"What about all the contradictions in the Bible?" If you share your faith or even if your vocal about believing the Bible to be true, sooner or later you will hear this response. "How can you believe something that has so many contradictions in it?" The objection is designed to be a smokescreen, a showstopper. However, it shouldn't worry the Christian too much. You see, the Bible is in all probability the most scrutinized book in history. I know of no other written work that has been subjected to the sheer volume of critical examination as the Bible from supporters and detractors alike. Yet, the Bible has endured. The various mistakes that people claim for it are usually easy to answer and have been answered for many years.
One thing, though. One must know how to answer the objection. In books and sermons, I've heard
preachers talk about how to face this challenge. Usually, the advice they give
is something along the lines of "If someone claims that there are
too many contradictions in the Bible, you should hand them your Bible
and say 'OK, show me some.' That's usually enough to stop them."
Now, there is some truth that this may catch the objector off guard. As I mentioned above, many times a person
throws out this question to simply stop the conversation. They don't know any Bible
contradictions; they've simply heard other say the same thing and they're parroting
the question to play what they think is a trump card. So, when you ask them to point
some out, you're just calling their bluff.
However, what if they're not bluffing?
What if a person is really asking you to reconcile biblically-stated facts that
seem to be in tension with each other? Maybe the objector isn't sincere in his desire
to see the supposed contradiction solved, but what if others are also listening?
What if they actually point out a couple of examples to you and hand you your Bible
back—what do you do then?
You see, bluffing is fine if you're playing
poker, but not for Christians sharing the most important message of life. It's not
what the Bible itself commands us to do. As1 Peter 3:15 tells us, we always
need to be ready to give a defense for our faith. Jesus
did so when he was questioned by the skeptics of his day, the Sadducees. Luke 20
offers some clear examples of him doing so. The Bereans in Acts 17:11 were
called noble because they didn't take Paul's claims at face value, but checked
them out. So we had better check our Bibles honestly before we go off and
offer a smug answer to someone else. If we're merely throwing out the "show
me some" statement, then we're guilty of the exact same stall tactic as the
skeptic. Neither of us knows what we're talking about, we're just trying to block
the other person's parry. But if they are informed and you don't know the subject matter, then you endanger your witness as
well as your own reputation.
I'll be looking at the idea of so called
biblical contradictions in the next few posts and the larger principles of how
to treat passages that appear in tension. I hope you'll join me so you can
honestly answer the contradiction claim when it shows up.
How about also, famous failed prophecies, like 'the soon return of Christ.' It failed in their day, and now it is almost 2,000 years later.ReplyDelete
That prophecy has not failed. It is already over and done with in 70 A.D. The rapture also happened in 70 A.D. Except for the apostles that were killed all other apostles were raptured. Daniel is told to seal his prophecy's that would happen 500 years later. But John is told not to because the time is near. Plus Jesus said some of the apostles would stillDelete
be alive when he returns.
Bernie, Have you heard of Partial-Preterism?ReplyDelete
"Bernie, Have you heard of Partial-Preterism?"ReplyDelete
No, but I can imagine what it means. Still trying to struggle with Christ's imminent return, correct?
I assume that you are defining the word "imminent" to mean "soon". However, it means “likely to happen at any moment; impending.” When we speak of the imminence of Christ’s return, we mean that He could come back at any moment. It has nothing to do with happening soon, just suddenly, out of the blue, without warning. That's imminence.
Thanks. I'll try to explain what little I know. Its been years since I looked at Partial-Preterism (PP). PP teaches that a food number of the prophecies found in the New Testament - particular Matthew & Revelation - have already been fulfilled.ReplyDelete
Now with respect to Christ's return PPs will claim that while Jesus still will return in a final and ultimate sense, He also came in a different sense after shortly after His resurrection. He came in judgment. The launch point for their case is usually Matthew 24:34.
“Truly I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place” (Mt. 24:34).
The claim is that when Jesus said "this generation," He was referring to the people right there and then, not some future group. If that is right, then you have to ask just what did that generation see take place?
~ As I said, I looked at this stuff years ago so things are a bit hazy for me. The people I consulted were R.C. Sproul and Kenneth Gentry. Its actually quite fascinating and the stuff about Jesus returning in judgement made a lot of good sense.
Ok. God Bless,
Curious to know why the Bible contains thousands of contradictions and what they tell us about the Bible's compositional history, authors, audiences, and the historical circumstances that produced it?ReplyDelete
The Bible's texts contain contradictions, period. This is the textual data, and has been recognized for 300 years by the scholarly community, clergy and laymen alike.
You strike me as being more concerned about defending your faith, thus apologetics, rather than defending, or even knowing about, the Bible's many texts, authors, audiences, historical circumstances that prompted these 70+ writers to write what they did over the 1,000 year period of texts no contain in this so-called "Book"--- a label of a centuries later readership that had their own agendas and historical concerns. Who are you really advocating for? The writers of these texts BEFORE the "Bible" was ever created, or their readers living centuries later and knowing nothing about the texts, authors, historical and literary contexts within which these texts were produced. Let's be honest to the texts. That's my challenge.
Actually no, there are no contradictions in the bible. Translators have introduced some as have scribes within some manuscripts but there are no contradictions in the text proper. I have dealt with a broad range of alleged ones and whole books have been written addressing virtually all of the ones asserted by skeptics including "contradictions....com". I wonder if they have the answer a fool "contradiction" on this site.Delete
Totally false. I have seen many of the alleged contradictions of skeptics and they are almost always a result of a contradiction of a persons expectations rather than a true contradiction.Delete
Well, you can start your challenge of being honest with yourself. First of all, it's disputed just how many authors there are, so "70+" is little more than a guess, even considering the fact of multiple authorship of some books. And how in the world do agendas and historical concerns thereby falsify what people say? By that criteria, I guess you ought to toss your western civ book out the window. Lastly, Christianity doesn't depend on whether Ezra got his census numbers right--it's about Jesus' death and resurrection, but I assumed you already knew that, didn't you?ReplyDelete
Check http://bibviz.com/ There's all the contradictions and all the evil summed up...ReplyDelete
The bibviz list has been refutedDelete
Great post! I think another thing about the "show me some" response is, it's also a potential show-stopper if we use it. Meaning, if we respond with it, shut the skeptic up - we potentially ended the conversation. We were not really winsome, more "won the fight". We won nothing, if that happens. Being ready to give a reason for our faith is to be done in love. Winning souls for Christ is more important than the argument. So, while sometimes asking that question could be necessary - it should always be done with as sensitive a nature as possible, as respectful as possible, and from a spirit of love. Jesus called out his skeptics - but ALWAYS because he loved them, not to "win an argument". :)ReplyDelete
I think that when you understand the genre of the Gospels, then that puts most of the supposed contradictions to rest:ReplyDelete
I haven't yet seen the video but that is a true and good point in general.Delete
But, if you have dealt with allegations of Biblical contradictions before, and you know the majority of the typical ones atheists resort to, then wouldn't "Show me some." be a good answer? Wouldn't refuting those allegations right there serve as a better witness?ReplyDelete
If they have the ability to simply look up more, then so should you have the ability to seek aid in how to answer them.
Most of the time though there are consistent traits to these allegations, where you can respond to almost all of them with one of only a few types of responses. Even if you don't provide a perfect refutation, it can often be good enough to simply discredit the alleged contradiction.
Of course, if you don't know enough about these things to go refuting these allegations then you make sense in your post. I guess I am spoiled by internet discussions where I have the entire world wide web at my fingertips to research a response if I don't already have one.
Yes but it all depends on ones own ability. One should not just blindly say show me unprepared thinking that they will not come back with some difficulty one or several of which you may or may not have heard. If you they do and you are caught off guard it can backfire. My exprience is that most alleged contradictions are easily answered and not contradictions at all but wishful contradictions. There are a few other difficulties in scripture that require more analysis and a theoretical explanation which is sufficient to show that there are possible answers and not knowing or being sure of the answer is not the same there not being one.Delete