Timothy Beal in The Chronicle:
When it comes to the Bible, many feel there is a single right meaning—the one its divine author intended. “Well, what does the Bible say?” “The Bible is very clear about that.” This is part of the iconicity of the Bible in contemporary society, the idea of it as the one and only divinely authored and guaranteed book of answers, with one answer per question. No more, no less.
For many potential Bible readers, that expectation that the Bible is univocal is paralyzing. You notice what seem to be contradictions or tensions between different voices in the text. You can't find an obvious way to reconcile them. You figure that it must be your problem. You don't know how to read it correctly, or you're missing something. If the Bible is God's perfect, infallible Word, then any misunderstanding or ambiguity must be the result of our own depravity. So you either give up or let someone holier than thou tell you “what it really says.” I think that's tragic. You're letting someone else impoverish it for you, when in fact you have just brushed up against the rich polyvocality of biblical literature.
The Bible is anything but univocal about anything. It is a cacophony of voices and perspectives, often in conflict with one another. In many ways, those dedicated to removing all potential biblical contradictions, to making the Bible entirely consistent with itself, are no different from irreligious debunkers of the Bible, Christianity, and religion in general. Many from both camps seem to believe that simply demonstrating that the Bible is full of inconsistencies and contradictions is enough to discredit any religious tradition that embraces it as Scripture.
Bible debunkers and Bible defenders are kindred spirits. They agree that the Bible is on trial.