Is the Bible full of myth or miracle? The answer you get depends on who you ask. Critics take aim at the Bible for the supernatural claims it makes. Miracles don’t happen, they say. Everything in the world has a natural explanation. What looks like a miracle in the Bible is actually a myth or fable. Not so fast.

The apostle Paul instructed Timothy not to pay attention to myths and warned him about people that purport them (2 Timothy 4:4). The apostle Peter also made sure that his readers understood the true nature of what he wrote. “For we did not follow cleverly devised tales when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 1:16).

Thomas Jefferson believed the supernatural claims of the Bible were bogus, as did most deists in his day. Jefferson used his pen knife to edit all miracles out of the Bible. I don’t recommend The Jeffersonian Bible, but you can still purchase the third president's thin version of the word of God at The Jefferson Memorial in Washington D.C.

Jesus is the Son of God, the Creator of the universe, and the Savior of the world. He was also a supernaturalist by all accounts. He punctuated his Messianic claims with miracles that authenticated His claims. Jefferson’s Bible, on the other hand, presents an emaciated Jesus who performed no miracles.

Some people want their biblical cake and eat it too. They respect the Bible and its moral teachings but deny its supernatural claims. In doing so, they treat the Bible like the story of George Washington and the cherry tree. They reason, we don’t know if George actually chopped down the cherry tree and said “I cannot tell a lie” when confronted by his father. But it doesn’t matter because there’s a good moral to the story. That sort of reasoning isn't good enough for a word that comes from God.

Myth has no basis in real history. The people, places, and events in a fable or fairy tale are not real. But the Bible is not like Greek mythology, Aesop’s fables, or Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. The people and places mentioned in the Bible are real. The events actually happened, at least that’s the way Jesus viewed them.

Long before the higher critics, Thomas Jefferson, and others like him denied the supernatural, Jesus spoke of many Old Testament miracles as historical fact, including creation (Matthew 19:4), Adam and Eve (Matthew 19:4-5), Noah and the flood (Matthew 24:37-39), and the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah (Matthew 12:39-41). Jesus also made no mistake about how the story of Jonah and the great fish really happened.

Jesus actually tied the historicity of His own resurrection to the greatest fish story ever told. He said, “For just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the sea monster, so shall the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth” (Matt. 12:39-41). Jonah and Jesus were both “three days and three nights in the belly.”

If the story of Jonah is a fairy tale, then so is Jesus’s resurrection. But don't go there. We know that the greatest miracle that ever happened—the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ—is no myth.

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“Every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good.”

Romans 8:28 MSG