Many people approach the Bible looking for contradictions or finding things that do not seem to add up. They both come away thinking the Bible contradicts itself. When looking into these contradictions we can see where people can get mixed up, and how we can avoid that.
Does the Bible contradict itself? The Bible does not contradict itself. When reading the Bible with the right approach you will find what seems to contradict itself does not when read in the correct context.
We must be aware of why others believe scripture to be contradictory. When we are aware of this we will be more equipped to point them to the truth. Keep reading so that you can show that the Bible is not contradicting.
Does The Bible Contradict Itself?
The Bible is the infallible word of God. It is the truth we hold onto as believers in the one true God. If we believe that this is true then we must believe that the Bible is not contradicting itself.
Though God’s word is true, many people are hesitant towards reading it. They are closed off to the faith which causes them to believe the Bible is contradicting.
We know that God’s word is true because it was inspired by the only perfect being, God.
All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.2 Timothy 3:16-17
Though God did not handwrite scripture it is through Him that it came to be. He casted His spirit and revealed Himself to His chosen ones to write it. These people were faithful followers of Christ who each encountered God’s presence personally.
Because of how long ago God’s was written it does not always make sense to us because our culture is different from those who wrote it.
This can lead us to feel as though the Bible contradicts itself. When really the problem is that we are not reading into the full context of that portion of scripture.
This is why we need to read His word more and study it so that we can understand the truth behind it.
You can also watch Just Disciple’s Youtube channel as Kenny Ortiz and Ken Freire cover this topic.
Why are There Passages That Seem To Contradict
You may come across many people who say there are contradictions in the Bible. They don’t trust the Bible because from their point of view it does not make sense. With the right understanding and patience, many misconceptions can be cleared up.
Those who are adamant that the Bible is full of contractions can arrive at this conclusion for several reasons. This includes cultural differences, translation of the Bible, and the literary genre of different texts.
First cultural differences have a big effect on how we read scripture. The whole Bible was written in the span of 1,500 years, you can imagine there were many cultural differences from Moses to Paul.
People live differently, countries are laid out differently, government changes, war is fought, languages develop, and much more. These possible differences need to be taken into account when coming across a scripture that does not seem to line up.
The cultural differences between now and the Bible times also need to be taken into account.
How we go about our lives today is so much different. We need to be aware of that. Their understanding of the world is so much different than what we know today, and we can see that reflected in the writing occasionally.
Translations of the Bible also need to be considered, the word of God is infallible, but there is a language barrier. Reading the Bible in English when it was originally written in Hebrew or Greek means that we will not understand it in the exact wording of the original author.
There are some words that are in one language but not in another. When translating those words, it is the goal to get a word as close as possible. We still miss out on the full implications.
This does not mean that the Bible not in the original language is not inspired, it still is inspired in English as it is in Greek.
Many different literary genres are used throughout the Bible. Some of the genres in the Bible include narrative, poetry, wisdom, law, prophecy, gospels, and epistles.
Each of these genres means that the authors use different ways to convey their message.
When we read different genres we approach the text with a different mindset. For example, when we go to read a history book it will be very different than reading an instruction manual.
In the same way, books of the Bible are written differently, and we should approach them knowing this.
How To Approach The Bible
How we approach and read scripture greatly affects how we will comprehend it and how much it will take effect on our life. God’s word is full of power and the Holy Spirit works in us as Christians to convict us as we read the word of God.
For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.Hebrews 4:12
Reading the Bible is not reading empty words, but encountering powerful words that with the help of the Holy Spirit can change our life.
As I mentioned before the Bible is the inspired infallible word of God. This means that the Bible is not merely written by people, but through the Holy Spirit, men wrote God’s word.
For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.2 Peter 1:21
To understand and learn from the Bible as much as we can it is best to keep some things in mind.
One of the most important steps you can take in understanding scripture is simply reading the Bible. Like many other things, the more you read and invest your time the more you will understand.
We need to be aware of common misconceptions. When reading through the Bible things such as a Bible dictionary, and commentaries are helpful.
You do not need extra tools to learn from the Bible, but they can be helpful especially when coming to passages that seem to contradict one another.
Bible dictionaries are like dictionaries but focus on words used in the Bible and connect them specifically back to the original Hebrew of Greek.
Commentaries can help you interpret the scripture, many times they discuss what the original context is and how we can understand it in our modern-day context.
The context that commentaries provide can help us identify cultural differences and literary genre differences.
When coming across a passage that is hard to understand and seems like it may contradict other verses instead of taking it at face value, or running away, do the hard work and take time to understand.
Although it is hard work and takes time and effort when you press into God’s word you will see the fruit and come to a better understanding.
We cannot come to God’s word looking for passages that contradict because that will limit our overall understanding of God’s word. A heart instead focused on hearing what the Holy Spirit has to say and looking to understand.
Commonly Misunderstood Passages
If you are reading the Bible from beginning to end, almost immediately you may have some questions on the creation story and the differences in Genesis 1 and 2. When you did deep and take time to understand you may find that many supposed contradictions are not contradictions.
Genesis 1 and 2 seem to tell different versions of the creation story, but with more examination of the text, we can also see how the events that are described in Genesis 2 fit into the sixth day of God’s creation.
Although at first glance it may seem like there are two different accounts, they are a part of the same account and one fits within the other.
Some also question the genealogies that are found in the New Testament gospels. When reading through the genealogy that Matthew gives it does not look like the genealogy that we find in Luke.
Matthew was Jewish and his primary audience when writing his gospel was to a Jewish audience. The genealogy that we read in Matthew is broken into groups of 14, a double of 7, 7 is the number of completion which is why he included 14 groups.
Matthew also traces the genealogy only back to Abraham, this is significant to the Jewish people who knew that from Abraham would come a great nation in which the whole world will be blessed.
Luke, on the other hand, was a gentile believer and his audience was all Christians, he shows this when he traces back the genealogy to Adam showing that all are welcome into the kingdom of God.
When hearing or reading of contradictions in the Bible it is our job to go to the source and find out for ourselves. When we press into God’s word with the help of the Holy Spirit we will have a much better understanding of God and his word.
We must take time to read the word which God has blessed us with. It is a guidebook to how we should live our life that holds all of the answers to life’s questions.
The fact that it was written by many people allows us to see God’s word outside of our own perspective by reading it through someone else’s. This is how we are able to see God’s bigger picture and plan of redemption for all of humanity.