Molehills, Not Mountains: Resolving Some Tensions in the Old Testament
Certain statements, principles, and teachings in the Old Testament seem, at first glance, to contradict other data within the same Scriptures. How should we view such “tensions”? Peter Enns, a contemporary Bible scholar, believes these tensions are real and irreconcilable. They serve as evidence, argues Enns, of the human side or “messiness” of the Old Testament. But, as Gregory Beale notes, Enns’ approach makes “diverse molehills into irreconcilable hermeneutical mountains.” Worse, it compromises the doctrine of inspiration and inerrancy.1
In the lecture below, I attempt to identify and resolve some of these “tensions.” Whether each of the resolutions I propose is equally cogent is certainly open to debate. But whether or not God’s Word contains real contradictions is not. I hope you find the lecture helpful!
Resolving Some Tensions in the Old Testament
- Enns articulates his view of the apparent contradictions in the OT in his book Inspiration and Incarnation: Evangelicals and the Problem of the Old Testament (Baker Academic, 2005). See especially pp. 71-112. Beale offers a fine rebuttal to Enns’ view in his The Erosion of Inerrancy in Evangelicalism: Responding to New Challenges to Biblical Authority (Crossway, 2008). [↩]