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The Bible and the Koran: A Fundamental Difference in Approach

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The Bible and the Koran

A Fundamental Difference in Approach

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Today we are blessed to have many translations of the Bible along with multiple commentaries, dictionaries and other biblical helps available for studying God's Word as never before in history.

Our study of Scripture involves reason. The human ability to reason, analyze and imagine is a wonderful gift from God, springing from our having been created in His image (see Genesis 1:26-27). Clearly the Bible encourages the proper use of our reasoning powers. "Come and let us reason together, says the Lord" (Isaiah 1:18).

During His earthly ministry, Jesus Christ asked His disciples many questions, reasoning with them on a daily basis. On one occasion a non-Israelite woman asked Christ to heal her daughter of demon possession. At first He replied that the children in a household should be fed first—referring to the Jewish people of His day. But she reasoned with Him in a right attitude, and then He gladly complied with her request, praising her faith.

In contrast, the Islamic approach to the Koran differs markedly from the biblical model of reasoning. Author David Burnett states: "In Islam, it is the revelation given by Allah that is all important, not intellectual knowledge by analysis. It is the Qur'an [Koran] that is the embodiment of that revelation and so for the Muslim it is beyond question or reason . . . The importance is not in understanding it, but the significance depends on its own intrinsic power. Thus the Qur'an should be memorized but not necessarily understood. Learning is primarily by rote and not by deductive logic" (Clash of Worlds, 2002, pp. 116-117, emphasis added).

Our minds matter! Christianity is not a mindless religion. God does not want us to suspend our reasoning powers when clearly confronted with questionable or hopelessly ambiguous information. Our Creator made us with the capacity for rational thought, a divine attribute of the image of God. Of course, we must in humility reason with God's Word and not exalt our human reasoning above His clear revelation (Proverbs 3:5).

In any case, trust in God and His Word is to be a reasoned faith, not a blind faith.