The Riches OF GRACE
“hath appeared to all men.” Titus 2:11
Robert W. Reed
Supposed Contradictions in the Bible
(The King James Version)
“As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.”
II Peter 3:16
+ Problem Text +
The critics of the Bible claim that there are many contradictions, discrepancies, and problems throughout its pages. The supposed discrepancies are usually with chronology, names, days, years, numbers, places, people, events, etc. The real problem is not with the Scriptures but with the hearts of men who try to find errors in God’s Holy Word. These gnat strainers who continue to find fault will be judged by God Almighty according to Revelation 22:18-19. As it has been said, the Word of God is either absolute or obsolete. Never doubt God’s Holy Word, for it is pure and holy. It is our final authority in all matters of faith and practice.
“Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him. Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar.” Proverbs 30:5-6
This article will examine some of the alleged discrepancies and supposed contradictions in the Scriptures. If we can clearly answer a few in this short article, then there obviously can be an answer for the others. Our text will be taken from the King James Bible because we believe it to be the infallible Word of God in the English language, and because it has received the most criticism. Problems usually arise from not taking God at His word, superficial reading of the Bible, not rightly dividing the Word of Truth, not comparing Scripture with Scripture, or by not praying and waiting for an answer through the Holy Spirit. The statement, “A text without a context is a pretext,” is very true. We must never lift a passage from its original context to determine its meaning. Please consider the following Scriptures and their supposed contradictions:
In James 2:24 it says, “Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.” But Romans 4:5 says, “But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.” The one speaks of being justified by faith and works and the other speaks of faith without works. Both Romans and James use Abraham to illustrate the truth about justification. But there is no contradiction between the two books. Even Martin Luther, the reformer, considered the book of James as an epistle of straw; because, he thought it contradicted the Apostle Paul's teaching in Romans on the issue of salvation. The answer lies in the fact that Romans is dealing with our justification before God (vertical) and James is dealing with our justification before men (horizontal). God clearly sees the heart of man in determining his faith but man only sees our actions (works). Genuine salvation will bear fruit.
The Bible says in Numbers 25:9 that 24,000 people died in the plague, “And those that died in the plague were twenty and four thousand.” But in I Corinthians 10:8, it says 23,000 people fell, “Neither let us commit fornication, as some of them committed, and fell in one day three and twenty thousand.” There is no error between the two passages. The plague obviously lasted longer than one day in which the total number of 24,000 died. But in one day, the lesser number (23,000) fell.
In II Samuel 6:23, The Bible says that Michal, David’s wife, had no child, “Therefore Michal the daughter of Saul had no child unto the day of her death,” but in II Samuel 21:8, it speaks of the five sons of Michal, “But the king took the two sons of Rizpah the daughter of Aiah, whom she bare unto Saul, Armoni and Mephibosheth; and the five sons of Michal the daughter of Saul, whom she brought up for Adriel the son of Barzillai the Meholathite.” Again, there is no contradiction in God’s Holy Word. Both statements are correct because in II Samuel 21:8, it says the five sons of Michal whom she brought up (raised) for Adriel. In I Samuel 18:19, Adriel’s wife Merab was Michal’s sister, “But it came to pass at the time when Merab Saul's daughter should have been given to David, that she was given unto Adriel the Meholathite to wife.” Michal raised her sister’s children. We do not know the reason for this but we know it happened. Merab may have died before her children were grown. There is no error in those statements.
The length of the Egyptian bondage of the Israelites has also been criticized by the skeptics. In Genesis 15:13, we are told that the Jews would be afflicted in a strange land for 400 years, “And he said unto Abram, Know of a surety that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years.” But in Exodus 12:40, we are told that Israel was in Egypt a total of 430 years, “Now the sojourning of the children of Israel, who dwelt in Egypt, was four hundred and thirty years.” Both statements are true for the actual time spent in Egypt as sojourners was 430 years but the afflictions were only 400 years. According to Exodus 1:8-14, a new king took the throne of Egypt that knew not Joseph which put the children of Israel under hard bondage. They were not afflicted the first 30 years that they were in Egypt. So, the Bible stands true and can be completely trusted. Please consider also Exodus 12:40-41 and Acts 7:6.
It has been said by some that there is a contradiction between Exodus 9 and Exodus 14. The question is asked, “If God killed all the horses in Egypt with a plague, where did the Egyptians get the horses they used to chase Israel to the sea?” Exodus 14:9, says “But the Egyptians pursued after them, all the horses and chariots of Pharaoh, and his horsemen, and his army, and overtook them encamping by the sea, beside Pi-hahiroth, before Baal-zephon.” In Exodus 9:3, horses and cattle are mentioned as being under the judgment of God, “Behold, the hand of the LORD is upon thy cattle which is in the field, upon the horses, upon the asses, upon the camels, upon the oxen, and upon the sheep: there shall be a very grievous murrain.” But in verse 6, only the cattle are mentioned as dying, “And the LORD did that thing on the morrow, and all the cattle of Egypt died: but of the cattle of the children of Israel died not one.” It does not mention horses at all in this verse. Even if horses were named in verse 6, the solution to the problem is seen in Exodus 9:19-22, “Send therefore now, and gather thy cattle, and all that thou hast in the field; for upon every man and beast which shall be found in the field, and shall not be brought home, the hail shall come down upon them, and they shall die. He that feared the word of the LORD among the servants of Pharaoh made his servants and his cattle flee into the houses: And he that regarded not the word of the LORD left his servants and his cattle in the field. And the LORD said unto Moses, Stretch forth thine hand toward heaven, that there may be hail in all the land of Egypt, upon man, and upon beast, and upon every herb of the field, throughout the land of Egypt.” The Egyptians that feared the Word of the Lord got their cattle out of harms way. The killing was limited to the stock in the field and not to the ones in the stables and barns. Again, the Bible is not filled with errors, but is infallible.
In conclusion, this is not an exhaustive study, but a brief summary to show that there is an answer to all of the alleged contradictions in the Bible. “Lord, help us to believe Thy Word.” Amen.
“For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.” Revelation 22:18-19
"Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.” Acts 16:31
Victory Baptist Church
Pastor Robert W. Reed
14473 Bellingrath Road
P.O. Box 257
Coden, Alabama 36523