Is Scripture inconsistent?

This is an excellent article by Pastor Tim Keller about the Bible.  Making Sense of Scripture’s Inconsistency.

A lot of people are criticizing Christians these days because we refer to certain passages in the Old Testament when talking about homosexuality or transgender issues.  It’s so frustratingly common for people to charge us with cherry picking the Bible and using it inconsistently.  But this is just not the case.  This article explains why very clearly.  Here’s one of my favorite quotes –

One way to respond to the charge of inconsistency may be to ask a counter-question: “Are you asking me to deny the very heart of my Christian beliefs?” If you are asked, “Why do you say that?” you could respond, “If I believe Jesus is the resurrected Son of God, I can’t follow all the ‘clean laws’ of diet and practice, and I can’t offer animal sacrifices. All that would be to deny the power of Christ’s death on the cross. And so those who really believe in Christ must follow some Old Testament texts and not others.”


4 comments on “Is Scripture inconsistent?

  1. Alec Richards says:

    the Bible is not inconsistent. I agree. how I see the Bible is as a huge book. it is a story of life and a story of death it has a beginning and it has an end but it does have a large scattered middle and that is where it can get difficult to read and difficult at times to understand. Although God is said to not be the author of confusion, we still need Bible scholars, Bible study and preachers regularly immersed in the word to tie things together and make things make sense. I find it difficult to read by myself. For one I have a tendency to fall asleep when I read. reading with others brings a sort of Enlightenment and a table discussion to Whenever there is some disagreement until we can come to a common ground.


  2. thorin25 says:

    There is always a need for teaching. As the Ethiopian Eunuch said to Philip in the book of Acts, “how can I understand what I am reading unless someone explains it to me?”

    The Bible is clear enough for people to understand it’s main message, but we need good teaching to help each other understand a lot of it. So it’s good to read your Bible along with devotional books or commentaries


  3. JohnJones says:

    I think the real problem for us as Christians is that we do ignore some bits of the Bible, eg in the Old Testament not nearing clothes made of two different materials, and in the New Testament about women staying quiet in church or not cutting their hair – there are lots of other examples. This then leads to confusion about which verses we adopt and which verses we tend to ignore, with different church leaders adopting different approaches to certain doctrines – eg women in leadership, divorce and remarriage, etc, etc, by quoting particular passages of scripture and ignoring others. We say the Bible is consistent but some bits of, eg, Leviticus are very odd, and portray God in a very unpleasant light. it’s tough sometimes to ‘tease out’ what God wants of us. So, for example, can the Deuteronomy verse, which most of us reading this blog struggle with, be ignored because most of the verses around it are. I know there’s a lot more to it than this, bit I do get very tired of Christian’s quoting Bible texts in isolation and out of context to validate their own opinions.


  4. thorin25 says:

    Thanks John for the comment. Unfortunately it is all too true that in practice, a lot of Christians actually do just pick and choose what parts of the Bible to pay attention to. In reality though, there are really excellent intelligent reasons that have to do with who Christ is and what he came to do, that show us why we should obey certain passages literally and not others. As Keller points out in the article, to do differently would be to reject what Christ has done.

    Here are a couple of my posts that help to explain how to interpret the Bible and how to apply the Old Testament Law:


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