Sometimes passages of Scripture appear to contradict other passages. For example, on the topic of justification (how God declares us holy and righteous), St. Paul seems to speak differently than St. James. All four Gospels record the Baptism of Jesus, but they do so in slightly different ways.
The church teaches that the Bible is both inspired and inerrant. That is, we believe that the Bible is “breathed out by God” (2 Tim. 3:16) and that it is without error. How, then, do faithful Christians reconcile the passages of Scripture that appear to be contradictory?
The August issue of The Lutheran Witness takes up this question of seeming contradictions. The issue begins with an excerpt from a book written by William Arndt, originally published in 1926 and reprinted in 1987 (Concordia Publishing House) as Bible Difficulties and Seeming Contradictions. The excerpt helps readers understand how to scrutinize seeming contradictions in Scripture. The rest of the issue offers four writers’ examinations of four different seeming contradictions in Scripture and applications of Arndt’s analysis to those texts.
The Rev. Dr. Curtis Giese explains how St. Paul and St. James use the same word but in different ways. The Rev. Adam Koontz shows how the Gospel writers each emphasized a different aspect of Christ’s Baptism. The Rev. Dr. Kevin Golden unveils Moses’ use of different types of writing in Genesis 1–2. And the Rev. Dr. Jeffrey Oschwald details how the three conversion stories of St. Paul are each aimed at a different audience.
If you have ever wondered about seeming contradictions in the Bible, get your copy of the August issue of The Lutheran Witness today.
Posted Aug. 9, 2022