Is that true? Are there no contradictions in the Bible?
For most Christians who grew up with the Biblical inerrancy view, they were taught that none of the books of the Bible have errors or contradictions. None. Apparent contradictions are not real; they only seem like contradictions. Conveniently, there’s always a good reason for them that can be explained (or explained away) to support the inerrancy view.
However, if they are not merely apparent but actual contradictions, then their very existence in our Bible strongly suggests that any claims that the Bible doesn’t contradict itself are mistaken, and to promote such an idea is very misleading.
Unfortunately, children do grow up in Christian families and churches that teach that the Bible doesn’t contradict itself. They are also taught that if the Bible did have contradictions it can’t be true or trusted, which is stated purely to convince kids that the Bible must be without error and without contradiction and therefore completely reliable. In truth, it’s a scare tactic whether it’s intended to be or not, and the fear it incites plays havoc on young children for years–sometimes into the teen years and on into adulthood.
Children grow up thinking that God might get mad at them (or worse–“send them to hell”) and that their own Christian church community won’t accept them if they even entertained the idea that the Bible might contradict itself. And the fear tactic works to a point. As someone who believed the Biblical inerrancy view for over twenty-five years of my life, I had to live with a lot of cognitive dissonance as well as intellectual and emotional dishonesty out of fear. As you might imagine, this can foster various forms of anxiety in good-hearted Christian people that sincerely want to love God. I am persuaded that some (not all) anxiety disorders among Bible believing Christians are likely directly related to fear-based tactics that compelled them as children to trust Biblical inerrancy without question.
Like many Christian children and teenagers, I ended up stuffing emotions that surfaced, ignoring or downplaying stressful Bible passages and topics and behaving disingenuously to myself and others when I came across contradictions in the Bible. This was especially true when I’d come across contradictions that involved descriptions of God or God’s actions that are truly barbaric, vengeful and terrifying when compared and contrasted to the life and ministry of Jesus. When confronted with some of the most blaring contradictions in the Bible, the tendency of churches I’ve been in was to find the most gracious interpretation of those contradictions as possible because taking them at face value would mean having to reject the Biblical inerrancy view, and that simply was not an option for us.
As I got older, however, I began to stuff my emotions much less and stopped ignoring things in my Bible reading that had bothered me for years. Contradictions that I once didn’t know what to do with, but had all the pat answers for, were finding a way into my conscious awareness and conversations with others. Gradually, I had to face a hard truth: the Bible has contradictions. They were not merely apparent contradictions. They were real and actual contradictions, and I began finding the courage to be honest about them.
Like others who face the music about the Bible’s contradictions, I went through periods of great disillusionment with church, the Bible, Christianity and even God. Though I had been disillusioned with church and ministry in the past, it took on a new flavor now that the religious walls of inerrancy had fallen. Some of the fallout meant that long-time friends and family began worrying about me and praying for my new found awareness. They started using the following words and phrases to describe my new path of spiritual and intellectual honesty: “you’re on a slippery slope,” “you’re compromising the truth,” “you’re being deceived,” “the devil comes like an angel of light,” and (God forbid) some even suggested I “sound like I’m entertaining heresy”–which is another way of saying “you sound like a heretic.” What is truly unfortunate is that many Christians who, like me, become aware of contradictions in the Bible not only become disillusioned, but they leave the faith entirely, become agnostic or, even further, atheists. And it’s entirely understandable why.
Since they have been trained and taught for years to assume that the Bible’s trustworthiness and reliability is rooted in it’s inability to contradict itself, and since they have been trained and taught to think that if the Bible has any contradictions the entire Christian faith is a sham, it’s no wonder they have felt compelled to move on from faith. What other alternative did they have? It’s not that they’ve suddenly become “worldly” or “liberal” or “rejected God’s truth.” Far from it.
Oppositely, they took their faith serious enough to ask the hard questions about the Bible. They took the Bible serious enough to notice and observe what it says. Out of a sense of intellectual and emotional honestly, they’ve left the fold of Christian faith because they were taught that is the only option available for those who choose to acknowledge contradictions in the Bible. The fault was not so much theirs as it was the bad theology of Biblical inerrancy and those who spread it. They simply took their rejection of the doctrine of Biblical inerrancy to it’s logical conclusion.
I am persuaded that all of this could have been avoided had Christian leaders, parents and other significant Christians simply been up front with themselves and their children about contradictions in the Bible without pretense. Their presence in our Bible doesn’t have to be cause for alarm and doesn’t have to mean a person rejects or leaves the faith. As I said, I completely understand why people who grow up with the inerrancy view leave the faith (really, I do!), but leaving faith doesn’t need to be the only option.
For this post (which is more of an essay), I will list seven contradictions in the Bible. Each of them deserves a series of their own. They are that important. Out of the seven listed contradictions, I’ll give a detailed response to only the first three. While I had hoped to do a deep dive into all seven, that simply is not possible. As a father of an infant, life is all consuming (and beautiful and amazing all at the same time).
I encourage you to do further research and reading on any of the contradictions I covered in depth and those I did not. To help you along in your research and reading, I’ve included Amazon links to books I highly recommend you read. Each deals with several of the contradictions from different angels.
Without any further ado.
7 contradictions in the Bible that disprove Myth 2
1. Samuel-Kings and Chronicles tell two contradictory accounts of Israel’s history during the time of the monarchy.
2. Jonah says God loves the Assyrians. Nahum says God hates them. Which is it?
3. Violence is endorsed and commanded in the Old Testament; in the New Testament, it’s never an option.
4. Old Testament prophecies aren’t about Jesus; the Gospels, Paul and other NT letters disagree.
5. Sabbath keeping is a mixed bag in the Bible. Not following it might invite the death penalty in the OT; Jesus reinterprets what can and cannot be done on it; Paul believes it’s unnecessary for Christians; Hebrews says Jesus is our Sabbath (go figure).
6. The Land, the Law and the Temple are absolutely central to Jewish life, thought and faith; they are virtually non-existent in the New Testament and/or entirely reinterpreted around Jesus.
7. Resurrection as a concept, teaching or reality doesn’t exist in the Old Testament except briefly in Ezekiel as a metaphor for returning to Israel from exile and in two separate events where the prophet Elijah and later Elisha raise someone from the dead. In the New Testament, it’s all over the place.
The letter to the Hebrews says we die and face judgment; John the Revelator says there’s “a gate that never closes.”
1. Samuel-Kings and Chronicles tell two contradictory accounts of Israel’s history during the time of the monarchy.
On the surface, it’s all good
The first account of ancient Israel’s monarchy is found in the combined books of 1 & 2 Samuel and 1 & 2 Kings in the Old Testament of the Bible. The second account is found in 1 & 2 Chronicles immediately following the Kings’ books in any English Bible. In the Hebrew Bible, those two accounts are separated with Chronicles at the very end of the Hebrew Bible (which should beg the question “Why?”).
Scholars have argued that the same authors and editors of the Samuel books were the same for those of Kings. There were different authors and editors of the Chronicles than Samuel-Kings. This may not seem like a big deal; in fact, many year-long Bible reading plans place Samuel-Kings’ readings side by side with Chronicles’ readings. It is assumed by many Bible reading Christians that both accounts tell, basically, the same story of Israel’s history during the time of the monarchy. Whatever appear to be differences, even contradictions, can be explained to show that they are not actually differences (just appearances). However, this couldn’t be further from the truth. They not only include contradictions, but they tell different stories of ancient Israel’s history during the time of the monarchy leading up to the Babylonian exile. So what’s going on?
Two very different Stories
As mentioned, the two accounts of ancient Israel’s history are telling two stories. There are similarities to be sure in these stories (names of kings, events, places, etc.), but there’s also differences. Some are much smaller in nature and some are very big. How big? Eye sore, double take, “Did I just read that?” kind of big.
The smaller contradictions range from descriptions of how many sons Jesse (King David’s father) had, to different currencies David used to pay for items during his reign, to how many charioteers David killed in battle, to how many valiant men were accounted for during the census David took (even a different take on whether or not taking the census was a good or bad thing to do), to different quantities of various objects in Solomon’s palace, to how many foreman his son Solomon had during his building projects, and the list goes on. The smaller differences are enough to completely poke holes in the Biblical inerrancy view all on their own. For a list of those, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll send you a fuller list.
However, I want to deal with, in my opinion, much bigger contradictions between the two accounts. For instance, in the Kings’ account, there are several kings of Judah who are described as idolators and on the path of God’s judgement, and in the Chronicles account, those same kings are described as righteous. However, no story is more contradictory and serious than that of King Manasseh. In the first account in 2 Kings 21, Manasseh is described not only as someone who practiced idolatry (placing idols “on the high places,”), but even put idols within the Temple in Jerusalem (that’s pagan nation kind of stuff).
It gets worse. He sacrificed one of his sons to a foreign god (probably to Molech), sought the help of mediums, conjured up the dead, and compelled the entire nation of Judah to do these same wicked deeds. Lastly, and most importantly, the authors of Kings says that Manasseh’s wickedness is the very thing that provoked Yahweh to send the entire nation of Judah into exile in Babylon. To put it differently, Yahweh compelled and sent the Babylonians to ransack the entire kingdom of Judah as punishment for idolatry, and he took away his divine protection from Judah so that they were overtaken by the foreign army. While the Kings’ authors mention Judah’s sins of idolatry along with Manasseh’s, Manasseh appears to be the sole person blamed for the exile, not the people of Judah or their sins.
In the Chronicles’ account of Manasseh’s reign (recorded in 2nd Chronicles chapter 33), Manasseh is also described as doing those very same acts of wickedness as 2 Kings details, but in this telling of the story, only Manasseh is exiled to Babylon (not all the people of Judah). Yes, you read that right! That is not a minor contradiction. No. That is huge. That also not merely a contradiction to the King’s account; it is a retelling of the story of Manasseh, and it encapsulates the way in which Chronicles is aimed at retelling the entire account of Israel’s history during the time monarchy.
While the theological interpretation of the Babylonian exile is up for debate (i.e. Was the exile God’s punishment for Manasseh and/or Israel’s idolatry? Or was the exile the natural consequence of a brutal empire seeing ancient Israel as militarily vulnerable and conquered them?), historically speaking, the people of the kingdom of Judah (or Judahites) were actually and literally taken into Babylon. This was not a metaphor. Exile was not simply the point of view of the Kings’ authors. In this sense, 2 Chronicles clearly contradicts 2 Kings as well as other outside evidence that supports the Babylonian exile did happen for the entire nation of Judah, not simply to King Manasseh. It has been argued by Bible scholar Peter Enns that Manasseh would have most likely been killed (probably publicly) in front of the people in Judah before the Babylonians took the remaining inhabitants into exile in Babylon.
In 2 Chronicles, the account continues claiming that, while in Babylon, King Manasseh does a complete 180 and repents of his wickedness. Yahweh then forgives him and (apparently) compels the Babylonians to release him to return to the land of Israel. After his return, Manasseh is completely faithful to Yahweh, ends all idolatrous practices to foreign gods and goes on a revival campaign of sorts to reinstate singular worship to Yahweh alone throughout the land of Judah. No more human sacrifices. No more divination or seeking mediums. Just allegiance and worship to Yahweh. It’s as if the Chronicles authors are making Manasseh look a lot like King Josiah.
Those are not minor differences or contradictions that can be explained away easily (though some really try for the sake of holding onto the Biblical inerrancy view with every fiber of their being).
Does this even matter?
For Christians who believe the Bible is not supposed to include legitimate contradictions, this is a really big deal (or at least should be if they’re being honest). You simply can’t have two divergent accounts of Israel’s history in the Bible for Biblical inerrancy to work. The amount of mental gymnastics it takes to force these two accounts to harmonize smoothly is…well…a headache. And stressful and a bit anxiety-provoking if you were taught this shouldn’t happen in the Bible. The Bible is not supposed to act this way!
However, if you don’t expect the Bible to be inerrant and don’t expect the Bible to not include contradictions, then you might be able to see that the Biblical authors of these two accounts of ancient Israel’s monarchy each had a different purpose in writing their story.
After carefully rereading through these Bible books and the two accounts they tell as well as the insightful research into this topic by Bible scholar Peter Enns, I am now persuaded of these two things: One, each account was written during a different period in Israel’s history. And two, there was a different purpose that the authors had in writing their accounts.
Different historical context for each account
The authors of Samuel-Kings books likely began writing their account of the monarchy sometime before the Babylonian exile and likely completed it while still in Babylon. The authors of Chronicles likely wrote their account during and following the Babylonian exile after the remaining Judahites were allowed to return to their homeland. There is internal evidence of names and events in each of the books that suggest as much (see scholarly resources below to investigate this further).
Different purposes for writing
The authors of these two sets of books were most likely attempting to answer two different questions as they wrote their accounts. The Samuel-Kings authors were answering the question many in Israel were having during and immediately following the Babylonian exile: “What did we do to deserve this?” The author of Chronicles was answering the question that many Israelites were having during and following the Babylonian exile after they returned to Israel from Babylon: “After all this time, is God still with us?”
Samuel-Kings was more interested in telling the story of how Israel got into the mess that forced them (tragically) to relocate to a foreign land, while Chronicles was more interested in telling the story of what they should do now that they returned to their homeland.
As mentioned in the previous blog post on Myth 1, the ancient Hebrews practiced what might be called creative reimagination. They did this with their laws, their history and their beliefs about God following new and sometimes traumatic experiences associated with God (or the absence of God). It wasn’t that they were lying in the usual sense (so we need to be careful not to put on them our own sense of morality); neither were they intending to deceive. For them, the Babylonian exile was one of the (if not THE) most traumatic and redefining experience of their lives up to this point (perhaps only second to be enslaved to the Egyptians for 400 years).
In rewriting their story, the authors of the two books of Chronicles changed key details (likely intentionally) to highlight that God had not given up on the nation of Judah and that if they repented (just like wicked King Manasseh), they could also be forgiven, healed and fully restored when they return to the Land of their forefathers as in former times before the Babylonian exile. Manasseh represented what could happen to the people of the kingdom of Judah.*
*For a thorough look into the two different accounts of the monarchy and Babylonian exile, see chapter two of The evolution of Adam: What the Bible does and doesn’t say about human origins and chapter five of How the Bible actually works by Bible scholar Peter Enns. The two questions quoted above come from this second book resource. Also, I owe much of the insight of the above paragraphs to the above two books by Peter Enns, though I reworded in my own words.
2. Jonah says God loves the Assyrians. Nahum says God hates them. Which is it?
If you grew up going to church, you’ve probably heard the story of Jonah and the whale told a hundred times. You may have even owned one of those Children’s Bibles that adapted the stories of the Bible in pictures and language more easily digestible for kids. Or maybe you’ve even seen the child-friendly Vegitales film of Jonah.
The irony is that the story of Jonah in the book of Jonah is anything but a child-friendly story: bloodthirsty Assyrians who impale their enemies, whales that swallow humans and a human being running away from God—all images that are a bit shocking and perhaps for more mature audiences, not for young children.
However, the book of Jonah has something going for it that is absolutely worth our attention (at least for much older children and adults who want to learn and grow up a little in their faith). Jonah explores just how much God loves every human being and every nation, including bloodthirsty people and nations who impale people. The story of Jonah reimagines older assumptions about what is God is like and how God treats people.
The story begins with Jonah running away from God. God had told Jonah he wanted him to go to Nineveh (the capitol of Assyria) and tell the Assyrians that if they don’t repent, God would send judgement. Knowing the absolute brutality of the Ninevites, Jonah does a 180 in the other direction. In other words, he doesn’t want God to show mercy to the Assyrians. No one in that part of the world did. Long story short, after running from God and what God asked him to do, Jonah finds himself in the belly of a whale (or some big fish). After the fish spits him out, he does what God asks. The Assyrians repent and God shows mercy. Jonah is now forced to see God differently than he once imagined.
Before Jonah, however, another account of the Assyrians, their fate and how God sees them was written down. This is found in the book of Nahum. Nahum is a prophet called by God to speak out against the Assyrians. Nahum has a very different take on the Assyrians than Jonah. He believes God is angry with the Assyrians. In fact, it would seem God even hates them, wants to destroy them and nothing can or will change God’s mind about this.
Historically speaking, the Assyrians were destroyed, but not by God; it was the Babylonians in 538 BCE. In that sense, Nahum has some credibility where Jonah does not. But the theology of the book of Nahum—the assumptions he has about God, what he believes God thinks about the Assyrians and the fate of destruction he believes God will serve them—is quite different than the book and story of Jonah. No mercy. No compassion. Just death and destruction.
It should be known that these two accounts were written at different times in ancient Israel’s history. Nahum was written sometime around the fall of Nineveh and Jonah sometime after the Babylonian exile. Nahum reveals the assumptions of the pre-exilic ancient Hebrews. The story of Jonah represents an evolving (perhaps maturing) view of God that conflicts with previous assumptions. Jonah’s evolving view on God may have been held more by Hebrews who decided to remain in Babylon after they were released to return home post-exile.
These contradictory accounts of God’s treatment of the Assyrians simply don’t harmonize theologically or historically. In fact, they can’t harmonize if the Biblical inerrancy view is correct. That is why Myth 2 of the Biblical inerrancy view is a myth. For those open to new interpretations and perhaps a much bigger God than you were taught, this is nothing less than a breath of fresh air. God is much bigger, more loving and more inclusive than we ever thought or imagined.
3. Violence is endorsed and commanded in the Old Testament; in the New Testament, it’s never an option.
The world of the Bible
In the ancient Near East, where the ancient Hebrews, Egyptians, Canaanites, Assyrians and Babylonians lived, violence was routinely justified. It was often justified to protect a tribal nation’s land, animals, food, water and other resources from invading nations and their armies. Violence was also used to justify against your slaves. It was also used to justify when you’re neighbor intentionally killed a family member, servant or animal. That is an oversimplification to be sure, but provides a base for this discussion.
The Canaan Mandate (Wait, God told them to do what?)
It was not uncommon for nations in the ANE to believe in stories that their gods had chosen them for greatness and blessing. To believe that your nation was called by the gods to be an example to others. To even believe that you had authority given by the gods to take over other nations for the good of the world. Those other nations could learn from you because you are blessed and destined for greatness by the gods. Land and natural resources are better served in your hands, even if that means enslaving another nation in possession of that land and resources.
The Canaan mandate is no exception. The ancient Hebrews believed that Yahweh, the god of their forefathers Abraham, Isaac and Jacob called and chose them as his special people. They believed their god promised them the land of Canaan to live, inhabit and worship him in. The one problem is that people already lived there. Lots of people. Perhaps tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands of people already living in and inhabiting the land of Canaan. In the books of Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy, we learn that the ancient Hebrews believed Yahweh commanded them to go into this land (that was not their own) and slaughter everyone living there. Not just the military. Not just “the bad guys.” But everyone. Men, women, moms, dads, grandmas and grandpas, older and younger children, and yes even babies. Babies. Think about that for a minute.
Kill them all. And not just the people though that is bad enough. Kill even all the animals. There was to be no trace of others and their lives. The Hebrews were to kill them all.
Now again, the ancient Hebrews are not unique in their belief in uniqueness, choseness and their assumption of the divine right from the gods. Other nations had similar ideas and beliefs.
“An eye for eye” (Moses)
According to the Law of Yahweh, the ancient Hebrews if one Hebrew killed another Hebrew intentionally, they were to killed (Leviticus 19:17-23). The phrase “an eye for eye, tooth for a tooth” is the justification used.
“You’ve heard it said, but I say to you.” (Jesus)
Jesus is exceptional for many reasons, but none perhaps more than his view, his teaching and his lifestyle practice of non-violence. In fact, his willingness to die on behalf of others non-violently is nothing less than his complete follow through with the very things he had already been teaching others to do his entire ministry but are highlighted for all to see on the Sermon on Mount. In Matthew 5 of his hillside sermon, Jesus quotes the Leviticus passage and says, “You’ve heard it said, ‘An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth,’ but I say to you, do not resist an evil person; whoever slaps you on the right cheek, turn him the other also.”
For Jesus’ entire life and mission, violence only bred violence and there simply is no room for those who choose to follow him, which for Jesus meant there’s no room for it in God’s kingdom.
If you think this is some mere ideal or wishful thinking or even a suggestion and that Jesus didn’t actually, literally mean that in each and every circumstance of his followers’ lives violence and retaliation has no place, or perhaps that he actually meant it more metaphorically, think again. Everything Jesus said and everything Jesus did pointed, directed, even demanded that those who follow him and call his “Lord” should pick up the mantle of non-violence.
In other place, Jesus said, “If you want to follow me, pick up your cross and then follow me.” Yes, we can metaphorically pick up our crosses, but in that day, to say such a thing basically told his followers that if they thought he was worth following, if his Way and his teaching was worth listening to and living according to, then they should count the cost, and that cost meant being willing to die for him and the peaceful non-violent cause of the kingdom of God. But not just any kind of dying. It wasn’t that Jesus was basically saying, “You need to be willing to pick up your swords and shields and go to battle against God’s enemies like those wicked Roman soldiers or corrupt religious politicians in Jerusalem!” Not at all, the type of death he was demanding of them was non-violent. And for Jesus, non-violence was not mere passivism. Non-violence was a weapon of God. It does greater damage and destruction that the usual human types. This kind of dying has the potential of cutting into the psyche and heart strings of people, exposing their secret and inner darkness and hate, and then working as a healing agent creating compassion and empathy and love toward themselves and others. Non-violence is no joke in the hands of a loving God!
But funny (not so funny) how religious Christians will take things metaphorically that actually should be taken literally, and then they take things literally that actually should be taken metaphorically.
“They rejoiced because they had been considered worthy to suffer for his name.” (Peter and the rest of the Eleven)
If Jesus had only meant his non-violence commands to be taken metaphorically, or as merely an ideal, then why did the early disciples not join the Jewish militia groups and fight against the Romans for taking over their land—who most Jews believed were God’s enemies? Why didn’t they fight against Jerusalem’s Temple guard who arrested them when they preached the good news of Jesus? In Acts 3, they were brought before the Sanhedrin and order not to share their faith in Jesus with others. After refusing to comply in Acts 4, they were flogged (a brutal whipping).
How did they feel about being flogged? Did they take up weapons or threaten the authorities? No. Ok, how did they feel then? A privilege. They were happy that they shared the same kinds of suffering that Jesus suffered. You heard that correctly! Happy. Of course, it didn’t feel good physically. They weren’t sadomasochists. It was that they endured the pain and suffering because they felt in some strange and powerful and loving way they were sharing in the suffering of Jesus and in doing so, somehow God’s powerfully loving kingdom was being manifested in real time to people.
“Overcome evil with good” (Paul)
Paul picks up this non-violent approach to his ministry and directs new and old converts to do the same. In Romans 12, after taking 11 chapters to explain, analyze and interpret how Jesus’ death on a cross has rescued humanity, both Jews and non-Jews, he lays out some ways they can express their faith in gratitude to God. One of the those ways in through non-violence. He wrote the following:
Love must be real. Hate what is evil, stick fast to what is good. Be truly affectionate in showing love for one another; compete with each other in giving mutual respect. Don’t get tired of working hard. Be on fire with the spirit. Work as slaves for the Lord. Celebrate your hope; be patient in suffering; give constant energy to prayer; contribute to the needs of God’s people; make sure you are hospitable to strangers.
Bless those who persecute you; bless them, don’t curse them. Celebrate with those who are celebrating, mourn with the mourners. Come to the same mind with one another. Don’t give yourselves airs, but associate with the humble. Don’t get too clever for yourselves.
Never repay anyone evil for evil; think through what will seem good to everyone who is watching. If it’s possible, as far as you can, live at peace with all people. Don’t take revenge, my dear people, but allow God’s anger room to work. The Bible says, after all, ‘Vengeance is mine; I will repay, says the Lord.’ No: ‘If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him a drink. If you do this, you will pile up burning coals on his head.’ Don’t let evil conquer you. Rather, conquer evil with good.
Did you catch that part about never repaying evil for evil and never taking revenge? That is the language of non-violence. To interpret it as anything else is to sell this message short.
For more on the self-sacrificial others-oriented enemy-embracing love of God that is demonstrated in Jesus’ life, ministry and death on a Roman cross see my blog article: Cruciform theory of atonement: How the death of Jesus on a Roman cross changes everything. For a much more detailed and lengthier treatment on this topic, I also highly recommend reading or listening to the books Sinners in the hands of a loving God by Brian Zahnd, Cross Vision by Gregory Boyd or The Secret Message of Jesus by Brian McLaren.
As for contradictions 4-7 and the Bonus contradiction, while I would love to dive into each, I offer any of the book recommendations I’ve already suggested in the article above–with special mention to The Bible tells me so: Why defending Scripture has made us unable to read it, How the Bible actually works, and The evolution of Adam: What the Bible does and doesn’t say about human origins, all three by Bible scholar Peter Enns (who’s also a real down to earth and funny guy). Each of those books touch on various aspects and nuances of the contradictions I listed.
Other go-to authors for those topics and more, I highly recommend New Testament scholar NT. Wright, Brian McLaren, Brian Zahnd, Rachel Held Evans, Rob Bell and Gregory Boyd. Each author offers invaluable insight into the Bible, Biblical context and the life and ministry of Jesus. Many of these men and women have served as pastors, professors and theologians (sometimes all the above) for many years and now write books and speak about Jesus around the country and world.
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