AI Hallucinations, Chatbots, and the Truth of Holy Scripture

EMQ » July–September 2023 » Volume 59 Issue 3


Summary: While limitations and potential nefarious uses need to be considered, AI also offers tremendous opportunities in missions that can help the gospel to spread further and faster than ever. A partnership between SIL International and Christian Vision envisions AI chat tethered to God’s truth making the gospel accessible by anyone. 

By Jeremy Hodes

“We know that we shall behold a Mocker of Defamers; and, as the defamers, we are of the mockers.”

John 5:5

If you’re not familiar with this verse, it’s because it doesn’t exist. The real John 5:5 reads “one who was there had been an invalid for thirty-eight years,” but that didn’t stop an early version of the AI model behind ChatGPT from simply making this verse up when I prompted it to “create a list of quotes from the Bible about truth and include the book, chapter, and verse.”  The other 4 verses on the list it generated were also fake. 

With OpenAI making a splash in recent months and their partnership with Microsoft leading to a potentially disruptive rollout of the new Bing search engine,i it’s likely you’ve heard at least something about these developments in artificial intelligence (AI) technology. You might even have tried them out for yourself. 

AI technology represents a tremendous leap in potential productivity gains. What it offers holds promise for a myriad of missions endeavors. In fact, Christian Vision ( and SIL International ( are already working on AI technology that will spread the gospel further, faster, and in ways that are more useful to more of the peoples of the world than ever before. 

At the same time, no work in AI should proceed without examining its limitations, ethnical challenges, and conceivable nefarious uses. The more mainstream AI becomes, the more obvious these issues are. 

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