Does the bible contradict itself? Many seemingly think so, but anyone who has ever studied the bible in any depth can attest that this just isn’t so. So, why do so many want the bible to appear to be contradictory? Most of them want such because they have no intention of submitting themselves to the Will and Authority of God. Therefore, it is imperative to them to make the bible appear to be just another book written by fallible man that isn’t worth the paper it was written on.
It was Paul writing to the Corinthians who certified as God was true, that the Word he preached was not both yes and no. In other words, it wasn’t contradictory (2 Cor 1:18). As God lied not, so His Word contains no lies (Heb 6:18); Neither did his apostles lie (Rom 9:1 ff; 2 Cor 11:31; Gal 1:20; 1 Tim 2:7). Having said such, many still contend that they have uncovered contradictions in the bible. Let us examine a couple such claims, and see if we can uncover what is going on with such claims.
The new testament records, as well as the old, that God the Father has never been seen or even heard by the eyes and ears of man (Ex 33:20 f; Jn 1:18) Yet, the bible also records that some have claimed to see God face to face. “So Jacob named the place Peniel, for he said, “I have seen God face to face, yet my life has been preserved” (Ex 32:30) “Then Moses went up with Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel, and they saw the God of Israel; and under His feet there appeared to be a pavement of sapphire, as clear as the sky itself” (Ex 24:9,10). Is this a contradiction or just a mere misunderstanding?
As most Christians already know, the new testament has brought to light who the true God of Israel was. The scriptures identified Him as Jesus Christ. First, Isaiah prophesied of Jesus and called Him by these names: “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace” (Isa 9:6). It was Paul who identified Jesus as the deliverer of Israel from Egypt. “Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea; And did all eat the same spiritual meat; And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ” (1 Cor 10:1-4). Jesus himself said, “And the Father himself, which hath sent me, hath borne witness of me. You have neither heard his voice at any time, nor seen his shape” (Jn 5:37) John wrote, “No man hath seen God at any time, the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him (Jn 1:18). Jesus was not only declared as the God of Israel, but as the creator of the entire world. John declared Him by saying, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made (Jn 1:1-3). It was Paul who wrote, “In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins: Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist. And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence. For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell;” (Col 1:14-19). Thus, if anyone had claimed to have seen God the Son, it was possible, but to have seen God the Father, no, it was not possible. In many cases, Israel saw only God’s representatives, that being, the angels of God. In the book of Acts, Stephen taught that Israel had received the law by the disposition of angels (Act 7:53). Thus, the bible doesn’t contradict itself on the accusation that God can’t be seen, though holy men declared that they God.
Man has only limited understanding here on earth. We can entertain angels and not know it (Heb 13:2). The apostle Paul has been accused of writing some things of his own opinion of which we are not held accountable (1 Cor 7:6,12 f; 2 Cor 11:17). Some conclude that this means that all scripture is not given by the inspiration of God (2 Tim 3:16,17). However, a closer study will conclude that Paul was not writing of his own opinion, but rather of things which Jesus spoke nothing concerning. It is noteworthy that all Christians are subject to the doctrine of the apostles, for they had received their doctrine from the on high 1 Cor 11:1 ff; 1 Cor 4:16; Jn 14:26; Jn 16:13).
Just because the fathers and prophets and apostles didn’t know that they were inspired doesn’t mean that they were not inspired. It is true that the bible records the words of evil men, good men and even the Devil himself, but who was it that remembered such words and event, and had it delivered unto mankind? It was God the Father. If God gave the Word and had it written, it became scripture, and thus was heavenly inspired. Except God had it written about His Son, and the events of the apostles, we would have never known it. If God had it written, then it is: “profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works”(2 Tim 3:16,17).
There are no contradictions in the bible, there are just things many can’t comprehend. Until God opened up the hearts of men to understand the scripture, man walked in darkness. Paul was to write, “Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit;” (Eph 3:5). There has been much revealed unto mankind that they might be saved, but some things are still hidden. The secret things belong to God, but those things which are revealed belong to us that we might keep the commandments of God (Deut 29:29). “And if any man think that he knows any thing, he knows nothing yet as he ought to know” (1 Cor 8:2). This we do know, God has given us the gospel to save us, his doctrine to keep us, and his promise to never forsake us (Mk 16:16 f; Jn 7:16,17; Heb 13:5). If we are faithful to the end, God, who cannot lie, has promised eternal life (Tit 1:2). Mankind needs to stop trying to find contradictions in the scripture, which do not exist, and begin to submit to the authority of God, which does exist, and obey it!