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The Blue Letter Bible

Don Stewart :: Are There Bible Difficulties That Still Remain?

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Don Stewart
Yes. Though historical and archaeological studies have made great strides in clearing up Bible difficulties problems still remain. This fact should not be surprising when we appreciate our lack of knowledge of the details of the ancient world.

The remaining difficulties can be categorized as follows:

Copyists Error

There are a few passages in Scripture where there was an early copyist error that keeps us from understanding precisely what was said. An example of such an error is found in 1 Samuel 13:1.

Age Of Saul

The writer is giving the ages of the different kings when they took office and then lists the length of their reign. The present Hebrew text says Saul was one year old when he began to reign over Israel. Obviously this cannot be true! The exact age of Saul is unknown to us because of this copyist error. Yet this error does not materially affect the meaning of Scripture. The fact that we do not know the exact age of Saul when he began to reign is really of no ultimate concern. This is true of other copyist errors we discover in Scripture.

Archaeological Questions

There are still certain issues between archaeology and biblical history that still remain unresolved. For example, there is the problem of the identification of the city of Ai that is mentioned in the book of Joshua. There is no clear confirmational archaeological evidence that Ai existed at the time when Scripture says Joshua and his men conquered the men of that city. It is one of the matters that is still unresolved, though there have been some plausible solutions offered.

Our Attitude

What should our attitude be toward these and other unanswered difficulties in which the Bible contains? The answers to all of our questions await a time in the future. The apostle Paul said:

For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I shall know fully just as I also have been fully known (1 Corinthians 13:12).

Christians have this attitude because we believe Scripture will ultimately prove to be true.

The Ultimate Solution

We will not have all of our questions answered in this life. C.S. Lewis perceptively wrote about our unanswered questions:

While we await that time we have a revelation that is sufficient to meet our needs. There are problems that still remain to be solved. Heaven will solve our problems, but not, I think, by showing us subtle reconciliation's between our apparently contradictory notions. The notions will all be knocked from under our feet. We shall see that there never was a problem (C.S. Lewis, A Grief Observed).


Though there are some matters that are still unresolved with respect to Scripture, this should not concern the Christian. Time and time again the Bible has proven itself to be reliable in all matters that it covers. Furthermore, the testimony of Jesus, God the Son, confirms the entire Scripture as the inerrant Word of God. Ultimately these difficulties will be resolved.

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