“And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed. (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.)”
Skeptics are forever trying to find errors in the Bible so that they can discredit it as God’s Word. When a faithful Bible scholar discovers some puzzle in Scripture, he never assumes that he has found an error. He assumes that he doesn’t have all the information necessary to resolve the question.
As believers would expect, every so-called puzzle that has been resolved has been resolved in favor of the accuracy of the Bible. In each of these cases, those who said that they had discovered an error in the Bible were proven wrong.
One of the more interesting puzzles that was finally solved concerned Luke’s account of Christ’s birth. Was Cyrenius really governor of Syria when Christ was born in 4 B.C.? Scholars knew that he was governor in 6 A.D. But there was no evidence that he had governed Syria in 4 B.C. Some 19th-century scholars wrote that Luke must have made a mistake with the date of the census, since Cyrenius wasn’t governor when Christ was born. Then, in 1912, an inscription was discovered that was dated to around 10 B.C. It said that Cyrenius was governor in Syria and Cilicia around that time. In other words, Cyrenius ruled the area as governor at least twice, including when Christ was born.
As God’s Word, Scripture’s accuracy can be trusted. Nothing has ever disproved the truth of anything in the Bible. The Bible can be trusted even when it talks about historical events. That’s true even when the Bible talks about the history of the creation of the world.