Common Muslim Objections to the Bible (and How to Respond)

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Some Muslims use a number of objections to the reliability of the Scriptures in an attempt to weaken Christian confidence in the Bible. None of the objections offer satisfying or compelling critiques of the Bible, and often our Muslim friends are simply repeating what they have heard or read from Muslim leaders. After a few evangelistic conversations, most people will identify a few recurring criticisms of the Bible.

“Scripture Is Full of Contradictions”

Muslims will rely heavily on perhaps the most popular but misinformed criticism: “The Bible has contradictions.” Even people of no religious faith will sometimes dismiss the Bible because they heard or read somewhere that it is “full of contradictions.”

But you’ve read the Bible. Have you seen any contradictions? Certainly there are difficult things to interpret in the Bible. And there are varying interpretations of difficult texts by godly, well-meaning Christians. Rival interpretations exist in every religion and philosophical school of thought. But rival interpretations are not the same as contradictions, where a statement is both asserted and denied at the same time. A contradiction would say something such as: “Jesus said He is God.” And then follow with: “Jesus said He is not God but came to honor God.” Both statements cannot be true.

The Lord God does not contradict Himself.

The Bible has no contradictions in it. The Lord God does not contradict Himself. So we can express confidence in the Bible by simply asking those who make such a charge to put forth the evidence. Jamal couldn’t produce one contradiction from Scripture—not because he wasn’t skilled enough, but because there is none in the Bible.

“The Bible Has Been Corrupted”

Some also hold the popular view that the Bible had been corrupted or changed over the years. They believe that the followers of Christ over the centuries have removed things that pointed to the coming of Muhammad and the truth of the Quran. Again, there is no evidence for this. Moreover, the responsibility lies with those who make the charge to make their case, especially since neither the Quran nor the Hadith clearly allege corruption or change of the Scripture but rather show a misunderstanding of the Scripture. If the Bible had been corrupted, why would the Quran have confirmed it nearly six hundred years later?

The Bible is the best-attested ancient manuscript in history. With the thousands of manuscripts and fragments existing in multiple languages and cultures, along with quotations from early church fathers, we may have complete confidence that the writings of the Old and New Testaments are reliably transmitted from those who first received and believed its message from God.

When it comes to Muslim evangelism and the reliability of the Bible, sometimes liberal Christians and critical scholars do the most harm. In nearly every public dialogue I have had with a Muslim leader or apologist, at some point they attack the reliability of the Bible by pointing to the writings of liberal scholars. They cite Bart Ehrman and members of the Jesus Seminar as “Christian scholars” who recognize corruptions of the Bible. Muslim apologists appeal to these writers in attempts to undermine the trustworthiness of Scripture’s message, its transmission, or its authenticity. In those moments, I wonder if liberal scholars recognize what damage they do to the cause of Christ in these parts of the world. I wonder if they understand how often their disbelief and attempts at discrediting the Bible serve to harden Muslims to the truths of the Bible.

Trust the Bible. Stand on its authority.

Nevertheless, the response remains the same. Trust the Bible. Stand on its authority. Grow more familiar with Bible-believing scholars who effectively refute revisionist, deconstructionist, and downright unbelieving perspectives. And, in your own words, ask, as I sometimes have, “Why do you quote unbelievers in a conversation between people of the Book?” It’s ironic, but a Muslim and a Christian who both believe God speaks through Scripture and protects His Word have more in common than either a Muslim or a Christian does with Bible-denying academics, clergy, and authors.

“Jesus Did Not Claim to be God”

Often, Muslims will insist in discussions that Christians use only the parts of the Bible recording the words of our Lord. They argue that the writers of Scripture misinterpret the teachings of God, so they want to limit discussions to only certain portions. Often along with this attitude toward Scripture comes the insistence that the exact words be in the text itself. So, once a Muslim man demanded that I show him where Jesus said “I am God” in those exact words. I suppose we might call these persons “red letter Muslims.”

But Christians should not accept this premise any more than a Muslim should be made to discard the Quran. Muslims believe that companions of the prophet faithfully transmitted Muhammad’s teachings to print, and they trust that transmission. Likewise, we owe no explanation for trusting that under the Spirit of God prophets and apostles recorded the teachings of Christ and teachings about Christ as God intended (see 2 Tim. 3:16–17; 2 Peter 1:20–21). The words in red are not more or less inspired than the words in black type. The writers of the words in red were the same writers of the words in black. All of God’s Word is reliable and shall stand until all is fulfilled (Matt. 5:18). We may safely trust that what Paul or Matthew or John wrote is the divinely inspired Word of God.

For Further Reading:

The Gospel for Muslims

by Thabiti Anyabwile

There are over three million Muslims living in the United States today. Soon, if not already, you will have Muslim neighbors and coworkers....

book cover for The Gospel for Muslims