Are There Contradictions in the Bible?

Did you know that there is not a single contradiction in the Bible? Years ago this claim was never really challenged among believers. Most people respected the Bible as God’s authoritative Word. But today, to even make such a suggestion often garners snickers from others, even among Christians. I’ve studied the Bible and been in ministry for years, and one thing I’ve heard over and over again from critics of the Bible (and unfortunately a growing number of Christians) is that it is full of contradictions.

The number of Christians who agree with this claim is really what unsettles me most. They say they believe in God, but many don’t see the Bible as authoritative, because of it’s so-called errors. Unbelievers often make the claim that the Bible was simply a book written by man, and specifically by the church as a means to “control” others under a religious code, for the purpose of solidifying power and control for money.

Here’s the thing. When I ask them to give me an example of a contradiction, every single time without exception, I’ve discovered that the problem was not the Bible itself, but rather their understanding of the Bible. 100% of the time, the issue is a lack of understanding of either the context, history, language, customs, or simply an antipathy against the text or Christianity itself.

Count Those Blessings

Ever heard the old hymn, “Count Your Blessings?” I know it sounds cliche, but it’s true. In the midst of adversity oftentimes we get so laser focused on our problems or what is going on in the world with economic or political news, that we don’t stop to look at the good. In times like these it is very easy to have a sense of dissatisfaction and get depressed with all that is going on.  Perhaps one of the things that we as Christians need to do, along with prayer, is to always keep things in perspective.  It’s important as Christians in the midst of adversity to remember the seemingly insignificant, but yet profound blessings that God gives us each and every single day.

As the line in the old hymn goes, “Count your many blessings name them one by one…”  Here are a few you can keep in mind today:

Why You Don’t Have to “Press In” To God

When I was a much younger Christian, I had an image of prayer that looked something like this. I would close my eyes and squint really hard. I would then pray earnestly and powerfully, almost as if I was forcing my words as hard as I could beyond the ceiling and hopefully up to the throne room of God.  I know it sounds comical. But that’s how I saw it at the time.

Because of my lack of understanding of grace, I spent most of my time feeling ashamed and far away from God. I knew God loved me, but because of all I had done and all I struggled with, I was sure that His love was through the gritting of His teeth as He tolerated this oft disobedient child of His.

You may not have the extreme views that I did, but nonetheless many today feel that God is not close. They feel as though their prayers are seldom heard and that the way to get God’s attention is to “be a better Christian,” do more, go to church more, read the Bible more, etc.

If this is you, then let me share something with you that will totally change your view of both prayer and God. Once I came to realize this truth it revolutionized my relationship with God and brought a sense of closeness with Him like I’d never experienced in my life. Colossians 3:3 says:

Choose To Live Out of Who You Are, Not Who You Were

I have had the question asked to me before, “Which book of the Bible is your favorite?”  It really is a hard question to answer seeing that every book of the Bible is an integral and important part of the whole.  Nevertheless there are some books that do stand out in my mind as books that offer me special comfort or encouragement in my day to day life.

One of those books for me is the book (or more accurately the letter) of Ephesians.  It is probably one of the most concise pieces of Paul’s writings that lay forth the meaning of the gospel and its affect on those who live by it.

One of my favorite passages in Ephesians comes from chapter 2:1-10.

Caleb and the Comforted: How God Got Us Through The Most Difficult Time of Our Life

I was recently contacted by Mitch Washer, personal friend of mine and founder of The Comforted, a soon-to-be-launched blog and ministry dedicated to highlighting personal stories  of trial and tragedy and how God comforted people through the hardest times of their lives.

Tim, I hope you are well man. I am in the process of starting a new ministry called The Comforted. The idea comes from 2 Corinthians 1:3-11 where Paul talks about God as the God of all comfort and goes into detail about his sufferings and how God has brought him to a place of relying solely on Him and ultimately finding comfort. Not so that things will be easy for him, but that he may use that comfort and encouragement to comfort others who are or who have suffered. So God has put it on my heart to create a ministry based on that idea. So I need your help if and only if you feel comfortable. I would like a paragraph or two on a time you have suffered and had to rely solely on God.

Here is the article I submitted. I pray that it encourages you as the God of all comfort, comforts you.

Our story begins in October 2010 when my wife, Tiffany and I decided to take our two oldest boys, Colby who was 4 and Caleb who was 2, on what would be their first ever camping trip. We decided to go to Fall Creek Falls in Tennessee. And though we were late getting to the park due to getting lost we had a blast as we made our way down the trail, spending at least 45 minutes walking to the bottom to see the falls. It was then out of nowhere we heard the thundering and crashing of a boulder plummeting down toward us from 256 feet above. We didn’t have time to react or scream. As soon as we heard what sounded like a cannon blast it was all over. And then immediately the reality of the situation sank in. Our son Caleb had been struck in the head with the boulder while being carried in my wife’s arms.

Are You A Christian or a Disciple?

This last weekend I had the privilege of being a chaperon for our youth group as we made our trek to the smoky mountains of Tennessee for what is notably the largest gathering of teens in the Churches of Christ: Winterfest. The theme was “Watch,” as in watch the Jesus of the gospels and watch your life together with other believers. I caught a glimpse of heaven as literally 14,000 teens praised God with all of their hearts. The time there was exhilarating.

I wish I could summarize all that we learned over the weekend. There were numerous speakers and other talent, all doing a superb job of expounding on the themes at hand. One speaker that really stood out to me was not a preacher per se. He was a poet by the name of David Bowden. Bowden’s gift is the ability to summarize in rhyme some of the deepest truths of the Bible. I watched as Bowden confidently mounted the stage and then for the next 10 minutes explained in poetry form what many theologians have spent volumes writing about over the last 2,000 years.

The title of the poem was simple: Are you a Christian or a Disciple? Some might see that as a false dichotomy. After all if we have faith in Jesus aren’t we Christians? It’s true, if you have given your life to Christ you are indeed a Christian. But that wasn’t was Bowden was getting at. The point Bowden was making is that there is a great difference between being a Christian (in name only) and being a disciple (a true follower and learner of Christ). And the more I think about it, I’d have to say I agree with him.

Life Without Training Wheels, A Modern-Day Parable

One day a father went out to play with his son in the driveway as he was trying to teach his son how to ride his bike without training wheels. The son was scared to take the chance—not knowing what it would be like without the comforts of the training wheels. He was preoccupied with the fear of falling and what would happen if he fell. He could envision loosing control, skinning his knee or worse yet breaking a bone.

Now the father knew that with his guiding hand and encouraging words, the son would eventually learn to trust him and learn to ride the bike on his own. But he understood the fear and so he was patient with his son—being careful to give him every reason to trust him.

Eventually the child warmed up to the idea of riding without the training wheels, and so together they went to work, taking the wheels off the bike. But as the father was taking the screw out of the last wheel, the child’s fear only grew with more intensity. “What’s wrong?” said the father to his son. “Daddy, I’m afraid I will fall.” The father looked at him and said, “Don’t worry about falling son. I will carefully guide you until you learn to ride on your own. And if you fall, I will be there to catch you. We’ll just get right back up and keep on trying.” The child’s confidence seemed to grow. “You’ll get there. I promise,” the dad said as he gave his son a wink. So with trust in his heart, the little boy began to ride. The father walked briskly behind his son with his hand firmly placed on the seat, as his son launched off into the unknown. As he started he wobbled back and forth a bit, but was soon able to carefully balance the bike and start to peddle.

Eventually the child began to build confidence as he saw that he was able to do it without the aid and comfort of the training wheels. As time went on and as he practiced more, and as he listened to the words of his father as he guided him from behind, he was able to get better and better at peddling and balancing.

Finally one day, when the child had gained the confidence that he could actually ride his bike without training wheels, after he had come to believe and trust the words that his father spoke to him, he decided to turn around and ask his father to let him go.

“Look daddy, I am doing it, I am doing it! You can let go now daddy. I think I can ride without you holding me now!”

As the child looked back to see his father, he noticed that he was not holding the bike anymore. His father had let go a long time ago. He was now running behind his son, as the boy peddled in unrestrained joy. “You already are son, you already are.”

Let he who has an ear, hear…

The God Who Is Aware of Our Suffering

Have you ever been in a place in life where you have wondered if God was present, if He was listening, if He was even there?

I have.

For me it was when we experienced the near death of our son back in October 2010, when he was struck by a boulder at Fall Creek Falls. The circumstances that surrounded those fateful days sent us into an emotional, mental, physical…spiritual tailspin.

We didn’t have to wait long to see God show up. He made His presence known in so many ways. His love, His guidance, His hand, was always there, gently guiding us, comforting us, giving us what we needed for one more day, one more hour, even one more second.

I came across a verse today in my Bible reading that really stood out to me. It occurs in Exodus chapter 3. To give you a little background, it’s the story of the Exodus. Moses has already grown up and is on the run from Pharaoh. He’s lived in the wilderness of Sinai now for over 40 years. He’s married. He even has a child. Long past are the days he used to be a prince of Egypt. He tried to be a leader for his people when he struck the Egyptian taskmaster 40 years earlier, but he failed. Miserably.

Turning The Other Cheek

“You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you, Do not resist an evildoer. But if anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other also; and if anyone wants to sue you and take your coat, give your cloak as well; and if anyone forces you to go one mile, go also the second mile” (Mt. 5:38-42).

There was once a high up ranking sergeant who was once asked about his story-about how he came to Christ. “What was it that made you turn to Christ?” The sergeant then began telling about a private that was serving in his company many years before. This particular private was not very popular with his fellow soldiers and had been being ridiculed for his faith in Christ.

One evening the private came walking into his barracks at an unusually late hour. It was a very rainy night that night. And as was the custom of the young private, before he lay down in his bunk, he would kneel down beside his bed to pray. After he did this, the sergeant, who was across the room, picked up one of his mud soaked boots and threw it at the young private-striking him across the side of his face. The private said nothing. He wiped the mud from his face and crawled into bed.

Following The Good Shepherd (And Not The Bad Ones)

“When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice.” –John 10:4

Something hit me today as I was listening to another minister’s sermon. It wasn’t the sermon that got my attention. It was just a single phrase that was said: “Hearing the voice of God…” That phrase for whatever reason reminded me of the teaching of Jesus over in John 10 as he gave the illustration about him being the Good Shepherd and the Shepherd of the Sheep. The context of the passage has to do with Jesus talking to the Pharisees—those who were supposed to be the shepherds of Israel, under their one Shepherd, God.