by Reuben Archer Torrey

Before taking up those specific difficulties and alleged “contradictions” in the Bible which have caused the most trouble to seekers after truth, let us first consider how difficulties should be dealt with:

1. Honestly. Whenever you find a difficulty in the Bible frankly acknowledge it. Don’t try to obscure it. Don’t try to dodge it. Look it square in the face. Admit it frankly to whoever mentions it. If you cannot give a good, square, honest explanation, do not attempt any at all. Untold harm has been done by those who in their zeal for the infallibility of the Bible have attempted explanations of difficulties which do not commend themselves to the honest, fair-minded man. People have concluded that if these are the best explanations, then there are really no explanations at all, and the Bible instead of being helped has been injured by the unintelligent zeal of foolish friends. If you are not really convinced that the Bible is the Word of God, you can far better afford to wait for an honest solution of a difficulty than you can afford to attempt a solution that is evasive and unsatisfactory.

2. Humbly. Recognize the limitations of your own mind and knowledge, and do not for a moment imagine that there is no solution just because you have found none. There is, in all probability, a very simple solution, even when you can find no solution at all.

3. Determinedly. Make up your mind that you will find the solution if you can by any amount of study and hard thinking. The difficulties of the Bible are our heavenly Father’s challenge to us to set our brains to work. Do not give up searching for a solution because you cannot find one in five minutes or ten minutes. Ponder over it and work over it for days if necessary. The work will do you more good than the solution does. There is a solution somewhere, and you will find it if you will only search for it long enough and hard enough.

4. Fearlessly. Do not be frightened when you find a difficulty, no matter how unanswerable or how insurmountable it appears at first sight. Thousands of men have encountered just such difficulties, and still the old Book stands. The Bible that has stood eighteen centuries of rigid examination, and also of incessant and awful assault, is not likely to go down before your discoveries or before the discharges of any modern critical guns. To one who is at all familiar with the history of critical attacks on the Bible, the confidence of those modern critics who think they are going to annihilate the Bible at last is simply amusing.

5. Patiently. Do not be discouraged because you do not solve every problem in a day. If some difficulty persistently defies your very best efforts at a solution, lay it aside for a while. Later it will likely be resolved, and you will wonder how you were ever perplexed by it.

6.Scripturally. If you find a difficulty in one part of the Bible, look for another scripture to throw light upon it and dissolve it. Nothing explains scripture like scripture. Time and again people have come to me with some difficulty in the Bible that had greatly staggered them, and asked for a solution; and I have been able to give a solution by simply asking them to read some other chapter and verse, and the simple reading of that scripture has thrown such light upon the passage in question that all the mists have disappeared and the truth has shone as clear as day.

7. Prayerfully. It is simply wonderful how difficulties dissolve when one looks at them on his knees. Not only does God open our eyes in answer to prayer to behold wonderful things out of His law, but He also opens our eyes to look straight through a difficulty that seemed impenetrable before we prayed. One great reason why many modern Bible scholars have learned to be destructive critics is because they have forgotten how to pray.

[excerpt from R.A. Torrey, Difficulties in the Bible : Alleged Errors and Contradictions (Willow Grove: Woodlawn Electronic Publishing, 1998, c1996).]

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