• Mark Alan Williams

3 Contradictions Of Scripture

Updated: Mar 29, 2019

Podcast (listen-to-this-article-here): Play in new window | Download (Duration: 9:51 — 18.1MB)

Subscribe: Apple Podcasts | Android | RSS


Does the Bible contain contradictions? Yes. I’d like to share 3 contradictions of Scripture. However, they probably would best be considered “paradoxes.”

CC Image courtesy of Flickr


One of the definitions of a paradox is “a seemingly absurd or self-contradictory statement or proposition that when investigated or explained may prove to be well founded or true.”


That’s what these 3 contradictions of Scripture are—seemingly absurd statements that are indeed true.

What are these 3 contradictions of Scripture?01. When I am weak I am strong.

Here’s the passage where this contradiction is found:


So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Corinthians 12:7-10 ESV)


I absolutely love this paradox. It has been a great source of encouragement to me many times over the years when I have felt:

  • Weak

  • Ineffective

  • Like I’ve blown it

  • Like I don’t measure up

  • Like I’m spinning my wheels

Have you ever felt these ways? If so, rejoice—for when you are weak, you can be strong in Christ.

Let me clarify: Don’t think this is talking about being stronger when we sin! When we sin we become weak, not strong.


But when our frailties or circumstances beyond our control make us weak, then we are strong.

When we are:

  • Weak with illness

  • Weak from exhaustion

  • Weak from embarassment

  • Weak from undeserved attacks

Then, if we are walking in the Spirit, we are strong!


02. When I go down I go up.

The Gospels record Jesus teaching this fascinating paradox over and over.


Here’s one example: “Then they came to Capernaum. While Jesus was at home, he asked the disciples, ‘What were you arguing about on the road?’ They were silent. On the road they had argued about who was the greatest. He sat down and called the twelve apostles. He told them, ‘Whoever wants to be the most important person must take the last place and be a servant to everyone else.’” (Mark 9:33-35 GW)


As much as I read this second of the 3 contradictions of Scripture clearly taught, I find it a challenge to live it out.


In fact, it seems so contradictory, I seem to want to ignore it completely. Maybe you do too? 


But Scripture tells us over and over that it is true:


  • Everyone who honors himself will be humbled, but the person who humbles himself will be honored.” (see Luke 18:14b GW)

  • The one who is least among all of you is the one who is greatest.” (see Luke 9:46-48 GW)

  • Whoever wants to be most important among you will be a slave for everyone.” (see Mark 10:35-45 GW)

  • Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.” (see 1 Peter 5:5-7 KJV)

  • Don’t act out of selfish ambition or be conceited. Instead, humbly think of others as being better than yourselves.” (see Philippians 2:3-13 GW)

  • Those who honor themselves will be humbled, but people who humble themselves will be honored.” (see Luke 14:7-11 GW)

  • So if I, your Lord and teacher, have washed your feet, you must wash each other’s feet. I’ve given you an example that you should follow.” (see John 13:12-17 GW)

  • Love each other as brothers and sisters and honor others more than you do yourself.” (see Romans 12:10 CEV)

In practical terms, what do all these verses mean?


They mean I should be happy if:

  • My office is not the biggest

  • My title is not the highest

  • My role is serving others

  • My efforts are not acknowledged

Because when I go down I go up.


03. To receive I must give.

Jesus said; “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” (Luke 6:38 NIV)


This might be the hardest of the 3 contradictions of Scripture for most Christians to believe and practice. Yet God’s Word is very clear.


The Apostle Paul likened this paradox to sowing and reaping: “The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.” (2 Corinthians 9:6 ESV)

Paul proves this point via the illustration of a farmer. If the farmer wants a small crop, he eats the harvest and sows just a little. But if he wants a big harvest, he buries a lot of seed in the ground and eventually reaps a great harvest.


God’s promise is so clear: to receive more, I must give more. If I give more, I will receive more. 


It’s a paradox, but it is true.


It’s so counterintuitive, yet it is true.


Carolyn and I have found this out from our personal expiernce. The more we have given, the more we have received.


We’ve tried to outgive God and it never works! 


So, those are the 3 contradictions of Scripture.

Question: Which of these 3 contradictions of Scripture do you need to begin to utilize today?



All Rights Reserved © 2019 Mark Alan Williams