How Can I Know That The Bible Is True? – Part 4 – The Alleged Contradictions

Now that we have established the accuracy of the Biblical manuscripts and the historical data within them, today we are going to look at some internal evidence for the trustworthiness of the Bible.

The most common objection to the Bible is the claim that “it’s full of contradictions.”

I have a couple of questions about that question. Firstly, “Could you give me an example?” Secondly, stemming from the first, “Are you only saying that because you heard someone else say it, or because you do in fact have an example?” For the person who does have an example, this is good. It usually shows a desire for the truth if you can give me a place in Scripture that you want to know more about. But sometimes these examples are brought with no desire for truth at all, only a desire to slander the name of the Lord. These conversations I often don’t bother with, unless there is someone else there who may be interesting in the truth.

Now I am going to assume that this question is asked with a sincere heart that is genuinely looking for an answer that is true. For this person I have the following answer:

Most of the alleged contradictions in the Bible have very logical explanations and are not contradictions at all. Now I will step in and give you an example of an alleged contradiction to show how there is no contradiction at all – the four gospel accounts of the resurrection. Many people claim that because there are differences in the stories they are contradictory.

Allow me to use an illustration: Suppose four siblings go to the zoo, and afterwards you talk to each one individually about their day. The first might tell you, “Today I went to the zoo.” The second might say, “Today I went to the zoo with my brothers, and we saw a giraffe.” The third might say, “Today I went to the zoo with my three brothers Johnnie, Eric, and Ben.” And the fourth might say, “Today I went to Brookfield Zoo with my brothers, and we saw a giraffe, a bear, and a penguin.” The accounts of these four children do not contradict each other, but compliment each other. One gives more detail than the other, one mentions highlights that another doesn’t, and so on. They are each depicting the same event, but from a different perspective.

The gospel accounts are like this. They highlight different areas of the account, that of the resurrection for example. But the different accounts are reconcilable with each other, and compliment rather than contradict.

Allow me to use one more example, one from the legal system. When you put three different people on the witness stand at a trial, you actually expect their accounts to differ slightly. If they all agreed on every point, their credibility would be questioned, and they would be accused of getting together before the trail and agreeing on the story they were going to tell. Three different people naturally have three different perspectives on that same event. This is because each has a different personality and notices different things.

So first of all, it makes sense that the four gospels would differ slightly in their depiction of an event. Secondly, these differences do not indicate contradiction, but rather a complementation of the events in the other accounts.

Part 1 – Introduction
Part 2 – The Manuscript Evidence
Part 3 – The Archaeological and Historical Evidence
Part 5 – Authoritative Conclusion


One Response to How Can I Know That The Bible Is True? – Part 4 – The Alleged Contradictions

  1. James says:

    On the contradictions:

    Sixth commandment: You shall not kill. Yet, the OT is full of killings commanded by god (ex. Deuteronomy). I’ve heard many people justify it by arguing that what it really means is “you shall not murder”, but this is not what the book says. What’s to stop people from changing the meaning of other words, like saying that “you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife” does allow you to covet someone else’s wife as long as he is not your neighbor? Some other people say there are special circumstances, but then the commandment would say “you shall not kill, unless I tell you to.” Since it doesn’t, it looks like a contradiction.

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