How do you deal with contradiction?

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by Dale-c, Mar 25, 2008.

  1. Dale-c

    Dale-c
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    How do you deal with contradiction in the Bible?
    Of course we know there is not any true contradiction in the Bible but there are many places that SEEMINGLY contradict other places.

    There are place that speak of men being predestined to salvation and other places that say all who believe shall be saved,

    One place may say "wine is a mocker" another place says to take wine for your stomach.


    There are two common ways I see that peopel handle these things:

    The most common seem to be to try to eradicate or explain away or just simply ignore one side..
    The hypercalvinist for instance may say that since God is sovereign, then why do anything?

    Someone else may see "take a little wine for your stomach" and decide that a little is a quart every evening.

    Yet another person may embrace open theism.


    So, if you encounter a conflict like this, how do you deal with it in your own mind?
     
  2. AAA

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    I pray that GOD will show me the truth...
     
  3. Dale-c

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    That is of course the place to start. but you obviously have to have a mean you go about to study.

    One thing I think is good is to see how Christians both past and present have dealt with these issues.
    Any issue worth worrying about has been worried about and studies throughout history.
    You can gain great insight into things by reading how others believed on this issue.
    Of course ultimately our appeal is to the scriptures.
     
  4. TomMann

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    I guess I am just one of those mentally deficient types that most of you will either pity or condemn. Here's my take...

    There are no contradictions in the bible.

    But who am I , I even believe the bible is the inspired and infallable.
     
  5. LeBuick

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    After prayer I try and look further at the text, time, people and try to make sense why it reads the way it does.

    For example, wine was the cure for about anything. Wasn't too long ago in this country when wiskey was used for anesthesia. We take drugs daily for conditions we have. So I take that verse in this light, wine was the cure for an upset stomach so was a good suggestion.

    Predestination if observed closely was used toward Israel. They were chosen people. I don't want to be in a calvinist debate so I will leave it at that.
     
  6. Bro. Ruben

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    The Holy Bible has no contradictions; contradiction lies only in our mind, on how we understand and interpret the Scriptures.

    Say for instance in the OT: one verse says no one has seen God; the other one says otherwise.

    Remember, the Bible is God's Word, not man's.
     
  7. Jerome

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    As one preacher said:
    "Men who are morbidly anxious to possess a self-consistent creed,—a creed which they can put together, and form into a square, like a Chinese puzzle,—are very apt to narrow their souls. Fancying that all truth can be comprehended in half-a-dozen formulae, they reject as worthless every doctrinal statement which cannot be so comprehended. Those who will only believe what they can reconcile will necessarily disbelieve much of Divine revelation; they are, without knowing it, following the lead of the Rationalists. Those who receive by faith anything which they find in the Bible will receive two things, twenty things, ay, or twenty thousand things, though they cannot construct a theory which harmonizes them all. That process of theory-making is an expensive folly, the invention of middle terms is a waste of ingenuity; it were far better to believe the truths, and leave the Lord to show their consistency."
     
  8. Crabtownboy

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    Contridictions -- death of Judas

    From Matthew:

    5 And throwing down the pieces of silver in the temple, he departed; and he went and hanged himself.

    From Acts:

    18 (Now this man bought a field with the reward of his wickedness; and falling headlong he burst open in the middle and all his bowels gushed out.

    Another contradiction has to do with the purchaser of the field of blood. In Matt 27:7-8 the priests purchased the field. In Acts 1:18-19 Judah purchased the field.

     
  9. Allan

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    There is NO contradiction here regarding the death of Judas. In the portion where he hanged himself simply states what he did, the other discribes what happened during that event.

    There is no contradiction with the purchaser of the field of blood either, nor any other portion of scripture for that matter. :thumbs:
     
  10. Crabtownboy

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    1- That is one explanation. I am not sure it is correct, but to me it does not matter. The important truth is instead of repenting he killed himself.

    And even if there are contridictions in the details it does not bother me as I believe the importants truths are there.

    One thing I have wondered about in Genesis. If we take it very literally Adam and Eve had no daughters. Then Cain killed Able. We are then given the list of Cain's descends are Enoch, Irad, Mehujael, Methushael, and Lamech. Seth is born to replace Abel. Seth was born to replace Able ... Seth was also male.

    Where did Cain's wife come from as no daughters are mentioned being born to Adam and Eve?
     
  11. Joseph M. Smith

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    First, I think that contradiction is really too strong a term. What I see are more like incidental inconsistencies that, if they cannot be understood from the context, are attributable to the use of different sources. In the Pentateuch, for example, J and E may not always agree on details, and there may be different emphases. But that does not mean that their report of the actions of God and His intent is in contradiction; it simply means that each author/editor is working off a different angle.
     
  12. Allan

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    Of what truths can you be sure of if it is full of contradictions/errors?

    Secondly, we ARE to take Genisis literally :) and Adam did have daughters :
    The rendering of the Hebrew can more accurately be conveyed that after Seth Adam had [other] sons and daughters. In fact in most translations it is so.
     
    #12 Allan, Mar 26, 2008
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 26, 2008
  13. Crabtownboy

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  14. Crabtownboy

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    I agree and feel this is the way we must approach such issues.
     
  15. David Lamb

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    I recently did a series of bible studies on this matter. I started by looking at the matter of why there are apparent contradictions. I don't claim any originality for this, but here is a shortened version of what I said, which may or may not be helpful:

    1. Why Are there Seeming Contradictions in the Bible?

    There are many different reasons, and here some:

    (1) Ignoring context. Example: God’s attitude to His Creation. If we take Genesis 1.31 and Genesis 6.6 out of their context, and put them side-by-side, here is the result:

    “Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good. So the evening and the morning were the sixth day.”

    “And the LORD was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart.”

    With no context, we are faced with ludicrous idea of God holding two completely opposite views.


    (2) Forgetting that we are using a translation. There will be instances where there isn’t a word in the reader’s language, in our case English, which exactly corresponds with the Hebrew or Greek original. This can make it seem as if there is a contradiction, where none exists. An example of this is Galatians 6, veres 2 and 5. In verse 2 Paul encourages Christians to bear one another’s burdens, and in verse 5 he says that everyone should bear his own burden. It is not obvious from the English that the original Greek words are so different that no idea of contradiction would have entered the heads of Paul’s first readers in Galatia! The word in “Bear one another’s burdens” is that from which we get our English word “barometer”. It means “pressure”, “heaviness”, “trouble” - an imposed weight. The other word refers to the load involved when cargo is placed on a ship. That is what the ship is for - to carry the cargo - no imposition! So Christians are to help their fellow-believers who are going through some particular difficulty, but each Christian is expected by Christ to carry a load or “cargo”. However, Christ never overloads His people.

    (3) Different languages and cultures have their own idioms. In English, we talk about “raining cats and dogs”, but we don’t mean that animals are falling from the sky. Listen to Leviticus 11.20-21:

    “20 ‘All flying insects that creep on all fours shall be an abomination to you. 21 Yet these you may eat of every flying insect that creeps on all fours: those which have jointed legs above their feet with which to leap on the earth.”

    There, we have not so much a seeming contradiction of one Scripture with another, as something which seems to go against what we actually see. Insects have six legs, not four. But when we know that the ancient people of the East used “going upon all fours” as an idiomatic expression to refer to anything with more than two legs, the difficulty fades away.


    (4) Similar, but not identical events are described. In Matthew 14, we read of Jesus miraculously feeding five thousand men, plus women and children, with five loaves of bread and two fish, and the disciples gather up twelve baskets of leftovers. In the next chapter we read of four thousand men, plus women and children, with seven loaves and a few fish, and seven baskets of remains. Is that a discrepancy? Not at all, for Jesus Himself referred to them as two separate miracles, not two slightly different accounts of the same event. Matthew 11.6-12.

    (5) Our own presuppositions. For example, if you assume that Genesis was not written by Moses, but by two or more people, it seems logical to imagine that the first two chapters give two different and contradictory accounts of Creation. Without such presuppositions, there is no problem - Genesis 1.1-2.3 are a chronological account of the six days of Creation, and Genesis 2.4 onwards provide a description of the fall of man.


    (6) Not taking note of who is saying the words, and to whom. Genesis 2.17:

    "but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die."

    But part of Genesis 3.4, also referring to the tree of knowledge of good and evil, reads:

    "You will not surely die.”

    However, in Genesis 2, God is speaking, whereas the words from Genesis 3.4 are spoken by the devil! No wonder they do not agree! But sometimes the explanation is not quite so obvious. In Revelation 3.20, we have these words of Jesus:

    "Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.”

    We are often presented with the picture of Jesus meekly standing outside an unbeliever’s heart, waiting for that person to let Him in. Now if that is so, if sinners have to open their own hearts for Jesus to come in, where does that leave words like those found in Ephesians 2.1? :

    “And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins,”

    Who are those words addressed to? The opening verse of Paul’s letter to the Ephesians says it was to the “saints who are at Ephesus”, in other words, to Christians. What about those words in Revelation 3 about Jesus knocking at the door? That, too, was addressed to Christians, this time to the church in Laodicea. These believers had become lukewarm in their service for Christ - it was as if they were shutting Him out. Revelation 3.20 is not about the Saviour standing knocking at the door of an unbeliever’s heart. Rather, it is a wake-up call to a sleepy church. It could well have an element of warning in it, especially bearing in mind the words of James 5.8-9:

    “8 You also be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand. 9 Do not grumble against one another, brethren, lest you be condemned. Behold, the Judge is standing at the door!”

    So simply by looking at who the words were addressed to, we see that there is no contradiction between Ephesians 2.1 and Revelation 3.20.


    The Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy (1978) sums up the matter of apparent contradictions like this: “The truthfulness of Scripture is not negated by the appearance in it of irregularities of grammar or spelling, phenomenal descriptions of nature, reports of false statements (for example, the lies of Satan), or seeming discrepancies between one passage and another. It is not right to set the so-called "phenomena" of Scripture against the teaching of Scripture about itself. Apparent inconsistencies should not be ignored. Solution of them, where this can be convincingly achieved, will encourage our faith, and where for the present no convincing solution is at hand we shall significantly honour God by trusting His assurance that His Word is true, despite these appearances, and by maintaining our confidence that one day they will be seen to have been illusions.”
     
  16. Mike McK

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    I've never come across any alleged "contradiction" that can't be resolved by a careful study of the text.

    99 times out of 100, it's simply a case of someone not having read the whole text, such as you've done here with "wine is a mocker".
     
  17. Allan

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    Dale,

    For me, when I find a contradiction against my theology, I first acknowledge it isn't God nor His Word that is incorrect but my understanding.

    Then I set down and I read it again to determine what it's meaning is according to the surrounding passages in context, then write it down - as I understand it.

    Thirdly, utilizing the passage I will pick out some key words and then I will look to see if here is any other passages with those express or similar key words whether in the original or English for a comparitive study in context.

    Fourthly, I will go to different theological commentaries to see how each side views the text(s) in question.

    All the while praying that God would keep me open to His leading and truth regardless of my personal views, and to change them if their are not correct in part or of the whole.

    From there I just let God reveal and establish His truth that He will reveal to me. What else can I do?

    I agree with Spurgeon's statement from "Salvation by Knowing Truth (1 Tim 2:3-4):
     
    #17 Allan, Mar 26, 2008
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  18. Allan

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    Actually a great MANY people believe in the inspiration and inerrancy of Word of God. However, by inerrant we do not mean a mispelling of a word and such through human imperfection but more so there is no errors (contradictions) in and of the scriptures themselves much less additions to it over time.

    Secondly, your view of things 'not being found in the earliest texts'; This depends entirely on what you are presuming is the 'earlist texts' and what 'scholars' you are saying makes these statements.

    BTW - There isn't anything in our bibles that has been proven to have been added in. THose scholars you talked about, if they were so sure of their claim, they would have no problem removing them from the bible. Yet even they wont venture that far. Why not? Becuase it is conjecture and opinion and is why none such texts have ever been removed. They don't have a much of case. They can give an argument but they do not have a strong case in their favor.

    I agree this discussion is not what the OP had in mind, but is one for a different thread. :) Enjoy your day
     
    #18 Allan, Mar 26, 2008
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 26, 2008
  19. J.Wayne

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    The ONLY contradiction that lies within is within the mind of the reader. God's word does not contradict it self. Mans's word and thought, most assuredly but God's never!
     
  20. Dale-c

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    That was intentional actually.
    You are exactly right. There are many things that may contradict at first glance but not if taken as a whole.

    One of the things that I think causes confusion is that we are exposed to so many different theologies that another denomination may say "well you are wrong because the Bible says this here"
    That can often confuse a new christian.
    But again, taken all in Context it usually clears it up.

    and for those that didn't read the second line of the OP, I do not believe there are any contradictions in scripture. Only seeming contradiction.
     

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