The Bible is composed of 66 smaller books, divided into two major sections inspired by ONE divine author (Holy Spirit), and penned by 4o different human authors – with different styles and genres, and at different time periods.
Often, what some refer to as Bible contradictions are actually differences, that when taken at face value, do seem to contradict themselves. However, that does not mean that the Bible is unreliable, flawed, or jeopardized in any way as the revealed, written truth of God.
To understand both the apparent contradictions and the alleged differences, we must be careful not to lump them all together. Careful study and research reveal that minor text contradictions are likely to have occurred during the copying process of the original manuscript.
Keep in mind there are no original manuscripts of any part of the Bible around anymore. What we have today is over 5800 ancient copies – some relatively complete, and some fragmented, that have been hand copied by humans, and periodically, with minor errors that occurred during the copying process.
Additionally, there are a few occasions where multiple accounts of the same event are recorded by different authors. And sometimes, their testimony seems to be at odds with other accounts. However, these discrepancies are always minor details and do not compromise the veracity of the overall importance and historicity of the event.
It’s also important to consider that the Bible is written in many genres and should be interpreted as such. The poetry of Psalms, for instance, should be read differently than the historical narrative of Judges, the laws in Leviticus, or the rest of the wisdom literature of Proverbs and Ecclesiastes. So, we recognize the rich diversity of genres in which God has chosen to reveal Himself.
As we consider what the Bible has to say, the most important thing for us to consider is not only what it actually says, but what it actually means.
Originally published by Detroit Church.
- 2 Timothy 3.14-17
- Matthew 5.17-18
Other Suggested Reading
- Answers to Questions about the Bible
- How And When Was The Canon Of The Bible Put Together
- Manuscript evidence for superior New Testament reliability
- Why I Trust the Bible by William D. Mounce