Are There Contradictions in the Bible?

While there may not be contradictions in the Bible, there are passages in Scripture that are either hard to understand or require a closer examination of the text to give clarity. When you examine more closely, what you discover is that what may appear to be a contradiction is not really one at all.

It’s not possible to consider all the various texts in one article, so let me address one to give you an example. Let’s consider the apparent contradiction and then work through the steps to resolve it.

The Sabbath Day

“Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy” (Exodus 20:8).

“One person considers one day more sacred than another; another considers every day alike. Each of them should be fully convinced in their own mind” (Romans 14:5).

When you consider these passages, it seems like there is an apparent contradiction because in the Old Testament the Israelites were told to keep the Sabbath holy. In the New Testament this requirement is no longer necessary. Are they both right, or is one contradicting the other?

In the Old Testament, God established the law as a way for his people to separate themselves from the nations around them. He also established the principle of the Sabbath. Keeping the Sabbath was a requirement if you were going to live by the tenets of the law. The problem is that the law was God’s standard, but no one could keep the law and no one was made righteous by following the law. What the law did was make people aware of their sinful condition. 

In the New Testament, what we discover is that Christ came to fulfill the requirements of the law and offer a way of righteousness that could not be attained by following the law. By him fulfilling the requirements of the law it no longer required us to fulfill them to obtain righteousness, which we couldn’t do anyway. Our righteousness now comes by faith and not by adherence to the law.

“For we maintain that a person is justified by faith apart from the works of the law” (Romans 3:28).

Since we are justified by faith, we are no longer required to be beholden to the letter of the law. This is why Paul makes the statement he did in Romans 14. If you choose to honor the Sabbath, there is nothing wrong with that. But honoring the Sabbath is not a requirement for righteousness.

I hope you followed the thought process here. As you can see, if you are ever presented with what appears to be a contradiction it requires a much closer examination of the text to bring complete understanding.

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