There are many people who say that they are not Christians because there are contradictions in the Bible. A proper response to such a person is to present a reasonable case for the full reliability of the Bible. Here are a few steps to help you answer those who claim that Bible contradictions keep them from considering the teachings of Christ.
Do Your Homework
Prepare yourself to answer questions about any supposed Bible contradictions that critics are fond of pointing out. This is best done through studying resources that show how the alleged contradictions in the Bible can be resolved. Two excellent tools that help fulfill this purpose are the The New International Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties by Gleason Archer (Zondervan) and Hard Sayings of the Bible by Walter Kaiser, et. al. (InterVarsity Press). Either Bible study guide would be an excellent choice for you.
Dialogue with Respect
Speak respectfully to the person at all times who says there are many contradictions in the Bible. He or she will likely have run into many so-called Christians who are rude and do not offer an answer with gentleness and respect. Do not repeat this error as it is a poor witness to Jesus.
Ask for Examples
Ask the person to give you examples of the kinds of Bible contradictions he or she is talking about. Chances are good that they will not be able to list any at all, and if they do not, politely ask them to read the Bible and get back to you.
Find Out if It Is Really a Contradiction
Determine whether the contradiction in the Bible that is offered to you is really a contradiction. Some people are unaware that a difference is not a true contradiction. An often-cited "contradiction" is the difference in the numbers of angels present at the empty tomb of Jesus in the Gospels. For example, Matthew 28:1-7 says there was one angel present while Luke 24:1-9 mentions two. This is not a contradiction, for if there were two angels present, there was certainly one angel present. These two passages would truly contradict only if Matthew said "ONLY one angel was present."
Do More Study
Tell the person with whom you are speaking that you will get back to him or her if the supposed contradiction is not so easily answered. Go research the alleged problem, find the answer, and give it to the objector. An online Bible course, good Bible study book, and more can help you get an answer.
Remember Your Confidence in Christ
Be confident that when all is said and done and all the facts are known that there are no true contradictions in the Bible.
Tips to Remember
• Our knowledge of the ancient world is incomplete, so what may appear to be a contradiction may only evidence our lack of knowledge about the ancient world. Time and time again what people thought might be a contradiction was proved to be no contradiction at all once more evidence was discovered.
• People have been reading the Bible for thousands of years and there is no such thing as a "Bible contradiction no one has found before." Ancient authors like Augustine and Reformation authors like Calvin provide helpful answers to "contradictions" throughout their writings.
• A good book on biblical inerrancy will also help you deal with "contradictions" in the Bible.
• Many people assume the Bible is guilty until proven innocent. Do not fall into their way of thinking, for the burden of proof is on the person who says there are contradictions in the Bible.