The Inspiration of the Scriptures #8

Did the men who wrote the Bible contradict each other? If so, then their claim of being inspired by an infallible God must be denied.

The critics awareness of this, motivated them to search for and present unto us many examples of would be contradictions. However, each of their alleged examples were, and have continued to be, nothing more than a misunderstanding of the scriptures.

Today's lesson shall be devoted to a consideration of the would be Bible contradictions, which have been assumed by the critics because of their failure to take into account the different usage of words.

They contend that the Bible says God tempts and does not tempt men, the disciples of Christ are to hate and love their relatives, all things are and are not lawful, God's people are and are not in the kingdom of heaven, we are and are not to call any man father. True, James 1:13 says that God tempts no man and Genesis 22:1 says God tempted Abraham. however, this is no contradiction, because the word tempt in Genesis 22:1 simply means God tried Abraham. Paul in speaking of this in Hebrews 11:17 says, "God tried Abraham".

Whereas the word tempt, in James 1:13, is used to set forth the alluring of one into committing evil.

Yes, God tempted or tried Abraham to see if he would obey Him; but God never tries to allure one into the gutter of sinful corruption.

Then, too, 1 John 1:8-10 says children of God can sin and 1 John 3:9 declares children of God cannot sin.

However, this by no means proves that the apostle John has been caught in a contradiction.

You see, God as well as we, does not always use the word cannot to express a literal absolute physical impossibility. We sometimes say, "I cannot do that," not at all meaning it is impossible, but that we just can't afford to; because there are other things more important. According to Acts 4:19-20 and Exodus 19:21-23, God uses this word in the same way.

The children of Israel could not afford to touch the mountain, because the consequences would be physical death. We cannot afford to go back to a willful life of sin, because by so doing, we will die the second death, or be lost (Hebrews 10:25-31; Revelation 21:8).

Yes, Luke 14:26 says we must hate our loved ones, and Ephesians 5:25; Ephesians 6:1-4; and Titus 2:3-4 teaches we should love them. So, yes indeed, these scriptures do seem to contradict each other. Yet, when we study Genesis 29:30,31 we find that with God, the word hate in some instances is used to say love less. So, when Jesus, according to Luke 14:26 said hate your loved ones, he was only saying love them less than me. According to Matthew 10:37, Jesus plainly said those who love their relatives more than me are not worthy of me.

No, two commands, one which says love your relatives, and the other says love them less than you love me are not contradictory.

Again, the critics are right when they say Paul taught all things were and were not lawful for him (1 Corinthians 6:12; Hebrews 3:4; 1 Corinthains 9:19-21, and Hebrews 10:25-31).

However, since according to Matthew 10:22; Acts 2:17; and many other scriptures, the word all is not always used in the all-inclusive sense, this does not (as the critics say) prove Paul contradicted himself. 1 Corinthians 6:12, taken in context, shows clearly that Paul's statement, "all things are lawful," pertained only to things which are a matter of indifference.

Likewise, it has been said, Paul, according to Colossians 1:13 said when people become children of God they enter the kingdom, and in Acts 14:20 said children of God must suffer in order to enter the kingdom.

However, this is not, as they say, a Biblical contradiction. The expressions kingdom of God and kingdom of heaven refer to both the church and the place where God dwells (Romans 14:17-18; Matthew 7;21).

Paul, in Colossians 1:13 was speaking of the church, but in Acts 14:22, he was speaking of the eternal home with God.

True, Matthew 23:9 and many other scriptures, say we may and may not call anyone but God, father.

Howbeit, this appears to be a contradiction unto only those who do not understand the different degress of fatherhood or origin.

Only God may be called Father, when we speak of the one of whom and through whom all things are. Yet, in a very limited sense, we may call our male parent father, because our existence as a human being had its origin with him..

Yes, these and many other scriptures appear to be at variance. However, these apparent inconsistencies vanish into thin air, when we remember to take into account that words have many different meanings, and that none of us are at liberty to assign our own choice of the various meanings to any of the words of a writers material. By employment of this tactic, the writings of any author (or authors) could be made to appear contradictory.

By: Tommy Hodge

Return to What Saith The Scriptures index page

Home / Bible studies / Bible Survey / Special Studies / General Articles / Non-Bible Articles / Sermons / Sermon Outlines / Links / Questions and Answers / What Saith The Scriptures /Daily Devotional / Correspondence Courses / What is the Church of Christ / Book: Christian Growth / Website Policy / E-mail / About Me /