HomeOpinion & AnalysisDoes the Bible sometimes contradict itself?

Does the Bible sometimes contradict itself?

The Bible is a book composed of sacred writings of the Christian religion, put together by a group of people, using written religious scripts found in different places and at various times in the past. Prominent religious individuals originally wrote the different scriptures used to come out with the Holy Bible. It is important to highlight that is was the prerogative of those tasked with its composition to decide which religious materials to use and which to exclude. It is assumed that those individuals or groups of people were under the influence of the Holy Spirit. Can we say the whole Bible itself is in totality the work of God, as most of us are made to believe?

sundayword BY PROSPER TINGINI

The contents include history, laws, prophecy, poetry, proverbs, songs and letters. We know, for example, that most of the books of laws were written by Moses under the instruction of the Lord our God. These include Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy; which are similar in nature and sequence to those also found in the Torah, the Jewish version of the scriptures. Most of the poetry (Psalms), songs and proverbs were the works of King David and King Solomon. Prophets account for most of the prophetic books. The New Testament scriptures were written by some of the Apostles of Christ. The letters mostly account for the works of latter-day apostle Paul, most of which he wrote as a prisoner under the solitary confinement of prison walls. Same goes for the last book of the Bible, Revelations, written by Apostle John while also incarcerated.

Some historical facts, however, point into the direction that at one point or the other, there was some tampering done to some original contents of the scriptures during translations. The Preface section of The Revised Standard Version of the Bible (page iii) clearly states that the first English version of the scriptures made by direct translation from the original Hebrews and Greek, was the work of William Tyndale who was thereafter publicly executed and burned at the stake in October 1536 for “wilfully perverting the meaning of the scriptures”. His New Testament translations were ordered to be burned as “untrue translations”. This is factual history and not hearsay. To then assume Tyndale was working under the influence of the Holy Spirit would in itself sound blasphemous, to say the least. It is pointed out, regrettably, that some of the “untrue translations” have survived and are still contained in the very same Bible we read today, especially those of the New Testament. Unfortunately, we don’t have a proper narrative of which parts of so-called “perverted scriptures” were condemned but preserved for “commercial purposes to promote sales”, since Tyndale had then become a “household name”. His original translations had become the “bestsellers of all time” and were being sold “underground”.

Some changes were implanted into the scriptures to serve some ulterior motives. Even the Old Testament section of the Bible was not spared either. The Bible editors themselves do admit that there were some changes which brought in new meanings different from the original. As an example, some words with a Hebrew meaning of the word “voice” or “words” were replaced with the English words “10 commandments”. The last words of Exodus 34:28 were changed from the original Hebrews meaning which meant “words” and replaced by the words “10 commandments” on translation into the version of English. Again the same thing is repeated in Deuteronomy 4:13. Why they then allowed such glaring facts and chicanery to distort our scriptures is a puzzle that needs unmasking.

Admittedly, there are some changes to our scriptures that occurred as a result of errors of all kinds, genuine errors. Mistakes are common and everybody makes mistakes. Another factor that could have affected the variations to original meanings could be a result of changes and differences of consonantal formats. Vowel reformations also occurred from time to time, although they are less ancient than the consonants. In totality, some new terms and meanings which were absent in the original texts of scripture came out with different meanings altogether.

It is then imperative that we should be open-minded when we come to the interpretations of the meanings of some of the verses of the scriptures. Both religious scholars and teachers should guard against acting like horses with blinkers. We should not be blinded followers who are made to believe that the Bible is infallible under the assumption that everything in it is the word of God. The Almighty gave us an intelligent mind which we should use to separate the good from the bad. We should diligently study the Bible to extract the truth and to discard the corrupt satanic infiltrations effected or implanted by the devil in disguise. We should be able to separate the chaff from the seeds, to separate the weeds from the genuine plants. Jesus Christ’s parables of the weeds in Matthew 13:24-30 should also guide us in that regard.

Now to the real questions: Does the Bible contradict itself sometimes? If you take the wholesome approach to it, then the answer is definitely a yes. Taken as a single book written by one entity, then certainly there are some contradictions within the Bible. Most of our Christian population is made to view the Bible as something that came from heaven. If we use the Holy Spirit principle, it is a sacred book written entirely by the divine presence of the Lord our God resting upon the heads of those who wrote the scriptures. If that was always the case, then why do we find the contradictions? How then can one entity contradict itself? Such actions would be like that of a chameleon that changes its colours at every turn to suit whatever an environment it finds itself in. We can’t place the Lord in such a domain. It would be contempt or disrespect for God.

Let’s just use one example to highlight one of the dominant contradictions; the application of the law, ie, God’s commandments. The Creator gave mankind a set of rules and regulations to follow which in some circles can be called “The book of the covenant”, which the Israelites carried with them in what is known as The Ark of God. These are the laws designed by God to make mankind perfect morally and for the purity of the spirit. The Lord did not just speak the commandments out, but worked physically to write them down Himself as a permanent reminder to His children. Their value to mankind was and still is unshakable.

Then came Jesus Christ. On the subject of the law, he stood firm in support of his Father’s laws at the start of his divine mission. He spoke: “Think not that I have come to destroy the law, or the prophets; I have not come to destroy but to fulfil” (Matthew 5:17). Jesus Christ was in agreement and speaking the same language as that of the Father. There is no contradiction with God here. He even went on to declare: “For truly I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the law until all is accomplished. Whoever then relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches men so, shall be called least in the Kingdom of Heaven; but he who teaches and does them shall be called great in the Kingdom of God” (Matthew 5:18-20).

Now enters Paul the apostle. In the letter to the Romans, he writes: “For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under the law but under grace” (Romans 6:14) At this juncture we can rightly conclude that the teachings of Paul are at loggerheads with those of God and with those of Jesus Christ. Paul’s teachings constitute the majority writings of the New Testament, hence a big number of Christian followers have wholly accepted his teachings, and we can’t blame them. The contradictions of some of the New Testament scripture teachings to the teachings of God the Creator (Old Testament) have led to the division of the Bible into the two parts, as a consequence of the differences.

Prosper Tingini is the president of the Children of God Missionary Assembly. Registration now in progress for those who wish to undertake Bible studies or to train as ministers of religion. Contact 0771 260 195 or email: ptingini@gmail.com)

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