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Home LIFE HELPS Contradictions

Contradictions and abrogations in the Bible

The Bible claims great things for itself.  It claims to be the Word of God and also, according to the Bible, God's Word never changes, it is the Word of Truth.

Psalm 119 verse160 of the Bible says
All your words are true;
all your just laws will stand forever.  - New Living Translation

Abrogation = a change of law by Authority.

a_b

If a place in the Scriptures is found where God says "a equals b" and then later, another place where God says "a does not equal b", then the politically correct term for this is an abrogation - a repealing of the law.  But let's call it what it is - a contradiction, a type of error.  If such an error were to be found in the Bible, No errors in Biblethen Christians would be in heaps of trouble!  Their security and guide for living for the last 2,000 years would be destroyed.

C. I. Scofield, who edited the famous Scofield Reference Bible of 1909, taught that God changed the method by which man is saved.  According to Scofield, most Old Testament people, those who lived before Jesus, were saved by keeping the law of God - their own effort.  Then, at the coming of Jesus, the New Testament period, God changed the rules and people today are saved by grace, by a gift of God through faith.  This is God's work.  This is a contradiction!  Fortunately it's resolution is simple. Scofield was wrong! God did not change His rules.  Reading through Hebrews chapter 11 in the New Testament part of the Bible will quickly show that the Old Testament people were saved by faithAbel ...
Enoch...
Noah ...
Abraham ...
Sarah ...
These all died in faith .... 
.                             Hebrews 11:4-13
.  That is, it doesn't matter in what age people lived, salvation was always a matter of trusting in God.  There was no contradiction or abrogation.

Abolition of animal sacrifices and abrogation

animal sacrifices look to Lamb of GodIt could be argued that the cessation of animal sacrifices in the Bible was a type of abrogation of God’s law. However, it is clear that there was never any change in God’s plan to save sinners. There was never any abrogation by God changing His mind.

People in the Old Testament were saved by faith in God. They needed to trust Him to forgive their sins by His future promise to send Jesus Christ. They were also commanded to sacrifice animals. The blood of these animals was a constant reminder to the people that there needed to be a death And according to the law almost all things are purified with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no remission.
.                             Hebrews 9:22
to pay for their sin.

Animal sacrifices ceased when Jesus Christ, the Lamb of GodThe next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, "Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!
.                             John 1:29
, died on the cross for sin.He was the real payment for all sin For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats could take away sins.
.                             Hebrews 10:4
so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. …
.                             Hebrews 9:28
so the representations ceased.

People in the New Testament (and people today) are saved by faith in God For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God,
.                             Ephesians 2:8
. They need to trust in God’s Son, Jesus Christ who died for their sins. Christians today are commanded to celebrate communion in which the bread and the cup constantly remind them of Jesus’ death and resurrection until His glorious return.

Bible Contradictions - My Story

Pastor BillAs a young man I worked with another young man, I'll call him Fred.  We talked about the Bible.  Fred said to me, "I don't believe the Bible. It's because of all the contradictions."

At that time, I was already a Believer and I had read the Bible from cover to cover a few times.  My difficulty was that I had failed to notice all those "contradictions". I thought they must be there, because I had heard other people speak of them quite often, during my youth; but they never spoke about specific contradictions, it was always - "those contradictions".

An alleged contradiction

Most alleged contradictions in the Bible are easily resolved with a little reading and clear thinking.

Here's something more difficult which people may allege is a contradiction or error:-  what price did King David pay for the temple site in Jerusalem?

How much for the temple site?

Then the king (David) said to Araunah, "No, but I will surely buy it from you for a price; nor will I offer burnt offerings to the LORD my God with that which costs me nothing." So David bought the threshing floor and the oxen for fifty shekels of silver.
2 Samuel 24:24
Then King David said to Ornan (Araunah), "No, but I will surely buy it for the full price, for I will not take what is yours for the LORD, nor offer burnt offerings with that which costs me nothing."
So David gave Ornan six hundred shekels of gold by weight for the place.
1 Chronicles 21:24-25

How much did King David pay for the temple site in Jerusalem? A superficial reading of the above verses gives two different answers and it is clear that 600 shekels of gold is a vastly higher sum than 50 shekels of silver! But there is no error.

Reading the stories carefully in context shows there were two transactions. Firstly, in 2 Samuel 24, the main story is about King David's sin bringing a plague on the people.  The plague is stopped when David urgently buys the threshing floor, a small flat area near the top of Mt Moriah in Jerusalem and makes a sacrifice to God there.  The threshing floor is bought for 50 shekels of silver.

The main story in 1 Chronicles 21 is about the origin of the temple worship at Jerusalem.  Having stayed the plague by a sacrifice on the threshing floor on Mt Moriah, David understands this should be the site for the temple and ongoing sacrifices.  He arranges with Ornan/Araunah to purchase the whole mountain for 600 shekels of gold. Looking carefully at the above text shows he bought the place, not just the threshing floor.

I hoped to help Fred so I asked, "What contradiction is troubling you?". Fred replied "All those contradictions.  The Bible is full of contradictions.  You can't believe the Bible because it's full of contradictions.  It says one thing in one place, then in another place it completely reverses it.  Contradictions are everywhere".

"Yes", I said, "but can you tell me which contradiction is most troubling to you?" Fred again stated it was all those contradictions and I repeated my question.  "Which one of these is troubling you the most?"  "I don't know.", said Fred, "it's just that with so many contradictions, no one can believe the Bible!"

I was beginning to sense, that like me, Fred did not really know of any problems with the Bible.  I then asked him "Can you PLEASE tell me of just one single contradiction?" After stalling again, he finally answered "NO, I don't actually know of any"!!

Now let's consider Fred's position.  Fred had completely refused to consider the Bible, purely on things that other people had said.  He had done no research and no thinking for himself!  What if the Bible was truly from God?

That incident happened over three decades ago yet some people today are just like Fred.  These days, if people mention contradictions to me, I am much quicker to ask people "Which specific Bible contradiction causes you trouble?" In all the years that have passed, no-one has ever told me of even ONE specific contradiction!

bible true todayToday I firmly believe there are no contradictions in the Bible.  If you think you can find one, then please advise me by This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .  Please tell me about the contradiction and how it hinders you from believing in Jesus Christ.  In any case, do your own research: do your own thinking!

Jesus Himself taught that God's Word would never change.  Jewish disciples were  listening to Jesus' teaching and expecting Him to make changes to God's law.  Jesus said:-

"Don't misunderstand why I have come. I did not come to abolish the law of Moses or the writings of the prophets. No, I came to fulfill them.  I assure you, until heaven and earth disappear, even the smallest detail of God's law will remain until its purpose is achieved."   - New Living Translation  Matthew 5:17,18

Jesus was saying that His coming was exactly in accordance with the Old Testament part of the Bible called God's law here.  He came to earth to fulfill what was written about Him.  In addition, He would not abrogate anything in God's Word.  All of God's words would be in force forever!

There is one more thing to keep in mind here.  Some verses in the Bible are difficult to interpret and to understand.  These difficult verses are not contradictions, plus they do not relate to important matters of faith.  That is, they do not hinder any of us from coming to believe in Jesus Christ.  The Bible's teaching on the way to find eternal life by believing in God is so clear that even children can understand it.  There are no contradictions or abrogations! The Christian Church has found this to be true for 2,000 years.

If you would like help to believe in Jesus, then please email your questions to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

You are also most welcome to visit us at Monash Christian Fellowship

Pastor Bill

 

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Produced by Monash Christian Fellowship, Melbourne, Australia. Author Pastor Bill Wheaton 2009, revised 2013. This document may be freely reproduced and used for non-profit evangelism provided that it is unchanged and carries this credit. Scriptures are quoted from the New King James Bible unless noted.