There are some foundational principles that apply to all alleged and apparent contradictions in the Bible.
For Bible Difficulties, a Possible Answer Is Sufficient: Being “Unconvinced” Is Ultimately Irrelevant
Some people have trouble accepting proposed answers to Bible difficulties. For example, Dan Barker, president of the Freedom From Religion Foundation, says:
I have received numerous replies from Christians who think that these contradictions are either trivial or easily explained. Yet not a single “explanation” has been convincing.Dan Barker
People like Barker who do not accept proposed answers to alleged Bible difficulties because they find the answers “unconvincing” fail to recognize the central issue, which is the ”’possibility”’ of the doctrine of biblical inerrancy.
If the purpose of an alleged Bible difficulty is to disprove the doctrine of biblical inerrancy, then as long as a possible answer has been provided for the alleged Bible difficulty, then it has been demonstrated that there is no necessary contradiction in the Bible, and thus the doctrine of biblical inerrancy has not been refuted.
Some answers to alleged Bible difficulties are easy and certain, and a refusal to accept these kinds of answers is simply a result of closed-mindedness, dishonesty, and desperation to believe what a person wants to believe.
Other alleged Bible difficulties may be more difficult to answer, and the answer(s) provided may be less certain. However, it remains that possible, plausible explanations have been provided for every alleged difficulty in the Bible. Not finding an answer convincingis ultimately irrelevant, since it has been demonstrated that the doctrine of biblical inerrancy has not been necessarily refuted.
Critics Against Christianity Are Not Neutral: A Worldview Is Necessary
It is important to recognize that those who challenge the validity of the Christian worldview are not neutral, despite what they may claim about their “neutrality,” “objectivity,” or focus on the “facts.”
Claims to neutrality are simply untrue. Christianity provides a rational basis for the existence of concepts such as the laws of logic, the uniformity of nature (believing the future will be like the past), and morality.
A person who challenges the validity of the Christian worldview can ultimately only do so by having a worldview that can justify the existence of the concepts above, or by borrowing these concepts from a worldview that can justify the existence of these concepts.
When we examine every worldview, we will find that in the end, the only worldview that can justify the existence of these concepts is the biblical Christian worldview, and every other worldview collapses at some point due to self-contradiction.
So, if the critic of Christianity must borrow these concepts from Christianity, then Christianity is already (subconsciously) assumed to be true, and the challenge fails before it can even begin.
Visit Presuppositional Apologetics for a full explanation and defense of this position.
What Moral Standard Are You Using to Judge the Bible?
When someone says that God is immoral because of something he has commanded in the Bible, we must ask, “What moral standard are you using to judge the Bible?”
If the person is using the Bible’s moral standard, then we must evaluate the claim of immorality based upon the Bible’s moral standard.
If the person is using a moral standard that is outside of, or external to, the Bible, then that person must justify the validity of this moral standard. Atheistic or secular worldviews simply cannot justify the validity of any universal, objective moral standard, and so ultimately have no foundation to stand upon to criticize the morality of the Bible.
When we apply the Bible’s own standard against the claim that God is immoral, we will find that according to the Bible, whatever God does it, by definition, right and just. At the same time, God’s actions are not arbitrary—God always acts in accordance with his holy character.
Copyist Errors Do Not Disprove Biblical Inerrancy
The presence of copyist errors in the Bible do not disprove the doctrine of biblical inerrancy because the doctrine of biblical inerrancy states that the ”’original manuscripts”’ are inspired and inerrant, not that the Bible has been perfectly transmitted throughout history.
Some then argue that if the Bible has not been perfectly transmitted throughout history, then we cannot truly know what the original manuscripts said. However, through the practice of textual criticism, or reconstructing the contents of the original manuscripts, we can be extremely confident concerning the contents of the original manuscripts.