How do we handle difficult passages in the Bible?
There are passages in the Bible that are difficult and there are people who use these passages to make the claim that there are errors and contradictions in the Bible. The first response to these claims is, name one. Most people do not know what their talking about and cannot name one. It needs to be remembered that it is the task of the critic to prove that there are errors and contradictions in the Bible, but should a person point out what seems to be an error, there are guidelines that can be followed. First, we must be sure of what a text says and what it means. At times the translation from Hebrew and Greek to English needs to be checked to be sure what the text says. As to what a text means, the Bible will interpret itself by comparing Scripture with Scripture. The Bible is to be translated literally, using words in their common everyday usage without trying to read more into them than what actually exists. Second, the Bible records a great deal of history and will record events and sins that it does not approve. The context will tell us if the Bible is simply recording history or if it is giving specific instruction. Third, do not confuse falsity with perspective. One writer may record an account according to his perspective and another will record it from a different perspective, it does not make for a contradiction, only a difference in perspective. Fourth, with regard to numbers, many times the Bible will round up or down, which does not make for an error in measurements or accounting, only a summarizing of the numbers for the record. In future articles, we will look at other apparent difficulties in the Bible. Remember the Bible is always consistent in the plan of salvation and justification by faith.
Have questions about the Bible? Send them to Dr. Greg Koehn at firstname.lastname@example.org and read the answer here in this article.