The Bible and a Little Detail
|by||Kyle Butt, M.A.|
If the Bible really is the Word of God, then we should expect it to be totally accurate. Not only should it be able to get the “big” details right, like the emperors of Rome or the locations of major cities, but it should be equally as accurate with smaller details like names of specific, obscure people, or details concerning foods or local customs.
When we critically analyze the Bible in regard to these “little” details, it quickly becomes apparent that the Bible shows the same fidelity in these small areas as it does in those that would be considered much larger. For instance, in Acts 10:6, the Bible notes that the apostle Peter was staying with a man named Simon, who was a tanner. The text also explains that Simon’s house was “by the sea.” What is the significance of Simon’s house being by the sea?
Tanning, the process of making usable leather from animal hides, was an extremely distasteful job to many in the first century. Because the process often involved decaying animal skins and the use of animal feces, ancient tanning was extremely foul-smelling. In order to process hides for tanning and clean the foul-smelling agents away, tanners need large amounts of water. The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia states: “Simon’s house was by the seashore, as is true of the tanneries along the Syrian coast today, so that the foul-smelling liquors from the vats can be drawn off with the least nuisance, and so that the salt water may be easily accessible for washing the skins during the tanning process” (“Tanner,” emp. added). Where would you have expected a tanner to live in the first century?—by the sea, exactly where Simon’s house was said to have been in Acts 10 (see Jackson, 1986, p. 64).
Regardless of the “size” of the detail, the biblical writers were perfect. The tiny details that fill the inspired text are exactly what we expect from a book that was authored by the omnipotent, infallible Creator.
Jackson, Wayne (1986), Background Bible Study (Montgomery, AL: Apologetics Press).
“Tanner” (no date), International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, [On-line], URL: http://www.bible-history.com/isbe/T/TANNER/.