Many people who have attempted to read the Bible with understanding have closed the Book saying that it can’t possibly be true due to the contradictions found within it. Even many Christians are confounded by the seemingly conflicting statements found in the Word of God. There are explanations for this:
1) The King James Version of the Bible is a translation as are the others. The original Hebrew and Greek languages of the Bible have many meanings that do not translate in a parallel way. Words such as love have more than one meaning and usage in Hebrew and Greek. While our English Bibles may use one word love – or in the case of King James use also the word charity – the original translations use a number of words in place of our English word “love” depending on context.
Again, this is the case with numerous words in comparison to the original languages. So, reading a passage may be interpreted with our modern English intellect when, in actuality, it may have been written with a completely different meaning in accordance with an Hebrew and/or Greek understanding.
If you read the King James Version of the Bible or any other version, you must pray to its author, God Himself, for understanding. And if you can buy a Hebrew/Greek dictionary from a Bible bookstore or search the Internet for these types of aids, your study of God’s Word can be more enlightening than before.
2) Some statements are allegorical or figurative and are only used as illustrations. But because of the tendencies of the natural mind, statements are bound to be completely misinterpreted. One example would be Jesus stating, in front of a temple building, that when the people would tear down “this temple” (meaning His body, but the crowd understanding the temple as the nearby building), He would rebuild it within three days (referring to His death, burial and resurrection).
In another passage, Jesus explained to a crowd that they must drink of His blood and eat His flesh. That statement confounded many people. But He was referring to the LORD’s supper and all that it represented. [According to prophecy spoken by Isaiah in Is 53, Jesus bore our infirmities (the consequences of our sins – even illness and disease) in His body. He received the punishment due to us being our Ultimate Sacrifice. And His blood cleanses away the sins of His believers.]
On another occasion, Jesus had to answer Peter in a way that made those standing by completely misinterpret. After receiving instructions from Jesus about what he was to do after His Savior’s ascension back to heaven, Peter asked what would become of the other disciple John. In so many words, Jesus responded by telling Peter to mind his own business. He said it this way: “If I have him tarry until I return, what is that to you? You follow Me.” Hearing this, many thought that Jesus meant that John wouldn’t die. But all Jesus said was, “IF he tarry…” not “he WILL tarry…”
When Jesus made these and other statements, there was no language barrier. But the people listening to Him, listened according to their natural understanding instead of seeking Him to find out exactly what He meant. They listened presumptuously. They never did dig for clarity, like His disciples did. Jesus’ disciples constantly approached Him asking questions like, “What did you mean by that?” “How is it that You say this or that will happen?”
Just as the disciples asked for clarity when they heard Jesus speak, we also have to pray constantly whenever we read God’s Word for clarity. The Word of God is too advanced and too spiritual for comprehension by the natural mind of a human being.
When studying God’s Word, the ultimate way of understanding it and receiving clarity on what seems to be contradictions would be first to believe on Jesus Christ as the Son of God Who died and rose from the dead as a Sacrifice for the whole world. John 3:16 says that “God so loved the world that He gave His only Begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” Believe this.
Believe that Jesus died on the cross as the Ultimate Sacrifice for the death-bound life that was separating us from God and believe that He rose from the dead with all power in His hands and that He is seated on the right hand of Jehovah Father (Yahweh). Believing includes repenting (true sorrow, asking of forgiveness, and a lifetime commitment to changing toward a Biblical lifestyle), receiving the knowledge of Jesus as truth, and abiding in Christ. (Romans 10:9-10, St. John 15:1-10)
If you truly abide in Jesus Christ, you’ll love His Word so much that you will care about obeying It and understanding It despite questions birthed from your humanity. There is no way to comprehend God’s Word in our humanity.