How Many Contradictions are in the Bible?


Short Answer: I don’t know and I sure don’t care.

Longer Answer: No one cares about “biblical inerrancy” any more. Well, I don’t mean “no” biblicist (or people who are into bibliolatry or bibliomancy…)

The brouhaha over whether there are “contradictions” in the BIble centers around the issue of “inerrancy” — the belief that the Bible is “without error” (i.e., in-errant) and is incapable of being “wrong” in any way. The belief of its being a “perfect” book comes as part of a scientific defense mounted in the early 20th century by the professors who began the Christian Fundamentalist movement.

The idea was simple. These professors wanted to be able to study the Bible “scientifically” — that is, by using the Scientific Method — and by doing so, they expected to prove the existence and reality of God scientifically. But if the Bible was simply another book of human origin containing any errors of any kind, then all the study they did would only prove that the human writers believed in “God”.

So what they needed was a book written by God Himself. And if God Himself wrote this Book, then it could not have any errors, because a “perfect” God could not “write” an imperfect Book.

Thus, “inerrancy” — a book having ZERO tolerance for error.

Next, taking that perfect Book, the professors (indeed anyone) could begin to analyze its words and from them, they could scientifically determine what is Truth.

Even if the Bible were Perfect, even if it were “without error”, there’s an area of HUGE “error” on these fundamentalists’ part: no matter how “perfect” the Bible is, those who set out to interpret it are NOT perfect nor are they “without error”. Their conclusions (despite being “scientific”) are frequently in disagreement with each other, leading to endless arguments. None of them, working from the same object of study (Bible) agree completely over their findings. Thus, not only do normal people care little or nothing over the Bible’s “perfection”, those who do find that this book “perfect”, still don’t find it to be the basis for discovering inarguable Truth.

The heart of the biblical Fundamentalists’ problem is that they totally (and terribly) misunderstand what it is that they’re looking for in their search for Truth. This problem is parallel to that of the Pharisees whom Jesus rebuked some 2,000 years ago when He spoke the following:

“You study the Scriptures because you mistakingly think that in them you find eternal life. But instead, these Scriptures testify about Me!” [Jn 5.39]

Just as the Pharisees did two millenia ago, today, biblical Fundamentalists persue the same error; they search the Scriptures “scientifically” because they think they’ll find the “truth” to Eternal Life… but the Truth is a Person — Jesus — Who is presented to them via the indwelling Spirit of God in order to be “known experientially” (personally). Jesus is alive and doesn’t want to be “known academically” as if He is an “Object to be Studied” (scientifically or not.); Jesus wants to be known as the “Living Word” of God. To know Him is to love Him, not to know about Him.

Because these academicians treat “Jesus” as an Object of Study, they never enter into a “friendship” with the Living Word of God. 

But you are not like that! As have so many others, you can confidently set aside the teaching of “inerrancy” which most Christians (to begin with) can’t even define or explain. And when Inerrancy is gone, so are the arguments over whether there are “contradictions” historically or scientifically, ridiculous battles over Creation, over miracles, over which books of the Bible are “inspired” by God, over whether Mark wrote the ending of his Gospel or if some unknown person wrote it later and attached it to Mark’s Gospel…

Typical arguments over the Bible, such as the above, simply don’t matter anymore when there’s no longer a need to “protect” a “perfect” book; when you encounter someone who wants to argue, you can have a much different response. Someone confronts you with, “But the very geographical makeup of strata in stone, with Carbon Dating, proves the biblical account of Creation to be impossible!”, and your response can be, “Wonderful! I’m glad you’ve given such careful thought to the matter — but I’ve got this Person I’d like you to meet… He’s sorta ‘invisible’ to natural eyes, but if you’ve got confidence that He exists and and that He rewards those who want to know Him, He’ll make Himself known to you within your spirit — personally and powerfully…”

Why argue over the “Book” when that of which the Book speaks is in front of us all — presented to us in the Spirit as forever Alive and (in Love) yearning to bring you into that Life as well.

It’s been said that Muslims, Jews, and Christians are all “People of the Book” — but it’s much more accurate to say that Christians aren’t people of the “Book”; they’re “People of the Word of God”.

Even more accurately, Christians are “People of the Living Word” — and His Name is “Jesus”.



Comments RSS
  1. Andre van der Merwe

    Totally loooooved this one!!! I stopped being a literalist only 2 short months ago and already my entire little world feels like it’s being shaken at it’s foundations.

    Thanks for taking the time to write this!

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