Summary: Those who don’t want to believe will often give the excuse, ’The Bible is full of contradictions’. This lesson analysis the question and considers whether the statement is true or false.
“The Bible Is Full Of Contradictions”
1. When talking to people about the Bible, the objection is often raised, “The Bible is full of contradictions”.
2. In this lesson, we shall analyze what is meant by this statement and consider whether or not it is true.
A. One might begin by accepting their challenge!
1. Ask the person to list ten of these alleged contradictions.
2. The usual response is speechlessness or the remark, “Well, that’s what I’ve heard”. The statement, then, is usually nothing more than the parroting of common hearsay.
B. What does a person reveal when they resound this statement?
1. That they have a tendency to accept statements and allegations without substantiation.
2. That they do not believe in the inspiration of the Bible.
3. That reasoning with them might prove difficult.
C. In most cases, then, we believe that this statement is nothing more than a convenient excuse to justify a continuance in unbelief or an unwillingness to face the truth.
II. Is The Bible Full Of Contradictions?
A. } person who parrots this hearsay may not really be concerned about their salvation but, nevertheless, we can’t let such a statement go uncorrected (1 Peter 3:15).
B. We should state with all faith and confidence that the Bible contains no contradictions whatsoever and that this in itself is a proof of the Bible’s inspiration (see Psalms 12:6; 2 Timothy 3:16-17).
C. This is not to say that the Bible doesn’t contain some things that are difficult to understand (2 Peter 3:14-16) or that there are not some “apparent” contradictions. And it may be that some more knowledgeable skeptics will highlight these. Here, then, we shall give an example of just one “apparent” contradiction and offer the corresponding explanation:
a. In Matthew’s account it states that the centurion himself came to Jesus, imploring him to heal his servant (Matthew 8:5). While Luke states that he sent some Jewish elders to Jesus on his behalf.
b. On the surface this seems to be a contradiction but…
“It was common practice to ascribe the words and actions of the agent to the person who actually sent him. Whether I make a request of another personally or through an agent makes no difference, it is I who made the request.” (Quotes & Things, Commentary, D. Collins).
III. Where Do We Go From Here?
A. Having made our skeptical friend aware of the fact that he is merely parroting what others have said without any substantiation, it would be good at this point to affirm what the Scriptures say…
" 16All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:17That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works." (2 Timothy 3:16-17)
B. Our skeptical friend will, of course, regard this statement with suspicion but this is your opportunity to “give a reason” for your confidence: you could mention…
1. The Bible is a collection of books and letters penned by numerous authors, compiled over many hundreds of years. Yet there is a common theme running through all these works without any contradictions. There is no work of man that can make this claim.
2. Throughout the Scriptures, there are many prophecies concerning people and events that have all since been fulfilled; especially those concerning Jesus.
3. The authors of the Bible reveal many medical and scientific truths of which they could not possibly have had any knowledge at that particular time (because they did not have the technology), knowledge that often went against the commonly held beliefs at the time. Yet in every case they were 100% accurate. This substantiates there claim to have been inspired of God. Indeed, the apostle Peter (himself inspired of God) says…
"For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Ghost." (2 Peter 1:21)
C. If our skeptical friend is sincere, he will accept an invitation to study these things further. } refusal probably indicates that their motive for making such a statement is merely to justify a continuance in unbelief.
1. The majority of people who claim that the Bible is ‘full of contradictions’ are usually just resounding hearsay. } simple challenge to list ten or five contradictions is usually enough to make them aware of this.
2. However, there is a minority that may indeed site several ‘contradictions’ and you need to be ready to give an answer. Such ‘contradictions’ are normally a failure to have examined the context or take into account the common mode of speech of that day and can easily be resolved.