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"The Bible Is Full Of Contradictions"  



 

A good question to ask someone who raises this objection is, "Can you name three?"  Most people cannot name three, or even one.  This is an example of an assertion people have heard, and they just adopt it as their own without having done their homework.  As we begin to look at this objection, let's start by defining some terms.  

Here are some very basic definitions:

Inerrancy - Free of error.

Infallible - Incapable of error.

 

Let's define two more terms:

Contradiction - To oppose, or deny the truth.

Paradox - A statement that seemingly appears to be a contradiction.  

                
The statement that the Bible is full of contradictions is not only false, but there isn't even a single contradiction in all of Scripture. What we do find are paradoxes, difficulties, and other hard to understand verses. St. Augustine once said, "If we are perplexed by any apparent contradiction in Scripture, it is not allowable to say, the author of this book is mistaken; but either the manuscript is faulty, or the translation is wrong, or you have not understood." To put it another way, the mistakes are not in the revelation of God, but are in the misinterpretations of man.  

Although human authors recorded the words, it is clear that all scripture is God-breathed (2 Timothy 3:16), and it came from the mouth of God (Matthew 4:4).  Also, the Bible strongly states that "it is impossible for God to lie" (Hebrews 6:18).  Jesus said to the Father, "Your Word is truth" (John 17:17).  In addition Psalm 30:5 says, "Every word of God is flawless."  So the Bible itself sets the stakes high, saying it doesn't contain a single error or mistake.  So what about all the people who say the Bible is full of contradictions?

Remember that the Bible was written by approximately 40 different authors over a period of around 1,500 years. Each writer wrote with a different style, from a different perspective, to a different audience, for a different purpose. We should expect some minor differences. However, a difference is not a contradiction. It is only an error if there is absolutely no conceivable way the verses or passages can be reconciled.

 

Almost every attempt to point out an error in Scripture will fall into one or more of the following categories:

 

Category #1      Not understanding the context of the passage

A very simple easy to grasp example of this is to look at Psalm 14:1. Someone could actually say, "The Bible itself says, 'There is no God.'" Of course the whole verse reads, "The fool has said in his heart, 'There is no God'". This is an extremely simplified version of this type of common mistake, but it illustrates the concept of context well.

Category #2      The Bible uses everyday common language

We experience this everyday. After watching the weather report on TV, you wouldn't call to inform the news station that the sun doesn't actually rise and set, and then explain to them the reality is the earth is revolving and rotating and that gives us the impression of the sun rising and setting. It's understood. This is the language we use and we all understand what is meant by it. On top of that, the Bible is not a scientific textbook. People who read it that way are missing the point. At the same time, factual science and correct Biblical interpretation will never be at odds with each other.

Category #3      The original text of the Scripture is without error, not every copy

The Bible being inspired of God doesn't mean that every copy is inerrant. This may scare some Christians, but give it some thought. I could write a Bible verse - "Jesus wwept." Now I wrote that verse, but I wrote it wrong. Does that mean the original is also wrong? No. I made a copyist error. That's all. You would still understand it's meaning.
A few facts about copyist errors:
They are relatively few in number.
They are minor errors. Often it is a name or number. No doctrines are affected.
There are so many manuscripts we can look at to determine which are in error, and therefore preserve the original message.

Category #4      Assuming that a partial account is a false account

If one witness says that he saw an angel at the tomb, and another witness says he saw two angels at the tomb, how many were there? Answer: 2 
If there were two angels there, then there was at least one. It just so happened that one of the witnesses reported seeing only one angel. If that witness had said that there was ONLY one angel at the tomb, then we may have a contradiction.
 

Category #5     The Bible uses multiple literary devices

Failure to realize that the Bible contains different styles of writing can cause lots of difficulties. It contains poetry, narrative, parables, similes, metaphors, satire, hyperbole and more. If we're not careful in our understanding of these figures of speech we can enter into all sorts of confusion.

Category #6     Confusing general statements with universal ones

This is especially true in the Book of Proverbs. "Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it." Proverbs 22:6 Critics will point to the children of Job, Eli and David who each had some children that strayed from Godly principles. This verse is not an absolute guarantee, but a general guideline for child rearing. It is helpful to our daily life, but that's not to say there aren't exceptions.

Category #7     Demanding precise citations amongst authors

Every time an author, usually in the New Testament, quotes an Old Testament author the citation need not be exact.  Many times the NT author gives the idea or meaning from the OT without quoting it precisely.  This is a perfectly acceptable way of communication. 

Category #8     Assuming that round numbers are false

We need to give the same liberties to the Biblical authors that we would writers of today.  They used round numbers instead of exact precision to give us an estimate in relaying certain details.  Again, the Bible is not a textbook, and one shouldn't expect scientific precision when it's not demanded.

Category #9     Failure to understand progressive revelation

A later revelation will supersede former revelation. Antagonistic Bible critics will ask Christians why we eat shellfish, wear blended fabrics, or not comply with other admonitions. This gets complicated, because it has to do with an understanding of different covenants and the Biblical revelation as a whole. We are not under that old covenant, during that time of Theocracy. It's not that we just pick and chose which commands we will follow, and which ones we'll ignore. This is known as progressive revelation in which each command is for a particular individual during a particular circumstance.

Category #10     Assuming the unexplained is not explainable

Skeptics used to say that the Bible contained myths because it spoke of the Hittite people, who were not known by historians. Then the Hittite people's records were located in Turkey and it was revealed that the Bible had it right all along. Since there are currently other truths that we have yet to discover, and there remain Biblical difficulties yet to be understood, it doesn't mean that the answer is not out there. If the Bible is true, there won't be a single discovery that will contradict what the Bible has already revealed in its pages. There hasn't been one yet. 

On a personal note, I used to be skeptical in regards to the claims of biblical inerrancy. What I did was get a huge list of what people claimed to be errors and contradictions in Scripture. I began working through that list with Bible commentaries, apologetic (defense) resources, and most of all prayer, and what I found was for every single apparent problem in Scripture there is a logical intelligent answer. Admittedly, some are more satisfying than others but the answers are there. Here is what I found out: It's an issue of the heart. If you come to the Bible with a hard heart looking for problems with it, you'll be able to find what you believe to be error and inconsistency. In my personal opinion, God put apparent contradictions in Scripture to reveal the heart of the individual. If you want a reason to not believe this Book, you can find it. On the other hand, if you, like me, come to the Bible with a desire to know your Creator, He will reveal His truth to you.  

"In faith, there is enough light for those who want to believe, and enough shadows to blind those who don't." Blaise Pascal    


 Related Page:
 
Is The Bible True?  

 


 

 

 

       


Questions

The Big Question

Does God Exist?

What Is The Bible?

Is The Bible True?

Who Is Jesus?

Is Jesus In Every Book Of The Bible?

Is Jesus God?

Did Jesus Fulfill Any Prophecies?

Did God Create You?

What About Reincarnation?

Are You Going To Heaven?

What Is The Truth About Hell?

What are the Essentials of the Faith?

Who Will You Believe?

Want To Find A Good Church?

Looking For A Church In Harrisburg, Pennsylvania?

Which Bible Translation Is Right For Me?

 

Objections

"All Religions Lead To God"

"Never Talk About Religion Or Politics"

"Judge Not..."

"The Bible Is Full Of Contradictions"

"A Powerful God Wouldn't Allow So Much Evil..."

"The Church Is Full Of Hypocrites"

"What About Those Who Never Hear About Jesus?"

"A God of Love vs. A God of Wrath"

"A Loving God Wouldn't Send People To Hell"

"You're Only A Christian Because You..."

"As Long As You're Sincere In What You Believe"

"How Do You Know Which Religion Is Right?"

"God Would Never Forgive Someone Like Me"

"I Can't Believe In Miracles"

"Unanswered Prayer Shows God Doesn't Exist"

"What's With All The Different Denominations?"

"Jesus Was Just a Copycat of Pagan Myths"

"What About The Crusades?"

"What About Slavery In The Bible?"

"What About Evolution?"

"What About Homosexuality?"

"Jesus Didn't Say Anything About Homosexuality"

"What About Abortion?"

 

Other Stuff

   Other Beliefs

     Judaism

     Roman Catholicism

     Islam

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     Buddhism

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     Baha'i

     New Age

     Christian Science

     Scientology

     Freemasonry

     Oneness Pentecostals

     Unitarian Universalism

     Rastafarianism

     Wicca

     Satanism

What I Believe

Theological Terms and Definitions

Belief Comparison Chart

An Eschatological Overview (End Times)

Good Quotes

Paul Washer Quotes

20 Logical Fallacies

17 Questions Every Christian Should Think About

My Prayer - I Have A Problem...

More Than A Holiday

Honest Questions for Jehovah's Witnesses

Honest Questions For Mormons

Questions For Skeptics

10 Reasons To Tell Your Kids The Truth About Santa

A View From The Life Boat

A Collection of Helpful Bible Passages

A Story About A Boy Named Mikey

Thoughts On The Doctrine Of Definite Atonement

Questions To Ask A Child Before Their Baptism

A Critique Of An Origin-Of-Life Article

No Hope In The Pope

Terrorism - What You Can Do About It

The Impact Of A Blind Elderly Woman

Evidence For The Resurrection - W.O.M.E.N.

 

Apologetics / Evangelism

What Is Apologetics?

Why Should We Do Apologetics?

What Is Presuppositional Apologetics? 

What Do You KNOW? 

What Is Evangelism? 

Why Should We Evangelize? 

Are Christian Doing A Good Job Of Evangelizing? 

7 Reasons People Don't Share Their Faith

The Question Of Evangelism - Words Or Works? 

Is The World In Which We Live In Today Tolerant? 

Preaching What We Practice and Talking The Walk

Man vs. God Centered Evangelism

 

Around the Web

44 Reasons Why Evolution is Just a Fairy Tale

The Scientific Case Against Evolution

Evolution: The Anti-Science

A Letter From An Atheist

Are You A Good Person?

Is This Your Life?

What Does It Mean To Accept Christ?

What's Wrong With The Sinner's Prayer?

An Important Aspect of Baptism

Must We Believe Jesus Is God?

Turn or Burn

Top 10 Reasons Our Kids Leave Church

10 Reasons Not To Ask Jesus Into Your Heart

10 Principles For New Christians

10 Pitfalls Of The Foolish Apologist

Evangelistic Phrases That Produce False Conversions

The Secret About How Some Christians Witness

Preaching God's Love In Acts?

The Gospel In Every Book Of The Bible

7 Key Differences Bewteen Protestant And Catholic Doctrine

A Different Perspective On Halloween

10 Reasons I Kissed Halloween Goodbye

The Question After A Tragedy - WHY?

The Impact of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Thoughts About Bruce (Caitlyn) Jenner

A Pastor's Response To The Marriage Debate

Sin By Any Other Name Is Still Sin

Should a Woman Be a Pastor or Elder?

Wives, Submit To Your Husbands?

The Shack - Missing Art of Evangelical Discernment

Universalism - A Problem for Everyone

 

Audio / Video

    Original Sermon Jams

     Born Again - Paul Washer

     Does Jesus Know You? - Paul Washer

     We Got An A! - Paul Washer

     A Boy On The Street - R.C. Sproul

     Fearless - R.C. Sproul

     Hypocrites - R.C. Sproul

     Smiling Faces - R.C. Sproul

     Authorized Personnel Only - Tony Evans

     Drive-thru - Tony Evans

     One Flesh - Tony Evans

     Sex - Tony Evans

     The Satisfier - Tony Evans

     Who to Serve? - Pastor Mike Leonzo

     The Voice of Truth - Pastor Ben Maxie

     Transformed - Pastor Mike Leonzo

     Where is the Love? - Pastor Ben Maxie

     He Claimed to be God - Pastor Mike Leonzo

     Love is a Behavior - Pastor Ben Maxie

     Examine It for Yourself - Pastor Mike Leonzo

     Perfect Love - Pastor Ben Maxie

     We Need Preachers - Mike Bongo

     The Sovereignty of God in Evangelism - Mike Bongo 

     I'm Ready - Mike Bongo

     Our Day in Court - Mike Bongo

     Examine Yourself - Mike Bongo

     Exclusivity - Mike Bongo

     Our World - Mike Bongo

     The Great Exchange - Mike Bongo 

     True God - Mike Bongo

    The One Minute Apologist

     Intolerance - Greg Koukl

     Legislating Morality - Frank Turek

     Intelligent Design and Creation - Bill Dembski

     Tolerance is Unbiblical - Josh McDowell

     Homosexual Forgiveness - Michael Brown

     What Must I Do To Be Saved? - Hank Hannegraaff

     Is Jesus A Copycat Savior? - J. Warner Wallace

     The Resurrection - Gary Habernas

     Contradictions In The Bible - Mike Licona

     Is It About Winning Arguments? - Mary Jo Sharp

     Does Christianity Oppress Women? - Dianna Newman

     Is Evil An Argument For God? - Brett Kunkle

   WWUTT (When We Understand The Text)

     Hate The Sin, Love The Sinner?

     Thou Shalt Not Judge?

     God Will Never Give You More Than You Can Handle?

     Do We Have To Prove That God Exists?

     Preach The Gospel, If Necessary Use Words?

     You Don't Have To Go To Church To Be A Christian?

     I Stand At The Door And Knock?

     God Has Already Chosen Who Will Be Saved?

     Spare The Rod, Spoil the Child?

     The Bible Says Slavery is Okay?

     Are Catholics Saved?

     God Foreknew Who Would Be Saved?

     Does The Bible Say Homosexuality is A Sin?

     Alter Calls And The Sinner's Prayer?

     Worse Than An Unbeliever?

    Kids Section

     The Gospel

     David Platt On Sharing the Gospel With Children

     For The Children: Are You Saved? - Paul Washer

     2 Amazing 11 Year Old Boys

   Other Audio / Video

     Rescue The Perishing

     Emeal Zwayne's Dialogue With A Homosexual

     The Big Questions of Life - Voddie Baucham

   Explore God

     Is There A God?

     Can We Know God Personally?

     Why Does God Allow Pain And Suffering?

     Is Jesus Really God?

     Are Christians Judgmental?

   The Bible Project

     The Book of Genesis Overview - Part 1 of 2 

     The Book of Genesis Overview - Part 2 of 2 

     The Book of Exodus Overview - Part 1 of 2

     The Book of Exodus Overview - Part 2 of 2

     The Book of Leviticus Overview

     The Book of Numbers Overview

     The Book of Deuteronomy Overview

     The Book of Joshua Overview

     The Book of Judges Overview

     The Book of Ruth Overview

     The Book of 1 Samuel Overview

     The Book of 2 Samuel Overview

     The Books of 1 and 2 Kings Overview

     The Book of Job Overview

     The Book of Psalms Overview

     The Book of Proverbs Overview

     The Book of Song of Songs Overview

     The Book of Isaiah Overview - Part 1 of 2

     The Book of Isaiah Overview - Part 2 of 2

     The Book of Hosea Overview

     The Book of Joel Overview

     The Book of Amos Overview

     The Book of Obadiah Overview

     The Book of Jonah Overview

     The Book of Micah Overview

     The Book of Nahum Overview

     The Book of Habakkuk Overview

     The Book of Zephaniah Overview 

Street Conversations

Street Conversations Disclaimer

Street Conversations - George & Paul

Street Conversations - Don

Street Conversations - VeeJay

Street Conversations - Joe

Street Conversations - Ralph 

Street Conversations - Charles

Street Conversations - Ed

Street Conversations - Ken

Street Conversations - Jessica

Street Conversations - Ida

Street Conversations - Earl & Evadel 

Street Conversations - Jim  

Street Conversations - Raheem

Street Conversations - Raheem part 2

Street Conversations - My Mom

Street Conversations - Eddie

Street Conversations - Renee

Street Conversations - Ron

Street Conversations - Rash

Street Conversations - Preacher

Street Conversations - Luis

Street Conversations - Keith

Street Conversations - Hippy

Street Conversations - Rich

Street Conversations - Hippy part 2

Street Conversations - Butch

Street Conversations - Scott

Street Conversations - Marcos

Street Conversations - Will & James

Street Conversations - Alexander and Valerie

Street Conversations - Jerry and Steve

Street Conversations - Blake

Street Conversations - Elteresa

 

Me      

My Baptism

Parable Of The Talents  

Survey Says  

A Hard Lesson  

Talking About Jesus  

The Perfect Gift  

A Faith Worth Thinking About  

Stand Strong  

Peace At Christmas  

Resolutions From Revelation  

Takin' The Gospel To The Streets  

Responding Rightly To The Gospel Of Grace  

A Defense That Honors God And His Word  

Encouragement In Corinth  

The Dash

Surrendering To Win

The Gospel

The Laborers Are Few; Therefore...

Love Has No Labels - A Response

Faith That Works

Atheists: They Don't Exist

YOU Must Be NEW

Making a Difference - Outreach and Evangelism  

Luke - A Careful Investigation to be Sure  

Be Kind! Yeah, But Why?

 

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