truth of the Bible? Why/Why not?
  • Give thanks for the many historical details that point to the truth of our faith.

  • Praise the Father that He is outside of time and history.
  • Give thanks for Jesus who is the beginning and the end of history.
  • Ask God for His Holy Spirit to help you and others have certainty about the truth of the Scriptures.
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