googlef87758e9b6df9bec.html A Sure Word: Dealing With Bible Difficulties

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Dealing With Bible Difficulties

In past posts, I've written about specific verses in the Bible that some critics claim are “contradictions” or evidence against the Bible's inerrancy. However, lists of supposed errors in the Bible abound. With a little effort, one can find that all alleged errors have likely already been answered many times over. I'm sure that in future posts I will continue to deal with some specific ones but I thought it would be helpful to give a few pointers on a general approach in answering such criticisms.

First, always remember that the word of God is sure (Psalm 19:7). Jesus said that heaven and earth will pass away but His words will never pass away (Matthew 24:35, et al). Are you fairly confident that the sun will rise tomorrow? You can be more confident that God's word will never fail. If someone raises a point that you cannot answer, do not despair. It does not mean that there is truly an error in the Bible; it only means you haven't yet learned the answer. Above all else, do not let doubt creep into your mind. Do not fall into the trap of biblical compromise where liberal Christians claim to believe Bible yet simultaneously claim it contains errors. Objections that you can't answer are not signs of defeat but challenges for you to study more.

Secondly, do not delude yourself into believing that you will change the mind of a true critic. Most people who have a long list of Bible criticisms have made up their minds first that they do not want to believe the Bible and then sought ways to attack it. Even if you are able to effectively answer every point raised by such a critic, you will not dissuade him from his unbelief. I have personally seen people with whom I have debated repeat the very same “contradictions” that I've already addressed as though I had said nothing. Such is often the case which is what makes their claims more like canards. Only by God will their hearts ever be turned. Even so, I continue to debate folks like this. The reason I do so, and the reason why I suggest you do as well, is so that uncommitted observers who hear the supposed contradictions will not be fooled by them. When the objective hearer sees these claims have no merit, perhaps he can be persuaded to accept the truth.

With these two things in mind, we are prepared to address the difficulty. You will first want to ask the critic for a specific chapter and verse for the supposed difficulty. Some people are merely repeating criticisms they've heard from someone else and have not ever bothered to read the passages for themselves. You might even ask the critic if he has read the Bible. It sometimes embarrasses a person to argue against something he has never read. Perhaps it might even prompt the person to actually read the Bible and thus give God the opportunity to convict him.

If the person is able to cite a specific passage, do not assume his characterization of the passage is correct. Always look up the passage and read it for yourself. Try reading it in different translations and always read the entire context of the passage. Many times, the context itself will resolve the difficulty.

Next, ask the critic, “why do you think these passages are contradictory” or “how is this an error?” Compel the person to think through his own objection. If he is forced to articulate his argument beyond just a one sentence objection, he might see how weak his position truly is.

If the person still maintains his objection, and if a resolution is not readily apparent after having read the passage yourself, seek out where these questions have been answered before. I don't believe there is any criticism left of the Bible that has not already been commented on it great detail. Try a Google search of the one sentence objection and you're sure to find many answers already written. I caution you though to not cut and paste an answer. Use online articles as references but take a moment to articulate an answer in your own words.

Hopefully, I've these tips will help you the next time someone raises an argument against the Bible. One more thing I might add is that it would be a good idea to read apologetic resources as a matter of routine. Some objections are raised far more often than others. It would be helpfully to have already practiced a response in advance. Remember the commandment we are given in 1 Peter 3:15, “but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence;”

No comments: