The Bible is
book filled with
You have heard negative things about the Bible. You've likely heard negative things about marriage also. So don't ever read the Bible and don't ever get married.
Does that make sense? Of course not. It's never wise to let the opinions of a few keep you from enjoying what has clearly been a benefit to many. And yet people are much more likely to pay attention to the negative advice they've heard about the Bible, and ignore warnings about marriage. Why is this? Because many are looking for an excuse not to read the book whereas most do want to get married.
Why would anyone have a predisposition not to read this book? One reason is not wanting to be responsible for knowing what it says. Another is that they've already crossed religion off their lists of things they think are important to them in life. Because of these and other reasons, it becomes popular to brand the Bible as unworthy of consideration.
The most common charge you'll likely hear against the Bible is that it is full of contradictions. So, are there any apparently contradictory statements in the Bible? Yes, there are. Well, that settles it! We should just roundly dismiss the entire work as utter nonsense, right?
Wait a minute... Let's take a closer look at this amazing book. It was written over a period of approximately 1600 years (stretching from about 1500 B.C. to 100 A.D.) by several dozen different writers working in different languages and locales, and representing two major religions. Despite this wide authorship, in reading it one finds a cohesive thread running from the book of Genesis all the way through to the book of Revelation. The more you study it, the more you'll get the distinct feeling that there was one Author guiding all the others.
And there was. This book was written under the inspiration of God Himself. Nonsense, you say? Well, if you don't believe in God, of course it will be nonsense to you, as will much of what you read in this book. But if you are willing to even temporarily allow for the possibility of a supreme deity who wishes to communicate to you, and approach the Bible with an open mind and heart, you will begin to sense that this is a book unlike any other.
So what about the contradictions? Let's lay some groundwork first. No informed person believes that this book was directly written by God Himself. Here's what the Bible says:
All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:16-17)
It was "inspired by God," but written by the aforementioned authors. How did they write it? In a trance, not knowing what they wrote? No, we have no reason to believe that. They were godly men who were true servants of the living God. In the context of their locale and the events or situations they were dealing with, they wrote under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Again, this does not mean that every word was exactly the one chosen in the mind of God, rather that they were moved by the Holy Spirit to write only what was in keeping with the message God wanted communicated both for that time, and for all time.
Then, these inspired words were both copied and translated numerous times between the time they were written and today. Obviously, errors are going to creep in. There are going to be typos. There are going to be phrases that don't translate easily. When one or more writers describe the same event, each will have his own perspective. There are going to be statements that can only be understood perfectly by those with a working knowledge of the time and locale where they were written. A significant number of the contradictions in the Bible are due to these reasons.
Many other apparent contradictions are not really contradictions at all, rather subjects that were either honestly misunderstood, or purposely twisted, by those alleging the contradiction. In other words, most lists of Bible contradictions are not compiled by Christians, rather by those assailing Christianity. Some of these individuals are honest inquirers, others have an axe to grind. In either case, because most of these people are on the outside of Christianity, it is to be expected that they will occasionally see contradictions where in fact there are none.
The bottom line is that not only has the message of the Bible, God's message to this world, made it down to our day in its pure form (remember, we're talking about the message, not the punctuation), but it has also done so without any contradictions that obscure this message. In other words, all that God wanted us to know originally is still in the Bible today. Everything you need to learn as to how you can make it into Heaven is there.
So why didn't the omnipotent God of the universe preserve His Word without a single error or contradiction? Why didn't He write it on tables of titanium encased in diamond sheets and protected by a force field so that there would be no doubt?
Because God will have a people who will have exercised faith. A people who will have sought out the truth themselves, even after having been told there was no truth to be found since the Holy Book was "full of contradictions." No, the number of children that Saul's daughter Michal had is wholly immaterial to the message of the redemption of a fallen race. The age of Jehoiachin when he became king has no bearing on whether you can find peace and deep satisfaction in a relationship with Jesus Christ. And knowing exactly how Judas died pales into insignificance compared to how God wants your life to end.
Yes, you've heard negative things about the Bible. But don't let someone else decide what you are going to believe. Check it out for yourself.
Scripture quotations taken from the NASB