In questioning the Bible’s truth, let’s consider a few key points.
First, only accuse a subject that you yourself have read. Often, it’s easier to adopt another’s opinion than actually studying the source itself. Suppose you wrote a book, and I criticized it without reading it. That would absolutely irk you as it should. It’s unfair to critique what one does not know.
Second, study the specifics. What are the particular contradictions you have personally found? Is it actually a contradiction or is it an apparent contradiction? These are important questions to study as you search the Scriptures. For example, let’s investigate and ask those questions of two passages sometimes challenged.
David’s Mighty Army. In 2 Samuel 23:8, the chief of David’s mighty army killed 800 men. In 1 Chronicles 11:11, however, the Scriptures record that he killed 300. Is this actually a contradiction or is it an apparent contradiction? Logically, it is extremely possible that the Bible is explaining two different incidents. It’s also possible that the person God is using to pen 2 Samuel is mentioning the full number and the person God is using to write 1 Chronicles is merely using a partial number. This is not a definitive contradiction.
Christ’s Final Words. Luke 23:46 records that “when Jesus cried out with a loud voice, He said, ‘Father, into your hands I commend My spirit.’ Having said this, He breathed his last.” However, John 19:30 records Christ’s last words differently: “So when Jesus received the sour wine, He said, ‘It is finished!’ and bowing His head, He gave up His spirit.” Is this actually a contradiction or is it an apparent contradiction? Honestly, even calling this a contradiction would be a stretch. It’s possible that since Luke stressed the humanity of Christ throughout his book, he was remembering the last words as giving evidence to Christ’s humanity. John, on the other hand, an eyewitness to the crucifixion, wrote his book to reveal how to receive eternal life (John 20:31). It’s possible that he wanted to highlight Christ’s declaration, “It is finished”. In other words, there is a difference in emphasis and not necessarily a contradiction. Both men stressed that Jesus died in our place, taking the punishment for sin that we deserved.
Third, remember to look at the Bible with an eternal perspective. The supposed contradictions are of far lesser importance than where one spends his eternal destiny. In that area, the Bible repeatedly says one thing and says it clearly: we are not accepted by God based on anything we have done for Him but what He did for us on the cross. We have to come to God as sinners, recognize Christ took the punishment for our sins that we deserved and rose again, and place our trust in Christ alone as our only way to heaven: “But to him who does not work but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness” (Romans 4:5). No truth is more important in the Scriptures, and that truth is repeated clearly and consistently.
Lastly, nothing deemed as a contradiction in the Scriptures should keep a person from coming to Christ. The truth about Christ does not stand or fall on the Bible. Instead, it stands or falls on the empty tomb of Jesus Christ—the most attested fact of history. We know that Christ was who He said He was not simply because the Bible says so, but because the empty tomb proves it. Because He arose on the third day (a miracle no one has been able to disprove), He could say to all those who believe in Him, “Because I live, you will live also” (John 14:19).