Does the Bible contradict itself?
In many of my dialogues with people concerning the Bible I have heard one statement quite often. That statement is that, “The Bible is full of contradictions.” I respond by pulling my Bible out of my pocket and handing it to them. While I say, “Since the Bible is full of contradictions. I want you to show me just one?” Nobody till this day has taking the Bible from me and has shown me even one contradiction.
Please allow me to make some points about why people say that the Bible contradicts itself. As well as giving some examples that will clear up this issue for you.
Here is why people say the Bible contradicts itself? These are the methods used to persuade masses to believe a certain way about different things.
1.) They use teaching methods like repeated repetition which is the best method for learning and memorization.
2.) They use Propaganda which is the art of presenting a targeted message that is designed to covertly influence people’s opinion about a specific issue rather than giving full details about the issue.
3.) The purpose of propaganda is twofold. It misleads those that are unsophisticated about the issue that is being propagated while misleading them. Secondly, it is purposed to cause those who see what is happening to have to work much harder to convince people of what is going on.
Perceptions have been released through media, books and classrooms for decades especially in America that say the Bible is full of contradictions. What happens is that people hear that saying over and over. The saying eventually becomes something that becomes etched into a person’s mind and thoughts.
The people that say that the Bible is contradicting usually makes statements to back up the comments that are degrading or mocking concerning some aspect of the Bible. There is never any show of any text with analysis of text or context discussed to give proof to any contradiction. The result is that the people that hearing the statement continually wind up believing the statement that says the Bible is full of contradictions. What I just explained is how propaganda works and what the goal of the propaganda produces.
Here are examples to truth and continuity of scripture
1.) FACT: There are not many interpretations of scripture. There is only one interpretation of a text. It can be applied to a person’s life in more ways than one. So the passage only has one meaning, but it can have many applications. If something in the Bible does not seem to go together. That does not mean it is a contradiction. It does mean that the person does not have the right interpretation.
2.) The Bible has different versions of the English translation for the purpose of making the Bible easier to read. The English language is a limited language in comparison to other languages. The limited English makes it impossible to understand the Bible if you are trying to get all of what the scripture has to offer. It is important to study the Bible in its original written languages of Greek and Hebrew to receive the right interpretation.
3.) The Greek language paints pictures in its meaning. For example:
- In the English language a noun is a person place or thing. The position of the grammar will determine if the noun is the subject or the object of the sentence.
- In the Greek language a noun can be Accusative, Dative, Genitive or Nominative. The type of noun in Greek is determined by the ending of the words? The Noun can be 1st, 2nd or 3rd declension. It can be masculine, feminine or neuter. It can be plural or singular. All of these things bring meaning to the text and enhance it.
Here is a scriptural example of limited English and the original language of Greek to show the differences in defining the meaning. Jesus and God the Father are going to be explained in the proceeding text. Hebrews 1:3 says, “Who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person.”
- The English defines Brightness as being bright. Glory is defined as splendor. Express is defined as exact. Image is defined as the form of a person. So from the English definitions the scripture would look like this. Jesus shines as the brightness of the Father’s splendor and is the exact form of His person.
- The Greek defines brightness as shining forth, a light coming from a luminous body, radiating or out-raying. Glory is defined as majesty in the sense of the absolute perfection of the deity. The express image is defined together as the dyed mark stamped upon that instrument. The term of His means the same. Person is defined as substance. Here is the picture that the Greek definition portrays concerning Jesus and the Father.
Jesus is the radiating out ray of the absolute perfection of the Fathers laminating Body and they are the same substance. It is as if you took an image of the Father on a stamp placed it in dye and stamped that image on a paper. The image on the paper would be Jesus. Believe it or not there is more meaning that can be added to this verse by looking at what kind of verbs and nouns that are used in this verse of scripture. I hope that this example was sufficient to show the difference in meaning between defining in English and Greek.
Here is a different example that people would say is contradicting if you define it in English and not the original Greek language that it was written in? Saul who became known as the Apostle Paul is converted on the road to Damascus with a group of people. A great light forms around them and a voice speaking to Saul. In the English translations there appears to be a conflicting account. Acts 9:7 says, “And the men who journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing a voice but seeing no one.” Acts 22:9 says, “And those who were with me indeed saw the light and were afraid, but they did not hear the voice of Him who spoke to me.
- Here is the conflict between the two accounts: Acts 9 says that they that were with Saul hearing a voice saw no one. Acts 22 says the men with Saul heard not the voice of Him which spoke.
- Here is what the two accounts are saying in the original written language of Greek without conflict: In Acts 9:7 the word “hearing” linked with the word “voice” in this verse the word voice in the Greek is genitive case. The genitive emphasizes the sound of a voice. In Acts 22:9 the word heard not linked with voice in this case the Greek word voice is in the accusative case emphasizing perception of what is being spoken. So here is what is actually being said according to the Greek. Acts 9:7 says that those who were with Saul were the hearing sound of a voice but seeing no one. Acts 22:9 says that the men who were with Saul did not understand the meaning of the voice. So the men were hearing a voice but the men did not hear the meaning of what was being said.
It is important to educate yourself to find truth. Otherwise anyone can come along trying to tell you what something means. I give you the evidence in the original Greek language below to show that I am not going to tell you something like this without analyzing the text.
Remember the New Testament was originally written in Greek. In the Greek language the end of a word determines how the noun is defined. The tense, voice and moods of the verbs enhance the verbs meaning. A quick study of the endings of two words from each chapter will give us a better understanding of the two texts.
Evidence of Greek study:
In Acts 9- the first word “to hear” in the (Greek alphabet is-ἀκούω, the English transliteration of the Greek letters- akouō). Remember that verbs in Greek have moods, tenses and different voices which add to the meaning of the word. This word “to hear” in chapter 9 is in present (tense) which means it is a continuing action. Since this word to hear is a continuing action the ending gets –ing added to it when translated into the English from Greek. It is in the Active (voice). It is in the participle (mood) which adds a noun to the end of the verb. The word becomes a verbal noun.
In Chapter 9 of Acts the Greek word (οντες) is added, the English transliteration ovtes which is the word men. The ending of the Greek word ovt(es) makes it a nominative noun. This Greek word ovtes is in the third declension which makes the word plural, which is why it says men not man. The English translates it only as hearing and not with the word men, because it would be grammatically incorrect in the English. In Greek it actually is two Greek words (ἀκού-οντες). Let’s look at another word, “voice”. The Greek word is φωνῆς, the English transliteration is phones. When you take this Greek word ending φων(ῆς), it puts the noun in the genitive case making it possessive. With the word voice being in the genitive puts emphasis on “hearing sound of” a voice in chapter 9:7.
In Acts 22:9- the first word “to hear” in the (Greek alphabet is ἀκούω, the English transliteration of the Greek letters is akouō). The verb is aorist tense which makes the verb past tense. The verb is in the active voice which represents the performer of the action of the verb. The verb is indicative in mood, which means it is a matter of fact that the act occurred. The actual Greek word “to hear” in chapter 22:9 is ἤ(κου)σαν.
The second word “voice” in chapter 22:9 is φωνὴν in Greek. The English transliteration for this Greek word is phonen. The ending of the Greek noun φων(ὴν) puts it in the accusative case which is in reference to the direct object. The accusative case of the word voice in chapter 22:9 puts emphasis on “the thing being perceived”.
This is the Greek nouns and verbs defined in the original language to give the proper meaning of what these passages were actually saying. I finish with this example in Acts, because the people that spread this false propaganda about the Bible being full of contradictions are just like the men in this account of Acts. They do not understand or comprehend the meaning of what is being said in the Scriptures.
I challenge you to become a student of the Bible. Its truth and continuity of message will change your life. Jesus tells us what the purpose of the Scriptures is. John 5:39-40 says, “You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me. But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life.”
The Bible is the testimony of Jesus. Come to Jesus by believing that He died for your sins and was resurrected on the third day. Acknowledge that you are a sinner in need of forgiveness. Repent of your sins. Thank Jesus for dying for your sins on the cross. Make Jesus the Lord of your life and your savior. Jesus will come live in your heart and you will be born again. The same Spirit that raised Christ from the dead will raise you from the dead to live with Him forever.