How the Bible contradicts itself and why it’s not a problem.

The graph of biblical contradictions

Growing up under fundamentalism, I spent a lot of time defending the Bible. After all, I loved the Bible–Old and New Testament. Still do. It has been my life manual, my source of wisdom, and (most recently) a divine source of comfort. Nothing else quite sets my heart at peace like reading and meditating upon the scriptures.

Unfortunately, I was taught to read the scriptures only one way–according to the narrow doctrine of my church. In that view, the Bible had only one message, and that message was crystal clear to everyone who wasn’t blinded, in some way, by the world and its sinful liberalism. According to my church, the Bible contained absolutely nothing contradictory; it all lined up perfectly from beginning to end and could be explained in absolute terms.

So imagine my shock when people outside my faith tradition began pointing out ideas and messages in the Bible that actually were contradictory. Imagine further my surprise when I began discovering some of these conflicts on my own. For instance: Continue reading