Conversations with Angie: Using the Bible as an historical source apart from assuming inspiration
Most of the information we have about Jesus and the early church comes from the New Testament, but it's not necessary to assume it's inspired by God before we can have reason to believe anything it says. My book shelf is full of books that aren't inspired by God, but I don't dismiss them all as completely unreliable for that reason.
In the case of the Bible, we can treat it as we would treat any other document from the first century. By subjecting it to the methods of historical inquiry, we can discover some things that are true about it.
There are good historical arguments to show that Jesus did consider himself to be the messiah, so we don't have to just take the Bible's word for it.
I don't think it's circular for me to rely on the Bible to support my statement that it isn't necessary to believe the Bible is inspired by God before we can have reason to believe that Christianity is true. My reliance on the Bible for to support that statement doesn't depend on the Bible being inspired.
But even if it DID assume the Bible is inspired, that wouldn't invalidate my point. I'm not arguing that the Bible is NOT inspired. I'm only arguing that it isn't necessary to believe the Bible is inspired before you can have reason to think Christianity is true.
Scott Pruett, who keeps up the Pensees blog referred me to a post on his blog that I think ties in well with this subject. Here is a link to it.
Conversations with Angie: Do parallels between the Bible and other cultures invalidate the Bible?