"If this world is still in existence after the end of 2011, we will know that there is still much more we can learn from the Bible."
- Harold Camping, "Time Has an End," Preface, page xxii
Mr. Camping is right about this. The problem, I fear, is that on January 1, 2012, he will not recognize that his fundamental view of the Bible as a sort of code book for the end times. Instead, he'll just try to find where he made a math error, as he did after his previous book (1994?) proved to be erroneous.
While we appreciate Mr. Camping's recognition of his own fallibility: "We are the first ones to understand that we are not infallible in our conclusions, and that there may be correction at some time in the future," and while we recognize that he is showing some prudence in not fully expecting that the 2011 claim will come true, "we make decisions as if the end could be quite far away ... contracts are negotiated as if the future was altogether indefinite," still it would be better for him to recognize the purpose of Scripture:
John 20:31 But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.
The purpose of John's gospel is to write so that people would believe and be saved.
1 John 5:13 These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.
Same for John's catholic epistle as for his gospel. He wrote so that we would believe.
2 Timothy 3:15 And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.
The Scriptures are able to make one wise to salvation, which (as noted above) is their purpose.
2 Timothy 3:16-17
All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.
Again, the very purpose of Scripture is not just to furnish the believer but to do so "throughly."
John 5:39 Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.
Scripture reveals Christ, and the command to "search" at least suggests that Christ can be found by those who search - but we are to be searching for Christ, not for the date of His second coming.
1 Corinthians 10:11 Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.
Scripture is written for our admonition, for us to learn to walk godly.
Romans 15:4 For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.
The Scriptures were written for our learning, comfort, and hope - not as book of codes. (See also Romans 4:23-25)
So I do hope that Mr. Camping will know that there is much more for him to learn about the Bible, and the above are some places for him to begin.