Biblical inconsistencies can be either minor bothers or foundational difficulties, depending on your temperament and prior beliefs. I have found many times that my biggest questions are eventually resolved, although it often takes years. This strengthens my faith in the text and the eventual solvability of problems that arise.
I recently stumbled onto an elegant answer to one question that nagged me for years. I won’t pretend that this is the biggest biblical problem but it is one that I personally found troubling. The Torah states in Exodus (12:15) that we must eat matzah for seven days on Passover while in Deuteronomy (16:8) it says for six days. The Sages were certainly aware of this discrepancy and explained it by differentiating between the obligation on the first day and the remaining six (the eighth day is, of course, rabbinic). While this midrashic explanation addresses the difference, it somehow rubs me as inelegant, unsmooth, not peshat.
I recently saw that Ibn Ezra offers a simple explanation that neatly and convincingly resolves the contradiction. Looking at the Deuteronomy passage in context, it describes the observance of the holiday. The afternoon before Passover you slaughter the two sacrifices of the Passover and holiday (chagigah); that night and the following day you eat them; on the following morning (the first day of Chol Ha-Mo’ed) you return home; for the next six days (technically 5-1/2) you only eat matzah, i.e. no chametz.
This is a very simple and smooth reading. Looking around, I found that R. Sa’adia Gaon, Chizkuni, Abarbanel, Shadal and R. David Tzvi Hoffmann explain this verse similarly (and Mendelssohn’s Bi’ur quotes the Ibn Ezra).
I see three lessons here. The first is that I shouldn’t be lazy but should look for answers to questions. The road to knowledge comes from seeking answers, particularly the more interesting questions.
The second is that biblical contradictions may appear misleadingly simple but they are not. Commentary is an inspired art that can resolve many textual problems. However, once you misread a text you face tremendous difficulty in seeing it from a different perspective. The first textual impression gains an unfair advantage that you must overcome, sometimes by setting the issue aside for years until you are ready for a fresh look.
And the third is the necessity of patience. Insight often takes years to acquire. Only the childish demand the instant gratification of immediate answers. Sometimes you need to let a question simmer for a while until a proper answer decides it is ready to make an appearance. Commentary is an art whose inspiration cannot be invoked on demand. Instead you need faith — faith in the completeness and unity of the text and faith that a satisfactory interpretation will eventually surface.