One of the topics for people on the fence with Christianity is contradictions in the Bible. There are several places where, taken out of context, it could appear the Bible contradicts itself. To be clear, I believe that the Bible is the Word of God. Due to this, contradictions cannot exist. However, I believe certain texts taken out of context can appear to contradict one another.
One issue people have today with the written word is they read it as if it were written in today’s world. The truth is, it wasn’t. When we read the Word, we need to understand it was written in a specific time with a particular audience in mind. This doesn’t mean the Bible is outdated and no longer applicable to us in our world today.
When we can understand the Bible is living, breathing text, we can begin to listen for God speaking to us as we read it. Now, this may sound supernatural in a way, and, it is. The Bible is not a book of stories, it is God’s word written by man through His inspiration. In addition, we need to understand the Old Testament was written before the time of Christ and the New Testament comes after. Prior to the gift of salvation, we lived by the law. Now we live in a time of salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ.
The book of Romans is very interesting because it is a letter written by Paul to the Roman church around 57 AD. The interesting thing here is the church was in a state of transition between living under the law and gaining salvation through faith in Christ. The church had to take a step back to understand the sacrifice made by Jesus was a major game changer. Although now still compelled to keep the law, our salvation was no longer dependent on it. Our salvation is now through our faith in Christ. If we didn’t understand the circumstances of this time, it could be easy to say the Old and New Testaments contradict one another. This is not true. There was a major shift in our relationship with God after Christ saved us.
So why does the Bible tell us about the times before Christ if things changed? Simple, we need to understand what life was like before Christ so we can appreciate what life is nowlike with Him. How can you appreciate the value of light if you don’t understand the emptiness of darkness? Contrast creates perspective, not contradiction.
While all of this may seem complex, it is quite simple. Because the Bible is God’s word, it is one of the ways He speaks with us. However, if we don’t allow the Holy Spirit into our hearts, we lose the connection between ourselves and God and He cannot communicate with us as we read. More correctly stated, we don’t allow Him to communicate with us. Inviting God into our hearts and lives is a choice He has given us and He will honor our choice even if we make the wrong one.
Before looking at what could be contradictions in the Bible as flaws, dig deeper and understand not only what you are reading, but the context. Pray before you read and ask God to be with you. Ask Him to use that time to talk with you. Enjoy your relationship with God. There is nothing wrong with asking Him questions if things don’t make sense. But, do yourself a favor and listen. He may just answer.