If you have not read Stories Versus Truth, you may want to read that before reading this.
It is the proclamation of the Gospel, not argumentation, that transforms minds. See Give Them the Gospel.
How to Handle This Question
(The parts in quotes are just examples of what you might say or ask.)
It is best to ask them a few questions first and to listen to their answers. Be careful of your tone that you are not shutting down the conversation. “If one gives an answer before he hears, it is his folly and shame.” Proverbs 18:13
- “Have you heard something about a specific contradiction?”
- “I take it that someone has told you that the Bible has contradictions. Do you understand what you have been told about that?”
- “What is your understanding of what constitutes a contradiction as opposed to a paradox?”
Let them know you understand. “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” Proverbs 15:1
- “I can understand how you might ask about this. It can be very confusing.”
- “I actually can relate to how you feel, since there are great depths to be discovered.”
- “I’m hearing what you are saying, and I think I understand your hesitancy to become just blindly accept the fact that the Bible is the Word of God without contradiction, given your perceptions.”
Relate to them. “A brother offended is more unyielding than a strong city, and quarreling is like the bars of a castle.” Proverbs 18:19 “A man who lacks judgment derides his neighbor, but a man of understanding holds his tongue.” Proverbs 11:12
- “When I first heard this question, it seemed to challenge what I know to be true.
- “I used to feel the same way. I wondered whether or not there might be some actual contradictions.”
- “At first glance, this gives the appearance of being a problem.”
- “This is a valid question, and one that I have gone to God about.”
- “Would you like to hear why I believe that there are paradoxes in the Bible but that there are no contradictions?”
Tell them what God has shown to you
- “As I was seeking the will of God on this matter, He showed me that there is a difference between a contradiction and a paradox. A contradiction is that which is making a statement with two mutually exclusive absolutes. These are two things that cannot possibly coexist. A paradox is something that we don’t understand. An example of a contradiction would be to claim that Jesus is God and that Jesus is not God. Another would be to claim that God created the universe and God also did not create the universe. Another contradiction would be to say that we have His active presence in our lives in a powerful two-way communication, and that this also is not the case. Those are contradictions. An example of a paradox would be that Jesus Christ is fully God and fully man. Another paradox is that God created the universe from nothing in six days. Another would be the soveriegnty of God and the responsibility of man. What else? If you cannot have freedom, you cannot have love. The Unity of the Trinity, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.”
- “The reason that we believe that the Bible is the Word of God and that it is without error or contradiction is based in personal revelation. God shows us. Everyone recognizes the limits of raw human reasoning (the reasoning of the human mind without the Intelligence of the Creator flowing through the human mind) and observation, yet we place way too much emphasis on these weaknesses. For every person, God is speaking to us perpetually. 1 Peter 1:23 tells us that we have been born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the utterance of God, which lives and abides to the eon. It is this utterance on which faith is based. Our faith is NOT based on nothing at all. Taking Roman 10:17 as it is written in the original language, it says: So then supernatural belief comes by hearing, and hearing by the utterance of God. Jesus told Satan that man shall not live by bread alone but by every utterance that proceeds from the mouth of the Father. How silly if we rationalize a solution that goes contrary to what God Himself is telling us. And if we want to do God’s will, we will be able to know the difference between that which comes from God and that which comes from Satan. There are, in the final analysis, only two ultimate sources of ideas, thoughts, and actions.”
It is then good to ask an open followup question (not a “yes” or “no” question) to allow them to process what you have said.
- “How do you see this as applying to your life?”
- “What are your thoughts?”
- “Where do you see this as different from your point/question?”
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