Quick Shot: “The Bible is full of contradictions”

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Our “Quick Shot” series offers brief answers to common objections to the Christian worldview. Each response is limited to one paragraph. These responses are designed to (1) answer the objection as concisely as possible, (2) challenge the objector to think more deeply about his or her claim, and (3) facilitate a “gospel” conversation. In this article, we’re offering “Quick Shot” responses to the objection, Quick Shot: “The Bible is full of contradictions.”

Response #1:
“I hear that a lot, can you show me what you’re talking about? How familiar are you with the Bible to begin with? Have you examined all the alleged ‘contradictions’? I’m happy to look at something with you, and if I don’t have an answer for you, I’ll do some research and get back to you. But, there’s a difference between a contradiction and a variation. Just because two people report something differently, it doesn’t necessarily mean there’s a true contradiction. When you and I return home and tell our family members about this conversation, I bet we’ll highlight different aspects of what was said. Those differences might appear to be contradictory, but they’re actually the kinds of variations we would expect when two people have varying interests and perspectives. Have you considered the fact that the Bible writers were real people who had personal interests and perspectives that may have shaped how they reported their observations?”

The Bible writers were real people who had personal interests and perspectives that may have shaped how they reported their observations. Click To Tweet

OR

Response #2:
“I’m not sure why you wouldn’t expect the Bible authors (like those who wrote the New Testament gospels), to report things in precisely the same way. Why wouldn’t there appear to be contradictions? This is the nature of all reliable eyewitness testimony. Witnesses to a crime (or other significant event) never seem to agree on details. That’s why detectives start by separating eyewitnesses as early as they can. They don’t want the witnesses to line up their stories and report the same thing. Detectives understand that there will appear to be differences in the witness accounts, but they know it’s their job to investigate the claims to understand why these differences exists – even when all the witnesses are accurately reporting the events. Have you ever thought about approaching the Bible authors in a similar way?”

Why wouldn’t there appear to be contradictions in the gospels? This is the nature of all reliable eyewitness testimony. Click To Tweet

Our “Quick Shot” series was written specifically for the Cold-Case Christianity App (you can download it on Apple and Android platforms – be sure to register once you download the App). When confronted with an objection in casual conversation, App users can quickly find an answer without having to scroll beyond the first screen in the category. Use the App “Quick Shots” along with the “Rapid Responses” and Case Making “Cheat Sheets” to become a better Christian Case Maker.

For more information about the reliability of the New Testament gospels and the case for Christianity, please read Cold-Case Christianity: A Homicide Detective Investigates the Claims of the Gospels. This book teaches readers ten principles of cold-case investigations and applies these strategies to investigate the claims of the gospel authors. The book is accompanied by an eight-session Cold-Case Christianity DVD Set (and Participant’s Guide) to help individuals or small groups examine the evidence and make the case.

J. Warner Wallace is a Dateline featured Cold-Case Detective, Senior Fellow at the Colson Center for Christian Worldview, Adj. Professor of Christian Apologetics at Talbot School of Theology, Biola University, author of Cold-Case ChristianityGod’s Crime Scene, and Forensic Faith, and creator of the Case Makers Academy for kids.

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