Bible Differences Aren't Contradictions

Tim debunks the assertion that the Bible is filled with contradictions.



0:00 How many of you have seen this graphic before? Has anyone seen this?

0:04 There's one of you. If you google "Bible contradictions" you will stumble upon

0:10 this graphic. What you are looking at is every single chapter of the Bible. The

0:17 white is the Old Testament, and then we get over here, that's the grey. That's the

0:21 New Testament. Every rainbow you see starts one place at one verse and ends

0:28 at another verse, and the claim is every single bow you see on this graphic is a

0:34 contradiction. Okay? Is a contradiction. So there's contradictions within the Old

0:40 Testament, there's contradictions within the New Testament, and then there are

0:45 contradictions that go from the Old Testament into the New Testament. That's

0:49 a lot of contradictions. In fact, they list them.

0:53 There are about 440 on this one graphic. Does anyone feel uncomfortable? I hope so.

1:04 Alright, so this is the kind of thing that's out there. It's

1:10 the kind of thing that's out there. We need to be careful to define what we

1:14 mean by a contradiction. The word gets thrown around by unbelievers when

1:19 talking about the Bible all the time, but we need to distinguish between a genuine

1:25 contradiction which cannot be resolved, it's impossible to reconcile, and a mere

1:33 difference which is possible to reconcile. Okay, so the difference between

1:38 a contradiction and a difference: One can be reconciled, and one can't be. Now, to

1:46 illustrate this, let me tell you about the Titanic. In 1912,

1:56 The Titanic sank. Big boat, 800 feet long, and eyewitnesses who

2:04 saw the boat sink had conflicting testimonies. Some eyewitnesses said the

2:12 boat sank in one piece. Other eyewitnesses said it

2:18 broke in two and then the two pieces sank. How you can get this wrong, I

2:23 don't know, but these are contradictory accounts that cannot be reconciled, okay?

2:30 So that's an example of a contradiction. Let me tell you another story. Consider

2:36 my wife winning the Publishers Clearing House sweepstakes. This is not a true

2:41 story. When I get home from work, she explains what happened. She says, "Around

2:47 noon the doorbell rang, and I went to the door, and there was a man holding a giant

2:51 check for a million dollars." That's what she tells me. And then I hear her talking

2:57 with her mom on the phone an hour later explaining what happened, okay? And this

3:03 is what she says to her mother, "At 12:10 p.m. I was right in the middle of making

3:08 lunch when the doorbell rang. I ran and got Allison because the doorbell woke her up

3:13 from her nap. I wasn't impressed. But when I answered the door, there was a

3:17 man holding a giant check for a million dollars and another man recording the

3:21 whole thing on live TV. At first I thought this was a big joke, but when I

3:25 realized it was for real, I started crying with joy." Now, are those two

3:31 accounts contradictory? I actually didn't say anything contradictory in those

3:37 accounts. One was just giving way more detail than the other. One gave more

3:42 precise details than the other. And so this is the kind of thing we're going to

3:48 see in the gospels. Notice that many of the differences in these two

3:53 stories are differences, but they're not contradictory. Okay, it would

3:59 have been an issue if my wife got off the phone with her mother and I

4:02 said, "You stinkin' liar," right? "You lied!" No, she didn't lie. "You contradicted yourself!"

4:09 No. So, many of these alleged contradictions that arise, arise because

4:15 we apply an unfair standard or expectation to the Bible, okay?

4:23 What can happen is we just assume that the biblical authors

4:27 wrote just as we do today in the 21st century. And then we end up applying

4:33 our 21st century standard to a, in the case of the New Testament, a first

4:39 century document, and that would be a gross mistake. In fact, listen, most claims

4:47 of Bible contradictions stem from the reader misunderstanding the author's

4:54 intent, okay? If you didn't put anything else in this lesson, this is how most

4:59 contradictions, alleged contradictions come out. It's the reader who

5:04 misunderstands the author's intent. Sometimes they misunderstand it.

5:09 Sometimes they just misrepresent it, okay? That can happen too

5:14 So the error stems in the reader, not the author.

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Tim Barnett