I did a study today – something I haven’t done in awhile and it was great. I’m no great scholar and I’m not even that smart really, so if I said anything good or truthful, please know that it is not due to my own wisdom and understanding but the Lord’s. I hope whomever reads this is blessed….
I’d like to start by saying if you compared every story, parable, and teaching in the Bible with another one in the Bible, there will always be “differences” but they are not true differences. It is simply new or more information of the same event. (expansion)So to correctly understand an account, you must first determine that these are the same event and you do this by searching for what they have in common. More on that later…
Gen 1:26-27 And God said , Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.
vs 27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.
Not much detail is given as to how the man was created but Gen 2 goes into greater detail.
Gen 2:7 And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.
Some might call this a contradiction because both accounts don’t say the exact same thing. You are comparing the differences between the two accounts rather than comparing what they have in common.
(I’m attempting to show you how these seeming contradictions c an come about so the next time someone says there is a contradiction, you know that that’s impossible and that further study is needed)
Gen 2:21-23 And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; 22) And the rib, which the Lord God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man. 23) And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.
So Gen 1:27 – not much detail on the creation but Gen 2:21-23 gives more details as to how they were created.
Compare the creation accounts in Gen 1&2 and ask ‘could it be the same event?’ Or are these two different creation stories?The god of this world would have you believe the latter thus causing doubt as to the Bible’s inerrancy and Divine authorship.
The Gospels: (briefly)
Take the synoptic gospels – they differ from John. They even differ amongst themselves but more so with John. If you compared these with each other based on their differences, you would have 4 crucifixions and 4 resurrections. Instead, each gospel gives other details for the same event, painting a broader picture for us to understand. (expansion) Comparing stories by their differences, then labeling them as contradictory is a faulty hermeneutic.
One more example…
How did Judas die? From hanging or spilling his guts?
Matt 27:5 And he cast down the pieces of silver in the temple, and departed, and went and hanged himself.
Acts 1:18 Now this man purchased a field with the reward of iniquity; and falling headlong, he burst asunder in the midst, and all his bowels gushed out.
Are these accounts contradictory? Or is it possible that they could both be true?
It doesn’t say he died as a result of the hanging.Could it be that the branch broke and then he fell?
To fall headlong can men to fall head first or to fall fast – without delay. So if he hung himself and the branch broke, or the rope broke, then it is unlikely that he fell head first. (my opinion only) But if he hung himself and the branch or rope broke, then perhaps he fell fast – without delay. Perhaps he fell on something like a rock he used to climb up to the noose, and then his guts gushed out after impact? We can’t say for certain but there’s no reason to suppose that these two accounts are contradictory because they both can be harmonized easily.
The Acts account adds a little more to the picture. Another detail is given about the same event, giving us a broader understanding of what happened. That is the expansion.
The Bible is filled with examples of expansion and a way to find them is through cross-referencing. When you compare the cross references, you will see how each one adds details that were excluded from other texts.
Why does God allow for these seeming contradictions? In my opinion, I think He purposely does this in order to see who really believes Him, to see who will question the inerrancy of the Bible, and to see who really loves the truth. I believe these seeming contradictions are also a stumbling block put forth to weed out those who will follow Him and who will not. Everything God does in purposeful.