Apparent contradictions in the bible
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Apparent contradictions in the Bible. A common criticism of unbelievers is the claim that the Bible contains “tons” of contradictions and the Bible can’t be taken seriously. This talk will help you answer their criticism. “Contradiction” Example 1. Luke 18:35, Luke 19:1

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Apparent contradictions in the bible l.jpg

Apparent contradictions in the Bible

A common criticism of unbelievers is the claim that the Bible contains “tons” of contradictions and the Bible can’t be taken seriously. This talk will help you answer their criticism.


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“Contradiction” Example 1

  • Luke 18:35, Luke 19:1

    • And as He came near Jericho, it happened that a certain blind man sat by the roadside begging....

    • And going in, He passed through Jericho.

  • Matthew 20:29

    • And as they departed from Jericho, a great crowd followed Him. And behold, two blind men were sitting by the wayside.

  • So does Luke and Matthew contradict each other, not once, but twice ???


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“Contradiction” Example 2

  • You need to look at the King James Version

  • Act 9:7

    • And the men who journeyed with him (Paul) stood speechless, indeed hearing a voice but seeing no one.

  • Act 22:9

    • And they who were with me indeed saw the light and were afraid. But they did not hear the voice of Him who spoke to me.

  • What weird of this “contradiction” is it is written by the same author !?


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What is a contradiction

  • A thing cannot be both A and non-A at the same time, in the same place, and in the same manner.

  • Example:

    • It cannot be both raining and not raining at the same time in the same location.

  • two statements can differ from each other without being contradictory

    • I saw John in the mall yesterday

    • I saw James in the mall yesterday

    • Not a contradiction: I saw both John and James !!!


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Complementary statement

  • Are statements whose sum of information is greater than any one of them alone

  • Example:

    • Luke 18:35: a certain blind mansat by the roadside begging

    • Mat 20:29: two blind menwere sitting by the wayside

  • Matthew 20:29complementsLuke 18:35.

    • Perhaps there were 2 blind men, one of them was begging.


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Common sources of "contradictions"

  • Complementary accounts that are not contradictory (we just saw an example)

  • Difference in Author's perspective

  • Unclear (poor) translation from Hebrew or Greek into English

  • Difference of language usages in Jesus' days

  • Copy errors (that did NOT change the meaning of the text)


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Example complementary “contradictions”

  • Who discovered the empty tomb ?

    • Matthew 28:1 -- But late in the week, at the dawning into the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to see the tomb.

    • Mark 16:1 -- And when the sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene and Mary, the mother of James and Salome, had bought sweet spices so that they might come and anoint Him.

    • Luke 24:10 -- It was Mary Magdalene, and Joanna, and Mary the mother of James, and the rest with them, who told these things to the apostles.

    • John 20:1 -- The first of the sabbaths Mary Magdalene came early to the tomb, darkness still being on it, and she saw the stone taken away from the tomb.


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Example complementary “contradictions”

  • How many times did the rooster crow ?

    • Matthew 26:34 - Jesus said to him, “Assuredly, I say to you that this night, before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times”

    • Luke 22:34 - Then He said, “I tell you, Peter, the rooster shall not crow this day before you will deny three times that you know Me” .

    • John 13:38 - Jesus answered him… “Most assuredly, I say to you, the rooster shall not crow till you have denied Me three times”

    • Mark 14:30 - "Assuredly, I say to you that today, even this night, before the rooster crowstwice, you will deny Me three times"

      Matthew, Luke and John did not say only once !


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Example complementary “contradictions”

  • How did Judas die ?

    • Matthew 27:5 -- And he (Judas) threw the pieces of silver down in the temple and departed. And he (Judas) went and hanged himself.

    • Act 1:18 Indeed, then, this one (Judas) purchased a field with the reward of unrighteousness. And falling headlong, he burst apart in the middle, and all his bowels gushed out.

  • Acts did not say that Judas did not hang himself

    • Judas could have felt headlong from his suicide hanging position


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“Contradictions" by author's perspectives

  • Luke 18:35-19:1 reported that Jesus went into Jericho

  • Matthew 20:29-30 said that Jesus went out of Jericho.

  • Cities in the ancient days are often destroyed by wars and re-established in a different location - near a water supply, or a new road.

  • Jericho was established (and found) in at least 4 different locations


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“Contradictions" by author's perspectives

  • When was Jesus crucified ?

    • Mark 15:25 -- And it was the third hour, and they crucified Him.

    • John 19:14 -- And it was the preparation of the Passover, and about the sixth hour. And he (Pilate) said to the Jews, Behold your king!But they cried out, Away with him! Away with him! Crucify him!

  • How can Jesus stand trial in front of Pilate at about the 6th hour when Jesus was crucified earlier at the 3rd hour ???

    • Or maybe the Romans had a time-machine ???


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Time travel explained...

  • Jews reckoned the day starting at sun rise (6 AM = first hour of the day).

  • Julius Caesar imposed the Julian Calendar in 40 B.C. and the first hour is midnight

  • Mark 15:25: (Jewish time reckoning)

    • And it was the third hour (9 A.M.), and they crucified Him.

  • John 19:14: (John wrote later in Roman city)

    • And it was the preparation of the Passover, and about the sixth hour (6 A.M.). And he (Pilate) said to the Jews, Behold your king!But they cried out, Away with him! …Crucify him!


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“Contradictions" by author's perspectives

  • Who was Joseph’s father ?

    • Mat 1:13-16: … and Eleazar fathered Matthan, and Matthan fathered Jacob. And Jacob fathered Joseph, the husband to be of Mary, of whom Jesus was born, who is called Christ.

    • Luke 3:23-26: And Jesus Himself was beginning to be about thirty years of age, being (as was supposed) son of Joseph, son of of Heli, son of of Matthat

  • Is this a real contradiction in the Bible ?


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Two different fathers explained

  • If you read Luke in the original Greek language, you will see that Luke uses the word “the” in every case, except for Joseph:

    • Luke 3:23-26 --- And Jesus Himself was beginning to be about thirty years of age, being (as was supposed) son of (no “the”)Joseph, “the” Heli, “the” Matthat, “the” Levi, “the” Melchi, …

  • The Talmud (writings by Jewish Rabbis) records the fact that Mary was the daughter of Heli

  • The common explanation is Luke was tracing Mary descendent tree (Mary, daughter of Heli, son of Matthat, and so on)

  • Also, from the writings in Luke’s gospel, it seems that Luke has interviewed Mary extensively


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“Contradictions” caused by translation

  • King James Version:

    • Acts 9:7 -- And the men who journeyed with him (Paul) stood speechless, indeed hearing a voice but seeing no one.

    • Acts 22:9 -- And they who were with me indeed saw the light and were afraid. But they did not hear the voice of Him who spoke to me.

  • NIV:

    • Acts 9:7 -- … they heard the sound but did not see anyone

    • Acts 22:9 -- .. But they did not understand the voice of Him who was speaking to me

  • (BTW, NIV is not a great translation either – take a look at Hebrews 11:11)


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“Contradiction” by language usage

  • Did Jesus really stay three days and three nights in the tomb?

    • Jesus died on Friday afternoon

    • Jesus was risen on Sunday morning

    • It’s barely 2 days !!!

  • According to the Jerusalem Talmud:

    • A day and a night are an Onah and the portion of an Onah is as the whole of it

  • Therefore:

    • Part of Friday is a portion of an Onah and it is a whole Onah (day)

    • Part of Sunday is also a whole Onah.

    • Total: 3 days – according to Jewish time keeping !


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Copy Errors

  • Yes, the Bible does contain copy errors

  • But it’s not a big deal – these errors do not change the teaching in the Bible, nor does it make the Bible incomprehensible

  • Example:

    • 2Chron 36:9 --- Jehoiachin was eight years old when he began to reign

    • 2King 24:8 --- Jehoiachin was eighteen yearsold when he began to reign


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A more subtle copy error

  • Who killed Goliath:

    • I think you all know the story about David and Goliath

    • But in 2 Samuel 21:19: -- And there was again a battle with the Philistines in Gob, where Elhanan of Bethlehem, the son of Jaare-oregim, killed one of Goliath the Gittite

  • This problem is most likely caused by a copy error

  • Note: this error does not make the Bible incomprehensible, nor did it change its teachings


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Summary

  • Bible contains historical information written by different authors from different perspective with different emphasis

  • As such, various “contradictions” can arise which are in fact not contradictions at all

  • The Bible has proven itself to be incredibly reliable – archeologists use it to locate ancient civilizations

  • There are no contradictions in the Bible

  • There are some copy errors – which are small in number (considering the time span) and does not compromise any Bible’s teaching


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Goliath problem explained

  • The explanation of the copy error is found in 1 Chronicle 20:5:

    • 1 Chr 20:5 -- AndElhanan the son of Jair killed Lahmi the brother of Goliath the Gittite

    • 2 Samuel 21:19 -- Elhanan of Bethlehem, the son of Jaare-oregim, killed one of Goliath the Gittite

  • In Hebrew:

    • "eth Lachmi" means "Lachmi the brother of".

    • "beith hallachmi" meaning “someone from Bethlehem”

    • The phrase “Elhanan…eth Lachmi Goliath” was apparently changed to “Elhanan…beith hallachmi Goliath”


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