Many disparage the Bible because, they say, it contains contradictions. Well, it does contain contradictions by setting up dichotomies that cannot both be true at the same time and sense. Here are a few:
- You cannot serve two masters (Matt 6:24). You cannot serve God and not serve God at the same time. By choosing a second master, we are choosing not to serve God as He has called us, and saying that we follow Him at that point is an empty claim.
- You cannot be a light and at the same time hide (Matt 5:14). You cannot be a light and a non-light at the same time. Christians are luminaries in a dark world; hiding our lights means that we are hiding who we are, and this makes contradictions of our lives. We cannot be ashamed of our Lord and, at the same time, be ashamed to let others know who we are.
- A good tree cannot produce bad fruit; a bad tree cannot produce good fruit (Matt 7:18). The figure shows that people can tell what kind of tree we are by what kind of fruit we produce. If we claim good fruit, we had better be a good tree or else our lives will contradict the claims.
- A kingdom divided against itself cannot stand (Mark 3:24). This was said about the idea of the devil casting our demons. But no kingdom, divided against itself, can accomplish good, much less God’s will. This should cause Christians to reflect on the importance of unity (cf. John 17:20-21).
- A branch disconnected from the vine cannot bear fruit (John 15:4). Not only must we bear good fruit, but our ability to bear fruit at all is based upon our connection to Jesus. Claiming good fruit, as a branch, without a genuine connection to the vine is contradictory and amounts to praising God with the lips while our hearts are far away from Him.
- A mind set on the flesh (“the natural man”) cannot understand spiritual truth (1 Cor 2:14). The mind is a vital part of our love and service to God, but when we set our minds on carnal worldliness, we will be unable to love God properly or to even understand His truth. We cannot exalt human wisdom and at the same time appreciate spiritual truth. The mind set on the flesh is death (Rom 8:6).
- God cannot deny Himself (2 Tim 2:13). Yes, the Bible tells us that there are some things not even God can do. He cannot deny Himself. It’s not in the realm of the possibility of His nature. To deny Himself would be to become self-contradictory, and this will never be God’s nature.
- God cannot lie (Titus 1:2). This connects to #7, of course, but also assures us that His promises are not in vain. He is trustworthy through and through. God cannot lie and make trustworthy promises at the same time. The point is that we can trust Him.
- The one born of God cannot practice sin (1 John 3:9). This doesn’t mean that Christians never sin at all. It means that we cannot legitimately claim to be God’s children and, at the same time, give ourselves over to the practice of sin.
Now you’ll notice that this wasn’t claiming that the Bible was self-contradictory, but only that the Bible contains these contradictory concepts in order to show us how important it is to choose to follow the Lord His way. Failure to do so means that the contradictions reside in us, not in His will.
* Gimmicky titles. Yes, I know. I tire of these, too. But you read it anyway. 🙂