Contradictions in the Bible? Christian apologist offers advice on how to handle apparent inconsistencies in scripture

A screengrab from the talk radio show "The Line of Fire" by Messianic Jewish apologist Dr. Michael Brown. | YOUTUBE / ASKDrBrown

One of the biggest criticisms of the authority of the Bible from skeptics over the years is that the Holy Scriptures appear to contain a number of apparent contradictions. That has confused many readers of the Bible over the years, and has even been used by atheists to rebuke the credibility of the Scriptures. However, Christian apologist Michael Brown recently addressed the issue, and offered some advice about how he handles apparent contradictions in different parts of the Bible.

In the latest episode of the radio show "The Line of Fire," Messianic Jewish apologist and host Michael Brown said Christians must acknowledge that contradictions do exist in the Bible. He explained that contradictions could be the result of textual issues or could be part of an overall harmony, The Christian Post reports.

"First thing, don't stick your head in the sand as if they don't exist," Brown says in the episode titled "How Do We Explain Bible Contradictions?"

"Second thing, don't pull your hair out as if it's the end of the world," the Christian apologist adds.

There could have been an error in the manuscript wherein a wrong number is being repeated. Some manuscripts contain footnotes saying a certain part is not included in the original text. The contradictions disappear easily when older manuscripts are found, providing confirmation of the original content, the report relays.

Sometimes, the details cannot be directly reconciled with each other, but all the other accounts present the same overall picture. Brown cites the example of an eyewitness account in an accident where all the witnesses are located in different places and see the incident from different angles. However, the overall picture is basically the same, so there is still harmony in the overall accounts even if there are slightly differing descriptions given by each witness.

Other issues can be resolved simply by rounding off numbers, especially in the number of days stipulated in the Bible verses. Brown says this is an issue of when counting started, when it stopped, and if those two were included in the total number.

As for the minor contradictions, Brown says he simply lives with them. With enough information, he says the contradictions can be resolved someday, but for now, he completely trusts in the Holy Scripture because of his faith. This confidence in the reliability of the Bible is also backed up by the many years he spent studying the Bible.

Michael Brown is the president of the FIRE School of Ministry. He also hosts the radio talk show "The Line of Fire."