The myth of Bible contradictions

“Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest thou also be like unto him. Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own conceit.” — Proverbs 26:4-5

Why do people think there are Bible contradictions? There are several reasons. They think the Bible is supposed to be written chronologically. They don’t believe in the supernatural. They take it out of context. These are just a few.

The Bible explains itself. The Bible isn’t a “here’s what it says to me” book. It is simply what God says.

The passage above is sometimes construed to be a contradiction. Fools want to argue. If you argue with someone who wants to argue, you won’t get anywhere. But you sometimes have to reprove a fool in order to keep him from continuing in his folly.

The devil is continually trying to get us to question the validity of God’s word and authority. With respect to the forbidden tree in the Garden of Eden, God can grant us many freedoms, but we’ll be upset over the one thing that’s off limits.

Genesis 6:19-20 — How many animals were on the ark? Were there two of every kind or seven?

Kind and species are not the same thing. A horse and a zebra, for example, are the same kind but not the same species. Noah had enough sense to take small animals. Their purpose was to procreate after the flood.

Clean animals were to be taken by 7’s. Unclean animals were to be taken by 2’s. There is no contradiction. The clean animals were taken for the purpose of sacrifice.

Who was Moses’ father-in-law? He is mentioned a number of times. The way Israelites and Middle Easterners spoke was different from the way we speak. Sometimes their name was really a title. For example, Jacob was also called Israel. Simon was also called Peter. Saul was called Paul. It depends on the context.

Exodus 2:16-17, 3:1 — In the context of 10 verses, the priest of Midian — Moses’ father-in-law — was called two names. In Judges 4, he is called by yet anther name (Hobab).

God doesn’t lie. Man lies because some want you to think there are Bible contradictions to lessen its authority.

Reuel means “friend of God.” He was the spiritual leader. Our pastor’s name is Greg, but we often call him Pastor. His kids call him “Dad.” It’s still the same person.

Likewise, Jethro was another name for Moses’ father-in-law. It means, “his excellency.” But Hobab was his actual name.

What was in the ark of the covenant? There are two verses that have different stories.

1 Kings 8:9 says there were two tables of stone only, which Moses put there at Horeb.

Hebrews 9:4 describes the layout of the tabernacle. It also says the ark of the covenant contained the golden pot that had manna and Aaron’s rod, in addition to the tables of the covenant.

There is a 500-year time gap between these two passages. At one time, all 3 items were there. Two of them were organic and would not have lasted. Later, there were only the two tables of stone. The manna and the rod were temporary blessings of God. The commandments are not temporary, but permanent.

Who killed Goliath?

1 Samuel 17:50-51 states very clearly that David “smote the Philistine” with a sling and a stone. There was no sword in his hand. It was his faith that killed the giant and not his skill.

In 2 Samuel 21:19 we are told that Elhanan killed the brother of Goliath. 1 Chronicles 20:5 confirms this. Some translations take out the “brother” and make it appear as though Elhanan killed Goliath. This is why we must stick to the earlier, undiluted Biblical translations. Sometimes, various translations can create apparent contradictions that don’t actually exist.

Who was Joseph’s father? Matthew 1:16 says Jacob begat Joseph. But Luke 3:23 tells us Jesus was the son of Joseph, who was the son of Heli. So who were Jacob and Heli? Matthew contains the actual, chronological genealogy of Jacob. Luke contains Mary’s genealogy. Heli was actually Joseph’s father-in-law, but he was legally Joseph’s father just as much as Jacob.

Building blocks (2 Peter 1:13-15)

We all must grow and deepen our faith. If we’re adding the right things to our lives and subtracting the wrong things, the Holy Spirit will multiply everything that’s righteous in us.

So often we live our Christian lives in terms of what God used to do in our lives or what God used to do in the church. “Used to” churches are useless churches because God can still do the things He used to do.

1. We must be awakened to what God is doing around us. When He speaks, it is always in the present. “The Lord is my shepherd,” for example. What is God doing in our nation right now? In our community? In our church? In our marriages?

Sometimes we have to do things like fasting in order to get answers from God.

Sometimes God does incredible things in our lives and we’re too busy to even notice. If we could see into the spiritual realm it would amaze us what is going on around us.

2. The most startling revelation about life, is death. We are all going to die one day and that knowledge should impact us. If you know how to use your time and you waste it instead, you waste your life. And this is rebellion against God. Our life span is just a drop in the bucket of eternity. We often forget how short life really is.

If you knew you had just one week — 168 hours — to live, who would you forgive? What would you give away? Who would you share the gospel with? What would you do with your spouse? If you would do those things knowing you just had one week left, why do you not do them now not knowing if you even have a week?

If you have to be spoonfed daily, there’s something wrong with your spiritual walk. We all have to learn to stand on our own two feet spiritually.

3. When God removes people from your life, Jesus is enough. Sometimes people are taken from us for one reason or another. Or sometimes we are betrayed by a friend. We have to understand that when they are all gone, Jesus is still enough.

The heart is an idol factory. We have to understand that Jesus is enough for us, no matter what else happens to us or those around us. We will never be satisfied until Jesus becomes enough to satisfy everything in us. Don’t waste your life on a miserable existence of self.

Building blocks (2 Peter 1:11-12)

We have been looking at the concept of adding to our faith. Peter shows us what it looks like to not just be saved, but to also be growing in the faith. If we add the right things to our lives and subtract the wrong things, God will multiply our faith.

If we do not add to our faith, we will not be spiritually productive and might even come to doubt our faith. This doesn’t result in us losing our salvation, but will result in us falling away from the faith. So let us be less of what we are by nature, and more of what God wants us to be supernaturally.

The Holy Spirit is the greatest teacher in the entirety of the universe.

In verse 11, Peter writes that “an entrance shall be ministered unto you.” The word “ministered,” translated from the original, actually means “add to your faith.” In other words, you minister to yourself by adding to your faith. Then He will greatly minister to us.

When we leave this world for the eternal presence of God, how do we have an entrance? There are already mansions for us in the Father’s house. Christ has already prepared a place for us. He has given us an entrance that we could not have gained for ourselves. In other words, the Cross was His preparation for us.

If He had stayed dead, we’d all be doomed.

Lost people don’t grow spiritually. It’s not religion or baptism or good looks that provide the way.

1. The additions we make to our lives will be rewarded by a lavish reception into heaven. Once we die and enter into His presence, we will be abundantly ministered to. It will be the perfect presence of God — no disease, no pain, no complaining no conflict.

There will be three great surprises in heaven: who will be there, those who aren’t there, and that YOU get to be there. No matter what pain we suffer in this life, it is not comparable to the eternal glory of heaven.

There are 5 people (or groups of people) who will meet us at the reception when we get to heaven: our friends (who knew the gospel), family, heroes of the faith (great cloud of witnesses), the angelic hosts (declaration of the glory of God for all eternity), and God Himself. After all, heaven is really about God and only God. There is no end to the glory of our God. Keep adding to your faith, because when you get to heaven there will be a large ministry reception.

If you don’t know where you’ve been and you don’t know where you are, you sure won’t know where you’re going.

When you take hope away from humanity you get chaos. Atheism does not add hope to life.

2. It’s not enough to accept the truth, we must apply it. There is a big difference between acceptance and application. One of the great curses of modern Christianity is that we don’t apply the truths that we know to our lives, our marriages, etc. The Bible is a book of application. It is the application that we struggle with.

Building blocks (2 Peter 1:8-10)

Once we have the foundation of faith, we have to build on our faith. If our foundation is not solid, our faith will not weather the storms of life. Once we understand the gospel, that we are saved by God’s grace, we are to add to our faith. Our salvation is not by works, but works come after salvation.

What happens if we don’t grow in our faith?

1. Spiritual growth is directly related to Biblical obedience. The phrase, “add to your faith” is a Biblical command. It is not a suggestion. If we are not adding to our faith, it is no one’s fault but our own. We are as close to God as our Biblical obedience allows us to be.

Obedience leads to understanding. Sometimes we have to simply obey God first before we are able to understand. If you do not obey the promotings of the Holy Spirit, you will not grow. If you are not adding to your faith, you aren’t growing as a believer.

IF you don’t add to your faith, your are spiritually blind.

2. You can’t clearly see your future if you’re not growing in the present. We all want an oracle or a crystal ball about the future. But if you’re not serving God in the present, you won’t be serving Him in the future. Instead of wondering where we will be in the future, work on growing right now in the present. Instead of making plans for the future, do what you know to do right now.

The will of God is this: find a need and fill it.

Remember that as a believer, you have been purged from your old sins. If you are saved but don’t grow, the enemy will cause you to doubt your own salvation. The greatest litmus test for whether you have been saved is that you are no longer the person you were before.

3. Growing and knowing are inseparable. There is not one person in the world who can cause you to doubt your faith if you have been growing in the faith since your salvation. There are, unfortunately, some churchgoers who have no idea whether or not they are saved. It doesn’t matter your intentions, you will never accomplish anything great for the kingdom of God if you are constantly questioning your own salvation.

Examine yourself to see if you are in the faith. You will be born again only when the Spirit of God fills you with understanding of the gospel. He opens the way for ALL to be saved.

(Also, the Bible doesn’t tell us not to judge. It tells us how to judge.)

There are some believers who walk away (depart) from the faith. They were solid Christians who knew God. But they stopped adding to their faith.

4. These principles insure spiritual success and are failure proof. We are failure-proof when it comes to our faith when we add to our faith. You can go from being a Jesus to a Judas if you do not keep adding to your faith.

Building blocks (2 Peter 1:4-7)

Everything we will ever need in life God has already given to us. We already have all the spiritual life and godliness we need. He gives us these promises right through the word of God. He has called us unto His own glory — not to glorify ourselves, but to glorify Him. This is called “virtue.” In a Biblical context, the term “virtue” can mean “raw power” or “moral excellence.” In this context, it is the latter.

God does everything bigger and larger than life. He is also highly descriptive in his word.

1. The promises of God give us power, protection and purity. There are some 16,000 promises from God throughout the Bible. And not one of them will ever fail. The promises of God will always stand no matter the circumstances here in the world.

How are we translated from death into spiritual life? We have a divine God who dwells in us. This is one of the promises of God. God says we can take part in His divine nature. Everything we know about God comes from Scripture. Our understanding of God is not based on our feelings. We know we are saved because of Scripture, not because we always “feel” saved.

In verse 4, the writer uses the phrase “escaped the corruption.” Indeed, God rescues us from the world’s corruption. He has protected us. In fact, He has protected us in ways we don’t even know yet.

We can still live for God in this present world. We can live pure because we have the purity of God, and God promises that we can live godly in a wicked and perverted generation.

2. Addition + subtraction = multiplication. As we add certain things (godliness) to our lives and subtract other things (sin) from our lives, then God does the multiplication for all sorts of things in our lives. In other words, we are to live in the world but not be of the world.

In verse 5, the writer instructs, “Add to your faith virtue.” In addition, we are to add knowledge, temperance, patience, godliness, brotherly kindness and charity.

One of the reasons for all the debauchery in our society is that the church is just plain dumb regarding the Scripture. People are starved for truth because churches aren’t preaching truth.

You have to be able to contain yourself and exercise discipline.

We can’t even think about being godly until we are patient, and before that, self-controlled, and before that, knowledgeable, and before that, morally excellent. Then we can finally show brotherly kindness and charity.

Acceptance and approval are two different things. We will accept anyone, but we cannot approve what isn’t Biblical.

When we add all these things to our lives, then we can get God’s multiplication (next week’s message).

Freedom from fear (Matthew 14:22-31)

Pretty much all of us deal with some sort of fear. Sometimes following God can lead to rough sailing. Some of our scariest situations have a higher purpose than just scaring us.

There are many things we are scared of: terrorism, Amber alerts for out children, our health, etc. God does not want fear to be our main purpose. How do we overcome this fear?

Jesus was in a situation where He had served the multitudes and so He wanted to be alone with God. He went up into a mountain. (Even Jesus needed quiet time. How often do we forfeit quiet time because we are so busy?)

The disciples found themselves in a boat at sea in a storm. They were following Jesus’ instructions when they were caught in the storm. They were in God’s will yet still found themselves in apparent danger.

Jesus had been watching them and approached them in the storm. At first, they were troubled because they thought He was a spirit. But then they recognized His voice; He said to them, “Be not afraid.”

Peter had to be shown. He asked that if it really were Jesus, that He would have Peter to leave the boat. So Jesus commanded him, and Peter found himself walking on water.

An analogy is that as followers of Christ, we get out of the boat and walk where Jesus has walked. Jesus came to liberate us from the prison, or the entrapment, of sin. Faith is the substance of things hoped for.

Ask the Lord how He would handle certain situations in which we find ourselves. We have to follow God’s leadership and get out of the boat.

Building blocks (2 Peter 1:1-3)

After 1 Peter, the author waited 6 years to write a follow-up. It will never get so evil in the world that the gospel cannot prevail in a meaningful way. Even during Roman persecution, the church was flourishing.

The reason he writes this book is because Peter believed martyrdom was inevitable. He knew that time was at hand. Back in John, Jesus predicted Peter’s death. Peter now senses that.

If we’re not careful, we will miss the details in the Bible. So when Peter gives the introduction, every word is meaningful. Peter starts calling himself Simon Peter again. Simon was his name before he ever met Jesus. Simon means, “to hear.” (As an old man, Peter is reminiscing about the day when, as a young man, he met Jesus in the flesh.)

1. Don’t ever forget who you used to be. When he was introduced to Jesus Christ, Peter’s life was transformed. It is important to put our past selves behind us. But we also not to forget the nonsense God delivered us from. The best witness you have is to tell others who you used to be and what Jesus saved you from.

He gives us things worth living for, whereas before salvation we were living for nothing. However, the best testimony is that of a person who was saved before he ever got seriously involved in sin. Five times in 13 books written, the apostle Paul gives the entirety of his testimony. He explains how God had delivered him from so much.

If you’ve never been seriously involved in sin, it is only by the grace of God.

We don’t have a salvation we work for, but a salvation that works after we get it.

We have “precious” faith. There is something that makes faith valuable.

2. The value of our faith is in the object of our faith. If you trust in a man, you will get only what a man can do. But if you trust in Christ, you will get what God can do. It is not our faith, by itself, that is important. It is the object of our faith that matters.

Remember, faith the size of a mustard seed can move mountains. But Jesus is not a genie in a bottle. It takes a little bit of faith in right object to do miracles. It is the righteousness of Jesus Christ that makes our faith precious. The common denominator is not us, but Jesus Christ. Our faith is obtained in the righteousness of God in the person of Jesus Christ.

The devil does have some power. But we are invested in the ultimate power in the God of heaven.

Never again let your mouth open and say you can’t follow God or be a witness or give to the work of God. God has already given us all things. We have no excuse for not living for Jesus.

Twice in verse 3, Peter uses the work “knowledge.”

3. Knowing more about God is a poor substitute for knowing God intimately. American Christianity is filled with people who know about God. Yet our homes are no better for it. We have more reousrces today to tell us all about God, yet our divorce rate is just as high as the world’s. Instead, what will change the world is a handful of men who know the Lord intimately..

How much Bible we know doesn’t make us a better person. How intimately we know God is what transforms us. Let God flow in you and through you. No one need be poor. No one need be downcast. Because Jesus is available. We should desire nothing more.

Why me? (Exodus 4:10-15)

Moses felt completely unequipped to carry out the work the Lord had given him.

You can run away just like Moeses did. But God will not allow you to just give up on your calling.

God doesn’t always call those who are “best-equipped.” Moses surely wondered why he was to be the one to lead the Israelites out of Egypt.

Moses thought he was unworthy to carry out his calling, but God believed differently, so he sent along Moses’ brother Aaron as a helper.

Moses wasn’t eloquent of tongue, so how was he going to talk to Pharaoh?

What if you feel the same way Moses did? What if God has put you in a position where you feel completely inadequate? He will give you His grace.

Instead of asking “Why me?” how about asking “Why not me?” if you genuinely desire to serve the Lord.

It’s not your ability, but God’s ability.

As a challenge, let God use you if you’re willing. Ask “Why not me?” After all, it’s all about His glory and not yours.

Leading by example (1 Peter 5:12-14)

After 36 weeks, we are wrapping up our expository series in 1 Peter. Next week, we’ll begin immersing ourselves in 2 Peter.

Peter ends this book in a truly fashionable way. He was a genuine class act and had a way with words. Again, these people were under Roman bondage and persecution that had come against the church.

Peter wrote this letter that takes up 5 chapters, yet concludes by saying he has “written briefly.” He believes that his letter was effective in providing exhortation. But a few years later he writes another letter.

1. If you’re not standing up, you’re missing out. The church in America is missing out on standing up for Christ and therefore missing out on His blessings because we have sold out to the culture. We are the salt in our faith. You can’t find s single person in the Bible who was a “secret service saint.” They were all standing up and boldly proclaiming the truth of God.

When the saints were filled with the Holy Spirit, they spoke the gospel boldly. If you are filled with the power of God and the Spirit of God, you will boldly proclaim God.

In verse 13, Peter refers to the church at Babylon. Babylon has always been deemed a wicked civilization. He is actually saying that the churches around the world were birthed in, and in spite of, an atmosphere of wickedness. The Babylonian system has perverted and corrupted the world as we know it.

2. The local church can thrive in a ghistile and perverted culture. Even in America today, we live in a culture that is hostile to the Bible. Yet it will never get so dark and perverted that the gospel cannot flourish. Those of us who stand upon the values and morality of the Bible are perceived as discriminatory in our culture today.

We live in a hostile environment. People hate the Bible and hate those who preach the Bible. For example, when we proclaim that Jesus is the only way to heaven, it is perceived as discrimination. Or when we proclaim the Bible as the word of God, it is met with hostility. We have a “pulpit problem” in America. There are too many preachers who are not proclaiming the truth of the gospel and failing to train their parishioners to proclaim the truth of the gospel.

The Bible doesn’t tell us to speak in love, but to speak the truth in love.

3. Those we bring to Christ will always hold a special place in our hearts. Don’t overlook the concluding remarks in these New Testament books. There are valuable truths right up to the end. Here, Peter refers to “Mark, my son.” We don’t know that Peter led Mark to the faith, but he does recognize Mark as his son in the faith. Likewise, we never forget those who led us to the faith. Peter regarded himself as Mark’s spiritual overseer. Peter had poured his life into the man.

There is no reason for division among believers.

4. Sacrificial love is the hallmark of the New Testament message. We are called to love everyone we see. But there is no time in the New Testament where we are called to love lost people the way we are called to love fellow believers. We love each other passionately  within the church. The bond among believers can be more powerful than familial bonds. We are literal brothers and sisters as believers.

“They will know that you are my disciples because you have loved one another.”

We are redeemed by the love of Christ and we must obey the Bible and sacrificlally share that love with other believers. In the church of Acts, they gave to one another as they had a need.

To die for, part 2 (Hebrews 4:14-16)

Jesus fulfilled the prophecies of the Old Testament. He filled the 3 offices of priest, prophet and king. In Hebrews 4,14, Jesus is referred to as “a great high priest.” At that time, the Hebrews were taken from their traditional Judaism to their new faith in Christ. They had always had a priest who went before God as their mediator, so Christ became that high priest.

There were approximately 84 high priests from Aaron to Christ. Every year, the priest would have to make an atonement for the sins of the people. They had to provide a sacrifice. The priest would go into the “holy of holies” once a year to make atonement. This was not to take away the sins, but to cover them. Animals would be used as a substitute for their sins.

Even today, Jesus makes continual intercession on our behalf as the great high  priest. His ministry did not stop when He ascended into heaven. Jesus’ earthly ministry may have ended, but His work is still not finished. He is the one begotten Son of the one true God. He is part of the trinity of the God-head (Father, Son and Holy Spirit).

Jesus was all God, but also all man. He is the only perfect sacrifice we could have. He was the only perfect man who resisted all sin and temptation. The high priest had to first cover his own sin before he could come into the presence of God. We don’t hold closely enough to Jesus as the atonement for our sins. Too often, we cling to other earthly things more than we hold fast to Jesus.

Our high priest, our king, our prophet had all the characteristics of a human: hunger, thirst, emotions, etc. He was lied about and betrayed. He was tempted just as we are. Yet He knew no sin. In our time of need, we obtain mercy before the throne of grace. In the Old Testament, they could not approach the throne with the same boldness we do under the new covenant.

In the Old Testament, God sat upon the mercy seat. Now we have our high priest, Jesus, upon the throne of grace & interceding for us. We are not worthy of anything God’s grace gives us. But He loves us to the extent that He “snatches us back” from sin and condemnation.

We call the “Lord’s Prayer” by that name, but it can’t really be the Lord’s Prayer because Jesus had no trespasses to forgive. So it should really be ccalled the “Beliver’s Prayer.”