At first glance, it would appear the Bible shares quite a few similarities with a beloved fairy tale. In both, you’ll find things like magical encounters, talking animals, royal family drama, far off kingdoms, and of course the theme of good versus evil. Does this mean the Bible is a fairy tale too?
To help answer this question, I’d like to point out some substantial differences between the Bible and fairy tales. Because, while the similarities are notable, there are also a considerable amount of differences that distinguish the Bible from any other book in the world, particularly fairy tales.
Differences Between the Bible and Fairy Tales
1. Fairy tales are stand-alone stories, most often having a singular author. The Bible has nearly 40 authors and is actually a compilation of 66 individual books that make up one larger story. The official author is considered to be the Holy Spirit of God, who inspired these varied writings of men.
All Scripture is breathed out by God (2 Timothy 3:16, ESV).
But prophets, though human, spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit (2 Peter 1:21).
2. Fairy tales are varied and numerous. There are always new ones coming out and they have changed considerably over the years. The Bible is one book, and it does not change.
Even though its parts were written a long time ago, over the span of 1500 years, in three different languages, by many different people, for many different reasons, the complete compilation is cohesive and still very much relevant today.
Amazingly, as older (closer to original) manuscripts are discovered, the integrity of the text is continually confirmed.
3. Fairy tales, don’t typically contain actual dates, places, people, or religious themes. For the most part, they are imaginative and whimsical in nature. The Bible speaks of many verifiable dates, locations, people, and events, along with having a religious theme.
It consists of actual recordings written and referenced within the ancient Hebrew nation, and eyewitness accounts later shared among the first-century church.
That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched — this we proclaim concerning the Word of life (1 John 1:1).
All these were entered in the genealogical records during the reigns of Jotham king of Judah and Jeroboam king of Israel (1 Chronicles 5:17).
4. Fairy tales don’t invoke spiritual emotion. The Bible indeed brings one to godly reverence, prayer, conviction, joy, and hope.
For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart (Hebrews 4:12).
5. Fairy tales are generally loved or neutral. The Bible, though loved by many, is not neutral. No other book in the world has received such persecution and disdain as the Holy Bible. To this day, Bible translators and preachers are murdered across the world, while thousands of Christians are martyred every year for their faith.
6. Fairy tales are known for their happy endings (the modern ones anyway). The Bible, for many, isn’t a story that ends “happily ever after.”
Anyone whose name was not found written in the book of life was thrown into the lake of fire (Revelation 20:15).
7. Fairy tales are not autobiographical in nature. The Bible is Jesus’ story, intertwined within the complete history of humanity. At its core, the Bible is the greatest love story ever told, given to us in the most unconventional way.
“You study the Scriptures diligently… These are the very Scriptures that testify about me” (John 5:39).
See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! (1 John 3:1).
8. Fairy tales are intended for entertainment purposes; books, plays, etc. — they don’t contain specific calls to action or personally applicative messages. The Bible’s individual stories and writings were originally recorded for practical purposes, never with the intention that they would one day become what we know as the Bible.
They also weren’t combined for their entertainment value, but as a useful source of God’s identity, truth, purpose, and will.
Let this be written for a future generation, that a people not yet created may praise the Lord… (Psalm 102:18).
(Scripture) is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work (1 Timothy 3:16-17).
9. Fairy tales are not prophetic and do not predict the future. The Bible contains nearly 2,500 prophecies that were each given as predictions of events to come. Events that were entirely beyond human knowledge or reasoning. 2,000 (and counting) have already been brought to fruition, exactly as foretold.
As an example, Psalm 22:16 references the coming messiah’s crucifixion, long before this form of a death penalty had ever been used.
“If what a prophet proclaims in the name of the Lord does not take place or come true, that is a message the Lord has not spoken (Deuteronomy 18:22).
But Is the Bible What it Claims to Be?
I think it’s fair to say that the Bible doesn’t qualify as a fairy tale. What remains is the underlying question, can it really be what it claims to be? The fact is, not everyone agrees that the Bible is the True, Inspired Word of God. There are even a good number of professing Christians who have doubts.
On the other hand, there are also those who have doubts that the Bible could ever be fiction. I, myself, have been unable to reconcile questions like:
- When has a fictional book ever seen such levels of persecution over it? If the Bible isn’t real, what’s the big deal?
- How does one explain all the fulfilled predictions across millennia or the consistency among diverse authors, if not supernaturally inspired, somehow?
- Who, in their right mind, would ever voluntarily choose a tortuous death for a story they had any doubts about, as so many have? With great peace and joy, even!
- What is it about Jesus (and His Story) that continually affects non-believers to a radically changed heart towards God, with an unexplainable life change?
It is only in the Bible that these answers become crystal clear. Not as a fictional work, but as God’s Word (2 Timothy 3:16), God’s Truth (John 17:17), as a guiding light (Psalm 119:105,) as a source to understanding (Psalm 119:130), and as the key to complete freedom (John 8:31-32). A freedom found nowhere else outside of the Good News shared within the pages of Scripture. Which is this, that Jesus is who He says He is, as these pages prove, quite assuredly.
The Son (Jesus) is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven (Hebrews 1:3).
“We have seen his glory” (John 1:14).
The Bridge of Personal Conviction
To anyone who has doubts and is seeking to further understand, I encourage you to start praying like the father of the epileptic boy at Jesus’ feet. He cried, “help me overcome my unbelief!” (Mark 9:24).
You may even consider taking a look at the increasing evidence available to support the Bible’s validity. There’s quite a bit, particularly as archeology and science continue to make new discoveries. There are even secular sites, like History.com, that write about Jesus as a real person.
However, it’s no secret that there are some parts of the Bible that are easier to believe than others, so it never hurts to increase your knowledge and be confident that your faith isn’t a fairytale.
The Bible tells us, “Draw near to God, and He’ll draw near to you” (James 4:8), and that we can taste that the word is good (Hebrews 6:5). But it’s only by His Spirit we are able to comprehend the things of God (1 Corinthians 2:14). Thankfully, He gives to those who ask! (Luke 11:13).
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Amy Swanson resides in Connecticut where she has recently discovered a passion for Bible study and writing. By God's continued grace, she now enjoys helping others better understand their Bibles, while also being an advocate for biblical church integrity. As a mother of three and a wife of 13 years, she blogs less than she'd like to but shares Scriptural insights, encouraging truth, resources, and musings on her FB page.