Well, if you’re like most people, I’m sure you’ve heard someone say “The Bible is full of contradictions.” Well, is this true? Does the Bible contradict itself?
Does the Bible Contradict Itself- A definition
Speaking of contradictions, let me begin by saying that two statements are said to contradict if the truth of one of the statements negates the truth of the other. Take for example the statements, “I have read the Bible,” and “I have never read the Bible.” Obviously, if one statement is true the other statement would have to be false. Let’s apply this to the Bible. Only after you can demonstrate that the truth of one passage, rules out the truth of another passage, can you justify the claim that the Bible contradicts itself.
Does the Bible Contradict Itself- A Closer Look
You see, many passages which seem to be in conflict are easily resolved by simply reading the text more carefully. In addition, an understanding of Greek or Hebrew, as well as a knowledge of geography and customs would be extremely helpful. Take for example the account of Paul’s conversion on the road to Damascus. In Acts 9:7 we read that during Paul’s encounter with Christ the men who were with him heard a voice. In Acts 22:9 we read that these men heard no voice. Well, what appears to be a hopeless contradiction is easily resolved by looking at the original Greek. Here we see a distinction between “hearing a sound as a noise” and “hearing a voice as a thought-conveying message.” Gleason Archer, an accomplished biblical scholar points out, that while Paul’s companions heard the Voice as a sound, Paul alone heard what was being said. (Kind of like the crowd who heard the sound of the Father talking to the Son in John 12:28, and thought they heard thunder.)
The point is that rather than taking a fearful attitude when faced with an alleged biblical contradiction, we should view these occasions as opportunities to search and explore the Scriptures. One thing I can guarantee is this: It will only serve to deepen your awe of the majesty of Scripture.
Does the Bible Contradict Itself- Conclusion
In fact, the more I personally read the Bible, the more I marvel at this awesome Book. How is it possible for forty different authors to write over a span of 1,600 years, on three continents, in three languages, on hundreds of subjects — yet, without contradiction — and with one central storyline, God’s redemption of mankind. Truly, it can be said without contradiction that the Bible must be divine, rather than human in origin. On alleged biblical contradictions, that’s the CRI Perspective. I’m Hank Hanegraaff.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION
For a book dealing with alleged Bible contradictions we recommend When Critics Ask (Baker) by Norman Geisler (B137). This resource is available through CRI. To place a credit card order, call toll-free (888) 7000-CRI. For shipping and handling information, please refer to our Resource Listing. To receive a free copy of our Resource Listing, call, fax or write us with your request (information below).