Always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you the reason for the hope that is in you, but do so with gentleness and reverence.”
cf. 1 Peter 3:15-16
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Contradiction in …
QUESTION OR COMMON OBJECTION:
Isn’t the Bible full of contradictions?
What may appear to be contradictions in the Bible really are not, when properly understood. We likely just need to study a particular passage a little harder.
And now, Lord God, you are God, and your words are truth.”
2 Samuel 7:28
The Bible is not always easy to understand. As Catholics, we are blessed that the Holy Spirit guides the Church to interpret the Bible correctly.
Other References: Ps 119:105; Mal 2:6; Jn 18:37; CCC 106-119, 215-217, 2465
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from the author
When we encounter a passage or something in the Bible that is seemingly contradictory, we must remember God is Truth itself, he is holy Scripture’s primary author, and as truth he cannot contradict Himself. It is, therefore, likely we error in our understanding of what seemingly contradicts.
Don’t fall into the trap of someone highlighting what they perceive to be a contradiction and wagging their finger at you or whispering in your ear over something they too fail to understand. First, remember the scene in the Garden of Eden when the serpent asked the woman, “Did God really tell you not to eat from any of the trees in the garden?” (Gn 3:1). Don’t fall for such a trap. When confronted like this, acknowledge that there appears to be a contradiction but then investigate with an open heart. Open your mind to the possibility that you (or they) may be missing something and that you’ll explore, inspect, and examine to arrive at the truth.
Stay close to the teachings of the church founded by Jesus Christ – who as the Word Made Flesh established the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic church to help us to understand with the eyes of faith, and to not be wrapped in the darkness of error but always to be seen to stand in the bright light of truth.
There are many still today who believe that they – individually – can ascertain correctly everything in the Bible. They will often point to 2 Tim 3:16-17 to justify such an assertion. That well-intentioned but erroneous thinking, sadly, has led to centuries of confusion, misinterpretation, and lack of understanding that Christians are living through to this day.
Don’t believe me? Just look around you. How many Protestant denominations do we have today? It’s estimated it’s in the tens of thousands; each with a slightly different understanding of God’s Word about even basic tenets of the Christian faith like baptism, marriage, and salvation, for example. The list goes on and on.
Still not enough to convince you that the farther one is from the one, holy, Catholic, and apostolic Church, the further one gets from the bulwark and pillar of truth (1 Tim 3:15)? Well, ask a Southern Baptist and Lutheran to agree on infant Baptism … (I’m not picking on my Southern Baptists or Lutheran brothers and sisters. I use it simply to illustrate a point); and that’s just one example!
There are literally hundreds of conflicting viewpoints from well-intentioned but sorely misguided individuals who believe that their interpretation of scripture is the right one. This has produced mass confusion to the tune of tens of thousands of Protestant churches all claiming a slightly different interpretation of God’s word and, therefore, as many differentiations about teachings of the Christian faith. When Jesus prayed to his father for our unity as Christians, “Let them be one just as you and I are one” (cf. Jn 17:21-23), perhaps tens of thousands of different interpretations isn’t exactly what he had in mind.
If you don’t understand then seek understanding. Go to the Catechism of the Catholic Church to discover what the Church’s teaching is on an issue because she has the fullness of the Deposit of Faith handed on to the Apostles and down through the ages to us today. Don’t be led astray like our first parents were in the Garden. Rather, live in truth. Live Catholic.
thomistic institute | Fr. James Brent, O.P.
catechism of the Catholic Church
For information about what the Catholic Church believes, answers to FAQs, and an encompassing resource addressing common objections and misconceptions non-Catholics and Catholics alike may have about the Church and what it teaches, we invite you to visit the online version of the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
Let us pray.
Prayer to St. Michael the Archangel
St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle.
Be our defense against the wickedness and snares of the Devil.
May God rebuke him, we humbly pray, and do thou, O Prince of the heavenly hosts, by the power of God, thrust into hell Satan, and all the evil spirits, who prowl about the world seeking the ruin of souls.
It is Jesus that you seek when you dream of happiness; He is waiting for you when nothing else you find satisfies you.”
Saint John Paul II, pope
Jesus, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life (cf. John 6:68).
Be not afraid! And may the peace of Christ be with you and your loved ones today and always. Holy Family, pray for us. Amen.