The Biggest “Contradiction” in the Bible

by David Murray

When people criticize the Bible, they often point to contradictions. “The Bible says this here, but says the opposite over here!” This proves, they say, that this cannot be God’s book, it’s no different from any other human book with the usual errors and mistakes.

Usually it’s quite easy to show that these are only “seeming” contradictions. If we interpret God’s Word correctly, we will usually be able to show how both verses or passages are true.

However, sometimes it’s not so easy. Sometimes it’s very hard. Sometimes it looks almost impossible. One of these “impossible” passages is James 2:24, probably the biggest “contradiction” in the Bible.  Let me state this problem as clearly as I can.

In at least three places in Romans alone the Apostle Paul says that we are saved by faith alone without works (Romans 3:20, 28; 5:1).

But when we turn to James 2:25 we read: A man is justified by works, and not by faith only (James 2:24).

The problem is obvious, isn’t it? Many verses in the Bible teach that we are justified by faith alone in Christ alone. But James says that faith alone without works is not enough.

High Stakes
The stakes are very high here, because it’s not just a minor matter about the number of soldiers in Israel’s army; it’s about the most important matter of all – how sinners are saved.

Can these opposing statements be reconciled? I believe they can…

The Biggest “Contradiction” in the Bible