A lot of movies today begin with this opening statement: “Based on a true story.” I guess I know what that means, but the question is always this: How loosely based on that true story is it? Based on a true story could mean almost anything.
My bride and I just finished watching a flick that opened with, “Inspired by true events.” Okay. So what does that mean?
I think there’s an attraction to stories that are true to life. The attraction is even greater when the story is factual. That attraction breaks through the ceiling if the entire story really depicts events as they actually happened.
After I watch a movie that is somehow based on a true story, or at least inspired by one, I always have one question (especially if I thoroughly enjoyed it). That question is, “How close to the real thing was this storyline?” Sometimes, it irks me enough that I have to do some research to satisfy my curiosity. Other times, it just bugs me for a while.
I suppose there are people who have the same reactions to the Bible. Some people wonder if it’s true. Others wonder if it’s even based on a true story. Others simply believe that it’s inspired by true events.
I don’t think about that too much while I’m preaching, but there are times I stop and wonder how people take to the Biblical events as portrayed in Scripture. Personally, I’ve always looked at things from a relatively simple perspective. I believe it’s true, so I preach it that way. I suppose people who don’t view it that way don’t come back to hear me a second time.
A lot has been made over the years about Biblical perspectives. Is the Word to be taken literally? Is it the inerrant Word of God? Does it simply contain a Word from God if you look for it? Or is it just a collection of weird fairy tales and myths that are entertaining at best?
Biblical archeology is our best friend when it comes to this debate (at least from my perspective). I’ve heard it said that the more we dig up, the more the Bible is proven to be reliable. A great (and obvious) example of this is the Dead Sea Scrolls. They proved how accurate the scribes were over the years at replicating and preserving the Word.
Of course, most of us aren’t Biblical scholars or archeologists. We have to rely on the work other people do. It doesn’t (or, at least, shouldn’t) stop there, however. We have to do our own work to build upon their foundation.
The great thing about Scripture is that it’s there for everyone. It’s not hidden away in some secret monastery somewhere. It’s not written in some secret code that only some ancient guru can interpret.
No matter how you view it, I urge you to take advantage of it. It’s life changing (and definitely inspired by true events).