More on Biblical Inconsistency, or the Lack Thereof

In the same vein as a previous post on the historic accuracy of the gospels, here’s some rich, theological goodness from Tim Keller about apparent inconsistencies in the Bible, especially those between the Old and New Testaments:

The New Testament explains another change between the testaments. Sins continue to be sins—but the penalties change. In the Old Testament sins like adultery or incest were punishable with civil sanctions like execution. This is because at that time God’s people constituted a nation-state, and so all sins had civil penalties. 

But in the New Testament the people of God are an assembly of churches all over the world, living under many different governments. The church is not a civil government, and so sins are dealt with by exhortation and, at worst, exclusion from membership. This is how Paul deals with a case of incest in the Corinthian church (1 Cor. 5:1ff. and 2 Cor. 2:7-11). Why this change? Under Christ, the gospel is not confined to a single nation—it has been released to go into all cultures and peoples. 

Once you grant the main premise of the Bible—about the surpassing significance of Christ and his salvation—then all the various parts of the Bible make sense. Because of Christ, the ceremonial law is repealed. Because of Christ, the church is no longer a nation-state imposing civil penalties. It all falls into place. However, if you reject the idea of Christ as Son of God and Savior, then, of course, the Bible is at best a mishmash containing some inspiration and wisdom, but most of it would have to be rejected as foolish or erroneous.


  1. VC

    I have found a new book that might explain some of the inconsistencies in the bible. Lawrence Goudge, in his new book Cover Up: How the Church Silenced Jesus’s True Heirs, proposes that the Jewish followers of Jesus followed his teachings more closely. The church has blinkered its past. It’s no secret that Jesus strove to bring in the kingdom of justice here on earth and his followers implemented it in the communal society we read about in Acts 2:44-47. The church’s dirty secret is that the Jewish followers of Jesus continued to hold his vision dear, later influencing such sects as the Bogomils and even, according to their own oral traditions, the Doukhobors. After exterminating the Jewish followers of Jesus, the church’s historians buried this history of justice-seeking but an author by the name of Lawrence Goudge has exhumed their story and presented it in ‘Cover-Up: How the Church Silenced Jesus’s True Heirs.’ This book does the world a great service by illuminating for the first time this vital part of the history of social justice. I found it at .

  2. Kristen B

    There’s inconsistencies because the bible is a record by man. The sentiments behind it are a historical account of Christianity developing into one of the most well-known religions internationally.

    Social Activism was Jesus’ forte..and we’ve all seemingly forgotten that.

    An advocate for the poor and hungry– the tired and the weary…where did we get off our path?

    It reminds me of this video I recently came across– it’s a cute little song about how Jesus and his followers actually Occupy Jerusalem.

    Anyways, here it is:

    It has a point. We should all strive to be more like Christ in our day to day with our fellow brothers and sisters.

Leave a Reply