Resolving Apparent Contradictions in Scripture

from Nov 12, 2013 Category: Ministry News

In this excerpt from a message at our 2010 National Conference, Derek Thomas gives two examples of how to resolve apparent contradictions in Scripture.

Matthew 28:1 says that at the resurrection, Mary Magdalene and another Mary are at the tomb when it begins to dawn. And Mark tells us in chapter 16, that Mary Magdalene, the mother of Jesus, and Salome was there. And John, not to be outdone, says Mary Magdalene was there. He doesn’t say only Mary Magdalene was there, but he does say Mary Magdalene was there but doesn’t mention anyone else. But then says that when Mary Magdalene went to the tomb it was still dark.

Contradictions—age-old, tiresome, weary contradictions.

If Mary Magdalene, and another Mary, and Salome were there, Mary Magdalene was there. So what John is saying isn’t contradicting anything. If they left their home when it was still dark and arrived at the tomb when the sun was coming up, there’s no contradiction here.

Or, 2 Samuel 24 says God provoked David to number the people. But Chronicles says Satan did it. Ok, Chronicles was written probably a long time after Samuel. God did it in Samuel, Satan did it in Chronicles. Maybe the author of Chronicles didn’t know what was in the book of Samuel? No. God did it, Satan did it.

Wait just a minute, didn’t the prince of preachers last night tell us from Acts 2 of Peter’s sermon on the day of Pentecost, with a huge crowd, and everything that he was saying was being written down and recorded because it was going to go into Scripture, and didn’t he say about the crucifixion of Jesus that “you,” pointing to Jews in Jerusalem, “you,” by wicked hands took him and slew him, but it was all by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God. You did it; it was all by God’s divine decree.

Who did it? Doesn’t Paul say in Philippians, “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who works in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure”? You do it; God does it. God moved David; Satan moved David. God moved David using Satan as His tool.

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