How can we best help people process through the "apparent contradictions" found in the Bible?

Hi Lisa, given the interaction with your professor mentioned in your bio, I seemed to have joined at the right time to ask you about this. This chart of Bible contradictions came up at work.

At first, it seems overwhelming, but you start looking at them and it’s more a collection of issues people have with the Bible, misunderstandings, taking things out of context mixed with putting different meanings into words and applying emotion instead of reason.

My questions are, how can you break down this wall of ‘contradictions’ to help people 1) reason for themselves and 2) provide context for difficult to understand passages to offer better understanding?


Hey Yoshi. Thank you for the question. You are right at first glance the chart can seem overwhelming. I think when interacting you have to first discern whether the person is open to understanding scripture or you will just go back and forth with no fruit.

If they are sincere, I would say recommend a book to them by Gordon Fee called How to Read the Bible for All It’s Worth. This will help them have a basic framework for how to interpret scripture. Then ask them what are the most challenging passages for them and then walk through those passages together with the framework Fee provides. Also, I would recommend a book by Gleason Archer called The Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties. It has been extremely helpful for me when dealing with passages that seem like contradictions.