There are two distinct themes in the bible. First, God demands justice. He demands that we follow his law, that we love our neighbor, that we love Him more than anything else. Second, God is merciful. He sent his own son to die and redeem the people of Earth not to condemn them. There is now no condemnation for those who abide. For years I saw a contradiction between these. This was one of the things that pushed me to postmodernism.
However, the more I grow in faith I realize that there is no contradiction. The paradox is a coefficient of my own human ignorance. God is just, but he is also merciful. Every letter of the law stands, but salvation comes through faith in Messiah's gift alone. It isn't about being good, but it is about being blameless. I am a wicked, but I am saved. I really like things this way. No body has it all figured out, though some do abide. It is an formula that leads the seeker to a place of faith and humility, of hope and awe.
The Bible is not a history book. Its not a science book. It is the living Word-- the Logos of God that he has hewn out of the very lifelines of His people.
In the end, the bickering, the hand-wringing, the denominations are superfluous. I am a follower of The Way, a disciple of Messiah. Whatever else is true of me, I want these to be.