How can you be sure that there are no mistakes in the Bible?

I love this thread! My sister is a Mormon, and I am an Agnostic (that’s greek for Fool, I believe) and I never understood religious belief. One of the reasons is because I don’t understand the origin of the scriptures. Everyone is using the scriptures as a basis for what they believe (with some additional personal revelations thrown in in some cases) and everyone seems to believe that the scriptures are THE WORD OF GOD, without any flaws or misinterpretations. So here is my question:

How can you be sure that there are no mistakes or blatant, politically-motivated corruptions of the bible?

The “original texts” no longer exist and the document has been translated from Aramaic, to Hebrew, to Greek, to Latin, to German and then every other language. There have been religious leaders and emperors with complete and total control of the words in that document at many periods in time. How can you POSSIBLY trust it as an absolute word of a deity? If I printed a book that approximated the Bible, but was very wrong at several critical points, the text would not just magically rewrite itself after the ink dried…It would still be wrong 100 years later.

Aren’t there even several “versions” of the Bible in circulation right now? That is ridiculous! If you tried to teach a chemistry class where every student had a slightly different book, it would be pandemonium!

My question leads me to my biggest concerns about religion; If you can’t be sure about where your information is coming from, then you must be VERY CAREFUL how far you are willing to go in following the beliefs you create from it. YOU are fallible, and you should understand that weakness in yourself and exercise a great deal of restraint and common sense when it comes to the practical application of your faith. This means no murdering people because you think God would want you to, or banning someone elses religion because you feel you have received THE ULTIMATE PROOF because God spoke to you. You may be experincing a sel-induced hallucination!

Someone help me out here. Explain to me why common sense seems to go out the window when it comes to this particular book. Thanks.

Answer #1

I’d buy that bridge, but you know what - it won’t last forever - my salvation will..have a great week !!

Answer #2

I choose to accept - you choose to reject - the consequences will be eternal - simple as that, have a great week !!

Answer #3

Just finished reading your post rnealw, you tried to prove your point but indirectly you proved mine as well. All I was trying to point out was that there are mistakes/contradictions in the Bible.

the first thing you mentioned is about God and Satan causing suffer. I have no doubt in that cause i believe that too. God gives you suffering to test your faith and Satan to get you away from what is good (which is also written in the Quran). Now however, then you bring a point about Jesus’s crucifixion. As a Muslim, we do not believe Jesus was crucified we believe he was raised to heaven before that happened and that he will come back to Earth. Also the major differences between our faith is that we do not believe he is God just a Prophet who was human which the Bible proves too and ofcourse the Quran. Examples are below:

Jesus behaved like man not like God:

John Chapter #20 Verse #17 Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God…imagine ALMIGHTY GOD is going to meet another God

Luke Chapter #2 Verse #21And when eight days were accomplished for the circumcising of the child, his name was called JESUS,…imagine ur ALMIGHTY GOD has gender

Luke Chapter #2 Verse #6 And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered (to Jesus christ)…imagine ur ALMIGHTY GOD, who was born which means who was created like humanbeing

John Chapter #5 Verse #30 I can of mine own self do nothing…imagine ur ALMIGHTY GOD CANT DO ANYTHING BY HIMSELF

Hebrews Chapter #5 Verse #8 Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered…imagine ur ALMIGHTY GOD need to learnt the obediance

Luke Chapter #4 Verse #13 And when the devil had ended all the , he departed from him for a season…imagine ur ALMIGHTY GOD was tested by SATAN

John Chapter #19 Verse #28 After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the scripture might be fulfilled, saith, I thirst…imagine ur ALMIGHTY GOD is thirsty… and ur almighty god need water to live

MAthew Chapter #8 Verse #24 4And, behold, there arose a great tempest in the sea, insomuch that the ship was covered with the waves: but he(Jesus) was asleep…imagine ur Sleeeping almighty god

John Chapter #11 Verse #35 Jesus wept…imagine ur ALMIGHTY GOD is CRYING

John Chapter #11 Verse #35 Jesus wept…imagine ur ALMIGHTY GOD is CRYING

John Chapter #11 Verse #53-54 After these things Jesus walked in Galilee: for he would: not walk in Jewry, because the Jews sought to kill him…imagine ur ALMIGHTY GOD is frightened by Jews

I believe God is beyond all that Jesus has done, due to which we, Muslims, dont believe he is God. but he is a very important figure for our religion as well no doubt.

Now about the difference aobut the population total, you said it yourself the author must have made the difference. If the Bible is holy how can it have mistakes?? Then you are agreeing with me that humans make mistakes not God? So the author of the Bible cannot claim that everything in it is Gods words, right? Anything that is re-written or re-told changes and mistakes are bond to happen. Therefore, its best to believe in the original scriptures for example the Torah or Gospel.

That reminds me can you explain the need to have a Old Testament to a New Testament? Why should humans be allowed to change Gods words? So if the words are being changed then its not God’s words in the first place, why follow them?

Now another point where you state that it is a misunderstanding of the author or the wording, the point is the question is still the same and no matter how you answer it you shouldnt have a huge difference, infact no difference in a Holy book and if you believe God doesnt make mistakes. There are many other questions that are repeated in the Bible but others have consistent answers, so the ones that dont wouldnt they be counted as mistakes?

Another point you make is when you say it is the copyists error. Well if the Bibles have errors, how is it Holy? I know im repeating the same question because if something is written wrong then why is it being read and mis-guided. You also mentioned that its hard to go bak to the original books, but my question is why not beleive only in the original books like the Torah and Gospel which are the reference of the Bible?? Why are people altering the original and only quoting only a few things and not everything?

I can go on with each point but to cut it short, the only thing i was getting at are teh mistakes. if there are mistakes it cant be Holy.

Again please do clarify what you mentioned about the letters in the Quran, im still unclear. And just as a note, the Quran has never been re-written by anyone since it was sent down like the Zaboor, Torah, and Gospel, which is about forteen hundred and twenty eight years ago.

I have only given a few examples above to cut it short rather than point out each point you have mentioned. If there are mistakes its just hard for me to accept it as a Holy book.

Answer #4

Hey thanks for not beating up on me too much, smart guy! :^) <— smiley face to indicate that i meant that in a good natured way and not a rude, sarcastic way. i knew that i was no match for you in the area of wits. if i have conveyed an assumption that i think the only ideas of goodnes came from Chritianity, well, that was wrong of me. I did say that for all i know, you could be living up to God’s expectations moreso than anyone here. But I understand how that could have come across as me saying that your goodness came from God so you got me there. I did not just “assume” your intelligence. I detected it from you previous rebuttals to other arguements before mine. I find that many agnostics or athiests are people of some substantial amount of intelligence (in my humble opinion of what intelligence consists of). Which is not surprising at all, since bare naked logic would not conceive of a God. The belief in God requires more than that. Or as some may see it, less than that.. haha. See? I can have a sense of humor about it. At least this conversation, I predict, will not end with one of us saying, “May God have mercy on your poor soul, you are going to Hell!”, and the other saying, “You moron, you only believe in God because your feeble mind has no other way of dealing with the things you’ve gone through in your life!” That is progress for sure. Even though I am in transition from being an agnostic to being a Christian, I will never be the type of Christian most of the Christian world would like for, or expect, me to be. Because it was those type of annoying Christians who stopped me from wanting to be a part of their world. Maybe I am not really Christian at all. I believe in God. But as I was saying about how long ago the Bible was written and who knows what some of those words really mean, who can say what God really is? Maybe I am still partially agnostic. Maybe you are right about my making a choice to deliberately decieve myself… Because I believe that, even if there is no God, it makes my life better to believe that there is one. I saw a show on the History Channel today about western philosophy. One philosopher had a wager about believing in God. He said: If you put your money on believing there is a God, and you turn out to be wrong, you lose nothing. But if you are right, you gain everything! So therefore, the best bet is to believe in God. However if you only believe in God by coming to that conlusion in this way, then you are screwed anyway because that is not true faith. But, no, even though I believe that to be a solid philosophy, that is not the basis of my belief. The basis of my belief is a number of things. The Bible HAS endured for a very long time. There were many other religions that have not passed the test of time, why this one? Why the Bible? The universe IS so complex that I believe God must have created it. I find your view a refreshing one, as I never thought of it that way with Humans being so arrogent that since they haven’t figured something out yet, that it must be some unseen force at work. Not quite sure what to say about that one, since it is a new point of view to me. But, I have not yet heard YOUR version of creation. You have yet to show me but a few of your cards… So I have to stop right there on that point until I know what your explanation is. Or is it simply that, as an agnostic, you don’t know but you assume we will figure it out eventually if humanity exists long enough? Or some form of what I just said? I can tell you that the idea that we came from monkeys is not a credible theory in my opinion. I buy that theory up to a certain point, then I must discard it when I’m being told that such a leap was made that, what was once a monkey, is now typing on a computer and building skyscrapers and space stations. That is too much of a leap. If your trying to tell me there is no God, or even at least that there is no God in the sense that I may believe that there is one, then I would find other theories much more plausible. Like maybe we were “DNA seeded” onto this planet by much more advanced forms of ourselves. So called “aliens”. In which case, maybe God was an “alien” who created us “in his own image” and taught us how to live and grow as a species. So in that case, God, would be a super advanced form of life that has the technology to “hear” and in some cases “answer” our “prayers” without us realizing it. And with the advanced technology of “DNA manipulation” could have also created all of the animals and geography of this planet. So even if this were true, then it is still rational to believe in a God, and to pray your needs to him, and to live by his rules. Keep in mind, this is all pure speculation (I have a wild imagination). And some of the agnostic still lives in me. I told you I would never be the Christian I was expected to be. And the Bible can be interpreted in many ways. As far as religion having a dark side, yes a few of them do…and to avoid the risk of enraging anyone into any further senseless violence, I will not say any names. But for the MOST part, I think it is HUMANITY that has the dark side. Some people like to use religion for their own sadistic purposes. The fact that they say they are “killing in the name of God” is clearly an excuse to live out their own sick fantasies involving the taking of another Human life. It’s not the religion’s fault, for the MOST part, excluding the few religions that sometimes encourage the taking of life. The power mad lunatics you speak of, that is another example. And maybe for some people, the Bible isn’t necessary to know how to grasp the idea of doing the right thing. But I guess there’s no way to really know, since virtually everyone HAS heard of the Bible, and the values it encourages, and therefore, have very possibly been influenced by it… including yourself! Maybe you grasped the ideas of the Bible so quickly that you assumed you didn’t need it and would have done good things anyway. Or maybe I’m tottaly wrong since as you say, people lived that way before there was a Bible. I guess I couldn’t know of that since I haven’t really learned that much about those times. I know there was a whole lot more slavery and wars and things like that than there are now. As for your analogy of the bag full of coins, I guess I dont’ really think that my religious beliefs take a whole lot out of me. Certainly not enought to be considered worth as much as $500. Does that mean I’m doing it wrong?? Who knows? I really don’t. I guess I am half-agnostic half-Christian because I embrace much of the Christian concept and at the same time, I admit that I don’t know a lot about what is real and what isn’t. What I think is arrogant is pretending to know such things for sure. I once heard, the wisest man is the one who admits he knows nothing at all. I would be interested to hear what your beliefs are, if you have any. And if you don’t, thats fine, I will not look down on you no more than I would hope you would look down on me for my speculations. …we are just two beings conversing about what could be possible, one of us on one area(i won’t say side since it’s clear neither one of us is extremelly biased) of the spectrum, the other one on another area, but not too incredibly far apart. I will take your advice and look up those books and that website since you have earned the respect of mine for your opinion on certain subjects. Have a good night!

Answer #5


Then the Bible should’ve said that. It didn’t. It said “all scripture is given by inspiration of God” NOT “Given BY God”

If God were to write a book, I’m inclined to think it’d make more sense.

Answer #6

Odd. . . I thought the Church was alive and well in both Russia and China. Actually I know it is. I know people Who are involved in mission work in both places.

Answer #7

Hey Irishtomboy your banging your head against a steel plated brick wall that uses Lead for Mortar. Save your breath and move on. Yes Our Great Captain is Very hard headed. . . . . :P

Answer #8

And may I add never proven right either. . . it’s all about theory.

Answer #9

Categories of the errors evidenced by Shabbir in his pamphlet:

-he misunderstood the historical context - 25 times -he misread the text - 15 times -he misunderstood the Hebrew usage - 13 times -the texts are compatible with a little thought - 13 times -he misunderstood the author’s intent - 12 times -these were merely copyist error - 9 times -he misunderstood how God works in history - 6 times -he misunderstood the Greek usage - 4 times -he didn’t read the entire text - 4 times -he misquoted the text - 4 times -he misunderstood the wording - 3 times -he had too literalistic an interpretation - 3 times -he imposed his own agenda - 3 times -he confused an incident with another - 1 time -we now have discovered an earlier manuscript - 1 time

Answer #10

The internet. . . . I thought about just using a glue stick but I thought it would gum up the server.

Answer #11

there are’nt any mistakes bcuz God wrote the Bible through men. So He put it in them wat to write

Answer #12

Yep. That makes me RIGHT by default…

gloats more

Answer #13

Wow… where’d you cut ‘n paste all that from?

Answer #14

God put the power in men to write it

Answer #15

this has us ‘lot all going’ cuz there are sum religious people on here and sum non religious people arguing who’s right n whose wrong n sum r being bakas about it. maybe everyone should just stop coming to this page in particular then there wouldn’t b any arguing

Answer #16

Uhhh yeah it is. That’s my whole stance on the matter: You can’t prove it, or disprove it. So, until someone actually DOES…

…I’m right.

Now please excuse me, whilst I go off to engage in maniacal laughter.

Answer #17

Then he ALSO put the ‘power’ in the other men who wrote gospels, that weren’t included in the bible, discarded, burned, etc.

Why were THEY allowed to be ignored?

Answer #18


There’s only 14 verses in Hebrews-1. As far as II-Timothy goes, ehhh… what’s your point? They used God as their inspiration to write, and that makes them right? What about all the other gospels that were cast away? Wouldn’t they be right too? The movie “Bruce Almighty” was inspired by God, is it right too?

Answer #19

thank you.

Answer #20

Heathen.., Try this web site.. It’s a big site and maybe it’ll help.

Answer #21

i am in a christian college right now n the Bible was written over 1600 years n it had over 40 human writers n yet still today they hav not proven ne mistakes n also many times it has proven other things to b incorrect. The Bible proves hostory n science right not the other way around. read II Timothy 3:16 that n hebrews 1:21 it will answer ur question.

Answer #22

Well, I was referring to the “schpeel” right above, but YOU cut ‘n paste really good too.

Answer #23

So… he made a ‘defiant’ creation… that was a mistake…

Answer #24

in that case I’m right and Amblessed is right and all the other Christians are right. . . Now excuse me while I stop and pray. . . .

Answer #25

You have to believe that its true. Religion is built on faith. There is no evidence that these things ever happened. You have to beleive that the bible is true. (P.S> there are “parables” in there, which are untrue, but send a message. usually they tell u that is it is aparable.)

Answer #26

Plese fill free to restart topic. . . .This is getting to long.

Answer #27

so you mean people have to start calling each other the b word and every name in the book for this to get locked?

Answer #28

big whoop d do like i care

Answer #29

He’s good. . . . . . .

Answer #30

Alright all believers on the right next train “HOPE” and nonbelievers on the left Next train May or may not show and probably won’t cause the conductor finds the whole trip useless and a waste of time. . . Please have your tickets ready. . . . .

Answer #31

rnealw, Thanks for the link to the Wiki Agnostic page. very informative.

Answer #32

I told myself that I wasn’t going to get in on this thread any more but one of gasmanobt3’s claims is new to me. Hitler wanted to burn Bibles? I never heard that one before. Even though Hitler’s religious views were rather Bizare he still considered himself a good Catholic. Hitler had an concordant with the Roman Catholic Church where in exchange for agreeing not to criticize the NAZI party they were allowed to operate freely in Germany. The RCC itself stayed neutral in WWII having followers on both sides.

Answer #33

The POINT is… I’m BETTER at it…

Answer #34

only in your own little universe. . . . . After all lack of proof is no answer. . . .

Answer #35


…but never proven wrong.

Answer #36

D & L Thanks for the lucid remarks. it seems you have experienced a lot of things in life that most people will only see on television! Also, thanks for just assuming I am intelligent. Getting the benefit of the doubt is always nice. I noticed your reference to ender’s game right off. GREAT series! Card is a fantastic author.

I admire that you try to stay away from the non-argument that some resort to: “God exists because I believe. I believe because He exists.” If that is your highest form of logic, you can convince yourself of anything and nothing is unbelievable! You do follow some logical paths to get to where you want to go, but I have a problem with the basic premise in a few of your arguments:

You start, I think, by assuming that any kind of spirituality or good behavior comes from Christianity. You don’t say that in so many words, but your statements seem to indicate that train of thought. Understandable for a believer.

My opinion is that type of thought is non-critical and precludes the possibility that; 1) the concepts that Christianity espouses as “Good” were nonexistent before Jesus told us about it (The concepts did exist and many people lived by them) and 2) there needs to be the promise of some reward of a pat on the head from a magical being (God) for the good conduct to pay off.

The first is arrogance, to think you are the sole purveyor of the knowledge of good and evil. I’m not saying you believe that personally, it just is so tightly woven into the mindset of Christian thought that it is a little annoying. I do want to give a compliment to the authors of the book for actually codifying it into such an enduring text, though. Speaking of arrogance, I want to rebut Einstein, or at least your quote of him. A lot of people have said the same thing Einstein said. To paraphrase it, “ This universe is so complicated and spectacular, how could it have just come into being on its own? God must have created it.” Well if anyone had a right to be arrogant about his intellect, Einstein did. But my answer is this: How arrogant are we, to say that simply because we don’t understand it, it must have been created by magic, or divine intervention? Do we think so highly of ourselves that we should be able to decipher all the mysteries of the universe after having been around for such a short period of time? We must think of ourselves almost as gods to have such a high opinion of our intellectual abilities! We only invented digital watches and the internet in my lifetime. So that makes us so great that anything that we don’t understand must be MAGIC? Get of your high horse. Humans just aren’t that smart yet. But we are trying, and that’s what counts.

The second is harder for me to explain. How would you feel if you got the news that a particular species of animal just became extinct? How would you feel if someone kicked a puppy or a child while you were watching? Or maybe shredded one of the world’s finest pieces of artwork? Would you only care because God said you should? Or would you instinctively have a feeling that something intangible was upset in the world? That is spirituality. A feeling of purpose that goes beyond just the practical. We don’t need a magical god for that. It is already in us and we don’t need a formal religion to get it. WE ALREADY HAVE IT! In My Humble Opinion the Bible is a way to make it easier for people to grasp. They need to have the authority tell them what to do. But it has it’s drawbacks.

I thank you for the advice not to worry about what other people are believing and follow my own heart. Great advice. But the more powerful some religious groups get the more dangerous the world becomes. There are people on the Kansas School Board who are putting religious creationism in the same classroom as science. They are power-mad lunatics. If creationism is science, I am the Easter Bunny. This is What the Flying Spaghetti Monster religion is all about. It is a response to the Kansas school board incident. What next? All Jews are the devils minions? Are we going to have laws that require us to kill Jews at some point? I think I’ve seen that before. When you abandon logic, you become non-human.

The formalising of a religion is a very dangerous double-edged sword that gives those of us who never had an opportunity to come into that mindset on our own a handbook to learn from. That’s good. It also allows a bunch of authority-hungry nuts to take over peoples’ minds and say or do anything in the name of God. That’s bad. I GUARANTEE you that if the United states were not ruled by the laws of men, and instead ruled by a religion, there would be bombings and all kinds of crazy madness while some Christians killed other Christians because they weren’t the right brand of Christian.

Don’t get me wrong. I would fight to the death to keep this country the place of religious freedom that it is. My father did it as a paratrooper in WWII and so would I. It scares the hell out of me, though when any one religion wants to grab control and start making all kinds of new laws to favor their own brand of crazy. That is un-american. For more on this, plus a good laugh, see the official site of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster (FSM). Go to

All in all, you are right about behavior. It is better (IMHO) to life like the Bible says. I do and it has worked out. I never had to do time or have a gun to my temple like you did. I just get my back up when people try to claim that behavior as uniquely Christian, ‘cause it isn’t.

My whole problem, the start of this thread in the first place, is the total lack of critical thinking on the part of some worshippers. In any other circumstace in your life you would want proof of something that seemed a little outrageous: “You say you have a million dollars worth of gold coins in that bag that you will sell for five hundred bucks? Great! I’ll take it! Here is my money!” This would not happen. Why? You would want to see the coins first! Then you would look up the value on the internet, at least!

I think religion is just dandy. It gives many people in the world a necessary life preserver to cling to in some intolerable situations. It makes the universe a wonderful and mystical place for those who can’t get that feeling anywhere else. But you must admit religion has a dark side and that is when you just blindly believe what some other PERSON tells you. My whole point is that if the book is messed up, you will be messed up when you try to follow it TO THE LETTER!

Another assumption that (I think) you made was that I want to believe. WRONG! I don’t want to believe anything. I just want to know the truth. When you have a strong enough desire to believe, you WILL believe. So you are just at the mercy of whatever false idea that makes it’s way into your head with the most force. You have just made a concious choice to deceive yourself.

If you like the Ender’s game series, I’d recommend a series that I was reading at the same time: The Uplift War by David Brin. Great story, great writing. Also check out Snowcrash, by Neal Stephenson. Amazing.

Answer #37

101 Clear Contradictions in the Bible

  1. Who incited David to count the fighting men of Israel?

God did (2 Samuel 24: 1) Satan did (I Chronicles 2 1:1)

  1. In that count how many fighting men were found in Israel?

Eight hundred thousand (2 Samuel 24:9) One million, one hundred thousand (I Chronicles 21:5)

  1. How many fighting men were found in Judah?

Five hundred thousand (2 Samuel 24:9) Four hundred and seventy thousand (I Chronicles 21:5)

  1. God sent his prophet to threaten David with how many years of famine?

Seven (2 Samuel 24:13) Three (I Chronicles 21:12)

  1. How old was Ahaziah when he began to rule over Jerusalem?

Twenty-two (2 Kings 8:26) Forty-two (2 Chronicles 22:2)

  1. How old was Jehoiachin when he became king of Jerusalem?

Eighteen (2 Kings 24:8) Eight (2 Chronicles 36:9)

  1. How long did he rule over Jerusalem?

Three months (2 Kings 24:8) Three months and ten days (2 Chronicles 36:9)

  1. The chief of the mighty men of David lifted up his spear and killed how many men at one time?

Eight hundred (2 Samuel 23:8) Three hundred (I Chronicles 11: 11)

  1. When did David bring the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem? Before defeating the Philistines or after?

After (2 Samuel 5 and 6) Before (I Chronicles 13 and 14)

  1. How many pairs of clean animals did God tell Noah to take into the Ark?

Two (Genesis 6:19, 20) Seven (Genesis 7:2). But despite this last instruction only two pairs went into the ark (Genesis 7:8-9)

  1. When David defeated the King of Zobah, how many horsemen did he capture?

One thousand and seven hundred (2 Samuel 8:4) Seven thousand (I Chronicles 18:4)

  1. How many stalls for horses did Solomon have?

Forty thousand (I Kings 4:26) Four thousand (2 chronicles 9:25)

  1. In what year of King Asa’s reign did Baasha, King of Israel die?

Twenty-sixth year (I Kings 15:33 - 16:8) Still alive in the thirty-sixth year (2 Chronicles 16:1)

  1. How many overseers did Solomon appoint for the work of building the temple?

Three thousand six hundred (2 Chronicles 2:2) Three thousand three hundred (I Kings 5:16)

  1. Solomon built a facility containing how many baths?

Two thousand (1 Kings 7:26) Over three thousand (2 Chronicles 4:5)

  1. Of the Israelites who were freed from the Babylonian captivity, how many were the children of Pahrath-Moab?

Two thousand eight hundred and twelve (Ezra 2:6) Two thousand eight hundred and eighteen (Nehemiah 7:11)

  1. How many were the children of Zattu?

Nine hundred and forty-five (Ezra 2:8) Eight hundred and forty-five (Nehemiah 7:13)

  1. How many were the children of Azgad?

One thousand two hundred and twenty-two (Ezra 2:12) Two thousand three hundred and twenty-two (Nehemiah 7:17)

  1. How many were the children of Adin?

Four hundred and fifty-four (Ezra 2:15) Six hundred and fifty-five (Nehemiah 7:20)

  1. How many were the children of Hashum?

Two hundred and twenty-three (Ezra 2:19) Three hundred and twenty-eight (Nehemiah 7:22)

  1. How many were the children of Bethel and Ai?

Two hundred and twenty-three (Ezra 2:28) One hundred and twenty-three (Nehemiah 7:32)

  1. Ezra 2:64 and Nehemiah 7:66 agree that the total number of the whole assembly was 42,360. Yet the numbers do not add up to anything close. The totals obtained from each book is as follows:

29,818 (Ezra) 31,089 (Nehemiah)

  1. How many singers accompanied the assembly?

Two hundred (Ezra 2:65) Two hundred and forty-five (Nehemiah 7:67)

  1. What was the name of King Abijahs mother?

Michaiah, daughter of Uriel of Gibeah (2 Chronicles 13:2) Maachah, daughter of Absalom (2 Chronicles 11:20) But Absalom had only one daughter whose name was Tamar (2 Samuel 14:27)

  1. Did Joshua and the Israelites capture Jerusalem?

Yes (Joshua 10:23, 40) No (Joshua 15:63)

  1. Who was the father of Joseph, husband of Mary?

Jacob (Matthew 1:16) Hell (Luke 3:23)

  1. Jesus descended from which son of David?

Solomon (Matthew 1:6) Nathan(Luke3:31)

  1. Who was the father of Shealtiel?

Jechoniah (Matthew 1:12) Neri (Luke 3:27)

  1. Which son of Zerubbabel was an ancestor of Jesus Christ?

Abiud (Matthew 1: 13) Rhesa (Luke 3:27) But the seven sons of Zerubbabel are as follows: i.Meshullam, ii. Hananiah, iii. Hashubah, iv. Ohel, v.Berechiah, vi. Hasadiah, viii. Jushabhesed (I Chronicles 3:19, 20). The names Abiud and Rhesa do not fit in anyway.

  1. Who was the father of Uzziah?

Joram (Matthew 1:8) Amaziah (2 Chronicles 26:1)

  1. Who was the father of Jechoniah?

Josiah (Matthew 1:11) Jeholakim (I Chronicles 3:16)

  1. How many generations were there from the Babylonian exile until Christ?

Matthew says fourteen (Matthew 1:17) But a careful count of the generations reveals only thirteen (see Matthew 1: 12-16)

  1. Who was the father of Shelah?

Cainan (Luke 3:35-36) Arphaxad (Genesis II: 12)

  1. Was John the Baptist Elijah who was to come?

Yes (Matthew II: 14, 17:10-13) No (John 1:19-21)

  1. Would Jesus inherit Davids throne?

Yes. So said the angel (Luke 1:32) No, since he is a descendant of Jehoiakim (see Matthew 1: I 1, I Chronicles 3:16). And Jehoiakim was cursed by God so that none of his descendants can sit upon Davids throne (Jeremiah 36:30)

  1. Jesus rode into Jerusalem on how many animals?

One - a colt (Mark 11:7; cf Luke 19:3 5). And they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their garments on it; and he sat upon it. Two - a colt and an as (Matthew 21:7). They brought the as and the colt and put their garments on them and he sat thereon.

  1. How did Simon Peter find out that Jesus was the Christ?

By a revelation from heaven (Matthew 16:17) His brother Andrew told him (John 1:41)

  1. Where did Jesus first meet Simon Peter and Andrew?

By the sea of Galilee (Matthew 4:18-22) On the banks of river Jordan (John 1:42). After that, Jesus decided to go to Galilee (John 1:43)

  1. When Jesus met Jairus was Jairus daughter already dead?

Yes. Matthew 9:18 quotes him as saying, My daughter has just died. No. Mark 5:23 quotes him as saying, My little daughter is at the point of death.

  1. Did Jesus allow his disciples to keep a staff on their journey?

Yes (Mark 6:8) No (Matthew 10:9; Luke 9:3)

  1. Did Herod think that Jesus was John the Baptist?

Yes (Matthew 14:2; Mark 6:16) No (Luke 9:9)

  1. Did John the Baptist recognize Jesus before his baptism?

Yes (Matthew 3:13-14) No (John 1:32,33)

  1. Did John the Baptist recognize Jesus after his baptism?

Yes (John 1:32, 33) No (Matthew 11:2)

  1. According to the Gospel of John, what did Jesus say about bearing his own witness?

If I bear witness to myself, my testimony is not true (John 5:3 1) Even if I do bear witness to myself, my testimony is true (John 8:14)

  1. When Jesus entered Jerusalem did he cleanse the temple that same day?

Yes (Matthew 21:12) No. He went into the temple and looked around, but since it was very late he did nothing. Instead, he went to Bethany to spend the night and returned the next morning to cleanse the temple (Mark I 1:1- 17)

  1. The Gospels say that Jesus cursed a fig tree. Did the tree wither at once?

Yes. (Matthew 21:19) No. It withered overnight (Mark II: 20)

  1. Did Judas kiss Jesus?

Yes (Matthew 26:48-50) No. Judas could not get close enough to Jesus to kiss him (John 18:3-12)

  1. What did Jesus say about Peters denial?

The cok will not crow till you have denied me three times (John 13:38) Before the cok crows twice you will deny me three times (Mark 14:30) . When the co*k crowed once, the three denials were not yet complete (see Mark 14:72). Therefore prediction (a) failed.

  1. Did Jesus bear his own cross?

Yes (John 19:17) No (Matthew 27:31-32)

  1. Did Jesus die before the curtain of the temple was torn?

Yes (Matthew 27:50-51; Mark lS:37-38) No. After the curtain was torn, then Jesus crying with a loud voice, said, Father, into thy hands I commit my spirit! And having said this he breathed his last (Luke 23:45-46)

  1. Did Jesus say anything secretly?

No. I have said nothing secretly (John 18:20) Yes. He did not speak to them without a parable, but privately to his own disciples he explained everything (Mark 4:34). The disciples asked him Why do you speak to them in parables? He said, To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given (Matthew 13: 1 0-11)

  1. Where was Jesus at the sixth hour on the day of the crucifixion?

On the cross (Mark 15:23) In Pilates court (John 19:14)

  1. The gospels say that two thieves were crucified along with Jesus. Did both thieves mock Jesus?

Yes (Mark 15:32) No. One of them mocked Jesus, the other defended Jesus (Luke 23:43)

  1. Did Jesus ascend to Paradise the same day of the crucifixion?

Yes. He said to the thief who defended him, Today you will be with me in Paradise (Luke 23:43) No. He said to Mary Magdelene two days later, I have not yet ascended to the Father (John 20:17)

  1. When Paul was on the road to Damascus he saw a light and heard a voice. Did those who were with him hear the voice?

Yes (Acts9:7) No (Acts22:9)

  1. When Paul saw the light he fell to the ground. Did his traveling companions also fall to the ground?

Yes (Acts 26:14) No (Acts 9:7)

  1. Did the voice spell out on the spot what Pauls duties were to be?

Yes (Acts 26:16-18) No. The voice commanded Paul to go into the city of Damascus and there he will be told what he must do. (Acts9:7;22: 10)

  1. When the Israelites dwelt in Shittin they committed adultery with the daughters of Moab. God struck them with a plague. How many people died in that plague?

Twenty-four thousand (Numbers 25:1 and 9) Twenty-three thousand (I Corinthians 10:8)

  1. How many members of the house of Jacob came to Egypt?

Seventy souls (Genesis 4 & 27) Seventy-five souls (Acts 7:14)

  1. What did Judas do with the blood money he received for betraying Jesus?

He bought a field (Acts 1: 18) He threw all of it into the temple and went away. The priests could not put the blood money into the temple treasury, so they used it to buy a field to bury strangers (Matthew 27:5)

  1. How did Judas die?

After he threw the money into the temple he went away and hanged himself (Matthew 27:5) After he bought the field with the price of his evil deed he fell headlong and burst open in the middle and all his bowels gushed out (Acts 1:18)

  1. Why is the field called Field of Blood?

Because the priests bought it with the blood money (Matthew 27:8) Because of the bloody death of Judas therein (Acts 1:19)

  1. Who is a ransom for whom?

The Son of Man came…to give his life as a ransom for many (Mark 10:45). Christ Jesus who gave himself as a ransom for all… (I Timothy 2:5-6) The wicked is a ransom for the righteous, and the faithless for the upright (Proverbs 21:18)

  1. Is the law of Moses useful?

Yes. All scripture is… profitable… (2 Timothy 3:16) No. . . . A former commandment is set aside because of its weakness and uselessness… (Hebrews 7:18)

  1. What was the exact wording on the cross?

This is Jesus the King of the Jews (Matthew 27:37) The King of the Jews (Mark 15:26) This is the King of the Jews (Luke 23:38) Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews (John 19:19)

  1. Did Herod want to kill John the Baptist?

Yes (Matthew 14:5) No. It was Herodias, the wife of Herod who wanted to kill him. But Herod knew that he was a righteous man and kept him safe (Mark 6:20)

  1. Who was the tenth disciple of Jesus in the list of twelve?

Thaddaeus (Matthew 10: 1-4; Mark 3:13 -19) Judas son of James is the corresponding name in Lukes gospel (Luke 6:12-16)

  1. Jesus saw a man sitat the tax collectors office and called him to be his disciple. What was his name?

Matthew (Matthew 9:9) Levi (Mark 2:14; Luke 5:27)

  1. Was Jesus crucified on the daytime before the Passover meal or the daytime after?

After (Mark 14:12-17) Before. Before the feast of the Passover (John 1) Judas went out at night (John 13:30). The other disciples thought he was going out to buy supplies to prepare for the Passover meal (John 13:29). When Jesus was arrested, the Jews did not enter Pilates judgment hail because they wanted to stay clean to eat the Passover (John 18:28). When the judgment was pronounced against Jesus, it was about the sixth hour on the day of Preparation for the Passover (John 19:14)

  1. Did Jesus pray to The Father to prevent the crucifixion?

Yes. (Matthew 26:39; Mark 14:36; Luke 22:42) No. (John 12:27)

  1. In the gospels which say that Jesus prayed to avoid the cross, how many times did he move away from his disciples to pray?

Three (Matthew 26:36-46 and Mark 14:32-42) One. No opening is left for another two times. (Luke 22:39-46)

  1. Matthew and Mark agree that Jesus went away and prayed three times. What were the words of the second prayer?

Mark does not give the words but he says that the words were the same as the first prayer (Mark 14:3 9) Matthew gives us the words, and we can see that they are not the same as in the first (Matthew 26:42)

  1. What did the centurion say when Jesus dies?

Certainly this man was innocent (Luke 23:47) Truly this man was the Son of God (Mark 15:39)

  1. When Jesus said My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken Me ? in what language did he speak?

Hebrew: the words are Eloi, Eloi ..(Matthew 27:46) Aramaic: the words are Eloi, Eloi .. (Mark 15:34)

  1. According to the gospels, what were the last words of Jesus before he died?

Father, into thy hands I commit my spirit! (Luke 23:46) “It is finished” (John 19:30)

  1. When Jesus entered Capernaum he healed the slave of a centurion. Did the centurion come personally to request Jesus for this?

Yes (Matthew 8:5) No. He sent some elders of the Jews and his friends (Luke 7:3,6)

Adam was told that if and when he eats the forbidden fruit he would die the same day (Genesis 2:17) Adam ate the fruit and went on to live to a ripe old age of 930 years (Genesis 5:5)

God decided that the life-span of humans will be limited to 120 years (Genesis 6:3) Many people born after that lived longer than 120. Arpachshad lived 438 years. His son Shelah lived 433 years. His son Eber lived 464 years, etc. (Genesis 11:12-16)

  1. Apart from Jesus did anyone else ascend to heaven?

No (John 3:13) Yes. And Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven (2 Kings 2:11)

  1. Who was high priest when David went into the house of God and ate the consecrated bread?

Abiathar (Mark 2:26) Ahimelech, the father of Abiathar (I Samuel 1:1; 22:20)

  1. Was Jesus body wrapped in spices before burial in accordance with Jewish burial customs?

Yes and his female disciples witnessed his burial (John 19:39-40) No. Jesus was simply wrapped in a linen shroud. Then the women bought and prepared spices so that they may go and anoint him [Jesus) (Mark 16: 1)

  1. When did the women buy the spices?

After the Sabbath was past (Mark 16:1) Before the Sabbath. The women prepared spices and ointments. Then, on the Sabbath they rested according to the commandment (Luke 23:55 to 24:1)

  1. At what time of day did the women visit the tomb?

Toward the dawn (Matthew 28: 1) When the sun had risen (Mark 16:2)

  1. What was the purpose for which the women went to the tomb?

To anoint Jesus body with spices (Mark 16: 1; Luke 23:55 to 24: 1) To see the tomb. Nothing about spices here (Matthew 28: 1) For no specified reason. In this gospel the wrapping with spices had been done before the Sabbath (John 20: 1)

  1. A large stone was placed at the entrance of the tomb. Where was the stone when the women arrived?

They saw that the stone was Rolled back (Mark 16:4) They found the stone rolled away from the tomb (Luke 24:2) They saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb (John 20:1) As the women approached, an angel descended from heaven, rolled away the stone, and conversed with the women. Matthew made the women witness the spectacular rolling away of the stone (Matthew 28:1-6)

  1. Did anyone tell the women what happened to Jesus body?

Yes. A young man in a white robe (Mark 16:5). Two men … in dazzling apparel later described as angels (Luke 24:4 and 24:23). An angel - the one who rolled back the stone (Matthew 16:2). In each case the women were told that Jesus had risen from the dead (Matthew 28:7; Mark 16:6; Luke 24:5 footnote) No. Mary met no one and returned saying, They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him (John 20:2)

  1. When did Mary Magdelene first meet the resurrected Jesus? And how did she react?

Mary and the other women met Jesus on their way back from their first and only visit to the tomb. They took hold of his feet and worshipped him (Matthew 28:9) On her second visit to the tomb Mary met Jesus just outside the tomb. When she saw Jesus she did not recognize him. She mistook him for the gardener. She still thinks that Jesus body is laid to rest somewhere and she demands to know where. But when Jesus said her name she at once recognized him and called him Teacher. Jesus said to her, Do not hold me… (John 20:11 to 17)

  1. What was Jesus instruction for his disciples?

Tell my brethren to go to Galilee, and there they will see me (Matthew 2 8: 10) Go to my brethren and say to them, I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God (John 20:17)

  1. When did the disciples return to Galilee?

Immediately, because when they saw Jesus in Galilee some doubted (Matthew 28:17). This period of uncertainty should not persist After at least 40 days. That evening the disciples were still in Jerusalem (Luke 24:3 3). Jesus appeared to them there and told them, stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high (Luke 24:49). He was appearing to them during forty days (Acts 1:3), and charged them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise … (Acts 1:4)

  1. To whom did the Midianites sell Joseph?

To the Ishmaelites (Genesis 37:28) To Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh (Genesis 37:36)

  1. Who brought Joseph to Egypt?

The Ishmaelites bought Joseph and then took Joseph to Egypt (Genesis 37:28) The Midianites had sold him in Egypt (Genesis 37:36) Joseph said to his brothers I am your brother, Joseph, whom you sold into Egypt (Genesis 45:4)

  1. Does God change his mind?

Yes. The word of the Lord came to Samuel: I repent that I have made Saul King… (I Samuel 15:10 to 11) No. God will not lie or repent; for he is not a man, that he should repent (I Samuel 15:29)

     Yes. And the Lord repented that he had made Saul King over Israel (I Samuel 15:35). Notice that the above three quotes are all from the same chapter of the same book! In addition, the Bible shows that God repented on several other occasions:

i. The Lord was sorry that he made man (Genesis 6:6)

I am sorry that I have made them (Genesis 6:7)

ii. And the Lord repented of the evil which he thought to do to his people (Exodus 32:14).

iii. (Lots of other such references).

  1. The Bible says that for each miracle Moses and Aaron demonstrated the magicians did the same by their secret arts. Then comes the following feat:

Moses and Aaron converted all the available water into blood (Exodus 7:20-21) The magicians did the same (Exodus 7:22). This is impossible, since there would have been no water left to convert into blood.

  1. Who killed Goliath?

David (I Samuel 17:23, 50) Elhanan (2 Samuel 21:19)

  1. Who killed Saul?

Saul took his own sword and fell upon it… Thus Saul died… (I Samuel 31:4-6) An Amalekite slew him (2 Samuel 1:1- 16)

  1. Does every man sin?

Yes. There is no man who does not sin (I Kings 8:46; see also 2 Chronicles 6:36; Proverbs 20:9; Ecclesiastes 7:20; and I John 1:810) No. True Christians cannot possibly sin, because they are the children of God. Every one who believes that Jesus is the Christ is a child of God.. (I John 5:1). We should be called children of God; and so we are (I John 3: 1). He who loves is born of God (I John 4:7). No one born of God commits sin; for Gods nature abides in him, and he cannot sin because he is born of God (I John 3:9). But, then again, Yes! If we say we have no sin we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us (I John 1:8)

  1. Who will bear whose burden?

Bear one anothers burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ (Galatians 6:2) Each man will have to bear his own load (Galatians 6:5)

  1. How many disciples did Jesus appear to after his resurrection?

Twelve (I Corinthians 15:5) Eleven (Matthew 27:3-5 and Acts 1:9-26, see also Matthew 28:16; Mark 16:14 footnote; Luke 24:9; Luke 24:3 3)

  1. Where was Jesus three days after his baptism?

After his baptism, the spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness. And he was in the wilderness forty days … (Mark 1:12-13) Next day after the baptism, Jesus selected two disciples. Second day: Jesus went to Galilee - two more disciples. Third day: Jesus was at a wedding feast in Cana in Galilee (see John 1:35; 1:43; 2:1-11)

  1. Was baby Jesus life threatened in Jerusalem?

Yes, so Joseph fled with him to Egypt and stayed there until Herod died (Matthew 2:13 23) No. The family fled nowhere. They calmly presented the child at the Jerusalem temple according to the Jewish customs and returned to Galilee (Luke 2:21-40)

  1. When Jesus walked on water how did the disciples respond?

They worshipped him, saying, Truly you are the Son of God (Matthew 14:33) They were utterly astounded, for they did not understand about the loaves, but their hearts were hardened (Mark 6:51-52) Here is the question for all 2 billion christians.

Do you Christians attribute all these contradictions to God Almighy?

Answer #38

Hello HEATHEN, I want to point out right away that you come across as a very smart and articulating type of person. You have rather successfully used logic to discredit many of the aswers people have given you and I completely understand why. It’s very difficult to make sense of something that asks so much of you with not much evidence to give you a reason to believe there is any truth to it. What if you spend your entire life committed to God’s purposes and then, when the time comes to reap the rewards of your lifetime dedication (which would be when your body dies), your life just blinks out of existence like computer monitor when you shut it off and there is no afterlife? Well, I suppose if that was the case and you simply ceased to exist then you would have no consciousness to be angry or upset for being fooled so I guess there would be no consequences other than those you would face during your time here on Earth. Now let’s examine what those consequences would be: You would live your life being good to others, trying your best to be a good person. You would follow all of the 10 commandments and not (at least try not to) lie, steal, murder, etc. And as you spoke before, yes, there is a great comfort in feeling that there is something much much larger and more important than your life here on Earth. In fact, my life really would make no sense at all without my belief in God and my afterlife in Eternity after my body expires. What would drive your life? Money? Well that would suck because wealth can be instantly taken away by a number of various reasons we are powerless over. The pursuit of happiness? Well thats fine and all but what extent are you going to go to make yourself and only yourself happy? Lying, Murder, Stealing? Why not, if your happiness is the only thing that matters? And if you aren’t willing to do whatever it takes to make yourself happy, then the pursuit of happiness is not worthy to be the driving force of your life. God installed the feeling of guilt into our minds so we would refrain from wrongdoing against others. So I ask you, what drives your life? But anyway, even though the consequences of living a life for God’s purposes even if there turned out to be no God would be, well, inconsequencial, you still have a right to want to know why you should dedicate your life towards something that asks you to hold back from doing as you please instead of just indulging in whatever pleasures you deem appropriate. I’m not saying that you do this or that you are a bad person at all, for all I know, you could be living for God’s purposes better than anyone else on this board without you even realizing it. You could be the nicest guy in town for all i know. Ask yourself, do you help others when they are in a time of need? Are you kind to strangers? Do you have a feeling of guilt when you do something that you know in your heart is wrong? Do you feel sympathetic when you see people in a bad situation that they didn’t put themselves in, and even if they did do you still feel at least a little bit sorry for them that they didn’t have the guidance, strength, or wisdom to avoid it? If you answered yes to any of these questions then you probably are a good person with a warm heart, which is a great foundation for a Christian. I must point out that it is not my place, or anyone elses, to judge who is good and who is bad. It’s only my place to help others no matter what their circumstances are or where they are in life. I can’t even say if I’m doing the right thing all of the time. A little bit about myself: I am a sinner. I do feel guilty when I know I have sinned. I am trying to quit smoking, again. I am a convicted felon. I was once the leader of a theft ring and have since paid my debt to society by serving jail time and paying fines. I dropped out of highschool in my 4th year (i cant say i was a Senior in highschool because I had just barely enough credits to be considered a Junior). I have not read the whole Bible or anything like that. I did deny God until less than a year ago even though I was raised in a mostly Christian family. The reason is, I didn’t like religion being shoved down my throat with no logical explanations. And, in my opinion, the people who were trying to force religion on me were not very good Christians. You have to be careful about who you are taking religious advice from. Because a lot of them are just as lost as you may be. A lot of them are very judgemental, which is in my mind a very serious sin. They proclaim to be devout Christians but they shun those who do not follow their idea of a Christian life. They seperate themselves from even their own family members if they believe they are not living life the right way rather than helping them. The Bible even says that when Judgement Day comes, a lot of the people who will not be saved will be people who claim to follow God. In fact, MOST of the people who claim to be living their life for God, simply will not make the cut. This is not because it is SO hard to live up to God’s expectations, but it is because there are SO MANY people out there who are USING God for their OWN purposes rather than living for HIS purposes. Yes, I agree with you 100%, HEATHEN, you must not kill someone because you think God told you to. The banning of other religions is also not acceptable simply because you think that your God is the right one (assuming that the religon in question does not call for hurting other people in any way). There is no person who is beyond the reach of help from God. You may have heard of a man of the Bible named Moses. When you think of that name, thoughts of some incredibly perfect follower of God may come to mind. You might think that he was just born doing all these great things and most people don’t realize that Moses was a murderer before God called on him to become one of His most important followers. So it is never too late to turn your life around and become something great. As for your main concern, mistakes in the Bible… Sure, it was not written by God. And God is the only thing that is perfect, so it’s reasonable to believe there could have been some mistakes. I watch a lot of History Channel and scholars believe that the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John were written about 30 years after the death of Christ. Could they possibly remember EVERYTHING if it was 30 years later? I don’t know. Yes, there are some parts of the Bible that are THE WORD OF GOD HIMSELF, but not all of it. And besides, the idea remains the same: live a life of kindness towards others, honesty to yourself and God, live modestly, etc. I believe someone else posted a good arguement against the idea that the Bible was changed throughout history so I wont’ go there now. As far as your “chemistry book” analogy, this is much different than chemistry of course. Think of history books, there are different versions of those. Philosophy books are different. Don’t know if that helps, I haven’t looked at all the different versions so I don’t know much about them. But Christianity is not a chemistry, there is no exact formula you can follow to acheive what you want out of life. Noone walks the same path to get to where they arrive. as far as i know, the different versions are not all that different. its not like there’s one version that says its bad to kill people and another that says it is ok. I used to ask these questions, too, and i completely understand where your coming from. There are a lot of scientists (including Albert Einstien) who say that there must be a God. Because of how complex our universe is, to believe that it all “just happened to happen this way” is a pretty far stretch. I know there are a lot of controversies about how we were created and how it is depicted in the Bible, and we could go around and around trying to figure it out. But we would only be speculating, the true answers will not be known until we leave our Earthly body. I know that a lot of things in the Bible were written in a way so that people of those early times could understand them. For example, and I’m not quoting, I’m just trying to remember something I was told and the way I remember it will not be what the exact scriptures are: In the Book of Revelations, it talks about things like 7headed dragons or other beasts. Imagine people back in those days having a vision of the future of the Earth and how it will all come to an end. If you are shown a vision of a fighter jet with nuclear bombs attatched to it, you might think its some type of a beast. especieally when it drops a bomb that creates a big explosion, you would think it was breathing fire. so there are a lot of things in the Bible that have not been made clear. What has been made clear is that you are expected to do certain things in your life. I used to deny God because it gave me a good excuse to party all the time, steal things, deal drugs, and do things that would harm others. No, i’ve never killed anyone or even beat anyone up. I have always tried my hardest to use my intellect to talk my way out of fights and ive been successful probably 99% of the time. so ya i had a lot of fun, at first. not that i was completely horrible person, i harmed myself more than i did anyone else. i wasted years of my life trying to make sense of my life by striving to collect material possessions, making sure that i was likeable and considered “cool” in the eyes of others, basically just ignoring alot of the things that i kept telling myself. it took a while to realize that “this is not happiness!” and ever since i have started turning my life over to God’s purposes (i still do a lot of the things i shouldn’t, i have a lot of work to do. i still sometimes worry about what others think of me, which effects the way i dress and soforth), i have been a lot happier. the only way i can really explain it is that everything just seems so much simpler now. i would really recommend reading that book “the purpose driven life”, even if you are not trying to become a Christian, it will answer a lot of your questions about Christians. and since there are billions of them on this planet that you have to live with, wouldn’t it benefit you to understand why they think the way they do? i don’t know what your life has been like, but i have been through some pretty crazy things in mine. some things ive survived make me think that God has kept me alive because he must have a purpose for me. In fact, on one occassion, i went with some friends to the University of Washington Huskies stadium late at night. we all got drunk and went up the stands to the very top row of seats (a pretty cool sight when its completely empty) and for some reason, the roof access was unlocked. so we went on the roof of the stadium and walked to the edge to look over the field. there is a walkway for maintenance guy i guess and it has a railing with 4 or 5 horizontal bars and vertical ones every 6 feet or so that protects you from falling over the edge. well much to my friends’ dismay, i decided to climb over it and lower myself down to the very last bar, with my feet dangling i dont know how many feet above the seats below, and i said out loud “if God has a purpose for me, then he won’t let me die” everyone else was scared $hitless, i remained calm the entire time. i feel like a big jerk now cuz my then girlfriend was almost in tears and my friends were angry and yelling at me. so, i climbed back up after a few minutes and we continued to party. even recalling it now makes me feel really scared because i could have died so easily. i’ve had guns pointed at me on several occassions, i’ve been kidnapped and taken hostage, once i had a mark on my forehead for a week from the barrel of a gun embedded into my forehead. and yes i prayed to God to get me out of that situation and, just like every other time i’ve prayed to him when i was in a really scary situation, i got out safely and here i am still living and breathing. when my mother died of a deadly mixture of prescription medications she was addicted to and overdosed on, i was the one who found her dead in her bed the next morning, i felt the coldness of her dead body as i tried to shake her awake and, when i finally turned her over onto her back, i looked into the eyes of her purplish contorted face and instantly knew that my mother was no longer in this body. and ya i also blacked out after that. my sister told me later that i kept on screaming to her “CALL 911!” over and over again so many times that when she finally got a dispatcher on the phone, he had to tell her to tell me to stop because he couldn’t hear what she was saying over my repeated command because i just kept yelling it over and over. I’ve been homeless, for 4 days, in Las Vegas. I know my experiences are not comparable to that of say, a war veteran. but from what i have been through, i just know that there was a protective presence that kept me alive during those times. i’ve also had many good things happen to me in my life. ive been blessed with friends who have helped me out when i had nowhere to go, no money to buy clothes so i could get a certain job that required nice clothes, they’ve continually been there for me. and i’ve been blessed by my girlfiend, roxanne, and i have felt the extent of her love for me, which i believe to be nearly limitless. no matter how rough things got, i always got what i needed to survive and remain healthy. when i was homeless in vegas, i was scared. i finally found a field of grass behind a 7-11 after searching for about 4 or 5 hours with about 40 pounds of my bags i carried around. during this period of time, i was actually working 2 jobs. one at burger king, the other at little ceasers pizza (both on the corner of Sahara and Nellis in east Las Vegas). i didn’t know what i was gonna do. well i went in to this grassy feild and sure enough, there were 2 guys back there sleeping already and they were at first worried that i was gonna cause trouble or maybe try to kick them out. “its my first night homeless” i told them. they offered me a blanket. i slept that first night with the handles of all my bags wrapped around my arm and my knife clutched in my hand. i set an alarm so i could get up and work the next day, woke up and everything was fine. i chatted with them for a little while and trusted them with my bags while i went to work. i brought back pizza for them afterwords and basically they helped me out a lot with coping with homelessness. even though it was only for 4 days, i appreciatted their help cuz the second day when i went to work, the field got completely burnt by a fire started by kids throwing cigarette butts into it. so they helped me by saving my bags full of my belongings and we all relocated to another spot. Long story and theres a lot more to it but my point is, who else might i have bumped into that night? I could have been killed and robbed for my belongings very easily. or they could have taken my stuff and dissapeared while i was at work. i have to wonder, what kind of life have you had? try to think, wasn’t there any moment at all where you thought that there must be something at work here that is beyond logical and scientific explanations? Basically i do agree with you that you must be very careful about how far you are willing to go in your beliefs. I don’t agree with ANY beliefs that suggest violence is the right way to approach other religions. The good thing about my Christian beliefs is that my religion does not require me to kill anyone or to do anything violent against others. the people who are bombing abortion clinics or beating up gay people in the name of Christianity are not much different if at all from radical Muslim terrorists. Keep in mind, there are MANY different types of Christians. I know what kind of Christian I am. Not a perfect one. But not a violent radical. I try not to be ignorant to other points of view. I’m open to new ideas but I am certainly not open to violent behaiviors or forcing your point of view upon another person. If it makes you feel better HEATHEN, don’t worry so much about what other people are believing just do what you feel in your heart. The fact that you say you consider yourself agnostic tells me you are open to the idea of God and the Bible, but your just waiting for someone to give you a little push in the right direction. If you decide you dont’ want to believe in God, that’s fine, we can still be friends. But i just want you to really think about what your other choices are and how your life is going to be as a result of those choices. LIfe feels so much better, each breath of air is fresher, every beat of your heart feels great, when your life is dedicated to a purpose you know is worthy. I think you already know in your heart what the answer is, HEATHEN. Just keep in mind that if you choose to walk the path with God, it doesn’t have to be like what you see on TV or what people around you are telling you. you can have your own unique relationship with God. You don’t have to be like everyone else, just make sure you do good things and follow God’s word. it’s not very hard. Remember this, too, Jesus was the ultimate rebel. The reason the government crucified him was because they feared him, he united the most powerful group that existed, the poor. the reason the poor are powerful is because, they are the majority. when you unite the poor, their numbers alone can overtake anything. if all the poor in our country actually voted, things would be so much different. And the same Roman government that crucified Jesus and outlawed Chritianity made Christianity the ONLY legal religion about 100 years or so later, just a little tidbit of info. Another tidbit I thought was kind of neat. The story of Sodom and Ghamora where the 2 cities were destroyed by God because of their sinful population, has recently had new light shed upon it. The word sodomy we get from this story which today has a meaning implying sexual sins. Now biblical scholars are thinking there was a mistranslation in the meaning of sodomy. Now they believe that sodomy was the intolerance of the poor and treating strangers badly. So this shows you how bad of a sin it actually is to mistreat strangers and poor people if God destroyed 2 cities over it. Remember, everyone is God’s people. In God’s eyes we are all equal whether your the president or a bum on the streets. I’m really getting tired now and I’d like to stop writing before I stop making sense. I was thinking when I started this that I would have a lot more valid points to make but maybe i strayed from what i had planned to write about a little bit. Either way, I do hope it helps you at least a little bit. I do recommend the book “the purpose driven life” by Rick Warren to anyone curious about Chritianity but doesn’t quite know where to start. Another series of books I’m going to recommend just for the heck of it even though it was written by a Mormon (although you would not guess this at all from reading this series) is the Ender’s Game series by Orson Scott Card. In this science fiction series, there is much theological discussion (most of which comes after the first book in the series, but you still have to read the first one because it is the best) but not so much to the point where thats all the story is about. or even to the point where its the main theme of the story. And that’s all folks. Good night and Good morning.

Answer #39

This is a tough question to answer.

First, I think that the Bible teaches correctly what G-d wanted it to teach, how human beings are saved and restored to a right relationship with G-d and themselves and the rest of creation. To do this, G-d intervened in history. No other people makes such an outrageous claim, but the Jews and Christians and Muslims. Other religions have myths, set outside of history, or stories such as of the Buddha, of holy people but not G-d.

The Bible, then, is the record of the dialogue between G-d and G-d’s people. We can trust it because it does fit history, remarkably well (given its origin), and because the faithful still remember and hand on the experience. Furthermore, as C.S.Lewis noted, if there were such a G-d as the Christians believe in, and this G-d decided to save the world (rather than starting over), the Bible tells just the right sort of improbable story that such a being would do.

More, the experience of the faithful continues to tell us that the heart of the Bible is true, that it does describe the G-d we find. So experience is shaped by and also confirms the Bible.

Now, what about the differences? Well, we might expect variations after a 2000-3000+ year tradition of oral tradition followed by written copying by hand. However, the central parts of the story are generally the best preserved, and most variations are minor. Even the additional books in the Orthodox and Catholic Old Testaments (the Apocrypha) are generally viewed as not so critical as, say, the Law and Prophets.

Nor does the Pope have, or did they ever have, that sort of power over the word. Consider: after the Council of Nicea (325), there were literally battles, wars with death and all, over whether Jesus was like (homoi) or of like substance (homoiousious) or of the same substance (homoousious). These lasted some fifty or more years. Later, when Jerome retranslated the Bible into Latin, the Vulgate, and changed Jonah’s “gourd” plant into another kind, there were riots in Carthage that Augustine had to reprimand his people severely about. “Give us back our gourds!” they demanded. Given that sort of feeling, how likely is it that there could be an organized campaign to change the Word of God, and have it meekly accepted? No, there is no historical record, because it didn’t happen.

Similarly, the question of what books were kept and which ones rejected: the Church kept those books that best described the G-d they had experienced. They rejected the ones that told of another G-d, such as a Jesus who only seemed to be human (docetism), which makes G-d a liar, or a Jesus who kept the crucial teaching to just a few (gnosticism), which describes a G-d who really doesn’t care about most of us. Neither is the G-d I have experience, or been taught about.

In the end, we believe the Bible, among other things, because we know the history of it and of the people that believe and keep it. And because it confirms what we ourselves have experienced of G-d.

Answer #40

WOW Smart comment. I must say.. I wonder why amblessed has added me as a friend?? And you know what are really annoying are words spelled incorrectly.

Answer #41

I would love nothing more than to lock this thread. . . but it hasn’t gotten mean enough yet. . . .

Answer #42

I think ‘who wrote the Bible’ is important enough to explain clearly…

Answer #43

so wat if he’s hard-headed everybody is whats your point?

Answer #44

A rebuttal:

  1. Does God incite David to conduct the census of his people (2 Samuel 4:1), or does Satan (1 Chronicles 21:1)?

(Category: misunderstood how God works in history)

This seems an apparent discrepancy unless of course both statements are true. It was towards the end of David’s reign, and David was looking back over his brilliant conquests, which had brought the Canaanite, Syrian, and Phoenician kingdoms into a state of vassalage and dependency on Israel. He had an attitude of pride and self-admiration for his achievements, and was thinking more in terms of armaments and troops than in terms of the mercies of God.

The Lord therefore decided that it was time that David be brought to his knees, where he would once again be cast back onto the mercy of God. So he let him go ahead with his census, in order to find out just how much good it would do him, as the only thing this census would accomplish would be to inflate the national ego (intimated in Joab’s warning against carrying out the census in 1 Chronicles 21:3). As soon as the numbering was completed, God intended to chasten the nation with a disastrous plague which would bring about an enormous loss of life (in fact the lives of 70,000 Israelites according to 2 Samuel 24:15).

What about Satan? Why would he get himself involved in this affair (according to 1 Chronicles 21:1) if God had already prompted David to commit the folly he had in mind? It seems his reasons were entirely malicious, knowing that a census would displease the Lord (1 Chronicles 21:7-8), and so he also incited David to carry it through.

Yet this is nothing new, for there are a number of other occurrences in the Bible where both the Lord and Satan were involved in soul-searching testings and trials:

In the book of Job, chapters one and two we find a challenge to Satan from God allowing Satan to bring upon Job his calamities. God’s purpose was to purify Job’s faith, and to strengthen his character by means of discipline through adversity, whereas Satan’s purpose was purely malicious, wishing Job as much harm as possible so that he would recant his faith in his God.

Similarly both God and Satan are involved in the sufferings of persecuted Christians according to 1 Peter 4:19 and 5:8. God’s purpose is to strengthen their faith and to enable them to share in the sufferings of Christ in this life, that they may rejoice with Him in the glories of heaven to come (1 Peter 4:13-14), whereas Satan’s purpose is to ‘devour’ them (1 Peter 5:8), or rather to draw them into self-pity and bitterness, and down to his level.

Both God and Satan allowed Jesus the three temptations during his ministry on earth. God’s purpose for these temptations was for him to triumph completely over the very tempter who had lured the first Adam to his fall, whereas Satan’s purpose was to deflect the saviour from his messianic mission.

In the case of Peter’s three denials of Jesus in the court of the high priest, it was Jesus himself who points out the purposes of both parties involvement when he says in Luke 22:31-32, “Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.”

And finally the crucifixion itself bears out yet another example where both God and Satan are involved. Satan exposed his purpose when he had the heart of Judas filled with treachery and hate (John 13:27), causing him to betray Jesus. The Lord’s reasoning behind the crucifixion, however, was that Jesus, the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world should give his life as a ransom for many, so that once again sinful man could relish in the relationship lost at the very beginning, in the garden of Eden, and thereby enter into a relationship which is now eternal.

Thus we have five other examples where both the Lord and Satan were involved together though with entirely different motives. Satan’s motive in all these examples, including the census by David was driven by malicious intent, while the Lord in all these cases showed an entirely different motive. His was a benevolent motive with a view to eventual victory, while simultaneously increasing the usefulness of the person tested. In every case Satan’s success was limited and transient; while in the end God’s purpose was well served furthering His cause substantially.

(Archer 1982:186-188)

  1. 2 Samuel 24:9 gives the total population for Israel as 800,000, whereas 1 Chronicles 21:5 says it was 1,100,000.

(Category: misunderstood the historical context or misunderstood the author’s intent)

There are a number of ways to understand not only this problem but the next challenge as well, since they both refer to the same passages and to the same census.

It is possible that the differences between the two accounts are related to the unofficial and incomplete nature of the census (which will be discussed later), or that the book of Samuel presents rounded numbers, particularly for Judah.

The more likely answer, however, is that one census includes categories of men that the other excludes. It is quite conceivable that the 1 Chronicles 21:5 figure included all the available men of fighting age, whether battle-seasoned or not, whereas the 2 Samuel 24:9 account is speaking only of those who were ready for battle. Joab’s report in 2 Samuel 24 uses the word ‘is hayil, which is translated as “mighty men”, or battle-seasoned troops, and refers to them numbering 800,000 veterans. It is reasonable that there were an additional 300,000 men of military age kept in the reserves, but not yet involved in field combat. The two groups would therefore make up the 1,100,000 men in the 1 Chronicles 21 account which does not employ the Hebrew term ‘is hayil to describe them.

(Archer 1982:188-189 and Light of Life II 1992:189-190)

  1. 2 Samuel 24:9 gives the round figure Of 500,000 fighting men in Judah, which was 30,000 more than the corresponding item in 1 Chronicles 21:5.

(Category: misunderstood the historical context)

Observe that 1 Chronicles 21:6 clearly states that Joab did not complete the numbering, as he had not yet taken a census of the tribe of Benjamin, nor that of Levi’s either, due to the fact that David came under conviction about completing the census at all. Thus the different numbers indicate the inclusion or exclusion of particular unspecified groups in the nation. We find another reference to this in 1 Chronicles 27:23-24 where it states that David did not include those twenty years old and younger, and that since Joab did not finish the census the number was not recorded in King David’s Chronicle.

The procedure for conducting the census had been to start with the trans-Jordanian tribes (2 Samuel 24:5) and then shift to the northern most tribe of Dan and work southward towards Jerusalem (verse 7). The numbering of Benjamin, therefore, would have come last. Hence Benjamin would not be included with the total for Israel or of that for Judah, either. In the case of 2 Samuel 24, the figure for Judah included the already known figure of 30,000 troops mustered by Benjamin. Hence the total of 500,000 included the Benjamite contingent.

Observe that after the division of the United Kingdom into the North and the South following the death of Solomon in 930 BC, most of the Benjamites remained loyal to the dynasty of David and constituted (along with Simeon to the south) the kingdom of Judah. Hence it was reasonable to include Benjamin with Judah and Simeon in the sub-total figure of 500,000, even though Joab may not have itemized it in the first report he gave to David (1 Chronicles 21:5). Therefore the completed grand total of fighting forces available to David for military service was 1,600,000 (1,100,000 of Israel, 470,000 of Judah-Simeon, and 30,000 of Benjamin).

(Archer 1982:188-189 and Light of Life II 1992:189)

  1. 2 Samuel 24:13 mentions that there will be seven years of famine whereas 1 Chronicles 21:12 mentions only three.

(Category: misunderstood the author’s intent, and misunderstood the wording)

There are two ways to look at this. The first is to assume that the author of 1 Chronicles emphasized the three-year period in which the famine was to be most intense, whereas the author of 2 Samuel includes the two years prior to and after this period, during which the famine worsened and lessened respectively.

Another solution can be noticed by observing the usage of words in each passage. When you compare the two passages you will note that the wording is significantly different in 1 Chronicles 21 from that found in a 2 Samuel 24. In 2 Samuel 24:13 the question is “shell seven years of famine come to you?” In 1 Chronicles 21:12 we find an alternative imperative, “take for yourself either three years of famine…” From this we may reasonably conclude that 2 Samuel records the first approach of the prophet Gad to David, in which the alternative prospect was seven years; whereas the Chronicles account gives us the second and final approach of Nathan to the King, in which the Lord (doubtless in response to David’s earnest entreaty in private prayer) reduced the severity of that grim alternative to three years rather than an entire span of seven. As it turned out, however, David opted for God’s third preference, and thereby received three days of severe pestilence, resulting in the deaths of 70,000 men in Israel.

(Archer 1982:189-190 and Light of Life II 1992:190)

  1. Was Ahaziah 22 (2 Kings 8:26) or 42 (2 Chronicles 22:2) when he began to rule over Jerusalem?

(Category: copyist error)

Because we are dealing with accounts which were written thousands of years ago, we would not expect to have the originals in our possession today, as they would have disintegrated long ago. We are therefore dependent on the copies taken from copies of those originals, which were in turn continually copied out over a period of centuries. Those who did the copying were prone to making two types of scribal errors. One concerned the spelling of proper names, and the other had to do with numbers.

The two examples of numerical discrepancy here have to do with a decade in the number given. Ahaziah is said to have been 22 in 2 Kings 8:26; while in 2 Chronicles 22:2 Ahaziah is said to have been 42. Fortunately there is enough additional information in the Biblical text to show that the correct number is 22. Earlier in 2 Kings 8:17 the author mentions that Ahaziah’s father Joram ben Ahab was 32 when he became King, and he died eight years later, at the age of 40. Therefore Ahaziah could not have been 42 at the time of his father’s death at age 40! Such scribal errors do not change Jewish or Christian beliefs in the least. In such a case, another portion of scripture often corrects the mistake (2 Kings 8:26 in this instance). We must also remember that the scribes who were responsible for the copies were meticulously honest in handling Biblical texts. They delivered them as they received them, without changing even obvious mistakes, which are few indeed.

(Refer to the next question for a more in-depth presentation on how scribes could misconstrue numbers within manuscripts)

(Archer 1982:206 and Light of Life II 1992:201)

  1. Was Jehoiachin 18 years old (2 Kings 24:8) or 8 years old (2 Chronicles 36:9) when he became king of Jerusalem?

(Category: copyist error)

Once again there is enough information in the context of these two passages to tell us that 8 is wrong and 18 right. The age of 8 is unusually young to assume governmental leadership. However, there are certain commentators who contend that this can be entirely possible. They maintain that when Jehoiachin was eight years old, his father made him co-regent, so that he could be trained in the responsibilities of leading a kingdom. Jehoiachin then became officially a king at the age of eighteen, upon his father’s death.

A more likely scenario, however, is that this is yet another case of scribal error, evidenced commonly with numbers. It may be helpful to interject here that there were three known ways of writing numbers in Hebrew. The earliest, a series of notations used by the Jewish settlers in the 5th century BC Elephantine Papyri (described in more detail below) was followed by a system whereby alphabetical letters were used for numbers. A further system was introduced whereby the spelling out of the numbers in full was prescribed by the guild of so-perim. Fortunately we have a large file of documents in papyrus from these three sources to which we can refer.

As with many of these numerical discrepancies, it is the decade number that varies. It is instructive to observe that the number notations used by the Jewish settlers in the 5th century BC Elephantine Papyri, during the time of Ezra and Nehemiah, from which this passage comes, evidences the earlier form of numerical notation. This consisted of a horizontal stroke ending in a downward hook at its right end to represent the numbers in tens (thus two horizontal strokes one above the other would be 20). Vertical strokes were used to represent anything less than ten. Thus eight would be /III III, but eighteen would be /III III with the addition of a horizontal line and downward hook above it. Similarly twenty-two would be /I followed by two horizontal hooks, and forty-two would be /I followed by two sets of horizontal hooks (please forgive the deficiencies of my computer; it is not the scholar Dr. Archer is).

If, then, the primary manuscript from which a copy was being carried out was blurred or smudged, one or more of the decadal notations could be missed by the copyist. It is far less likely that the copyist would have mistakenly seen an extra ten stroke that was not present in his original then that he would have failed to observe one that had been smudged.

In the New International Version (NIV) of the Bible, the corrections have been included in the texts. However, for clarity, footnotes at the bottom of the page mention that earlier Hebrew MSS include the scribal error, while the Septuagint MSS and Syriac as well as one Hebrew MSS include the correct numerals. It only makes sense to correct the numerals once the scribal error has been noted. This, however, in no way negates the authenticity nor the authority of the scriptures which we have.

Confirmation of this type of copyist error is found in various pagan writers as well. For example in the Behistun rock inscription set up by Darius 1, we find that number 38 gives the figure for the slain of the army of Frada as 55,243, with 6,572 prisoners, according to the Babylonian column. Copies of this inscription found in Babylon itself, records the number of prisoners as 6,973. However in the Aramaic translation of this inscription discovered at the Elephantine in Egypt, the number of prisoners was only 6,972.

Similarly in number 31 of the same inscription, the Babylonian column gives 2,045 as the number of slain in the rebellious army of Frawartish, along with 1,558 prisoners, whereas the Aramaic copy has over 1,575 as the prisoner count.

(Archer 1982:206-207, 214-215, 222, 230; Nehls pg.17-18; Light of Life II 1992:204-205)

  1. Did king Jehoiachin rule over Jerusalem for three months (2 Kings 24:8), or for three months and ten days (2 Chronicles 36:9)?

(Category: misunderstood the author’s intent)

Here again, as we found in challenge number 2 and 4, the author of the Chronicles has been more specific with his numbering, whereas the author of Kings is simply rounding off the number of months, assuming that the additional ten days is not significant enough to mention.

  1. Did the chief of the mighty men of David lift up his spear and killed 800 men (2 Samuel 23:8) or only 300 men (1 Chronicles 11:11)?

(Category:misunderstood the historical context or misunderstood the author’s intent)

It is quite possible that both authors may have described two different incidents, though by the same man, or one author may have only mentioned in part what the other author mentions in full.

(Light of Life II 1992:187)

  1. Did David bring the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem after defeating the Philistines (2 Samuel 5 and 6), or before (1 Chronicles chapters 13 and 14)?

(Category: didn’t read the entire text)

This is not really a problem. Shabbir Ally should have continued reading on further to 1 Chronicles 15, as he would then have seen that David brought the Ark after defeating the Philistines. The reason for this is that the Israelites moved the Ark of the covenant twice. The first time, they moved it from Baal, prior to the defeat of the Philistines, as we see in 2 Samuel 5 and 6 and in 1 Chronicles 15. Once the prophet Samuel narrates David’s victory over the Philistines, he tells us about both times when the Ark was moved. However in 1 Chronicles, the order is as follows: the Ark was first moved from baal; then David defeated the Philistines; and finally, the Ark was moved from the House of Obed-Edom.

Therefore the two accounts are not contradictory at all. What we have here is simply one prophet choosing to give us the complete history of the Ark at once (rather than referring to it later) and another presenting the history in a different way. In both cases the timing of events is the same.

The same could be said of the Qur’an. In Sura 2 we are introduced to the fall of Adam, then God’s mercy is shown to the Israelites, followed by Pharaoh’s drowning, followed by Moses and the Golden calf, followed by the Israelites complaint about food and water, and then we are introduced to the account of the golden calf again. Following this, we read about Moses and Jesus, then we read about Moses and the golden calf, and then about Solomon and Abraham. If one wants to talk about chronology, what does Moses have to do with Jesus, or Solomon with Abraham? Chronologically the sura should have begun with Adam’s fall, then moved to Cain and Abel, Enoch, Abraham, Lot, Isaac, Jacob and Esau, Joseph, the sons of Israel and Moses, in that order. If such a blatant chronological mix-up can be found in this sura of the Qur’an, then Shabbir would do well to explain it before criticizing what they deem to be an error in the Bible.

(Light of Life II 1992:176)

  1. Was Noah supposed to bring 2 pairs of all living creatures (Genesis 6:19-20), or was he to bring 7 pairs of ‘clean’ animals (Genesis 7:2; see also Genesis 7:8,9)?

(Category: misquoted the text)

This indeed is an odd question to raise. It is obvious that Shabbir Ally has misquoted the text in the 6th chapter of Genesis, which makes no mention of any ‘clean’ animals in its figure, while the 7th chapter specifically delineates between the clean and unclean animals. Genesis 7:2 says Noah was to bring in 7 pairs of ‘clean’ animals and 2 pairs of every kind of ‘unclean’ animal. Why did Shabbir not mention the second half of this verse which stipulates 2 pairs in his challenge? It is obvious that there is no discrepancy between the two accounts. The problem is the question itself.

Shabbir attempts to back his argument by mentioning that verses 8 and 9 of chapter 7 prove that only two pairs went into the ark. However, these verses say nothing about two pairs entering the ark. They simply say that it was pairs of clean and unclean animals or birds and creatures which entered the ark.

The reason for including seven of the clean species is perfectly evident: they were to be used for sacrificial worship after the flood had receded (as indeed they were, according to Genesis 8:20). Obviously if there had not been more than two of each of these clean species, they would have been rendered extinct by their being sacrificed on the altar. But in the case of the unclean animals and birds, a single pair would suffice, since they would not be needed for blood sacrifice.

(Archer 1982:81-82)

  1. Did David capture 1,700 of King Zobah’s horsemen (2 Samuel 8:4), or was it 7,000 (1 Chronicles 18:4)?

(Category: copyist error)

There are two possible solutions to these differing figures. The first by Keil and Delitzsh (page 360) is a most convincing solution. They maintain that the word for chariotry (rekeb) was inadvertently omitted by the scribe in copying 2 Samuel 8:4, and that the second figure, 7,000 (for the parasim “cavalrymen”), was necessarily reduced to 700 from the 7,000 he saw in his Vorlage for the simple reason that no one would write 7,000 after he had written 1,000 in the recording the one and the same figure. The omission of rekeb might have occurred with an earlier scribe, and a reduction from 7,000 to 700 would have then continued with the successive copies by later scribes. But in all probability the Chronicles figure is right and the Samuel numbers should be corrected to agree with that.

A second solution starts from the premise that the number had been reduced to 700 as it refers to 700 rows, each consisting of 10 horse men, making a total of 7,000.

(Archer 1982:184: Keil & Delitzsch 1949:360; Light of Life II 1992:182)

  1. Did Solomon have 40,000 stalls for his horses (1 Kings 4:26), or 4,000 stalls (2 Chronicles 9:25)?

(Category: copyist error, or misunderstood the historical context)

There are a number of ways to answer these puzzling differences. The most plausible is analogous to what we found earlier in challenge numbers five and six above, where the decadal number has been rubbed out or distorted due to constant use.

Others believe that the stalls mentioned in 2 Chronicles were large ones that housed 10 horses each (that is, a row of ten stalls). Therefore 4,000 of these large stalls would be equivalent to 40,000 small ones.

Another commentator maintains that the number of stalls recorded in 1 Kings was the number at the beginning of Solomon’s reign, whereas the number recorded in 2 Chronicles was the number of stalls at the end of his reign. We know that Solomon reigned for 40 years; no doubt, many changes occurred during this period. It is quite likely that he reduced the size of the military machine his father David had left him.

(Light of Life II 1992:191)

  1. According to the author, did Baasha, the king of Israel die in the 26th year of king Asa’s reign (1 Kings 15:33), or was he still alive in the 36th year ( 2 Chronicles 16:1)?

(Category: misunderstood the historical context, or copyist error)

There are two possible solutions to this problem. To begin with, scholars who have looked at these passages have concluded that the 36th year of Asa should be calculated from the withdrawal of the 10 tribes from Judah and Benjamin which brought about the division of the country into Judah and Israel. If we look at it from this perspective, the 36th year of the divided monarchy would be in the 16th year of Asa. This is supported by the Book of the Kings of Judah and Israel, as well as contemporary records, which follow this convention. (note: for a fuller explanation of this theory, see Archer, page 225-116).

Keil and Delitzsch (pp. 366-367) preferred to regard the number 36 in 2 Chronicles 16:1 and the number 35 in 15:19 as a copyist’s error for 16 and 15, respectively. This problem is similar to question numbers five and six above. In this case, however, the numbers were written using Hebrew alphabetical type (rather than the Egyptian multiple stroke type used in the Elephantine Papyri, referred to in questions 5 and 6). It is therefore quite possible that the number 16 could quite easily be confused with 36. The reason for this is that up through the seventh century BC the letter yod (10) greatly resembled the letter lamed (30), except for two tiny strokes attached to the left of the main vertical strokes. It required only a smudge from excessive wear on this scroll-column to result in making the yod look like a lamed. It is possible that this error occurred first in the earlier passage, in 2 Chronicles 15:19 (with its 35 wrongly copied from an original 15); then to make it consistent in 16:1, the same scribe (or perhaps a later one) concluded that 16 must be an error for 36 and changed it accordingly on his copy.

(Archer 1982:226: Keil & Delitzsch 1949:366-367; Light of Life II 1992:194)

  1. Did Solomon appoint 3,600 overseers (2 Chronicles 2:2) for the work of building the temple, or was it only 3,300 (1 Kings 5:16)?

(Category: misunderstood the author’s intent)

This is not too great a problem. The most likely solution is that the author of 2 Chronicles included the 300 men who were selected as reservists to take the place of any supervisors who would become ill or who had died, while the author of the 1 Kings 5:16 passage includes only the supervisory force. With the group as large as the 3,300, sickness and death certainly did occur, requiring reserves who would be called up as the need arose.

(Light of Life II 1992:192)

  1. Did Solomon build a facility containing 2,000 baths (1 Kings 7:26), or over 3,000 baths (2 Chronicles 4:5)?

(Category: misunderstood the author’s intent, or copyist error)

The Hebrew verb rendered “contained” and “held” is different from that translated “received”; and the meaning may be that the sea ordinarily contained 2,000 baths. But when filled to its utmost capacity it received and held 3,000 baths. Thus the chronicler simply mentions the amount of water that would make the sea like a flowing spring rather than a still pool. This informs us that 3,000 gallons of water were required to completely fill the sea which usually held 2,000 gallons.

Another solution follows a theme mentioned earlier, that the number in Hebrew lettering for 2000 has been confounded by the scribe with a similar alphabetical number for the number 3,000.

It should be noted that Shabbir (in his debate on 25th February 1998 against Jay Smith in Birmingham, UK) quoted this “contradiction” and added to it saying that if the bath had a diameter of 10 cubits it cannot possibly have had a circumference of 30 cubits as the text says (since ‘pi’ dictates that it would have a circumference of 31.416 or a 9.549 diameter).

Shabbir made the humorous comment “Find me a bath like that and I will get baptized in it!” But Shabbir did not read the text properly or was just going for a cheap, displaced laugh. Why? Because the text says that it was about 8cm thick and had a rim shaped like a lily. Therefore it depends on where you measure from. The top or bottom of the rim or the inside or outside for the vessel would all give a different diameter; and depending on whether you measure at the top of the rim or at the narrower point, you would get a different circumference.

In other words, Shabbir may well be getting baptized if someone can be bothered to make a replica!

(Haley pg. 382; Light of Life II 1992:192)

16-21. Are the numbers of Israelites freed from Babylonian captivity correct in Ezra (Ezra 2:6, 8, 12, 15, 19, 28) or in Nehemiah (Nehemiah 7:11, 13, 17, 20, 22, 32)?

(note: because numbers 16-21 deal with the same census, I have included them as one)

(Category: misunderstood the historical context)

In chapter 2 of Ezra and in chapter 7 of Nehemiah there are about thirty-three family units that appear in both lists of Israelites returning from Babylon to Judea. Of these 33 family units listed in Ezra and Nehemiah, nineteen of the family units are identical, while fourteen show discrepancies in the number of members within the family units (though Shabbir only lists six of them). Two of the discrepancies differ by 1, one differs by 4, two by 6, two differ by 9, another differs by 11, another two by 100, another by 201, another differs by 105, a further family differs by 300, and the largest difference is the figure for the sons of Azgad, a difference of 1,100 between the accounts of Ezra 2 and Nehemiah 7.

How, then, are we to account for the 14 discrepancies? The answer is quite simple, and Shabbir, had he done any study into the history of these two accounts would never have bothered to waste his time in asking these questions. The fact that there are both similarities and discrepancies side-by-side should have pointed him to the solution as well (as you who are reading this are probably even now concluding).

There are two important factors to bear in mind when looking at these discrepancies between the two lists. The first is the probability that though members of the units or families had enrolled their names at first as intending to go; in the interval of preparation, some possibly died, others were prevented by sickness or other insurmountable obstacles, so that the final number who actually went was not the same as those who had intended to go. Anyone who has planned a school-coach trip to the beach can understand how typical a scenario this really is.

A second and more important factor are the different circumstances in which the two registers were taken, an important fact of which Shabbir seems to be acutely unaware. Ezra’s register was made up while still in Babylon (in the 450s BC), before the return to Jerusalem (Ezra 2:1-2), whereas Nehemiah’s register was drawn up in Judea (around 445 BC), after the walls of Jerusalem had been rebuilt (Nehemiah 7:4-6). The lapse of so many years between the two lists (between 5-10 years) would certainly make a difference in the numbers of each family through death or by other causes.

Most scholars believe that Nehemiah recorded those people who actually arrived at Jerusalem under the leadership of Zerubbabel and Jeshua in 537 or 536 BC (Nehemiah 7:7). Ezra, on the other hand, uses the earlier list of those who originally announced their intention to join the caravan of returning colonists back in Babylon, in the 450s BC.

The discrepancies between these two lists point to the fact that there were new factors which arose to change their minds. Some may have fallen into disagreement, others may have discovered business reasons to delay their departure until later, whereas in some cases there were certainly some illnesses or death, and in other cases there may have been some last-minute recruits from those who first decided to remain in Babylon. Only clans or city-group’s came in with a shrunken numbers. All the rest picked up last-minute recruits varying from one to 1,100.

When we look at the names we find that certain names are mentioned in alternate forms. Among the Jews of that time (as well as those living in the East), a person had a name, title, and surname. Thus, the children of Hariph (Nehemiah 7:24) are the children of Jorah (Ezra 2:18), while the children of Sia (Nehemiah 7:47) are also the children of Siaha (Ezra 2:44).

When we take all these factors into consideration, the differences in totals that do appear in these two tallies should occasion no surprise whatsoever. The same sort of arbitration and attrition has featured every large migration in human history.

(Archer 1982:229-230 and Light of Life II 1992:219-220)

  1. Both Ezra 2:64 and Nehemiah 7:66 agree that the totals for the whole assembly was 42,360, yet when the totals are added, Ezra - 29,818 and Nehemiah - 31,089?

(Category: copyist error)

There are possibly two answers to this seeming dilemma. The first is that this is most likely a copyist’s error. The original texts must have had the correct totals, but somewhere along the line of transmission, a scribe made an error in one of the lists, and changed the total in the other so that they would match, without first totaling up the numbers for the families in each list. There is the suggestion that a later scribe upon copying out these lists purposely put down the totals for the whole assembly who were in Jerusalem at his time, which because it was later would have been larger.

The other possibility is forwarded by the learned Old Testament scholar R.K. Harrison, who suggests that at any rate the figure of 42,000 may be metaphorical, following “…the pattern of the Exodus and similar traditions, where the large numbers were employed as symbols of the magnitude of God, and in this particular instance indicating the triumphant deliverance that God achieved for His captive people” (Harrison 1970:1142-1143).

Such errors do not change the historicity of the account, since in such cases another portion of Scripture usually corrects the mistake (the added totals in this instance). As the well-known commentator, Matthew Henry once wrote, “Few books are not printed without mistakes; yet, authors do not disown them on account of this, nor are the errors by the press imputed to the author. The candid reader amends them by the context or by comparing them with some other part of the work.”

(Light of Life II 1992:201, 219)

  1. Did 200 singers (Ezra 2:65) or 245 singers (Nehemiah 7:67) accompany the assembly?

(Category: copyist error)

As in question number 7, this is a copyist error, where a scribe copying the numbers in the Ezra account simply rounded off the figure of 245 to 200.

  1. Was King Abijah’s mother’s name Michaiah, daughter of Uriel of Gibeah (2 Chronicles 13:2) or Maachah, daughter of Absalom (2 Chronicles 11:20 & 2 Samuel 13:27)?

(Category: misunderstood the Hebrew usage)

This apparent contradiction rests on the understanding of the Hebrew word bat, equivalent to the English daughter. Although usually used to denote a first generation female descendant, it can equally refer to more distant kinship. An example of this is 2 Samuel 1:24, which states: ‘O daughters of Israel, weep for Saul…’ As this is approximately 900 years after Israel (also called Jacob) actually lived, it is clear that this refers to the Israelite women, his distant female descendants.

When seen in this light, the ‘contradiction’ vanishes. 2 Chronicles 13:2 correctly states that Michaiah is a daughter of Uriel. We can assume that Uriel married Tamar, Absalom’s only immediate daughter. Together they had Michaiah who then married king Rehoboam and became the mother of Abijah. 2 Chronicles 11:20 and 1 Kings 15:2, in stating that Maachah was a daughter of Absalom, simply link her back to her more famous grandfather, instead of her lesser known father, to indicate her royal lineage. Abishalom is a variant of Absalom and Michaiah is a variant of Maachah. Therefore, the family tree looks like this:



  1. Joshua and the Israelites did (Joshua 10:23,40) or did not (Joshua 15:63) capture Jerusalem?

(Category: misread the text)

The short answer is, not in this campaign. The verses given are in complete harmony and the confusion arises solely from misreading the passage concerned.

In Joshua 10, it is the king of Jerusalem that is killed: his city is not captured (verses 16-18 and 22-26). The five Amorite kings and their armies left their cities and went to attack Gibeon. Joshua and the Israelites routed them and the five kings fled to the cave at Makkedah, from which Joshua’s soldiers brought them to Joshua, who killed them all. Concerning their armies, verse 20 states: ‘the few who were left reached their fortified cities’, which clearly indicates that the cities were not captured. So it was the kings, not their cities, who were captured.

Joshua 10:28-42 records the rest of this particular military campaign. It states that several cities were captured and destroyed, these being: Makkedah, Libnah, Lachish, Eglon, Hebron and Debir. All of these cities are south-west of Jerusalem. The king of Gezer and his army were defeated in the field whilst helping Lachish (v.33) and in verse 30 comparison is made to the earlier capture of Jericho, but neither of these last two cities were captured at this time. Verses 40 & 41 delineate the limits of this campaign, all of which took place to the south and west of Jerusalem. Importantly, Gibeon, the eastern limit of this campaign, is still approximately 10 miles to the north-west of Jerusalem.

Jerusalem is, therefore, not stated as captured in Joshua 10. This agrees completely with Joshua 15:63, which states that Judah could not dislodge the Jebusites in Jerusalem.

  1. Was Jacob (Matthew 1:16) or Heli (Luke 3:23) the father of Joseph and husband of Mary?

(Category: misunderstood the Hebrew usage)

The answer to this is simple but requires some explanation. Most scholars today agree that Matthew gives the genealogy of Joseph and Luke gives that of Mary, making Jacob the father of Joseph and Heli the father of Mary.

This is shown by the two narrations of the virgin birth. Matthew 1:18-25 tells the story only from Joseph’s perspective, while Luke 1:26-56 is told wholly from Mary’s point of view.

A logical question to ask is why Joseph is mentioned in both genealogies? The answer is again simple. Luke follows strict Hebrew tradition in mentioning only males. Therefore, in this case, Mary is designated by her husband’s name.

This reasoning is clearly supported by two lines of evidence. In the first, every name in the Greek text of Luke’s genealogy, with the one exception of Joseph, is preceded by the definite article (e.g. ‘the’ Heli, ‘the’ Matthat). Although not obvious in English translations, this would strike anyone reading the Greek, who would realize that it was tracing the line of Joseph’s wife, even though his name was used.

The second line of evidence is the Jerusalem Talmud, a Jewish source. This recognizes the genealogy to be that of Mary, referring to her as the daughter of Heli (Hagigah 2:4).

(Fruchtenbaum 1993:10-13)

  1. Did Jesus descend from Solomon (Matthew 1:6) or from Nathan (Luke 3:31), both of whom are sons of David?

(Category: misunderstood the Hebrew usage)

This is directly linked to ‘contradiction’ 26. Having shown that Matthew gives Joseph’s genealogy and Luke gives that of Mary, it is clear that Joseph was descended from David through Solomon and Mary through Nathan.

  1. Was Jechoniah (Matthew 1:12) or Neri (Luke 3:27) the father of Shealtiel?

(Category: misunderstood the Hebrew usage)

Once again, this problem disappears when it is understood that two different genealogies are given from David to Jesus, those of both Mary and Joseph (see #26). Two different genealogies mean two different men named Shealtiel, a common Hebrew name. Therefore, it is not surprising to recognize that they both had different fathers!

  1. Which son of Zerubbabel was an ancestor of Jesus Christ, Abiud (Matthew 1:13) or Rhesa (Luke 3:27), and what about Zerubbabel in (1 Chronicles 3:19-20)?

(Category: misunderstood the Hebrew usage)

As with #28, two different Shealtiels necessitates two different Zerubbabels, so it is no problem that their sons had different names.

It should not surprise us that there was a Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel in both Mary’s and Joseph’s ancestry. Matthew tells us that Joseph’s father was named Jacob. Of course, the Bible records another Joseph son of Jacob, who rose to become the second most powerful ruler in Egypt (Genesis 37-47). We see no need to suggest that these two men are one and the same, so we should have no problem with two men named Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel.

The Zerubbabel mentioned in 1 Chronicles 3:19,20 could easily be a third. Again, this causes no problem: there are several Marys mentioned in the Gospels, because it was a common name. The same may be true here. This Zerubbabel would then be a cousin of the one mentioned in Matthew 1:12,13. A comparison of Matthew and 1 Chronicles gives the following possible family tree:




|                                   |

Zerubbabel Zerubbabel—Shimei—…

|                            |

Abiud 7 sons

|   (1 Ch. 3:19,20)


  1. Was Joram (Matthew 1:8) or Amaziah (2 Chronicles 26:1) the father of Uzziah?

(Category: misunderstood the Hebrew usage)

This answer is of a similar nature to that in #24. Just as the Hebrew bat (daughter) can be used to denote a more distant descendant, so can the Hebrew ben (son). Jesus is referred to in Matthew 1:1 as the son of David, the son of Abraham. Both the genealogies trace Jesus’ ancestry through both these men, illustrating the usage of ‘son’. Although no Hebrew manuscripts of Matthew’s gospel are extant today, it is clear that he was a Isrealites writing from a Hebrew perspective and therefore completely at home with the Hebrew concept of son ship.

With this in mind, it can easily be shown that Amaziah was the immediate father of Uzziah (also called Azariah). Joram/Jehoram, on the other hand, was Uzziah’s great-great-grandfather and a direct ascendant. The line goes Joram/Jehoram - Ahaziah - Joash - Amaziah - Azariah/Uzziah (2 Chronicles 21:4-26:1).

Matthew’s telescoping of Joseph’s genealogy is quite acceptable, as his purpose is simply to show the route of descent. He comments in 1:17 that there were three sets of fourteen generations. This reveals his fondness for numbers and links in directly with the designation of Jesus as the son of David. In the Hebrew language, each letter is given a value. The total value of the name David is fourteen and this is probably the reason why Matthew only records fourteen generations in each section, to underline Jesus’ position as the son of David.

  1. Was Josiah (Matthew 1:11) or Jehoiakim (1 Chronicles 3:16) the father of Jechoniah?

(Category: misunderstood the Hebrew usage)

This question is essentially the same as #30. Jehoiakim was Jeconiah’s father and Josiah his grandfather. This is quite acceptable and results from Matthew’s aesthetic telescoping of the genealogy, not from any error.

  1. Were there fourteen (Matthew 1:17) or thirteen (Matthew 1:12-16) generations from the Babylonian exile until Christ?

(Category: misunderstood the Hebrew usage)

As Matthew clearly states (1:17), there were fourteen. In the first section there are fourteen names, in the second fifteen and in the third, fourteen. Perhaps the simplest way of resolving the problem is to suggest that in the first and third sections, the first and last person is included as a generation, whereas not in the second. In any case, as Matthew has clearly telescoped his genealogy with good reason, a mistake on his part is by no means shown conclusively. If by some chance another name or two has been lost from the list in the originals, by scribal error, we cannot know. Whatever the real situation, a simple explanation can be afforded, as above.

  1. Who was the father of Shelah; Cainan (Luke 3:35-36) or Arphaxad (Genesis 11:12)?

(Category: misunderstood the Hebrew usage)

Although a conclusive answer is not possible, plausible explanations can be found. The most probable answer to this is that the genealogy in the Masoretic text of Genesis telescopes the generations as does Matthew in his list. When we look at the Septuagint (LXX), we find the name of Cainan included as the father of Shelah, echoing what we find in Luke. Luke, writing in Greek, would have used the Septuagint as his authority.

On that same note, if we refer to the Septuagint, when we look at Genesis 11:12 we find that Apharxad was 135 years old, rather than 35 (which would allow more time for him to be Shelah’s grandfather).

  1. John the Baptist was (Matthew 11:14; 17:10-13) or was not Elijah to come (John 1:19-21)?

(Category: misunderstood the historical context)

Matthew records Jesus saying that John the Baptist was the Elijah who was to come, while John seems to record John the Baptist denying it. The reason for this apparent inconsistency is a lack of contextualization by readers.

The priests and Levites came to John the Baptist and asked him if he was Elijah. Quite a funny question to ask someone, unless you know the Jewish Scriptures. For God says through the prophet Malachi that He will send Elijah to the people of Israel before a certain time. Therefore as the Jewish people were expecting Elijah, the question is quite logical.

John was about 30 years when he was asked this question. His parents were already dead; he was the only son of Zechariah from the tribe of Levi. So when asked if he was Elijah who ascended up into heaven about 878 years earlier, the answer was obviously “No, I am not Elijah.”

Jesus also testifies, albeit indirectly, to John not being Elijah in Matthew 11:11 where he says that John is greater than all people who have ever been born. Moses was greater than Elijah, but John was greater than them both.

So what did Jesus mean when he says of John “he is the Elijah who was to come”? The angel Gabriel (Jibril in Arabic) speaks to Zechariah of his son, John, who was not yet born, saying “he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous - to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.” (Luke 1:17)

The Angel refers to two prophecies, Isaiah 40:3-5 (see Luke 3:4-6 to see this applied again to John the Baptist) and Malachi 4:5-6 mentioned above, which says “See, I will send you the prophet Elijah before the great and dreadful day of the Lord comes. He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers”. Gabriel unmistakably says that John is the “Elijah” whom God foretold through Malachi the prophet.

So, was John Elijah? No. But had the priests and Levites asked him, “Are you the one the prophet Malachi speaks of as ‘Elijah’?” John would have responded affirmatively.

Jesus in Matthew 17:11-13 says that the prophecy of Malachi is true, but Elijah had already come. He says that this “Elijah” suffered, like he, Jesus will suffer; “the disciples understood that he was talking to them about John the Baptist”. Therefore, once we understand the context it is clear; John was not the literal Elijah, but he was the Elijah that the prophecy spoke of, the one who was to (and did) prepare the way for the Messiah, Jesus, “the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world”, John 1:29.

  1. Jesus would (Luke 1:32) or would not (Matthew 1:11; 1 Chronicles 3:16 & Jeremiah 36:30) inherit David’s throne?

(Category: misunderstood the Hebrew usage)

This answer follows on directly from that to #26. Having shown that Matthew’s genealogy is that of Joseph, it is obvious from Jeremiah 36:30 that none of Joseph’s physical descendants were qualified to sit on David’s throne as he himself was descended from Jeconiah. However, as Matthew makes clear, Jesus was not a physical descendant of Joseph. After having listed Joseph’s genealogy with the problem of his descendance from Jeconiah, Matthew narrates the story of the virgin birth. Thus he proves how Jesus avoids the Jeconiah problem and remains able to sit on David’s throne. Luke, on the other hand, shows that Jesus’ true physical descendance was from David apart from Jeconiah, thus fully qualifying him to inherit the throne of his father David. The announcement of the angel in Luke 1:32 completes the picture: ‘the Lord God will give him the throne of his father David’. This divine appointment, together with his physical descendance, make him the only rightful heir to David’s throne.

(Fruchtenbaum 1993:12)

  1. Jesus rode into Jerusalem on one colt (Mark 11:7; cf. Luke 19:35), or a colt and an a$$ (Matthew 21:7)?

(Category: misread the text & misunderstood the historical context)

The accusation is that the Gospels contradict about how many donkeys Jesus rode into Jerusalem on. This accusation is based on not reading the text of Matthew properly and ignoring his full point about this event.

It first should be noted that all four Gospel writers refer to this event, the missing reference above being John 12:14-15. Mark, Luke and John are all in agreement that Jesus sat on the colt. Logic shows that there is no “contradiction” as Jesus cannot ride on two animals at once! So, why does Matthew mention two animals? The reason is clear.

Even by looking at Matthew in isolation, we can see from the text that Jesus did not ride on two animals, but only on the colt. For in the two verses preceding the quote in point (b) above by Shabbir, we read Matthew quoting two prophecies from the Old Testament (Isaiah 62:11 and Zechariah 9:9) together. Matthew says:

“Say to the Daughter of Zion, ‘See, your king comes to you, gently and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey’.”

Matthew 21:5

By saying “a donkey” and then “on a colt, the foal of a donkey” Zechariah is using classic Hebrew sentence structure and poetic language known as “parallelism”, simply repeating the same thing again in another way, as a parallel statement. This is very common in the Bible (I.e. Psalm 119:105 mentions, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path,” yet says the same thing twice in succession). It is clear that there is only one animal referred to. Therefore Matthew clearly says Jesus rode only on a colt, in agreement with the other three Gospel writers.

So why does Matthew say that the colt and its mother were brought along in verse seven? The reason is simple. Matthew, who was an eyewitness (where as Mark and Luke were quite possibly not) emphasizes the immaturity of the colt, too young to be separated from its mother. As the colt had never been ridden the probability was that it was still dependent on its mother. It would have made the entry to Jerusalem easier if the mother donkey were led along down the road, as the foal would naturally follow her, even though he had never before carried a rider and had not yet been trained to follow a roadway.

Here again we see that there is no contradiction between the synoptic accounts, but only added detail on the part of Matthew as one who viewed the event while it was happening.

This is just one of many of the prophecies that Jesus fulfilled. He fulfilled ones that were in his control as well as ones which he could not manipulate, such as the time and place of his birth (Daniel 9:24-26, Micah 5:1-2, Matthew 2:1-6), and his resurrection (Psalm 16:10, Acts 2:24-32) to name but two.

Some Muslims believe that in the Taurat there is reference to the prophecy which the Qur’an speaks of in Sura 7:157 and 61:6 concerning Muhammad. However, these Muslims yet have to come up with one, while Jesus is predicted time and time again.

  1. Simon Peter finds out that Jesus was the Christ by a revelation from heaven (Matthew 16:17), or by His brother Andrew (John 1:41)?

(Category: too literalistic an interpretation)

The emphasis of Matthew 16:17 is that Simon did not just hear it from someone else: God had made it clear to him. That does not preclude him being told by other people. Jesus’ point is that he was not simply repeating what someone else had said. He had lived and worked with Jesus and he was now clear in his mind that Jesus was none other than the Christ (Messiah), the Son of the Living God.

Jesus did not ask, “Who have you heard that I am?” but, “Who do you say I am?” There is all the difference in the world between these two questions, and Peter was no longer in any doubt.

  1. Jesus first met Simon Peter and Andrew by the Sea of Galilee (Matthew 4:18-22), or on the banks of the river Jordan (John 1:42-43)?

(Category: misread the text)

The accusation is that one Gospel records Jesus meeting Simon Peter and Andrew by the sea of Galilee, while the other says he met them by the river Jordan. However this accusation falls flat on its face as the different writers pick up the story in different places. Both are true.

John 1:35 onwards says Jesus met them by the river Jordan and that they spent time with him there. Andrew (and probably Peter too) were disciples of John the Baptist. They left this area and went to Galilee, in which region was the village of Cana where Jesus then performed his first recorded miracle. “After this he went down to Capernaum with his mothers and brothers and disciples. There they stayed for a few days.” John 2:12.

Peter and Andrew were originally from a town named Bethsaida (John 2:44) but now lived in Capernaum (Matthew 8:14-15, Mark 1:30-31, Luke 4:38-39), a few miles from Bethsaida. They were fishermen by trade, so it was perfectly normal for them to fish when they were home during these few days (for at this time Jesus was only just beginning public teaching or healing).

This is where Matthew picks up the story. As Peter and Andrew fish in the Lake of Galilee, Jesus calls them to follow him - to leave all they have behind and become his permanent disciples. Before this took place, he had not asked them, but they had followed him because of John the Baptist’s testimony of him (John 1:35-39). Now, because of this testimony, plus the miracle in Cana, as well as the things Jesus said (John 1:47-51), as well as the time spent with the wisest and only perfect man who ever lived etc., it is perfectly understandable for them to leave everything and follow him. It would not be understandable for them to just drop their known lives and follow a stranger who appeared and asked them to, like children after the pied piper! Jesus did not enchant anyone - they followed as they realized who he was - the one all the prophets spoke of, the Messiah the son of God.

  1. When Jesus met Jairus, his daughter ‘had just died’ (Matthew 9:18), or was ‘at the point of death’ (Mark 5:23)?

(Category: too literalistic an interpretation)

When Jairus left his home, his daughter was very sick, and at the point of death, or he wouldn’t have gone to look for Jesus. When he met Jesus he certainly was not sure whether his daughter had already succumbed. Therefore, he could have uttered both statements; Matthew mentioning her death, while Mark speaking about her sickness. However, it must be underlined that this is not a detail of any importance to the story, or to us. The crucial points are clear:

Jairus’s daughter had a fatal illness. All that could have been done would already have been: she was as good as dead if not already dead. Jairus knew that Jesus could both heal her and bring her back from the dead. As far as he was concerned, there was no difference. Therefore it is really of no significance whether the girl was actually dead or at the point of death when Jairus reached Jesus.’

  1. Jesus allowed (Mark 6:8), or did not allow (Matthew 10:9; Luke 9:3) his disciples to keep a staff on their journey?

(Category: misunderstood the Greek usage)

It is alleged that the Gospel writers contradict each other concerning whether Jesus allowed his disciples to take a staff on their journey or not. The problem is one of translation.

In Matthew we read the English translation of the Greek word “ktesthe”, which is rendered in the King James (Authorized) translation as “Provide neither gold, nor silver nor yet staves”. According to a Greek dictionary this word means “to get for oneself, to acquire, to procure, by purchase or otherwise” (Robinson, Lexicon of the New Testament). Therefore in Matthew Jesus is saying “Do not procure anything in addition to what you already have. Just go as you are.”

Matthew 10 and Mark 6 agree that Jesus directed his disciples to take along no extra equipment. Luke 9:3 agrees in part with the wording of Mark 6:8, using the verb in Greek, (“take”); but then, like Matthew adds “no staff, no bag, no bread, no money”. But Matthew 10:10 includes what was apparently a further clarification: they were not to acquire a staff as part of their special equipment for the tour. Mark 6:8 seems to indicate that this did not necessarily involve discarding any staff they already had as they traveled the country with Jesus.

However, this is not a definitive answer, only a possible explanation. This trivial difference does not effect the substantial agreement of the Gospels. We would not be troubled if this were, or is, a contradiction, for we do not have the same view of these Gospels as a Muslim is taught about the Qur’an. And if this is the pinnacle of Biblical contradictions when the Bible is said to be “full of contradictions” and “totally corrupted”, then such people are obviously deluded. If indeed Christian scribes and translators had wished to alter the original Gospels, this “contradiction” would not have been here. It is a sign of the authenticity of the text as a human account of what took place, and is a clear sign that it has not been deliberately corrupted.

  1. Herod did (Matthew 14:2; Mark 6:16) or did not (Luke 9:9) think that Jesus was John the Baptist?

(Category: misread the text)

There is no contradiction here. In Luke 9:9, Herod asks who this incredible person could be, as John was now dead. In Matthew 14:2 and Mark 6:16 he gives his answer: after considering who Jesus could be, he concluded that he must be John the Baptist, raised from the dead. By the time Herod actually met Jesus, at his trial, he may not have still thought that it was John (Luke 23:8-11). If that were the case, he had most probably heard more about him and understood John’s claims about preparing for one who was to come (John 1:15-34). He may well have heard that Jesus had been baptised by John, obviously ruling out the possibility that they were the same person.

  1. John the Baptist did (Matthew 3:13-14) or did not (John 1:32-33) recognize Jesus before his baptism?

(Category: misunderstood the author’s intent)

John’s statement in John 1:33 that he would not have known Jesus except for seeing the Holy Spirit alight on him and remain, can be understood to mean that John would not have known for sure without this definite sign. John was filled with the Holy Spirit from before his birth (Luke 1:15) and we have record of an amazing recognition of Jesus even while John was in his mother’s womb. Luke 1:41-44 relates that when Mary visited John’s mother, the sound of her greeting prompted John, then still in the womb, to leap in recognition of Mary’s presence, as the mother of the Lord.

From this passage we can also see that John’s mother had some knowledge about who Jesus would be. It is very likely that she told John something of this as he was growing up (even though it seems that she died while he was young).

In the light of this prior knowledge and the witness of the Holy Spirit within John, it is most likely that this sign of the Holy Spirit resting on Jesus was simply a sure confirmation of what he already thought. God removed any doubt so that he could be sure that it was not his imagination or someone else’s mistake.

  1. John the Baptist did (John 1:32-33) or did not (Matthew 11:2) recognize Jesus after his baptism?

(Category: misread the text)

In the passage of John 1:29-36 it is abundantly clear that John recognised Jesus. We should have no doubt at all about this.

Matthew 11:2 takes place later on, and many things have happened in the interum. John’s original knowledge of Jesus was limited and it seems that subsequent events had disillusioned him somewhat. He did not know exactly what form Jesus’ ministry would take. We are told from Matthew 3:11,12 some of what John knew: “He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing-floor, gathering his wheat into the barn and burning up the chaff with unquenchable fire.” This is the classic portrayal of the Messiah as the conquering king who would bring God’s judgement on all those who reject him, bringing peace and justice to those who follow him. John obviously understood this.

However, the Messiah was also portrayed in the scriptures as a suffering servant who would suffer on behalf of God’s people. This is shown clearly in Isaiah 53, especially verse 12: “For he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors”. John also understood this, as shown by his statement in John 1:29: “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!”

What was sometimes not so well understood was how the two portrayals of the Messiah interacted. Many thought that the Messiah would bring his terrible judgement as soon as he came. In fact, this will occur when he returns again (his return is alluded to in Acts 1:11, for example). Some were confused, therefore, by Jesus’ reluctance to act as a military leader and release the nation of Israel from Roman oppression at that time.

This confusion is illustrated by Luke 24:13-33, where Jesus spoke with two of his followers on the road to Emmaus after his resurrection. They were initially kept from recognising him (v.16). They told him how they “had hoped that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel” (v.21). They were correct in this hope, but failed to understand the first stage in God’s redemptive process. Jesus corrected their misunderstanding in v. 25,26: “How foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Did not the Christ have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?” (emphasis added)

It is most likely that a similar misunderstanding prompted John’s question in Matthew 11:2. Despite having been so sure of Jesus’ identity as the Messiah of Israel, further events had clouded his certainty. After expecting Jesus to oust the Romans and restore the kingdom of Israel as in the days of king David, instead he had seen Jesus ‘teach and preach in the towns of Galilee’ (Matthew 11:1), with no mention of a military campaign. John surely wondered what had gone wrong: had he misunderstood the Messiah’s role, or perhaps he had made a bigger mistake in thinking Jesus was the Messiah. Jesus’ answer in Matthew 11:4-6 makes it clear:

“Go back and report to John what you hear and see: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is preached to the poor. Blessed is the man who does not fall away on account of me.”

These activities were Messianic prerogatives, as foretold by Isaiah 29:18; 35:5,6; 61:1-3. Although John’s disillusionment was a natural human reaction, he had been right the first time. Jesus ended his reply with an exhortation to John not to give up hope. The Messiah was here without a doubt and all would be revealed in its proper time.

  1. When Jesus bears witness to himself, is his testimony not true (John 5:31) or is his testimony true (John 8:14)?

(Category: misunderstood the historical context)

“If I testify about myself, my testimony is not valid” (John 5:31) compared with “Even if I testify on my own behalf, my testimony is valid” (John 8:14). It appears to be a contradiction, but only if the context is ignored.

In John 5 Jesus is speaking about how he cannot claim on his own to be the Messiah nor the Son of God, unless he is in line with God’s revealed word. That is, without fulfilling the prophecies spoken in the Old Testament. But as Jesus did fulfil them and was proclaimed to be the Messiah by John the Baptist who the prophets also spoke of as heralding the way for the Messiah (see #34), then Jesus was indeed who he claimed to be, the Son of God. Jesus says of the Jewish scriptures which his listeners studied diligently, “These are the Scriptures that testify about me”.

We read of a somewhat different setting however in John 8. Jesus has just once again claimed to be the Messiah by quoting Old Testament Messianic prophecies and applying them to himself (John 8:12, Isaiah 9:2, Malachi 4:2). “Then some Pharisees challenged him, ‘Here you are, appearing as your own witness; your testimony is not valid’.” Verse 13.

It is to this statement that Jesus responds “Yes it is”. Why? Because the Pharisees were using a law from Deuteronomy 19:15 which says “One witness is not enough to convict a man accused of any crime or offense he may have committed. A matter must be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses. If a malicious witness takes the stand.”

Therefore they broadened the law to mean more that it does actually say. Indeed, the testimony of one man was valid - however not enough to convict, but enough when used in defense to bring an acquittal. This law is not speaking about anyone making a claim about himself, only in a court when accused of a crime.

So when Jesus says in reply to them “Even if I testify on my own behalf, my testimony is valid” he is right to do so as what the law referred to did not directly apply. He also says that he knew exactly who he was, whereas they did not. He was not lying to them; he was the sinless Messiah of God. Therefore his word could be trusted.

However, it is a good principle not to believe just anyone who claims to be the Messiah. Any claimant must have proof. Therefore the second thing Jesus goes on to state in John 8 is that he has these witnesses too, the witnesses that the Pharisees were asking for. “I am one who testifies for myself; my other witness is the Father who sent me.” Verse 18. The same proclamation as in John 5 that he was fulfilling the prophecies that they knew (see just before this incident in John 7:42 for further proof of this point).

There is no contradiction, simply clarity and great depth which can be seen when Jesus’ is viewed in context, in his fertile Jewish culture and setting.

  1. When Jesus entered Jerusalem he cleansed (Matthew 21:12) or did not cleanse (Mark 11:1-17) the temple that same day, but the next day?

(Category: misunderstood the author’s intent)

The key to understanding may be found in Matthew’s use of narrative. At times he can be seen to arrange his material in topical order rather than strict chronological sequence. See the next question (#46) for more details.

With this in mind, it is probable that Matthew relates the cleansing of the temple along with the triumphal entry, even though the cleansing occurred the next day. Verse 12 states that ‘Jesus entered the temple’ but does not say clearly that it was immediately following the entry into Jerusalem.. Verse 17 informs us that he left Jerusalem and went to Bethany, where he spent the night. Mark 11:11 also has him going out to Bethany for the night, but this is something that he did each night of that week in Jerusalem.

Matthew 21:23 states: “Jesus entered the temple courts” in a similar fashion to verse 12, yet Luke 20:1 says that the following incident occurred “one day”, indicating that it may not have been immediately after the fig tree incident.

According to this possible interpretation, Jesus entered the temple on the day of his triumphal entry, looked around and retired to Bethany. The next morning he cursed the fig tree on the way to Jerusalem (at which time it started to wither) and cleansed the temple when he got there. Returning to Bethany that evening, probably as it was getting dark, the withered fig tree may not have been noticed by the disciples. It was only the following morning in the full light of day that they saw what had happened to it.

(Archer 1994:334.335)

  1. Matthew 21:19 says that the tree which Jesus cursed withered at once, whereas Mark 11:20 maintains that it withered overnight.

(Category: misunderstood the author’s intent)

The differences found between the accounts of Matthew and Mark concerning the fig tree have much to do with the order both Matthew and Mark used in arranging their material. When we study the narrative technique of Matthew in general, we find (as was noted in #45 above) that he sometimes arranges his material in a topical order rather than in the strictly chronological order that is more often characteristic of Mark and Luke.

For instance, if we look at chapters 5-7 of Matthew which deal with the sermon on the Mount, it is quite conceivable that portions of the sermon on the Mount teachings are found some times in other settings, such as in the sermon on the plain in Luke (6:20-49). Matthew’s tendency was to group his material in themes according to a logical sequence. We find another example of this exhibited in a series of parables of the kingdom of heaven that make up chapter 13. Once a theme has been broached, Matthew prefers to carry it through to its completion, as a general rule.

When we see it from this perspective it is to Mark that we look to when trying to ascertain the chronology of an event. In Mark’s account we find that Jesus went to the temple on both Palm Sunday and the following Monday. But in Mark 11:11-19 it is clearly stated that Jesus did not expel the tradesmen from the temple until Monday, after he had cursed the barren fig tree (verses 12 to 14).

To conclude then, Matthew felt it suited his topical approach more effectively to include the Monday afternoon action with the Sunday afternoon initial observation, whereas Mark preferred to follow a strict chronological sequence. These differences are not contradictory, but show merely a different style in arrangement by each author.

(Archer 1982:334-335 and Light of Life III 1992:96-97)

  1. In Matthew 26:48-50 Judas came up and kissed Jesus, whereas in John 18:3-12 Judas could not get close enough to Jesus to kiss him.

(Category: misquoted the text)

This is rather an odd seeming discrepancy by Shabbir, for nowhere in the John account does it say (as Shabbir forthrightly maintains) that Judas could not get close enough to Jesus to kiss him. Not being able to get close to him had nothing, therefore, to do with whether he kissed him or not. It seems that Shabbir imagines this to be the problem and so imposes it onto the text. The fact that John does not mention a kiss does not mean Judas did not use a kiss. Many times we have seen where one of the gospel writers includes a piece of information which another leaves out. That does not imply that either one is wrong, only that, as witnesses, they view an event by different means, and so include into their testimony only that which they deem to be important.

(Light of Life III 1992:107)

  1. Did Peter deny Christ three times before the rooster crowed (John 13:38), or three times before the rooster crowed twice (Mark 14:30, 72)?

(Category: discovery of earlier manuscripts)

This accusation is that Jesus says to Peter “the rooster will not crow till you have denied me three times” (John 13:38) and also “Before the rooster crows twice you will deny me three times” (Mark 14:30). However, as the King James translation has it the rooster crowed prior to Peter’s third denial in Mark, while the prediction in John failed. This problem is one of manuscript evidence.

Matthew 26:33-35, 74-75 “before the rooster crows you will disown me three times”

Luke 22:31-34, 60-62 “before the rooster crows today, you will deny three times that you know me”

John 13:38 “before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times”

Mark is therefore the odd one out. This is probably due to the second crow being a later addition to the original Gospel for some unknown reason. Some early manuscripts of Mark do not have the words “a second time” and “twice” in 14:72, nor the word “twice” in 14:30, or the rooster crowing a first time in verse 14:68 as in the King James translation. Therefore an erroneous addition is spotted by the clarity of having 4 accounts of the event and many early manuscripts of the Gospel of Mark.

However, another explanation is plausible if the first crow verse (68 in the King James) was not in the original but the others (“twice” in 30 and 72) were, as in the New International translation. For as a rooster can (and often does) crow more than once in a row, there would be no contradiction (the first and second crows being together, with Peter remembering Jesus’ prediction on the second crow), for since we may be very sure that if a rooster crows twice, he has at least crowed once. Mark therefore just included more information in his account than the other gospel writers.

Although I am not an expert on the manuscripts used for the King James translation and do not know a great deal about why later, more accurate translators had enough manuscript evidence to omit verse 68 but not the others, I think that the first reason is more likely.

  1. Jesus did (John 19:17) or did not (Matthew 27:31-32) bear his own cross?

(Category: misread the text or the texts are compatible with a little thought)

John 19:17 states that he went out carrying his own cross to the place of the skull. Matthew 27:31,32 tells us that he was led out to be crucified and that it was only as they were going out to Golgotha that Simon was forced to carry the cross.

Mark 15:20,21 agrees with Matthew and gives us the additional information that Jesus started out from inside the palace (Praetorium). As Simon was on his way in from the country, it is clear that he was passing by in the street. This implies that Jesus carried his cross for some distance, from the palace into the street. Weak from his floggings and torture, it is likely that he either collapsed under the weight of the cross or was going very slowly. In any case, the soldiers forced Simon to carry the cross for him. Luke 23:26 is in agreement, stating that Simon was seized as they led Jesus away.

Thus the contradiction vanishes. Jesus started out carrying the cross and Simon took over at some point during the journey.

  1. Did Jesus die before (Matthew 27:50-51; Mark 15:37-38), or after (Luke 23:45-46) the curtain of the temple was torn?

(Category: misread the text)

After reading the three passages Matthew 27:50-51, Mark 15:37-38 and Luke 23:45-46, it is not clear where the apparent contradictions are that Shabbir has pointed out. All three passages point to the fact that at the time of Jesus’ death the curtain in the temple was torn. It does not stand to reason that because both Matthew and Mark mention the event of Christ’s death before mentioning the curtain tearing, while Luke mentions it in reverse order, that they are therefore in contradiction, as Matthew states that the two events happened, ‘At that moment’, and the other two passages nowhere deny this.

They all agree that these two events happened simultaneously for a very good reason; for the curtain was there as a barrier between God and man. Its destruction coincides with the death of the Messiah, thereby allowing man the opportunity for the first time since Adam’s expulsion from God’s presence at the garden of Eden, to once again be reunited with Him.

  1. Did Jesus say everything openly (John 18:20) or did he speak secretly to his disciples (Mark 4:34, Matthew 13:10-11)?

(Category: misunderstood the historical context)

The reason people say that Jesus contradicts himself about saying things secretly or not, especially in relation to parables, is due to a lack of textual and cultural contextualising.

This answer requires significant background information, some of which I hope to give briefly here.

Firstly, what is a parable? It is a story given in order to clarify, emphasize or illustrate a teaching, not a teaching within itself. Jesus was a Jewish Rabbi. In Rabbinical literature there are approximately 4000 parables recorded. It was thought by Rabbis to be good practice to divide their instruction of the people into three parts, the latter third typically being two parables representative to the first two thirds. Jesus carries on in this tradition with just over one third of his recorded instruction being in the form of parables. He drew upon a wealth of images that the Israelis of his day knew, using common motifs such as plants, animals etc. Therefore the point of each of Jesus’ parables was clear to all the listeners, which can be seen from the Gospels too. Parables were so rich and also so subtle that not only could they drive home a clear and simple point to the ordinary listener, but the scholars could turn them over and over in their mind, deriving greater and greater meaning from them. So, Jesus often expanded on the meaning of a parable to his disciples, his close students, in response to their inquiry or to instruct them further as any Jewish Rabbi would.

This can be seen from reading Mark 4:34 in context. For it says, “With many similar parables Jesus spoke the word to them [the crowds], as much as they could understand. He did not say anything to them without using a parable [to clarify, emphasize or illustrate the teaching]. But when he was alone with his own disciples he explained everything [taught them more, for they could understand more than the crowds].” Mark 4:33-34.

Therefore parables were not secret teachings. They are not esoteric knowledge given only to the initiated. It makes no sense (nor has any historical basis) to say that Jesus went around confusing people. He went around in order to teach and instruct people. So when Jesus was asked while on trial in court (John 18:20) about his teaching, he says something to the words of “I taught publicly - everyone heard my words. You know I taught. I did not teach in secret.” He was right.

As all this is true, what are these “secrets of the kingdom of heaven” which Jesus speaks of? The only ‘secret’ (“the mystery hidden for long ages past, but now revealed and made known through the prophetic writing by the command of the eternal God, so that the nations might believe and obey him” (Romans 16:25-26) is that Jesus is Lord!

This secret was that Jesus’ mission was foretold by the prophets, that he was the fulfillment of these prophecies and the greatest revelation that would ever be given to mankind. His words were not only for the saving of people, but also for the judging of people because they were “ever hearing but never understanding, ever seeing but never perceiving” (Matthew 13:14) as many of the hearers of the parables were unwilling to repent and submit to God.

Many people enjoyed Jesus’ teaching, came for the nice moral discourses and the excellent parables, but not many followed him as the cost was too great (see Luke 9:57-61, 14:25-27, 33). But it was these things his disciples were beginning to understand because they truly followed Jesus. The secrets of the kingdom of heaven is what he said to his disciples following (and explaining) Matthew 13:10-11:

“But blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear [unlike the crowds]. For I tell you the truth, many prophets and righteous men longed to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it” [as they did not live during the lifetime of Jesus - all the prophets were before him].

The secret is Jesus is Lord, Jesus is king, Jesus is Messiah, Jesus is the one all the prophets spoke of, the salvation of mankind, God’s greatest revelation, the Alpha and the Omega (Revelation 21:6-8, 22:12-16), the only way to be right with God (John 3:36, Romans 6:23).

  1. Was Jesus on the cross (Mark 15:23) or in Pilate’s court (John 19:14) at the sixth hour on the day of the crucifixion?

(Category: misunderstood the historical context)

The simple answer to this is that the synoptic writers (Matthew, Mark and Luke) employed a different system of numbering the hours of day to that used by John. The synoptics use the traditional Hebrew system, where the hours were numbered from sunrise (approximately 6:00am in modern reckoning), making the crucifixion about 9:00am, the third hour by this system..

John, on the other hand, uses the Roman civil day. This reckoned the day from midnight to midnight, as we do today. Pliny the Elder (Natural History 2.77) and Macrobius (Saturnalia 1.3) both tell us as much. Thus, by the Roman system employed by John, Jesus’ trial by night was in its end stages by the sixth hour (6:00am), which was the first hour of the Hebrew reckoning used in the synoptics. Between this point and the crucifixion, Jesus underwent a brutal flogging and was repeatedly mocked and beaten by the soldiers in the Praetorium (Mark 15:16-20). The crucifixion itself occurred at the third hour in the Hebrew reckoning, which is the ninth in the Roman, or 9:00am by our modern thinking.

This is not just a neat twist to escape a problem, as there is every reason to suppose that John used the Roman system, even though he was just as Jewish as Matthew, Mark and Luke. John’s gospel was written after the other three, around AD90, while he was living in Ephesus. This was the capital of the Roman province of Asia, so John would have become used to reckoning the day according to the Roman usage. Further evidence of him doing so is found in John 21:19: ‘On the evening of that first day of the week’. This was Sunday evening, which in Hebrew thinking was actually part of the second day, each day beginning at sunset.

(Archer 1994:363-364)

  1. The two thieves crucified with Jesus either did (Mark 15:32) or did not (Luke 23:43) mock Jesus?

(Category: too literalistic an interpretation)

This apparent contradiction asks did both thieves crucified with Jesus mock him or just one. Mark 15:23 says both did. Luke 23:43 says one mocked and one defended Jesus. It isn’t too difficult to see what it going on here. The obvious conclusion is that both thieves mocked Jesus initially. However after Jesus had said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing,” one of the robbers seems to have had a change of heart and repented on the cross, while the other continued in his mocking.

There is a lesson here which shouldn’t be overlooked; that the Lord allows us at any time to repent, no matter what crime or sin we have committed. These two thieves are symptomatic of all of us. Some of us when faced with the reality of Christ continue to reject him and mock him, while others accept our sinfulness and ask for forgiveness. The good news is that like the thief on the cross, we can be exonerated from that sin at any time, even while ‘looking at death in the face’.

  1. Did Jesus ascend to Paradise the same day of the crucifixion (Luke 23:43), or two days later (John 20:17)?

(Category: misunderstood how God works in history)

The idea that Jesus contradicts himself (or the Gospels contradict themselves) concerning whether he had ascended to Paradise or not after his death on the cross is due to assumptions about Paradise as well as the need to contextualize.

Jesus says to the thief on the cross “Today you will be with me in Paradise”. This was indeed true. For the thief was to die that same day on earth; but in paradise “today” is any day in this world, as Heaven is outside of time.

Jesus says to Mary Magdalene, according to the rendering of the King James translation, that he had not yet “ascended” to his Father. However, this could also be rendered “returned” to his Father.

Jesus was with God, and was God, before the beginning of the world (John 1 and Philippians 2:6-11). He left all his glory and became fully God, fully man. Later, God did exalt Jesus to the highest place once more, to the right hand of Himself (see Acts 7:56). This had not yet taken place in John 20:17. Jesus saying “for I have not yet returned to the Father” does not rule out the possibility that he was in heaven between his death and resurrection in “our time” (although Heaven is outside of time). By way of parallel (albeit an imperfect one), I do go to my original home and the area where I grew up without returning there. Returning as in myself being restored to what was.

However, a more likely understanding of the text has to do with the context. Another way to say, “Do not hold on to me, for I have not ascended to my Father. Go instead to my brothers…”, would be, “Do not hang on to me Mary - I have not left you all yet. You will see me again. But now, I want you to go and tell my disciples that I am going to my Father soon, but not yet”.

Both Islam and Christianity believe in the resurrection of the body, and both believe in the intermediate state. In Luke, Jesus dies, and his spirit ascended to Paradise (see vs. 46). In John, Jesus has been bodily resurrected, and in that state, he had not yet ascended to the Father.

The time factor makes this somewhat paradoxical but the texts are not mutually exclusive. There is no contradiction.

  1. When Paul was on the road to Damascus he saw a light and heard a voice. Did those who were with him hear the voice (Acts 9:7), or did they not (Acts 22:9)?

(Category: misunderstood the Greek usage or the text is compatible with a little thought)

Although the same Greek word is used in both accounts (akouo), it has two distinct meanings: to perceive sound and to understand. Therefore, the explanation is clear: they heard something but did not understand what it was saying. Paul, on the other hand, heard and understood. There is no contradiction.

(Haley p.359)

  1. When Paul saw the light and fell to the ground, did his traveling companions fall (Acts 26:14) or did they not fall (Acts 9:7) to the ground?

(Category: misunderstood the Greek usage or the text is compatible with a little thought)

There are two possible explanations of this point. The word rendered ‘stood’ also means to be fixed, to be rooted to the spot. This is something that can be experienced whether standing up or lying down.

An alternative explanation is this: Acts 26:14 states that the initial falling to the ground occurred when the light flashed around, before the voice was heard. Acts 9:7 says that the men ‘stood speechless’ after the voice had spoken. There would be ample time for them to stand up whilst the voice was speaking to Saul, especially as it had no significance or meaning to them. Saul, on the other hand, understood the voice and was no doubt transfixed with fear as he suddenly realized that for so long he had been persecuting and killing those who were following God. He had in effect been working against the God whom he thought he was serving. This terrible realization evidently kept him on the ground longer than his companions.

(Haley p.359)

  1. Did the voice tell Paul what he was to do on the spot (Acts 26:16-18), or was he commanded to go to Damascus to be told what to do (Acts 9:7; 22:10)?

(Category: misunderstood the historical context)

Paul was told his duties in Damascus as can be seen from Acts 9 and 22. However in Acts 26 the context is different. In this chapter Paul doesn’t worry about the chronological or geographical order of events because he is talking to people who have already heard his story.

In Acts 9:1-31 Luke, the author of Acts, narrates the conversion of Saul.

In Acts 22:1-21 Luke narrates Paul speaking to Jews, who knew who Paul was and had actually caused him to be arrested and kept in the Roman Army barracks in Jerusalem. He speaks to the Jews from the steps of the barracks and starts off by giving his credentials as a Isrealites, before launching into a detailed account of his meeting with the Lord Jesus Christ and his conversion.

In Acts 26:2-23 Luke, however, narrates the speech given by Paul, (who was imprisoned for at least two years after his arrest in Jerusalem and his speech in Acts 22,). This was given to the Roman Governor Festus and King Herod Agrippa, both of whom were already familiar with the case. (Read the preceding Chapters). Therefore they did not require a full blown explanation of Paul’s case, but a summary. Which is exactly what Paul gives them. This is further highlighted by Paul reminding them of his Jewish credentials in one part of a sentence, “I lived as a Pharisee,” as opposed to two sentences in Acts 22:3. Paul also later in the Chapter is aware that King Agrippa is aware of the things that have happened in verses 25-27.

  1. Did 24,000 Israelites die in the plague in ‘Shittim’ (Numbers 25:1, 9), or was it only 23,000 Israelites who died (1 Corinthians 10:8)?

(Category: confused this incident with another)

This apparent contradiction asks how many people died from the plague that occurred in Shittim (which incidentally is misspelt ‘Shittin’ in Shabbir’s pamphlet). Numbers 25:1-9 and 1 Corinthians 10:8 are contrasted. Shabbir is referring to the wrong plague here.

If he had looked at the context of 1 Corinthians 10, he would have noted that Paul was referring to the plague in Exodus 32:28, which takes place at Mt. Sinai and not to that found in Numbers 25, which takes place in Shittim, amongst the Moabites. If there is any doubt refer to verse 7 of 1 Corinthians 10, which quotes almost exactly from Exodus 32:6, “Afterwards they sat down to eat and drink and got up to indulge in revelry.”

Now there are those who may say that the number killed in the Exodus 32 account were 3,000 (Exodus 32:28) another seeming contradiction, but one which is easily rectified once you read the rest of the text. The 3,000 killed in verse 28 account for only those killed by men with swords. This is followed by a plague which the Lord brings against those who had sinned against him in verse 35, which says, “And the Lord struck the people with a plague because of what they did with the calf Aaron had made.” It is to this plague which Paul refers to in 1 Corinthians 10:8.

(Geisler/Howe 1992:458-459)

  1. Did 70 members of the house of Jacob come to Egypt (Genesis 46:27), or was it 75 members (Acts 7:14)?

(Category: misunderstood the historical context)

This apparent contradiction asks how many members of the house of Jacob went to Egypt. The two passages contrasted are Genesis 46:27 and Acts 7:14. However both passages are correct. In the Genesis 46:1-27 the total number of direct descendants that traveled to Egypt with Jacob were 66 in number according to verse 26. This is because Judah was sent on ahead in verse 28 of Chapter 46 and because Joseph and his two sons were already in Egypt. However in verse 27 all the members of the family are included, including Joseph and his sons and Judah making a total number of 70, referring to the total number of Jacob’s family that ended up in Egypt not just those that traveled with him to Egypt.

In the older Septuagint and Dead Sea Scroll manuscripts the number given in verse 27 is 75. This is because they also include Joseph’s three grandsons and two great grandsons listed in Numbers 26:28-37, and in at least the Septuagint version their names are listed in Genesis 46:20. Therefore the Acts 7:14 quotation of Stephen’s speech before his martyrdom is correct because he was quoting from the Septuagint.

  1. Did Judas buy a field (Acts 1:18) with his blood-money for betraying Jesus, or did he throw it into the temple (Matthew 27:5)?

(Category: misunderstood the author’s intent)

This apparent contradiction asks, ‘What did Judas do with the blood money he received for betraying Jesus?’ In Acts 1:18 it is claimed that Judas bought a field. In Matthew 27:5 it was thrown into the Temple from where the priests used it to buy a field. However, upon closer scrutiny it appears one passage is just a summary of the other.

Matthew 27:1-10 describes in detail the events that happened in regard to Judas betrayal of Jesus, and their significance in terms of the fulfillment of the Scriptures. In particular he quotes from the prophet Zechariah 11:12-13 which many think are clarifications of the prophecies found in Jeremiah 19:1-13 and 32:6-9.

In the Acts 1:18-19 passage however, Luke is making a short resume of something that people already knew, as a point of clarification to the speech of Peter, among the believers (the same situation as we found in question number 57 earlier). This is illustrated by the fact that in verse 19 he says, “Everyone in Jerusalem heard about this”. Also it is more than probable that the Gospel record was already being circulated amongst the believers at the time of Luke’s writing. Luke, therefore, was not required to go into detail about the facts of Judas’ death.

  1. Did Judas die by hanging himself (Matthew 27:5) or by falling headlong and bursting open with all his bowels gushing out (Acts 1:18)?

(Category: the texts are compatible with a little thought)

This alleged contradiction is related to the fact that Matthew in his Gospel speaks of Judas hanging himself but in Acts 1:18 Luke speaks about Judas falling headlong and his innards gushing out. However both of these statements are true.

Matthew 27:1-10 mentioned the fact that Judas died by hanging himself in order to be strictly factual. Luke, however in his report in Acts1:18-19 wants to cause the feeling of revulsion among his readers, for the field spoken about and for Judas, and nowhere denies that Judas died by hanging. According to tradition, it would seem that Judas hanged himself on the edge of a cliff, above the Valley of Hinnom. Eventually the rope snapped, was cut or untied and Judas fell upon the field below as described by Luke.

  1. Is the field called the ‘field of blood’ because the priest bought it with blood money (Matthew 27:8), or because of Judas’s bloody death (Acts 1:19)?

(Category: misunderstood the wording)

Once again, looking at the same two passages as the last two apparent contradictions Shabbir asks why the field where Judas was buried called the Field of Blood? Matthew 27:8 says that it is because it was bought with blood-money, while, according to Shabbir Acts 1:19 says that it was because of the bloody death of Judas.

However both passages agree that it was due to it being bought by blood-money. Acts 1:18-19 starts by saying, “With the reward he got for his wickedness, Judas bought a field”. So it begins with the assumption that the field was bought by the blood-money, and then the author intending to cause revulsion for what had happened describes Judas bloody end on that piece of real estate.

  1. How can the ransom which Christ gives for all, which is good (Mark 10:45; 1 Timothy 2:5-6), be the same as the ransom of the wicked (Proverbs 21:18)?

(Category: misunderstood how God works in history)

This contradiction asks, ‘Who is a ransom for whom?’ Shabbir uses passages from Mark 10:45 and 1 Timothy 2:5-6 to show that it is Jesus that is a ransom for all. This is compared to Proverbs 21:18 which speaks of “The wicked become a ransom for the righteous, and the unfaithful for the upright.”

There is no contradiction here as they are talking about two different types of ransom. A ransom is a payment by one party to another. It can be made by a good person for others, as we see Christ does for the world, or it can be made by evil people as payment for the evil they have done, as we see in the Proverbs passage.

The assumption being made by Shabbir in the Mark and 1 Timothy passages is that Jesus was good and could therefore not be a ransom for the unrighteous. In this premise he reflects the Islamic denial that someone can pay for the sins of another, or can be a ransom for another. He must not, however impose this interpretation on the Bible. Christ as a ransom for the many is clearly taught in the Bible. Galatians 3:13-14 and 1 Peter 2:23-25 speak of Jesus becoming a curse for us. Therefore Jesus has fulfilled even this proverb.

Again Shabbir’s supposition relies upon quotations being taken out of their context. The Mark 10:45 passage starts off by quoting Jesus as saying, “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” This was spoken by Jesus because the disciples had been arguing over the fact that James and John had approached Jesus about sitting at his right and left side when Christ came into his glory. Here Jesus is again prophesying his death which is to come and the reason for that death, that he would be the ransom payment that would atone for all people’s sin.

In 1 Timothy 2:5-6 Paul is here speaking, saying,

“For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all men-the testimony given in its proper time.”

This comes in the middle of a passage instructing the Early Church on worshiping God. These two verses give the reason and the meaning of worshiping God. The redemptive ransom given by God, that through this mediator Jesus Christ’s atoning work on the Cross, God may once again have that saving relationship with man.

The Proverbs 21:18 passage speaks however of the ransom that God paid through Egypt in the Exodus of Israel from Egypt, as is highlighted in the book of Isaiah, but particularly in Chapter 43:3;

“For I am the LORD, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Saviour; I give Egypt for your ransom, Cush and Seba in your stead.”

This picture is further heightened in verses 16 and 17 of the same Chapter. This also has some foundation from the book of Exodus 7:5; 8:19; 10:7; 12:33. Chapters 13 and 14 particularly point to this. As history records for us in the Bible it was through this action that the Old Covenant was established between God and the Kingdom of Israel.

  1. Is all scripture profitable (2 Timothy 3:16) or not profitable (Hebrews 7:18)?

(Category: misunderstood how God works in history)

The accusation is that the Bible says all scripture is profitable as well as stating that a former commandment is weak and useless, and therein lies the contradiction. This is a contextual problem and arises through ignorance of what God promised to do speaking through the Prophets, concerning the two covenants which He instituted.

Due to space this wonderful issue cannot be looked at in depth here. However, some background information will have to be given in order for a reader, unfamiliar with the Bible, to understand what we are saying here. In order to illustrate I will draw a parallel from question #92 which speaks of the wealth behind many of the Hebrew words used in the Bible; in that particular case the ability we have to interpret the word ‘niham’ as either changing one’s mind, repenting, or to be aggrieved (refer to the question for a further understanding of the context).

God’s word obviously originates from Him alone, and is indeed useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training as 2 Timothy states. That is a general statement which refers to all that which comes from God.

Hebrews chapter 7 speaks of a particular commandment given to a particular people at a specific time; the sacrificial system in the Tabernacle and later the Temple in Jerusalem. God established in His covenant with His people Israel a system where they would offer sacrifices, animals to be killed, in order for God to forgive them of their sins; particularly what God calls in Leviticus chapters 4 to 6, the “sin offering” and the “guilt offering”.

This concept of substitutional death is foreign to Islam, but is fundamental to Biblical Judaism and Christianity. Atonement must take place for sin. The penalty of sin is death, and someone has to pay that price. There is no forgiveness for sin without the shedding of blood, for God demands justice. He cannot just ignore it for that would not be just.

God indeed established this system of atonement as the Old Testament shows by referring to the need for atonement 79 times! However, it also records God saying “The time is coming, declares the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah. It will not be like the covenant I made with their forefathers when I took them by the hand and led them out of Egypt” [I.e. at Mount Sinai where He gave the first covenant to the people of Israel just after God saved them from Egypt] (Jeremiah 31:31-33). The reason God gives is that the people did not remain faithful to it. Thus the new covenant will be different as God says, “I will put my laws in their minds and write them on their hearts” (vs. 33). He says also that this new covenant will necessitate a once-for-all payment for their sins, unlike the previous covenant (Jeremiah 31:34, Daniel 9:24-25).

God also speaks in the Old Testament of the Messiah who would bring this about. A Messiah not from the Levitical priesthood, but a perfect man from the tribe of Judah who would be a priest unto God. He, the Messiah would be the sacrifice that would pay for all sin in one go, and approach God not on the merit of his ancestry (as with the Levitical priests), but on his own merit, being like God, perfect. If people follow this Messiah and accept his payment of the penalty for sin for them, then God will write the law on their minds and hearts, and God can be merciful to them as His justice has been satisfied. Then they too can draw near to God, for God wants to be in relationship with His creation (Genesis 3:8-11) and it is only sin which stops that.

Obviously this is quite involved and only a comprehensive reading of the Old Testament will explain it adequately. All scripture is profitable, including that concerning the sacrificial system. However, God also promised in the Bible to make a renewed covenant with His people. In this the original system was replaced with the perfect sacrifice of the Messiah, Jesus.

Many scriptures describe this Messiah who would bring about this new covenant. In this God “makes his life a guilt offering” and we are told “Surely he took up our infirmities [sins] and carried our sorrows, he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace [with God] was upon him.” See Isaiah chapter 53.

You can pay the price for your sin if you wish - it will cost you your life eternally. You will die for your own sin and go to hell. Or, because of the love of God, the Messiah can pay that price for you, and be “pierced” in substitution for you, which will bring you peace with God. Then God will permit you to enter heaven for eternity as His justice is satisfied. For as John the Baptist when seeing Jesus mentioned, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the word!” He also said, “Whoever believes in the Son [Jesus] has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on him.” John 1:29, 3:36.

God teaches that He will do this. It was fulfilled in the death and resurrection of the Messiah, Jesus, EXACTLY as the Old Testament said it would happen, and the new covenant was established. Sin was paid for once for all by the “Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world” as John the Baptist announced upon seeing Jesus (see #34 and #44). He is the one God promised. So through his death the old system of sacrifices, offering animals over and over again, became unnecessary. God’s alternative, which is vastly superior and comprehensive, rendered by God himself the previous system useless (Hebrews 8:7-13).

So, like clarification #92, God did not change His mind on His plan for enabling people to be right with Him. God is not a man that He should change His mind. It was His intention and plan all along to bring in this new covenant as a fulfilment of the old, as the Old Testament shows. A further point needs to be addressed a here. These ceremonial laws were required of the Israelites alone, as they were the ones who operating within the stipulations, ordinances and decrees of the Mosaic covenant. Any Gentile, or non-Israelite, who wished to convert to Judaism, was obligated to observe these covenantal ordinances as well. But Christians are not converts to Judaism. They are believers in Jesus, God’s Messiah, the Savior. They operate within the context of a “new covenant,” the one established in Jesus’ blood by his atoning sacrifice, not the old covenant which God made with Israel at Sinai. Within this new covenant, Christians too have commandments, and in one manner or another they all relate to what was written in the Old Testament, but now in an entirely new context, that of fulfilment. So there is a clear line of continuity, revelation and renewal between the covenants, new and old - because both Israel and Christianity have the Messiah in common, and it was the Hebrew Scriptures that he fulfilled. Therefore all those Scriptures are profitable for studying, to know where we have come from, and where we are going. But not every commandment, ordinance or decree in the Old Testament is applicable to Christians in the same way it was (or is) to Israel. Though we have much in common, we have distinct covenants, a new covenant, which present Jews need to read about and acquiesce to, as it fulfills all that they look for and continue to hope for.

Note: a parallel to this, although an imperfect one, can be draw for the Muslim from the Qur’an. Sura 3:49-50. Jesus comes and says to the people of Israel “I have come to you to affirm the Law which was before me. And to make lawful to you what was before forbidden to you”, or “to make halal what was haram”. According to this he came and confirmed the law which God had given to them, but he made some things permissible for them which God had previously prohibited. This is not true according to the Bible in the context of this “contradiction” and cannot be said for Judaism and Christianity. It is just a parallel to show that the Qur’an testifies of such things too.

  1. Was the exact wording on the cross, as ( Matthew 27:37, Mark 15:26, Luke 23:38, and John 19:19) all seem to have different wordings?

(Category: misread the text)

This seeming contradiction takes on the question, ‘What was the exact wording on the cross?’ It is argued that Matthew 27:37, Mark 15:26, Luke 23:38, and John 19:19 all use different words posted above Jesus’s head while hanging on the cross. This can be better understood by looking at John 19:20 which says;

“Many of the Jews read this sign, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city, and the sign was written in Aramaic, Latin and Greek.”

It is interesting that Pilate is said to have written the sign and may have written different things in each of the languages according to Pilate’s proficiency in each of the languages. The key charge brought against Jesus in all of the Gospels is that he claimed to be ‘King of the Jews’. If this had been missing from any of the accounts then there may have been a possible concern for a contradiction here; but this is not the case. For a further explanation of this see Archer’s explanation.

(Archer 1982:345-346).

  1. Did Herod want to kill John the Baptist (Matthew 14:5), or was it his wife Herodias (Mark 6:20)?

(Category: misunderstood the author’s intent)

The supposed contradiction pointed out by Shabbir is, ‘Did Herod want to kill John the Baptist?’ The passages used by Shabbir to promote his conjecture are Matthew 14:5 where it appears to say that Herod did and Mark 6:20 where Shabbir suggests that Herod did not want to kill him. However the passages in question are complimentary passages.

When we look at the whole story we see that Matthew 14:1-11 and Mark 6:14-29, as far as I have been able to see nowhere contradict each other. This seems to be a similarly weak attempt to find a contradiction within the Bible to that of contradiction 50. In both passages Herod has John imprisoned because of his wife Herodias. Therefore it is the underlying influence of Herodias on Herod that is the important factor in John’s beheading. Mark’s account is more detailed than Matthew’s, whose Gospel is thought to have been written later, because Matthew does not want to waste time trampling old ground when it is already contained within Mark’s Gospel. Notice also that Mark does not anywhere state that Herod did not want to kill John, but does say that Herod was afraid of him, because of John’s righteousness and holiness, and, as Matthew adds, the factor of John’s influence over the people.

  1. Was the tenth disciple of Jesus in the list of twelve Thaddaeus (Matthew 10:1-4; Mark 3:13-19) or Judas, son of James (Luke 6:12-16)?

(Category: misunderstood the historical context)

Both can be correct. It was not unusual for people of this time to use more than one name. Simon, or Cephas was also called Peter (Mark 3:16), and Saul was also called Paul (Acts 13:9). In neither case is there a suggestion that either was used exclusively before changing to the other. Their two names were interchangeable.

  1. Was the man Jesus saw sitting at the tax collector’s office whom he called to be his disciple named Matthew (Matthew 9:9) or Levi (Mark 2:14; Luke 5:27)?

(Category: misunderstood the historical context)

The answer to this question is exactly the same as the previous one in that both scriptures are correct. Matthew was also called Levi, as the scriptures here attest.

It is somewhat amusing to hear Mr Ally drawing so much attention to this legitimate custom. In the run-up to a debate in Birmingham, England in February 1998, he felt free to masquerade under an alternative name (Abdul Abu Saffiyah, meaning ‘Abdul, the father of Saffiyah’, his daughter’s name) in order to gain an unfair advantage over Mr Smith, his opponent. By disguising his identity he denied Mr Smith the preparation to which he was entitled. Now here he finds it a contradictory when persons in the 1st century Palestine either use one or the other of their names, a practice which is neither illegal nor duplicitous.

There are perfectly legitimate reasons for using an alternative name. However, in the light of Mr Ally’s unfair and deceitful practice outlined above, there is a ring of hypocrisy to these last two questions raised by him.

  1. Was Jesus crucified on the daytime after the Passover meal (Mark 14:12-17) or the daytime before the Passover meal ( John 13:1, 30, 29; 18:28; 19:14)?

(Category: misunderstood the historical context)

Jesus was crucified on the daytime before the Passover meal. The reason why Mark seems to say it was after is one of culture and contextualising.

The evidence from the Gospels that Jesus died on the eve of the Passover, when the Passover meal would be eaten after sunset, is very solid. Before we delve (albeit briefly) into this issue, it is worth noting that Mark 14 records that Jesus does not eat the Passover with his disciples.

Luke 14:12 says it was “the Feast of Unleavened Bread”, which is also called “Passover”. As the name suggest states, part of the Passover meal was to eat bread without yeast. It is a commandment which Jewish people keep even today for the meal, for God makes it extremely clear, “eat bread without yeast And whoever eats bread with yeast in it must be cut off from the

community of Israel. Eat nothing made with yeast. Wherever you live, you must eat unleavened bread “. See also Exodus 12:1-20.

The Greek word for “unleavened bread” is ‘azymos’. This is the word used by Mark in “the Feast of Unleavened Bread”, chapter 14 verse 12. The Greek word for normal bread (with yeast) is ‘artos’. All the Gospel writers, including Mark, agree that in this last meal with his disciples the bread they ate was artos, in other words a bread with yeast. “While they were eating, Jesus took bread [artos], gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying Take it; this is my body.” Mark 14:22. It is highly probably therefore that this meal was not a Passover meal. The use of the different words in the same passage strongly suggests this. For it would be unthinkable to them to eat something that God had commanded them not to eat (bread with yeast - artos), and not to eat something that they were commanded to eat (unleavened

bread - azymos).

Therefore, as this is true, what does Mark mean in verses 12-17? Firstly, we read, “when it was customary to sacrifice the Passover lamb”. Exodus 20:1-8 says that this must happen on the 14th day of the Jewish month of Nisan. However, there was dispute as to when this day was, due to the debate on separate calendars which were used for calculating feast-days. It is possible that separate traditions were in vogue in Jesus life. So, indeed it may have been “customary” to sacrifice the lamb on that day for some, although many, probably most, recognized the Passover as being the next evening.

Secondly, the disciples ask Jesus “Where do you want us to go and make preparations for you to eat the Passover?” They had no idea that Jesus was going to give his life for the sins of the world like the Passover lamb of Exodus 20 did to save the Israelites from God’s wrath upon Egypt. Jesus had explained to them, but they did not grasp it for many reasons, including the hailing of Jesus by the people as Messiah in the Triumphal Entry, which was still ‘ringing in their ears’. He does not state that he would eat it with them. He wanted to, but he knew he would not. There is no room for any dogmatic statement that the Passover must be eaten on the same day the room was hired or prepared. Indeed, Jewish people, because of Exodus 12, thoroughly prepared their houses for the Feast of Unleavened Bread.

Thirdly, in some ways the Gospels couch the last supper in terms of fulfillment. I.e. Luke 22 records Jesus saying that he had longed to eat “this” Passover meal with them. So, does Luke say it was the Passover meal? It is doubtful, due to the same use of artos and azymos, amongst other reasons. Jesus did make this last supper a sort of Passover meal (but not the real one). He wanted to have this special fellowship with his disciples, his friends, being painfully aware of the agony he would go through, only a few hours later. He also wanted to show his disciples that the Passover spoke of him; that he was the sacrifice that would bring in the New Covenant God promised (see questions #64 and #34) just like the lambs that was killed 1500 years earlier to save the people if Israel from God’s wrath. He illustrated through the meal that he is the “Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world” as John the Baptist called Jesus (John 1:29). He wanted to eat it with them for he says, “I will not eat it again until it finds fulfillment in the Kingdom of God” (Luke 22:16). His coming death was its fulfillment, “For Christ, our Passover Lamb, has been sacrificed” (1 Corinthians 5:7).

If this understanding is correct (one of two feasible explanations I opted for due to my current research), then there is no contradiction. Jesus died before the Passover meal.

  1. Did Jesus both pray (Matthew 26:39; Mark 14:36; Luke 22:42) or not pray (John 12:27) to the Father to prevent the crucifixion?

(Category: misread the text)

This apparent contradiction asks: ‘Did Jesus pray to the Father to prevent the crucifixion?’ Matthew 26:39; Mark 14:36 and Luke 22:42 are supposed to imply that he does. John 12:27, however, seems to say that he doesn’t.

This is a rather weak attempt at a contradiction and again wholly relies upon the ignorance of the reader for it’s strength. Matthew 26:39, Mark 14:36, and Luke 22:42 are parallel passages which take place in the Garden of Gethsemane just before the arrest of Jesus. In all of these passages Jesus never asks for the Crucifixion to be prevented but does express his fears of the difficulties, pain and suffering that he is going to encounter over the next few hours, in the form of his trials, beatings, whippings, loneliness and alienation from people and God on the Cross, the ordeal of crucifixion itself and the upcoming triumph over Satan. He does, however, more importantly ask for God’s will to be carried out over the next few hours knowing that this is the means by which he will die and rise again, and by doing so atone for all the sins of the world.

John 12:27 is from a totally different situation, one which takes place before the circumstances described above. It is said while Jesus is speaking to a crowd of people during the Passover Festival at the Temple in Jerusalem (in fact even before the gathering of the Twelve with Jesus at the Upper Room). On this occasion Jesus again says something very similar to the other passages above;

“Now my heart is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father save me from this hour’? No it was for this very reason that I came to this hour. Father, glorify your name!”

Again we are reminded that he is feeling troubled. He knows events are fast unfolding around him. Yet, this statement is said in reply to some Greeks who have just asked something of Jesus through his disciples. Were they there to offer him a way out of his upcoming troubles? Perhaps, but Jesus does not go to meet them and indeed replies to their request to meet him in this way. Is it really conceivable that this man wants to prevent the crucifixion from taking place! I think not!

  1. Did Jesus move away three times (Matthew 26:36-46; Mark 14:32-42) or once (Luke 22:39-46) from his disciples to pray?

(Category: the texts are compatible with a little thought)

Shabbir asks how many times Jesus left the disciples to pray alone at the Garden of Gethsemane on the night of his arrest. Matthew 26:36-46 and Mark 14:32-42, show three but Luke 22:39-46 only speaks of one. However once again there is no contradiction once you realize that the three passages are complementary.

Note that the Luke passage nowhere states that Jesus did not leave the disciples three times to go and pray. Because he does not mention all three times does not imply that Jesus did not do so. Obviously Luke did not consider that fact to be relevant to his account. We must remember that Luke’s Gospel is thought of as the third Gospel to have been put to paper chronologically, therefore it would make sense for him not to regurgitate information found in the other two gospels.

  1. When Jesus went away to pray, were the words in his two prayers the same (Mark 14:39) or different (Matthew 26:42)?

(Category: imposes his own agenda)

This apparent contradiction comparing Matthew 26:36-46 with Mark 14:32-42, and in particular verses 42 and 39 respectively, is not a contradiction at all. Shabbir asks the question: ‘What were the words of the second prayer?’ at the Garden of Gethsemane. It relies heavily once again upon the reader of Shabbir’s book being ignorant of the texts mentioned, and his wording of the supposed contradiction as contrived and misleading.

Shabbir maintains that in the passage in Mark, “that the words were the same as the first prayer (Mark 14:39).” Let’s see what Mark does say of the second prayer in 14:39;

“Once more he went away and prayed the same thing.”

Nowhere in this verse does Mark say that Jesus prayed the same words as the previous prayer, but what he does imply by the words used in the sentence is that the gist of the prayer is the same as before, as the passage in Matthew shows. When we compare the first two prayers in Matthew (vss. 39 and 42) we see that they are essentially the same prayer, though not exactly the same wording. Then in verse 44 Matthew says that Christ prayed yet again “saying the same thing!” Yet according to Shabbir’s thinking the two prayers were different; so how could Jesus then be saying the same thing the third time?

It seems that Shabbir is simply imposing a Muslim formula of prayer on the passages above which he simply cannot do. You would expect this to be the case if this was a rigidly formulated prayer that had to be repeated daily, as we find in Islam. But these prayers were prayers of the heart that were spoken by Jesus because of the enormity of the situation before him. Ultimately that situation was secondary to the gravity, power, and loving bond that Jesus had with the Father.

  1. Did the centurion say that Jesus was innocent (Luke 23:47), or that he was the Son of God (Mark 15:39)?

(Category: the texts are compatible with a little thought)

The question being forwarded is what the centurion at the cross said when Jesus died. The two passages quoted are Mark 15:39 and Luke 23:47. However as has been said before with other apparent contradictions these passages are not contradictory but complementary.

Matthew 27:54 and Mark 15:39 agree that the centurion exclaimed that Jesus, “was the Son of God!”. Luke 23:47 however mentions that the centurion refers to Jesus as, “a righteous man.” Is it so hard to believe that the centurion said both? Nowhere in any of the Gospel narratives do the writers claim that was all that the centurion had to say. Therefore, let’s not impose on the writers what we would have the centurion say.

Matthew and Mark were more interested by the declaration of divinity used by the centurion, whereas Luke is interested in the humanity of Jesus, one of the main themes of his Gospel. Thus he refers to the corresponding statement made by the centurion.

(Archer 1982:346-347).

  1. Did Jesus say “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” in Hebrew (Matthew 27:46) or in Aramaic (Mark 15:34)?

(Category: misunderstood the Hebrew usage)

The question of whether Jesus spoke Hebrew or Aramaic on the cross is answerable. However, the reason for Matthew and Mark recording it differently is probably due to the way the event was spoken of in Aramaic after it happened, and due to the recipients of the Gospel. However, the whole issue is not a valid criticism of the Bible.

Mark 15:34 is probably the most quoted Aramaism in the New Testament, being “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabakthani.” However, it is doubtful that Jesus spoke in the language that Mark records them in. The reason is simple; the people hearing Jesus’ words thought he was calling Elijah (Matthew 27:47 and Mark 15:35-36). In order for the onlookers to have made this mistake, Jesus would have to have cried “Eli, Eli,” not “Eloi, Eloi.” Why? Because in Hebrew Eli can be either “My God” or the shortened form of Eliyahu which is Hebrew for Elijah. However, in Aramaic Eloi can be only “My God.”

It is also worth noting that lama (“why”) is the same word in both languages, and sabak is a verb which is found not only in Aramaic, but also in Mishnaic Hebrew.

Therefore Jesus probably spoke it in Hebrew. Why therefore is it recorded in Aramaic as well? Jesus was part of a multilingual society. He most probably spoke Greek (the common language of Greece and Rome), Aramaic (the common language of the Ancient Near East) and Hebrew, the sacred tongue of Judaism, which had been revived in the form of Mishnaic Hebrew in Second Temple times. Hebrew and Aramaic are closely related Semitic languages. That Hebrew and Aramaic terms show up in the Gospels is, therefore, not at all surprising.

That one Gospel writer records it in Hebrew and another in extremely similar Aramaic is no problem to Christians, nor is it a criticism of the Bible. The simple reason for the difference is probably that when one of them remembered and discussed the happening of Jesus’ life, death and resurrection, this phrase may well have been repeated in their conversation as Aramaic, which would be perfectly normal. So he wrote it down as such. Secondly, Mark may have written it in Aramaic due to the fact that he was the original recipients of the Gospel.

However, both these reasons are simply speculation. If Mark recorded his words in Arabic, then we would worry!

(Bivin/Blizzard 1994:10)

  1. Were the last words that Jesus spook “Father into thy hands I commit my spirit” (Luke 23:46), or “It is finished” (John 19:30)?

(Category: the texts are compatible with a little thought)

‘What were the last words of Jesus before he died?’ is the question asked by Shabbir in this supposed contradiction. This does not show a contradiction any more than two witnesses to an accident at an intersection will come up with two different scenarios of that accident, depending on where they stood. Neither witness would be incorrect, as they describe the event from a different perspective. Luke was not a witness to the event, and so is dependent on those who were there. John was a witness. What they are both relating, however, is that at the end Jesus gave himself up to death.

It could be said that Luke used the last words that he felt were necessary for his gospel account, which concentrated on the humanity of Christ (noted in the earlier question), while John, as well as quoting the last words of Jesus, was interested in the fulfilment of the salvific message, and so quoted the last phrase “it is finished”.

John 17:4 records Jesus’ prayer to the Father in the light of Christ’s forthcoming crucifixion, stating that He had completed the work of revelation (John 1:18), and since revelation is a particular stress of the Gospel of John, and the cross is the consummation of that commission (John 3:16), it is natural that this Gospel should centre on tetelestai. At any rate, if Jesus said ‘It is finished; Father into your hands I commit my spirit’ or vice versa, it would be quite in order to record either clause of this sentence, his last words. Luke-Acts reaches its conclusion without any climax, because the continuing ministry of the exalted Christ through the Holy Spirit and the Church has no ending prior to the Parousia, and to record tetelestai might have undermined this emphasis, or it could have been taken the wrong way. At any rate, no contradiction is involved; purely a distinction of emphasis.

  1. Did the Capernaum centurion come personally to ask Jesus to heal his slave (Matthew 8:5), or did he send elders of the Jews and his friends (Luke 7:3,6)?

(Category: the text is compatible with a little thought & misunderstood the author’s intent)

This is not a contradiction but rather a misunderstanding of sequence, as well as a misunderstanding of what the authors intended. The centurion initially delivered his message to Jesus via the elders of the Jews. It is also possible that he came personally to Jesus after he had sent the elders to Jesus. Matthew mentions the centurion because he was the one in need, while Luke mentions the efforts of the Jewish elders because they were the ones who made the initial contact.

We know of other instances where the deed which a person tells others to do is in actuality done through him. A good example is the baptism done by the disciple’s of Jesus, yet it was said that Jesus baptized (John 4:1-2).

We can also understand why each author chose to relate it differently by understanding the reason they wrote the event. Matthew’s main reason for relating this story is not the factual occurrence but to relate the fact of the importance of all nations to Christ. This is why Matthew speaks of the centurion rather than the messengers of the centurion. It is also the reason why Matthew spends less time relating the actual story and more on the parable of the kingdom of heaven. Matthew wants to show that Jesus relates to all people.

Luke in his telling of the story does not even relate the parable that Jesus told the people, but concentrates on telling the story in more detail, thereby concentrating more on the humanity of Jesus by listening to the messengers, the fact that he is impressed by the faith of the centurion and the reason why he is so impressed; because the centurion does not even consider himself ‘worthy’ to come before Jesus. Ultimately this leads to the compassion shown by Jesus in healing the centurion’s servant without actually going to the home of the centurion.

  1. Did Adam die the same day (Genesis 2:17) or did he continue to live to the age of 930 years (Genesis 5:5)?

(Category: misunderstood how God works in history)

The Scriptures describe death in three ways; 1) Physical death which ends our life on earth, 2) spiritual death which is separation from God, and 3) eternal death in hell. The death spoken of in Genesis 2:17 is the second death mentioned in our list, that of complete separation from God, while the death mentioned in Genesis 5:5 is the first death, a physical death which ends our present life.

For obvious reasons Shabbir will see this as a contradiction because he does not understand the significance of spiritual death which is a complete separation from God, since he will not admit that Adam had any relationship with God to begin with in the garden of Eden. The spiritual separation (and thus spiritual death) is shown visibly in Genesis chapter 3 where Adam was thrown out of the Garden of Eden and away from God’s presence.

Ironically Adam being thrown out of the garden of Eden is also mentioned in the Qur’an (Sura 2:36), though there is no reason for this to happen, if (as Muslims believe) Adam had been forgiven for his sin. Here is an example of the Qur’an borrowing a story from the earlier scriptures without understanding its meaning or significance, and therein lies the assumption behind the supposed contradiction.

(for a clearer understanding of the significance of spiritual death and how that impinges on nearly every area of disagreement Christians have with Islam, read the paper entitled “The Hermeneutical Key” by Jay Smith.)

  1. Did God decide that the lifespan of humans was to be only 120 years (Genesis 6:3), or longer (Genesis 11:12-16)?

(Category: misread the text)

In Genesis 6:3 we read:

“Then the LORD said, ‘My Spirit will not contend with man forever, for he is mortal; his days will be a hundred and twenty years.’”

This is contrasted with ages of people who lived longer than 120 years in Genesis 11:12-16. However this is based, I presume on a misreading or misunderstanding of the text.

The hundred and twenty years spoken of by God in Genesis 6:3 cannot mean the life span of human beings as you do find people older than that mentioned more or less straight away a few Chapters on into the book of Genesis (including Noah himself). The more likely meaning is that the Flood that God had warned Noah about doesn’t happen until 120 years after the initial warning to Noah. This is brought out further in 1Peter 3:20 where we read,

“God waited patiently in the days of Noah while the ark was being built.”

Therefore looking at the context of the Genesis 6:3 passage it would agree with what we find in chapter 11 of the same book.

(Geisler/Howe 1992:41)

  1. Apart from Jesus there was no-one else (John 3:13) or there were others (2 Kings 2:11) who ascended to heaven?

(Category: misunderstood the wording)

There were others who went to heaven without dying, such as Elijah and Enoch (Genesis 5:24). In John 3:13 Jesus is setting forth his superior knowledge of heavenly things. Essentially what he is saying, “no other human being can speak from first hand knowledge about these things, as I can, since I came down from heaven.” he is claiming that no one has ascended to heaven to bring down the message that he brought. In no way is he denying that anyone else is in heaven, such as Elijah and Enoch. Rather, Jesus is simply claiming that no one on earth has gone to heaven and returned with a message such as he offered to them.

  1. Was the high priest Abiathar (Mark 2:26), or Ahimelech (1 Samuel 21:1; 22:20) when David went into the house of God and ate the consecrated bread?

(Category: misunderstood the Hebrew usage & misunderstood the historical context)

Jesus states that the event happened ‘in the days of Abiathar the high priest’ and yet we know from 1 Samuel that Abiathar was not actually the high priest at that time; it was his father, Ahimelech.

If we were to introduce an anecdote by saying, ‘When king David was a shepherd-boy…’, it would not be incorrect, even though David was not king at that time. In the same way, Abiathar was soon to be high priest and this is what he is most remembered for, hence he is designated by this title. Moreover, the event certainly did happen ‘in the days of Abiathar’, as he was alive and present during the incident. We know from 1 Samuel 22:20 that he narrowly escaped when his father’s whole family and their town was destroyed by Saul’s men. Therefore, Jesus’ statement is quite acceptable.

(Archer 1994:362)

  1. Was Jesus’ body wrapped in spices before burial in accordance with Jewish burial customs (John 19:39-40), or did the women come and administer the spices later (Mark 16:1)?

(Category: the texts are compatible with a little thought)

John 19:39,40 clearly states that Joseph and Nicodemus wrapped the body in 75 pounds of myrrh and aloes, along with strips of linen. We also know from the synoptic writers that the body was placed in a large shroud. There need be no contradiction here. The fact that the synoptics do not mention the spices during the burial does not mean that they were not used.

If Mark 16:1 is taken to mean that the women were hoping to do the whole burial process themselves, they would need the strips of linen as well, which are not mentioned. It is likely that they simply wished to perform their last act of devotion to their master by adding extra spices to those used by Joseph.

As Jesus died around the ninth hour (Mark 15:34-37), there would have been time (almost three hours) for Joseph and Nicodemus to perform the burial process quickly before the Sabbath began. We need not suppose that there was only time for them to wrap his body in a shroud and deposit it in the tomb.

  1. Did the women buy the spices after (Mark 16:1) or before the Sabbath (Luke 23:55 to 24:1)?

(Category: the texts are compatible with a little thought)

Several details in the accounts of the resurrection suggest that there were in fact two groups of women on their way to the tomb, planning to meet each other there. See question 86 for more details of these two groups.

Now it becomes clear that Mary Magdalene and her group bought their spices after the Sabbath, as recorded by Mark 16:1. On the other hand, Joanna and her group bought their spices before the Sabbath, as recorded by Luke 23:56. It is significant that Joanna is mentioned only by Luke, thereby strengthening the proposition that it was her group mentioned by him in the resurrection account.

  1. Did the women visit the tomb “toward the dawn” (Matthew 28:1), or “When the sun had risen” (Mark 16:2)?

(Category: the texts are compatible with a little thought)

A brief look at the four passages concerned will clear up any misunderstanding.

Matthew 28:1: ‘At dawn…went to look at the tomb’. Mark 16:2 ‘Very early…just after sunrise, they were on their way to the tomb’. Luke 24:1: ‘Very early in the morning…went to the tomb’. John 20:1: ‘Early…while it was still dark…went to the tomb’. Thus we see that the four accounts are easily compatible in this respect. It is not even necessary for this point to remember that there were two groups of women, as the harmony is quite simple. From Luke we understand that it was very early when the women set off for the tomb. From Matthew we see that the sun was just dawning, yet John makes it clear that it had not yet done so fully: The darkness was on its way out but had not yet gone. Mark’s statement that the sun had risen comes later, when they were on their way. It is perfectly reasonable to assume that the sun had time to rise during their journey across Jerusalem.

  1. Did the women go to the tomb to anoint Jesus’ body with spices (Mark 16:1; Luke 23:55-24:1), or to see the tomb (Matthew 28:1), or for no reason (John 20:1)?

(Category: the texts are compatible with a little thought)

This answer links in with number 81 above. We know that they went to the tomb in order to put further spices on Jesus’ body, as Luke and Mark tell us. The fact that Matthew and John do not give a specific reason does not mean that there was not one. They were going to put on spices, whether or not the gospel authors all mention it. We would not expect every detail to be included in all the accounts, otherwise there would be no need for four of them!

  1. When the women arrived at the tomb, was the stone “rolled back” (Mark 16:4), “rolled away” (Luke 24:2), “taken away” (John 20:1), or did they see an angel do it (Matthew 28:1-6)?

(Category: misread the text)

Matthew does not say that the women saw the angel roll the stone back. This accusation is indeed trivial. After documenting the women setting off for the tomb, Matthew relates the earthquake, which happened while they were still on their way. Verse 2 begins by saying, ‘There was a violent earthquake’, the Greek of which carries the sense of, ‘now there had been a violent earthquake’. When the women speak to the angel in verse 5, we understand from Mark 16:5 that they had approached the tomb and gone inside, where he was sitting on the ledge where Jesus’ body had been. Therefore, the answer to this question is that the stone was rolled away when they arrived: there is no contradiction.

  1. In (Matthew 16:2; 28:7; Mark 16:5-6; Luke 24:4-5; 23), the women were told what happened to Jesus’ body, while in (John 20:2) Mary was not told.

(Category: the texts are compatible with a little thought)

The angels told the women that Jesus had risen from the dead. Matthew, Mark and Luke are all clear on this. The apparent discrepancy regarding the number of angels is cleared up when we realize that there were two groups of women. Mary Magdalene and her group probably set out from the house of John Mark, where the Last Supper had been held. Joanna and some other unnamed women, on the other hand, probably set out from Herod’s residence, in a different part of the city. Joanna was the wife of Cuza, the manager of Herod’s household (Luke 8:3) and it is therefore highly probable that she and her companions set out from the royal residence.

With this in mind, it is clear that the first angel (who rolled away the stone and told Mary and Salome where Jesus was) had disappeared by the time Joanna and her companions arrived. When they got there (Luke 24:3-8), two angels appeared and told them the good news, after which they hurried off to tell the apostles. In Luke 24:10, all the women are mentioned together, as they all went to the apostles in the end.

We are now in a position to see why Mary Magdalene did not see the angels. John 20:1 tells us that Mary came to the tomb and we know from the other accounts that Salome and another Mary were with her. As soon as she saw the stone rolled away, she ran to tell the apostles, assuming that Jesus had been taken away. The other Mary and Salome, on the other hand, satisfied their curiosity by looking inside the tomb, where they found the angel who told them what had happened. So we see that the angels did inform the women, but that Mary Magdalene ran back before she had chance to meet them.

  1. Did Mary Magdalene first meet the resurrected Jesus during her first visit (Matthew 28:9) or on her second visit (John 20:11-17)? And how did she react?

(Category: the texts are compatible with a little thought)

We have established in the last answer that Mary Magdalene ran back to the apostles as soon as she saw the stone had been rolled away. Therefore, when Matthew 28:9 records Jesus meeting them, she was not there. In fact, we understand from Mark 16:9 that Jesus appeared first to Mary Magdalene, which was after she, Peter and John had returned to the tomb the first time (John 20:1-18). Here, we see that Peter and John saw the tomb and went home, leaving Mary weeping by the entrance. From here, she saw the two angels inside the tomb and then met Jesus himself.

As all this happened before Jesus appeared to the other women, it appears that there was some delay in them reaching the apostles. We may understand what happened by comparing the complementary accounts. Matthew 28:8 tells us that the women (Mary the mother of James and Salome) ran away ‘afraid yet filled with joy…to tell his disciples’. It appears that their fear initially got the better of them, for they ‘said nothing to anyone’ (Mark 16:8). It was at this time that Jesus suddenly met them (Matthew 28:9,10). Here, he calmed their fears and told them once more to go and tell the apostles.

There are several apparent problems in the harmonization of the resurrection accounts, a few of which have been touched on here. It has not been appropriate to attempt a full harmonization in this short paper, as we have been answering specific points. A complete harmonization has been commendably attempted by John Wenham in ‘Easter Enigma’ (most recent edition 1996, Paternoster Press). Anyone with further questions is invited to go this book.

It must be admitted that we have in certain places followed explanations or interpretations that are not specifically stated in the text. This is entirely permissible, as the explanations must merely be plausible. It is clear that the gospel authors are writing from different points of view, adding and leaving out different details. This is entirely to be expected from four authors writing independently. Far from casting doubt on their accounts, it gives added credibility, as those details which at first appear to be in conflict can be resolved with some thought, yet are free from the hallmarks of obvious collusion, either by the original authors or any subsequent editors.

  1. Did Jesus instruct his disciples to wait for him in Galilee (Matthew 28:10), or that he was ascending to his Father and God (John 20:17)?

(Category: misread the text)

This apparent contradiction asks, ‘What was Jesus’ instruction for his disciples?’ Shabbir uses Matthew 28:10 and John20:17 to demonstrate this apparent contradiction. However the two passages occur at different times on the same day and there is no reason to believe that Jesus would give his disciples only one instruction.

This is another contradiction which depends upon the reader of Shabbir’s book being ignorant of the biblical passages and the events surrounding that Sunday morning resurrection. (I say Sunday because it is the first day of the week) The two passages, in fact, are complementary not contradictory. This is because the two passages do not refer to the same point in time. Matthew 28:10 speaks of the group of women encountering the risen Jesus on their way back to tell the disciples of what they had found. An empty tomb!? And then receiving the first set of instructions from him to tell the disciples.

The second passage from John 20:17 occurs some time after the first passage, (to understand the time framework read from the beginning of this Chapter) and takes place when Mary is by herself at the tomb grieving out of bewilderment, due to the events unraveling around about her. She sees Jesus and he gives her another set of instructions to pass on to the disciples.

  1. Upon Jesus’ instructions, did the disciples return to Galilee immediately (Matthew 28:17), or after at least 40 days (Luke 24:33, 49; Acts 1:3-4)?

(Category: didn’t read the entire text and misquoted the text)

This supposed contradiction asks when the disciples returned to Galilee after the crucifixion. It is argued from Matthew 28:17 that they returned immediately, and from Luke 24:33 and 49, and Acts 1:4 that it was after at least 40 days. However both of these assumptions are wrong.

It would appear that Jesus appeared to them many times; sometimes individually, sometimes in groups, and as the whole group gathered together, and also at least to Paul and Stephen after the Ascension (see 1 Corinthians 15:5-8, and Acts 7:55-56). He appeared in Galilee and Jerusalem and other places. Matthew 28:16-20 is a summary of all the appearances of Christ, and it is for this reason that it is not advisable to overstress chronology in this account, as Shabbir seems to have done.

The second argument in this seeming contradiction is an even weaker argument than the one I have responded to above. This is because Shabbir has not fully quoted Acts 1:4 which says;

‘On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about.”‘

Now the author of Acts, Luke in this passage does not specify when Jesus said this. However in his gospel he does the same thing as Matthew and groups together all the appearances so again it would be unwise to read too much chronologically into the passage of Luke 24:36-49. However it is apparent from the Gospels of Matthew and John that some of the disciples at least did go to Galilee and encounter Jesus there; presumably after the first encounter in Jerusalem and certainly before the end of the forty day period before Christ’s Ascension into Heaven.

  1. Did the Midianites sell Joseph “to the Ishmaelites” (Genesis 37:28), or to Potiphar, an officer of Pharoah (Geneis 37:36)?

(Category: misunderstood the historical context)

This apparent contradiction is a very strange one because it shows a clear misunderstanding of the text in Genesis 37:25-36. The question is asked, ‘To whom did the Midianites sell Joseph?’ Verse 28 is used to say the Ishmaelites, and verse 36 Potiphar.

The traveling merchants were comprised of Ishmaelite and Midianite merchants who bought Joseph from his brothers, and they in turn sold him to Potiphar in Egypt. The words Ishmaelite and Midianite are used interchangeably. This would seem obvious once you read verses 27 and 28 together. A clearer usage for these two names can also be found in Judges 8:24.

  1. Did the Ishmaelites bring Joseph to Egypt (Genesis 37:28), or was it the Midianites (Genesis 37:36), or was it Joseph’s brothers (Genesis 45:4)?

(Category: misunderstood the historical context)

This supposed contradiction follows on from the last one and again lights up Shabbir’s problem with the historical situation, as well as his inability to understand what the text is saying This time the question asked is, ‘Who brought Joseph to Egypt?’ From the last question we know that both the Ishmaelites and the Midianites were responsible for physically taking him there (as they are one and the same people), while the brother’s of Joseph are just as responsible, as it was they who sold him to the merchants, and thus are being blamed for this very thing by Joseph in Genesis 45:4. Consequently, as we saw in the previous question all three parties had a part to play in bringing Joseph to Egypt.

  1. Does God change his mind (Genesis 6:7; Exodus 32:14; 1 Samuel 15:10-11, 35), or does he not change his mind (1 Samuel 15:29)?

(Category: misunderstood how God works in history & misunderstood the Hebrew usage)

This “contradiction” generally appears only in older English translations of the Biblical manuscripts. The accusation arises from translation difficulties and is solved by looking at the context of the event.

God knew that Saul would fail in his duty as King of Israel. Nevertheless, God allowed Saul to be king and used him greatly to do His will. Saul was highly effective as leader of Israel, in stirring his people to have courage and take pride in their nation, and in coping with Israel’s enemies during times of war.

However, God made it clear long before this time (Genesis 49:8-10) that he would establish the kings that would reign over Israel, from the tribe of Judah. Saul was from the tribe of Benjamin. Therefore there was no doubt that Saul or his descendants were not God’s permanent choice to sit on the throne of Israel. His successor David, however, was from the tribe of Judah, and his line was to continue.

Therefore God, who knows all things, did not ‘change his mind’ about Saul, for he knew Saul would turn away from Him and that the throne would be given to another.

The word in Hebrew that is used to express what God thought and how God felt concerning the turning of Saul from Him is “niham” which is rendered “repent” in the above. However, as is common in languages, it can mean more than one thing. For example, English has only one word for “love.” Greek has at least 4 and Hebrew has more. A Hebrew or Greek word for love cannot always simply be translated “love” in English if more of the original meaning is to be retained. This is a problem that translators have.

Those who translated the Bible under the order of King James (hence the King James translation, which Shabbir quotes from) translated this word niham 41 times as “repent,” out of the 108 occurrences of the different forms of niham in the Hebrew manuscripts. These translators were dependent on far fewer manuscripts than were available to the more recent translators; the latter also having access to far older manuscripts as well as a greater understanding of the Biblical Hebrew words contained within. Therefore, the more recent translators have rendered niham far more accurately into English by conveying more of its Hebrew meaning (such as relent, grieve, console, comfort, change His mind, etc. as the context of the Hebrew text communicates).

With that in mind, a more accurate rendering of the Hebrew would be that God was “grieved” that he had made Saul king. God does not lie or change his mind; for he is not a man that he should change his mind. God was grieved that he had made Saul king. God shows in the Bible that He has real emotions. He has compassion on people’s pain and listens to people’s pleas for help. His anger and wrath are roused when He sees the suffering of people from others’ deeds.

As a result of Saul’s disobedience pain was caused to God and to the people of Israel. But also, God had it in His plan from the beginning that Saul’s family, though not being from the tribe of Judah, would not stay on the throne. Therefore when Saul begs the prophet Samuel in verses 24 to 25 to be put right with God and not be dethroned, Samuel replies that God has said it will be this way - He is not going to change His mind. It was spoken that it would be this way hundreds of years before Saul was king.

There is no contradiction here. The question was “Does God change his mind?” The answer is, “No.” But He does respond to peoples situations and conduct, in compassion and in wrath, and therefore can be grieved when they do evil.

(Archer 1994)

  1. How could the Egyptian magicians convert water into blood (Exodus 7:22), if all the available water had been already converted by Moses and Aaron (Exodus 7:20-21)?

(Category: didn’t read the entire text & Imposes his own agenda)

This is a rather foolish question. To begin with Moses and Aaron did not convert all available water to blood, as Shabbir quotes, but only the water of the Nile (see verse 20). There was plenty of other water for the magicians of Pharaoh to use. We know this because just a few verses later (verse 24) we are told,

“And all the Egyptians dug along the Nile to get drinking water, because they could not drink the water of the river.”

So where is the difficulty for the magicians to demonstrate that they could also do this? Not only has Shabbir not read the entire text, he has imposed on the text he has read that which simply is not there.

  1. Did David (1 Samuel 17:23, 50) or Elhanan (2 Samuel 21:19) kill Goliath?

(Category: copyist error)

The discrepancy as to who killed Goliath (David or Elhanan) was caused by copyist or scribal error, which can be seen clearly.

The text of 2 Samuel 21:19 reads as follows:

“In another battle with the Philistines at Gob, Elhanan son of Jaare-Oregim the Bethlehemite killed Goliath the Gittite, who had a spear with a shaft like a weaver’s rod.”

As this stands in the Hebrew Masoretic text, this is a certainly a clear contradiction to 1 Samuel and its account of David’s slaying of Goliath. However, there is a very simple and apparent reason for this contradiction, as in the parallel passage of 1 Chronicles 20:5 shows. It describes the episode as follows:

“In another battle with the Philistines, Elhanan son of Jair killed Lahmi the brother of Goliath the Gittite, who had a spear with a shaft like a weaver’s rod.”

When the Hebrew for these sentences is examined, the reason for the contradiction becomes quite obvious and the latter 1 Chronicles is seen to be the true and correct reading. This is not simply because we know David killed Goliath, but also because of the language.

When the scribe was duplicating the earlier manuscript, it must have been blurred or damaged at this particular verse in 2 Samuel. The result was that he made two or three mistakes (see Gleason L. Archer, Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties, page 179):

The sign of the direct object in 1 Chronicals was ‘-t which comes just before “Lahmi” in the sentence order. The scribe mistook it for b-t or b-y-t (“Beth”) and thus got BJt hal-Lahmi (“the Bethlehemite”) out of it. He misread the word for “brother” (‘-h , the h having a dot underneath it) as the sign of the direct object (‘-t) right before g-l-y-t (“Goliath”). Therefore he made “Goliath” the object of “killed” instead of “brother” of Goliath, as in 1 Chronicles. The copyist misplaced the word for “weavers” (‘-r-g-ym) so as to put it right after “Elhanan” as his family name (ben Y-‘-r-y’-r–g-ym, ben ya’arey ‘ore-gim, “the son of the forest of weavers”, a most improbable name for anyone’s father). In Chronicles the ore-gim (“weavers”) comes straight after men\r (“a beam of”) - thus making perfectly good sense. To conclude: the 2 Samuel passage is an entirely traceable error on the part of the copyist in the original wording, which has been preserved in 1 Chronicles 20:5. David killed Goliath.

This testifies to the honesty and openness of the scribes and translators (both Jewish and Christian). Although it would be easy to change this recognized error, this has not been done in favour of remaining true to the manuscripts. Although it leaves the passage open to shallow criticism as Shabbir Ally has shown, it is criticism which we are not afraid of. An excellent example of human copying error resulting from the degeneration of papyrus.

  1. Did Saul take his own sword and fall upon it (1 Samuel 31:4-6), or did an Amalekite kill him (2 Samuel 1:1-16)?

(Category: misread the text)

It should be noted that the writer of 1 & 2 Samuel does not place any value on the Amalekite’s story. Thus, in all reality it was Saul who killed himself, though it was the Amalekite who took credit for the killing. The writer relates how Saul died and then narrates what the Amalekite said. The Amalekite’s statement that he ‘happened to be on Mount Gilboa’ (2 Samuel 1:6) may not be an innocent one. He had quite possibly come to loot the dead bodies. In any case, he certainly got there before the Philistines, who did not find Saul’s body until the next day (1 Samuel 31:8). We have David’s own testimony that the Amalekite thought he was bringing good news of Saul’s death (2 Samuel 4:10). It is likely, therefore, that he came upon Saul’s dead body, took his crown and bracelet and made up the story of Saul’s death in order that David might reward him for defeating his enemy. The Amalekite’s evil plan, however, backfired dramatically on him.

  1. Is it that everyone sins (1 Kings 8:46; 2 Chronicles 6:36; Proverbs 20:9; Ecclesiastes 7:20; 1 John 1:8-10), or do some not sin (1 John 3:1, 8-9; 4:7; 5:1)?

(Category: misunderstood the Greek usage & Imposes his own agenda)

This apparent contradiction asks: ‘Does every man sin?’ Then a number of Old Testament passages that declare this are listed followed by one New Testament passage from 1 John 1:8-10:

“If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives.”

After this it is claimed by Shabbir that: ‘True Christians cannot possibly sin, because they are children of God.’ This is followed by a number of passages from the First Epistle of John showing that Christians are children of God. Shabbir is here imposing his view on the text, assuming that those who are children of God, somehow suddenly have no sin. It is true that a person who is born of God should not habitually practice sin (James 2:14ff), but that is not to say that they will not occasionally fall into sin, as we live in a sinful world and impinged by it.

The last of the verses quoted is from 1 John 3:9 which says:

“No-one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God’s seed remains in him; he cannot go on sinning, because he has been born of God.”

Shabbir in his quote uses an older translation for 1 John 3:9 and so states, “No one born of God commits sin…and he cannot sin…,” which is not a true translation of the Greek. In the newer translations, such as the NIV they translate correctly using the present continuous in this verse, as it is written that way in the Greek. Thus those born of God will not continue to sin, as they cannot go on sinning…, the idea being that this life of sinning will die out now that he has the help of the Holy Spirit in him or her.

It is interesting how Shabbir jumps around to make his point. He begins with 1 John 1, then moves to 1 John 3-5, then returns to the 1 John 1 passage at the beginning of the Epistle and re-quotes verse 8, which speaks of all men sinning, with the hope of highlighting the seeming contradiction. There is no contradiction in this as Shabbir obviously hasn’t understood the apostle’s letter or grasped the fact that the letter develops its theme as it goes on. Therefore quoting from the beginning of the letter, then moving to the middle of the letter, and finally returning to the beginning of the letter is not the way to read a letter.

The Scriptures clearly teach that all men have sinned except for one, the Lord Jesus Christ, therefore we have no quarrel with Shabbir on this point. As to Shabbir’s second point I am glad he has come to realize that Christians are children of God therefore we have no quarrel with him on this subject.

It is Shabbir’s third point, however, which is a contentious one because it does not take on board the development of the themes of the letter, of which the one pointed out here is the call to holiness and righteousness because of the forgiveness of sins by Jesus Christ’s atoning death. It is for that reason that we are called not to continue in our sinful ways but to be changed into Christ’s sinless likeness. In his attempt to show an apparent contradiction Shabbir has mischievously rearranged the order in which the verses were intended to be read in order to force a contradiction, which doesn’t exist.

  1. Are we to bear one another’s burdens (Galatians 6:2), or are we to bear only our own burdens (Galatians 6:5)?

(Category: misread the text)

The question is asked: ‘Who will bear whose burden?’ Galatians 6:2 and 6:5 are compared, one says each other’s, while the other says your own.

There is no contradiction here at all. This is not a case of ‘either/or’ but of ‘both/and’. When you read Galatians 6:1-5 properly you will notice that believers are asked to help each other in times of need, difficulty or temptation; but they are also called to account for their own actions. There is no difficulty or contradiction in this, as the two are mutually inclusive.

  1. Did Jesus appear to twelve disciples after his resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:5), or was it to eleven (Matthew 27:3-5; 28:16; Mark 16:14; Luke 24:9,33; Acts 1:9-26)?

(Category: misread the text)

There is no contradiction once you notice how the words are being used. In all the references given for eleven disciples, the point of the narrative account is to be accurate at that particular moment of time being spoken of. After the death of Judas there were only eleven disciples, and this remained so until Matthias was chosen to take Judas’ place.

In 1 Corinthians 15:5 the generic term ‘the Twelve’ is therefore used for the disciples because Matthias is also counted within the Twelve, since he also witnessed the Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ, as the passage pointed out by Shabbir records in Acts 1:21-22.

  1. Did Jesus go immediately to the desert after his baptism (Mark 1:12-13), or did he first go to Galilee, see disciples, and attend a wedding (John 1:35, 43; 2:1-11)?

(Category: misread the text)

This apparent contradiction asks: ‘Where was Jesus three days after his baptism?’ Mark 1:12-13 says he went to the wilderness for forty days. But John ‘appears’ to have Jesus the next day at Bethany, the second day at Galilee and the third at Cana (John 1:35; 1:43; 2:1-11), unless you go back and read the entire text starting from John 1:19. The explanation about the baptism of Jesus in John’s Gospel is given by John the Baptist himself. It was “John’s testimony when the Jews of Jerusalem sent priests and Levites to ask him who he was” (vs. 19). It is he who is referring to the event of the baptism in the past. If there is any doubt look at the past tense used by John when he sees Jesus coming towards him in verses 29-30 and 32. While watching Jesus he relates to those who were listening the event of the baptism and its significance. There is no reason to believe that the baptism was actually taking place at the time John was speaking, and therefore no reason to imply that this passage contradicts that of Mark’s Gospel.

  1. Did Joseph flee with the baby Jesus to Egypt (Matthew 2:13-23), or did he calmly present him at the temple in Jerusalem and return to Galilee (Luke 2:21-40)?

(Category: misunderstood the historical context)

This supposed contradiction asks: ‘Was baby Jesus’s life threatened in Jerusalem?’ Matthew 2:13-23 says yes. Luke 2:21-40 appears to say no.

These are complementary accounts of Jesus’ early life, and not contradictory at all. It is clear that it would take some time for Herod to realize that he had been outsmarted by the magi. Matthew’s Gospel says that he killed all the baby boys that were two years old and under in Bethlehem and its vicinity. That would be enough time to allow Joseph and Mary the opportunity to do their rituals at the temple in Jerusalem and then return to Nazareth in Galilee, from where they went to Egypt, and then returned after the death of Herod

  1. When Jesus walked on the water, did his disciples worship him (Matthew 14:33), or were they utterly astounded due to their hardened hearts (Mark 6:51-52)?

(Category: didn’t read the entire text)

This seeming contradiction asks: ‘When Jesus walked on water how did the disciples respond?’ Matthew 14:33 says they worshiped him. Mark 6:51-52 says that they were astounded and hadn’t understood from the previous miracle he had done when he fed the 5000.

This again is not a contradiction but two complementary passages. If Shabbir had read the entire passage in Matthew he would have seen that both the Matthew account (verses 26-28) and the Mark account mention that the disciples had initially been astounded, thinking he was a ghost. This was because they had not understood from the previous miracle who he was. But after the initial shock had warn off the Matthew account then explains that they worshiped him.


In conclusion, once we have weighed the evidence, many if not all of the seeming contradictions posed by Shabbir Ally can be adequately explained.

When we look over the 101 supposed contradictions we find that they fall into 15 broad categories or genres of errors. Listed below are those categories, each explaining in one sentence the errors behind Shabbir’s contradictions. Alongside each category is a number informing us how many times he could be blamed for each category. You will note that when you add up the totals they are larger than 101. The reason is that, as you may have already noticed, Shabbir many times makes more than one error in a given question.

Categories of the errors evidenced by Shabbir in his pamphlet:

-he misunderstood the historical context - 25 times -he misread the text - 15 times -he misunderstood the Hebrew usage - 13 times -the texts are compatible with a little thought - 13 times -he misunderstood the author’s intent - 12 times -these were merely copyist error - 9 times -he misunderstood how God works in history - 6 times -he misunderstood the Greek usage - 4 times -he didn’t read the entire text - 4 times -he misquoted the text - 4 times -he misunderstood the wording - 3 times -he had too literalistic an interpretation - 3 times -he imposed his own agenda - 3 times -he confused an incident with another - 1 time -we now have discovered an earlier manuscript - 1 time

It must be admitted that we have in certain places followed explanations or interpretations that are not specifically stated in the text. This is entirely permissible, as the explanations must merely be plausible. It is clear that the gospel authors are writing from different points of view, adding and leaving out different details. This is entirely to be expected when four authors write independently. Far from casting doubt on their accounts, it gives added credibility, as those details which at first appear to be in conflict can be resolved with some thought, yet are free from the hallmarks of obvious collusion, either by the original authors or any subsequent editors.

This testifies to the honesty and openness of the scribes and translators (both Jewish and Christian). Although it would be easy to change this recognized error, this has not been done in favour of remaining true to the manuscripts. Although it leaves the passage open to shallow criticism as Shabbir Ally has shown, it is criticism which we are not afraid of.

In Shabbir’s booklet, he puts two verses on the bottom of each page. It would seem appropriate that we give an answer to these quotes, which are:

“God is not the author of confusion…” (1 Corinthians 14:33)

True, God is not the author of confusion. There is very little that is confusing in the Bible. When we understand all the original readings and the context behind them, the confusion virtually

disappears. Of course we need scholarship to understand everything in there, as we are 2,000 - 3,500 years and a translation removed from the original hearers.

But this is no different to the Qur’an. On first (and tenth) readings of the Qur’an there are many things which are not apparent. Take the mysterious letters at the beginning of the suras. It seems that after 1,400 years of scholarship, people can only take a good guess at what on earth they might be there for. Or take the many historical Biblical characters whose stories do not parallel the Bible but seem to originate in second century Talmudic apocryphal writings. This is indeed confusing. However, it is because we can go to the historical context of those writings that we now know that they could not have been authored by God, but were created by men, centuries after the authentic revelation of God had been canonized.

“…A house divided against itself falls” (Luke 11:17)

The Bible is not divided against itself. Jesus was talking about a major division, I.e. Satan destroying his own demons. This is far removed from the Bible. A book four times the size of the Qur’an, with the remaining problems able to be counted on your fingers and toes, a 99.999% agreement! That indeed is remarkable!

We conclude with two quotes of our own:

“The first to present his case seems right… till another comes forward and questions him” (Proverbs 18:17)

“…our dear brother Paul also wrote to you with the wisdom that God gave him…His letters contain some things that are hard to understand which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction” (2 Peter 3:15-16)

Answer #45

Who is this Jesus ?

He is the First and Last, The Beginning and the End! He is the keeper of Creation and the Creator of all! He is the Architect of the universe and the Manager of all times. He always was, He always is, and He always will be … unmoved, Unchanged, Undefeated, and never Undone! He was bruised and brought healing! He was pierced and eased pain! He was persecuted and brought freedom! He was dead and brought life! He is risen and brings power! He reigns and brings Peace! The world can’t understand him, The armies can’t defeat Him, The schools can’t explain Him, and The leaders can’t ignore Him. Herod couldn’t kill Him, The Pharisees couldn’t confuse Him, and The people couldn’t hold Him! Nero couldn’t crush Him, Hitler couldn’t silence Him, The New Age can’t replace Him. He is light, love, longevity, and Lord. He is goodness, Kindness, Gentleness, and God. He is Holy, Righteous, mighty, powerful, and pure. His ways are right, His word is eternal, His will is unchanging, and His mind is on me. He is my Savior, He is my guide, and He is my peace! He is my Joy, He is my comfort, He is my Lord, and He rules my life! I serve Him because His bond is love, His burden is light, and His goal for me is abundant life. I follow Him because H e is the wisdom of the wise, the power of the powerful, the ancient of days, the ruler of rulers, the leader of leaders, the overseer of the overcomers, and is to come. And if that seems impressive to you, try this for size. His goal is a relationship with ME! He will never leave me, never forsake me, never mislead me, never forget me, never overlook me, and never cancel my appointment in His appointment book! When I fall, He lifts me up! When I fail, He forgives! When I am weak, He is strong! When I am lost, He is the way! When I am afraid, He is my courage! When I stumble, He steadies me! When I am hurt, He heals me! When I am broken, He mends me! When I am blind, He leads me! When I am hungry, He feeds me! When I face trials, He is with me! When I face persecution, He shields me! When I face problems, He comforts me! When I face loss, He provides for me! When I face Death, He carries me Home! He is everything for everybody everywhere, every time, and every way. He is God, He is faithful. I am His, and He is mine! My Father in heaven can whip the father of this world. So, if you’re wondering why I feel so secure, understand this… He said it and that settles it. God is in control, I am on His side, and that means all is well with my soul. Everyday is a blessing for GOD Is!

Answer #46

Because it is the inspired Word of God and He doesn’t make mistakes - an almighty God is certainly capable of guiding man what to is free to either accept or reject this, just as he is free to accept or reject or reject Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savour..I am a sinner saved by His grace - not perfect, but forgiven..I wish you the best !!

Answer #47

I’m not going to try writing you a thesis on the subject and what credentials do I have anyway. But there is already a very credible answer to your questions that is written and so far out of my class that I couldn’t hold a candle to it and that is in the form of two books written by “Hans Kung”, a renoun German theologian, historian,philospher, etc. and author. He’s a hard read but if you read with an open mind and have the vocabulary and intelligence to understand him, I believe he can convince you in an intellectual manner like no other man could. The first book I read of his is titled, “Does God Exist” and the second one is, “On Being a Christian”. Believe me this guy has read every work by every philospher, every theologian, every historian, and every atheist/agnostic that ever lived and he’s the only person I know of that can even come close to debating with them or with the most intelligent scientists. Do yourself a big favor and read some of his works. One of my favorite sayings of his is; “Why is there something rather than nothing”. No scientist/atheist who doesn’t believe in God can give a logical answer to this question. And no one can prove God doesn’t exist just as no one can prove God does exist. You can’t prove a negative and God cannot be put to a scienticfic test. If he could he wouldn’t be God, would he? Read Hans Kung and get back to me in a couple weeks. You can’t read him in a few nights like some fictional novel. He’s extremely brilliant and profound. And you are correct, the bible is not infallible or without error. It was written by men mostly after the fact but it isn’t meant to be historically correct. Hans will expain this for you much better than I can.

Answer #48

The answer to your question, I believe, is faith. Now, I’m Athiest, as well as a skeptic, but I know many Christians, and I’ve enjoyed reading my share of the Bible. What those Christians have that I lack is faith. They believe in God, and all those other things, just because. There may be irrefutable evidence stating that there is no God, but that will not convince them, only make their resolve stronger. Faith is something that I find hard to understand. I guess mine is a scientific mind, but I need some kind of hard proof if I plan on believing something. The Bible is not it for me. There are so many things in there that go against my moral grain, that I almost shun it. Where is the social equality in the Bible, for example? I’ll end my discussion here, but yeah, I have to say that faith is the one thing that any Christian is required to have, and if they don’t, they are not a true Christian.

Answer #49

Well since this is just a bit off topic already, I’ll feel free to take it a step further.

First off, I would like to salute the captain and heathen for being people that “think” versus an automaton that runs on the track for which it has been programmed (e.g. the faithful). There was a time when you horrible people of thought were called free-thinkers. Of course, I have always been hard pressed to find that an insult. And having just read this all tonight, I must say they are among the few consistant posters on this thread that put together a proper sentence and spell words correctly.

And to answer the topic of the post, there is no person alive that can be sure. You silly heathen. But you knew that. And I must say I love your bit about the pat on the head reward. Funny, I always saw it from the other end. Any “christians” I’ve ever met have touted more the need to be good to not suffer the wrath of a everlasting fiery home where the landlord has horns and an odd fashion sense (who carries around a pitchfork anymore?) It’s always reminded me how parents use St. Nick to inspire a fear of no presents into misbehaving children.

However, in the course of reading the many, many ramblings about this verse and that, I’m reminded of why I lost faith. I’ve ready more than a few God let this person suffer to test their faith and he killed 70,000 people because a man was arrogant. Well that is nice. Very nice. Now, I understand we all have free will to do however we choose, BUT… are we not, according to the faithful here, all god’s children?

I am a father. I could never imagine letting my child suffer simply because they did not listen to my instructions. “Yes, officer. I watched her walk out into the highway. But I told her she shouldn’t.” Come on. What parent would kill thousands of their children in order that one learn a lesson. And sure, I’d let the devil come on over and inflict plagues upon my child just so that I can prove how much that child loves me. I ask nothing from my child. I don’t demand that she accept me into her heart and THEN I’ll save her. I do most of what I do for her in one way or another because I love her.

And I’m going to stop now as I feel a very long rant coming on and my blood pressure is up a bit. I would like to close by saying, in agreement with syrah, what a wonderful world this would be if we all accepted one another as fellow humans and another drop of blood was never again shed in the name of faith.

Answer #50

God lets thing happen for a purpose even if we don’t understand, everybody should just trust Him and be grateful and suck it up. people don’t even realize what God has done for them: He gave us life, He forgives us, He even sent His one and only son to die on the cross for us to take away our sins when we didn’t even deserve it and here so many people are out dissing Him and treating Him like dirt when He deserves their respect.

Answer #51

returns a little hoarse

Uhhh…no. You actually have to prove YOUR beliefs to make them right. Otherwise, they’re just beliefs…


…but that’s okay, you don’t actually have to prove your beliefs to make them ‘right for you’

Answer #52

You know, most of those ‘101’ contradictions, could simply be miss-translations. Especially when numbers were conflicting.

Answer #53

There’s been WAAAY more of mankind’s “extremely unrepentant and defying attitude” since biblical times, why has God not flooded the world again?

Oh, and has he figured out a way to keep the ducks and fish from surviving?

Answer #54

Someone said that “God doesn’t make mistakes…”

Then why did he have to flood the world and start over?

Answer #55

I’m with Amblessed on this one. . . . . as for the word Agnostic.

Answer #56


Archer, Gleason, L., Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties, 1994 Revised Edition, 1982, Zondervan Publishing House Bivin, David, & Blizzard, Roy, Jr., Understanding the Difficult Words of Jesus, Revised Edition, Destiny Image Publishers, 1994 Blomberg, Craig, The Historical Reliability of the Gospels, IVP, Leicester, 1987 France, R.T., Matthew, Tyndale IVP, 1985 Fruchtenbaum, A. ‘The Genealogy of the Messiah’. The Vineyard, November 1993, pp.10-13. Geisler, Norman & Howe, Thomas, When Critics Ask, Victor Books, Wheaton, Illinois, 1992 Haley, John, W., Alleged Discrepancies of the Bible, Whitaker House, Pennsylvania Harrison, R.K., Old Testament Introduction, Tyndale Press, London, 1970 Keil, C.F., and Delitzsch, F., Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament, 20 vols. Reprint, Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1949 McDowell, Josh, Christianity; A Ready Defence, Harpendon, Scripture Press Foundation, 1990 Morris, Leon, Luke, Tyndale Press, 1974 (1986 reprint) The True Guidance, Part Two, (‘False Charges against the Old Testament’), Light of Life, Austria, 1992 The True Guidance, Part Three, (‘False Charges against the New Testament’), Light of Life, Austria, 1992

Answer #57

We believe God the holy trinity is one. . . The Father who rules from heaven, the son (the living word of God, the Creator and the Savior) became as man and lived a meek and humble life being temped in every way as a man and dying blameless so we could be free. And the Holy spirit the part of God that dwells with in us. . God is omnipresent his power is without limit we do not understand the ways of God. . since He is all powerful why can the one not make himself 3 and still be 1. . . who are we to limit the power of the almighty. . . in Genesis God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: Genesis 1:26 * Let’s do these one at a time. .. I’m trying to research these as I do them. . . .or I’ll reseach them and we’ll start a new question in about 2 weeks or so. . .

Answer #58

all that is the work of Jay Smith, Alex Chowdhry, Toby Jepson, and James Schaeffer the authors of “101 cleared-up contradictions in the Bible” I was gonna print it out but it’s 62 pages long. . . .

Answer #59

There’s a lot of truth in what gasmanobt3 has written and I think he’s on the right tract. I would like to suggest to gasmanobt3 and to others who have stated their opinions on this thread to take the time to read the book by Hans King called, “Why I Am Still a Christian”. It’s a much shorter and concise version of his book “On Being a Christian”, ie. it’s only 82 pages compared to the latter of something like 700 pages. IMO, It will be of interest to both Christians and non Christian alike. You can read this 82 page book in an hour and I firmly believe you will find some very profound food for thought. If you enjoy his writing you can go to the next step and read his more detailed book On Being a Christian, a much harder read but extremely profound. Hans Kung is a true “genius”, a theologian, a scientist, historian, and philosopher but still a firm believer in Christ. I won’t even try quoting him as it would be a great injustice to his incredible intellect.

Answer #60

this has us ‘lot all going’ cuz there are sum religious people on here and sum non religious people arguing who’s right n whose wrong n sum r being bakas about it. maybe everyone should just stop coming to this page in particular then there wouldn’t b any arguing

Answer #61

I can’t believe that I just spent half the night reading this thread- well, reading and skipping :-) Religion certainly got you lot all going! I myself can never be bothered to argue or debate religious matters in such length. The only thing I really want to do with religion is put it in room 101.

There are some very clever people on here and some very clever cut and pasters too - very entertaining thanks. But I am no more enlightened - unless you count the fact that a love some of you a little more than I used to - just because of your wonderfull debating skills.

Answer #62

like i said before God didn’t put everything in the Bible cause it wasn’t important for us to know and if He did the Bible would be even thicker than the dictionary

Answer #63

it doesn’t say that God gave the men the power to write it bcuz it prob wasn’t important enough to put in the Bible. There are things that won’t be in the Bible cuz it wasn’t important for us to know but the things that are in the Bible are important for us to know like what happened that David was king of Israel,why we are humans and not spirits anymore,how all the animals got their names,etc. so in other words why would you want to know every single little thing that happened? i highly doubt God is going to put when someone sneezed or dedicate a whole book to someone who started a rebellion against Herod

Answer #64

Enough of the religious arguments then !

People are dying cos of religious beliefs everyday and it makes me sick ! Just let one choose whatever path he/she wishes to choose. One cannot argue that The Bible has its mistakes . It is also misinterpreted in many respects to where mankind condemns those who do not follow there belief systems and intrude on the religious beliefs of others. One should no longer live in fear because of a religious belief or even be told by the negative followers of Christ that they ARE going to hell, cos they believe in something else. I do have faith! I am a Pagan, I walk in the path of the Ancient Ones. Humans who followed my polytheistic belief systems where once condemned, punished, burned, labeled as “witches”, raped and physically tortured by the same followers of Christ. I do carry faith, but I also choose to keep faith to myself and I do NOT proselytize. I do NOT have anything against Christ, it’s His followers that worry me. LOVE ALL OTHER PATHS AND CHOOSE YOUR OWN !

Answer #65

no.. its probably cause they think im a nutball. or too open minded whichever way you want to look at it. thats a good idea for next time if i get into it with someone and it requires a long post.

 i got those books. wow makes ender look like child's play. oh wait...nevermind, the series is for the most part "child's" play haha. but its still my all-time fav so far. i got the earthclan double book edition with "startide rising" and "the uplift war" all in one long 900-some page mammoth/behemoth. i am very intrigued by the uplift concept, thank you for pointing me in that direction. I have decided to start snowcrash first since, after a quick intro read of the first few pages i decided i wanted something more playful (the right word?, i dont' know) after the ender series and its ultra-climactic worldly subject matter. so now everytime im at work, i think that i'm the "deliverator", it's great! too bad that occupation of his came to a halt only a few pages in, but it's still an excellent read.
  yeah i did kind of decide that the d&l would be fitting for my first internet account like this. i got myspace and hotmail, rarely used. but this is a much more appropriate platform for projecting my opinions so i wanted it to be, well, rad! lol Yahoo also has an advice thing like this but i havent set up an account yet it seems more complicated or something and i dont' think you get a real picture but rather, an avatar which you create, kinda like a tony hawk video game... sounds like a lot of extra work if you ask me. 
  so anyway, im not going to rewrite everything because, A) i dont' remember ALL of it, and B) i dont' feel that it really came to any conclusion and although this subject is quite interesting, i highly doubt that one of us is gonna say "well, gosh, i suppose you are right about that so now i'm gonna change my beliefs!" with this subject its kinda like you decide on your own and if someone has to talk you into it, then i dont' think that's how it was meant to be. all the information either of us needs is available out there somewhere and we're both intelligent enough to do our own reseach, feel our own feelings, and make up our own minds. the other thing which i did mention in my long, edited post is that I also highly doubt that either of us is going to say "May God have mercy on your soul! You are a hell-bound human being if you don't repent and accept Jesus Christ as your Saviour!" and the other of us isn't gonna say "You fool! You only believe in God because that's the only way your feeble mind can deal with the things you've gone through in your life!" so i think that is progress. its closed-mindedness and ignorance that is causing tragic and unneccessary violence everyday. hey you can message me anytime heathen weather its about books or whatever, and maybe ill see you around the threads again, but maybe then we will be on the same side of the debate... ttyl
Answer #66

No, these guys won’t edit your posts unless you are a real nutball. Probably just a technical issue. I have had fears of just such a thing. In the future, the more long winded of us in this post should consider writing in a word processor then pasting in at the end, so you’ll still have what you wrote if your post disappears into the ether.

Funny how your name is D & L and we are debating on the internet. Is that by your design, or just a funny coincidence?

Answer #67

Wow… I wrote a heckuva lot more than that… too much to remember. I wonder why it only put the first sentence and the last few and completely omitted everything in the middle. I had like about as much as my last post. Oh well. Basically I had a lot of good arguements and it just took a lot out for some reason. Oh well. It was nice chatting with you about this subject. I feel like I learned a few things but it’s a shame that most of my last post was mysteriously deleted… And then it started again mid-sentence at the very end. I’m new to this site so I am not familiar with how they operate things around here or who is in control of it all. Perhaps it was some of the controversial theories I had about religion. Nothing I thought was offensive to the point of censorship.

Answer #68

yes, a FEW people cut and paste on this thread it seems. this is my first answer and maybe i got the wrong impression when i decided to open an account but i made an assumption that using a cut and paste method to answer a question and, therefore, give YOUR “fun” advice, would kind of defeat the purpose… anyone can type something into google or do a search on bible contradictions, etc., right? or am i wrong, cause after all, i am the new one here. and i WAS assuming after all, which i have been told not to do because of course we all know “when you assume you only make an A$$ out of U and ME”.

 anyway... i'm sure this isn't gonna be the answer to end all answers, because someone will most certainly find a hole in my arguement somewhere since i am only human and not an expert on the subject by any means(and its off the top of my head, not pasted in. i dont' even know where my bible is actually so i cant even check that for references since i just moved i believe it ended up in the storage unit, oops). but ill give it my best shot, and maybe answer a few questions that were asked that i read on the way down the thread, although i didn't completely read EVERY answer posted... 

 Actually I kind of want to get to that first. CAPTAINASSASSIN, you seem like a bright person with a quick wit(to a certain extent, however i do not blame you at all because it is easy to make mistakes here and there when you are trying to come up with any reason you can find to not believe in God. I've done this myself before I decided to become a believer. Non-belief is really the ultimate "easy way out" in life[at least it was for me] and ill get to that later). However, if you would be so kind as to let me point out to you: Animals cannot be wicked as far as i know, so God would have no reason to try to kill fish and ducks. I believe His purpose for flooding the world was to kill all mankind because of their wickedness. And He asked Noah to bring the animals on the boat that couldn't swim(at least not for 40 days and 40 nights). And, it seems quite odd to me that you would consider that God made a mistake by creating something that was defiant. Would it be less of a mistake for us to be robotic? Or brainwashed? The point in Him creating us was to express his love. Since we have our own free will to decide what we will do with our short lives, every action we take is beautiful in the sense that it is unique and will only happen once. There will never be another "right now". How beautiful would each moment be if we had no free will? How would that be love? I don't think I have to argue that point anymore because it's pretty easy to see (from my point of view anyway) that there would be no POINT in life if we had no free will. Everyone with me on that one? If not, please say so and I do have a more basic way I can explain it for you but I don't want this any longer than it already has to be. Ok, lets move on. Yes, there is a lot of wickedness today and God will probably annihilate mankind again(or most of mankind like He did last time) if things do not change. He will not flood it again, of course. He made a promise that He would never destroy the world by flooding it ever again. There are MANY other ways to do it: a meteor, a comet, a quasar, supervolcanic eruptions (although the eruption itself would not kill everyone, the ensuing ash-cloud that could cover the earth would lower the earths temperature, killing off vegetation, and so-on up the food chain), a sudden polar shift, among many others. So, if you think that it serves as a decent arguement against believing in God, or the Bible to say that since he hasnt [destroyed] mankind again then He must not exist or whatever you were don't know what it was like back when He first did it. It could have been a lot worse than things are now. In fact, there are plenty of good people out there. So, I firmly believe that, with such a large amount of good people still living on the Earth, He would not have an adequate reason to destroy mankind. He only made the flood because he had no choice, there was no turning back for mankind at that point and there was such a small amount of good people worth saving. So he saved those few and killed the rest. What was the population of the world back then? Who knows? 10,000? 1,000? 100,000? 

 And I think I'm gonna start a new post to answer the original question since I took up enough space already. And hey sorry CAPTAIN i wasnt trying to pick on you at all and i have complete respect for you as a human being and for standing up for what YOU believe in. Keep in mind, the only reason I rebutted to your arguements in particular was because your postings were short and to the point and im sorry but im not going to read an entire list of things that are mostly quite trivial when you really get down to it. Yes, you were very observant to notice that there were many possibilities of translation errors, which, of course, have no direct effect on your ability to live your life for God's purposes which is what the B.I.B.L.E. (BASIC Instruction Before Leaving Earth is the way I heard it, gasmanobt3) is for and is what Christianity is all about. Before I end this post, I would just like to point out a couple of other relatively small details. CAPTAIN, you spoke down against someone copying and pasting (unless im mistaken in the meaning of your words), and i totally agree with you on that one. Except, you only did it against 2 people who were arguing against your point when someone else who happened to be arguing FOR your point had obviously done the same thing a while back before these 2 you were ctitisizing did it. Where do you think the 101 contradictions came from? Although you did, however, point out the fact that much of the contradictions could have been due to translation error so I do give you credit for that, once again. And another person guilty of the same crime... That's right, you, KMR1763! Although I do respect your right (let me correct myself, your God-given right, that is) to have your own beliefs and I commend you for your courage to speak(or type, whatever) about them. (probly not a big deal for you to voice your opinions but to some people it is unthinkable to do so, especially if they are surrounded by family and friends who have different beliefs) And that goes for everyone here. However... you have clearly sided with HEATHENSCUM who is a skeptic as are you, against AMBLESSED who is arguing against your point (i think that's a fair assumption since HEATHEN and BLESSED were the only ones conversing for the last 4 posts when you stated "i dont' know why amblessed added me as a friend" unless you were talking to FOTOTAG or MAMK...?) when you made a comment about words being misspelled and how annoying it is. I would have to assume that you were complaining about AMBLESSED misspelling "saviour" since that is the last misspelled word before your post and this is your first mention of misspelled words.  Well I would like to make a few observations regarding that comment. First, you must get annoyed AT LEAST every day you ever log into the internet. it must be impossible to not be annoyed several upon several times daily without taking some very serious precautions. Second, the person who you were talking to and siding with actually misspelled words, too. at least 2 in his opening statements. and if your trying to tell me you werent siding with HEATHEN and that your complaints of misspelling were to someone else (the only other people posting were MAMK and FOTOTAG) well that is not plausible either since they both misspelled words, too! So what you were, in fact saying, is that you were annoyed by everyone who had posted thus far, is that correct? Or.. could it be that, in a feeble attempt to further feel victorious against the person you were arguin against, you decided to point out how annoying their misspelled words are in you opinion, allthewhile not realizing that everyone else was misspelling words, too? I think that makes more sense to me, but if you claim otherwise, I would give you the benefit of the doubt. Now the only reason I felt necessary to point out the folleys of CAPTAIN and KMR1763 is that if your going to present an arguement, you should check and see if it applies to you and your "allys" as well before you attack others or else your word is worthless and will not lead to the truth but will lead to a loss in credibility. No hard feelings KMR i just dont' want you going around making yourself look like a fool, ok? your too smart for that, just take it a step further and do a little more thinking before you take action. and i know why BLESSED wanted to add you as a friend, because that is the Christian way. Be friends to all, and be hospitible to strangers. That's why our society is falling apart because hardly anyone makes friends with their neighbors and noone knows eachother anymore and therefore noone trusts eachother any more, so people begin to become judgemental and suspicious, planting seeds of evil, jealousy, envy, hate, revenge, and more. Understand? Ok, I'm going to take a powernap and then I will tackle the main topic of this thread. Heathen deserves it, he started this and he's the one who brought us all together here after all. And yes, HEATHEN, there ARE answers. I used to be just like you. A book I would recommend that is not any complicated philosophy or ancient text but just as an introduction to why people believe in God and just a basic overview of how to live your life according to God's purposes is called "The Purpose-Driven Life" by Rick Warren. A true story that will not change your perspective on life but may open your eyes to how amazing things can happen: some guy in jail was transported by correctional officers to court for some crime he was goin away for a long time and he took an opportunity to grab a gun, shoot his way out of the courthouse, killing an officer or 2, then stealing a car and maybe he killed the person who he carjacked, got away into a suburban neighbor hood where he barged into a home where there was a woman home alone. he took her hostage and the cops had no idea where he went. ok, so he's killed at least 2 or 3 people already and he's probably gonna have to kill this woman too. well for some reason he doesnt kill her at first and hes just talking to her. well she manages to get him to listen as she reads from this book. something about it made him just let her go and let her call the cops and he ended up facing justice when he could have easily killed her, used her car to get away and he could probably stayed hidden for years if not forever. so i thought it was an interesting story so thats why i wanted to see what was in this book. do some research if you want proof, this happened within the past 2 or 3 years so it should be on the net somewhere still. wow sorry everyone for a long post. i will try to trim the next one down a bit.
Answer #69

Well, my step-dad is a presbyterian minister and let me tell you the plain simple truth; You can’t be sure! But let’s break this down a little better. They use A LOT of metaphors in the bible and you really have to be optimistic and even my step-dad agrees that in “the beginning” God created more than just Adam and Eve. That’s why we have different races! Anyways, my point is that you really just have to have faith; That is, either you believe it, you kinda believe it, or you think it’s phony baloney.

TIP: If you ask most ministers this question they will tell you that it’s completely true and yadda yadda, so I recommend no talking to a minister, unless you have the really optimistic type, that’s not optimistic to the point when he believes ANYTHING.

I hope that helped!

Answer #70

i still havent read all of it (had to go out for dinner so only got a chance to reply to one of your posting) but when i was pointing out the 101 contradictions that i found out about, the main question that came to mind was if Christians claim the Bibles are Gods words then how can they have contradictions? Especially when they have been re-written from time to time from humans. and you mentioned something about some letters in the Quran…im not sure what you are talking about…could you please explain to me?

Also the main thing is that we both believe in Jesus. Our faith is incomplete if we dont believe in all the Prophets which include Jesus and Mosses. Other than that we have to believe in 4 books that were sent down to earth, one of the book which was the very first one was called the Zaboor given to David (who is also a Prophet for us), the second and third is the Torah and the Gospel, and lastly the Quran which is the last book that was send down to the last Prophet Muhammad.

In my opinion, the present day Bible has the first five books of the Old Testament attributed to Moses and the Psalms attributed to David. Moreover the New Testament or the four Gospels of the New Testament are not the Torah, the Zaboor or the Gospel, which the Quran refers to. These books of the present day Bible may partly contain the word of God but these books are certainly not the exact, accurate and complete revelations given to the prophets. Thats why some of the things in the Bible are very similar to the ones in the Quran.

Answer #71

No, He gave us the freedom to choose whom to serve. Think about like this. If you had no freedom to choose to believe what you wanted, where to live, what job to have, to go where you wanted and when you wanted. Then what would you be? A robot, forced to do someone else’s way. Alomst like a dictatorship. God isn’t like that though. He wants us to freely choose His way because we want to. Not to be forced to. Man, because of his sinful heart, will, without God’s help not force, choose to do his own thing. Thereby causing himself no end of problems and heartaches. God’s design for us is that we would choose to follow Him and avoid a lifetime and eternity of not knowing Him.

Answer #72

It was because of man’s extremely unrepentant and defying attitude that brought His righteous judgment on mankind. God was NOT the One who made the mistake it was mankinds own choice of free will. Mankind grieved the Lord in His heart because of the sin that overwhelmingly permiated through the society of Noah’s day. It was man who defaced the earth and man’s own freedom to choose to disobey God’s law that brought judgment. Not to mention the people were warned to turn from their wicked ways, so they were given a second chance and yet man turned aside to his own devices and depravities. Much like today.

Answer #73

Just another thought. It came up how the Catholic and Protestant Bibles differ. The Catholics (and Orthodox) have about seven more books and parts of books in the Old Testament than the Protestants (and Jews). Sometimes these are included as “Aprocrypha,” either between the Old and New Testament or after the rest.

Anyway, this is what happened. The Jews had a set of scriptures, the Torah (Pentateuch, Genesis through Deutronomy) and the Prophets (The Histories from Joshua to Kings plus the books we now call the Prophets). Thus, Jesus speaks of the Law and the Prophets as the Scriptures. They also had a set of less well defined books, the Writings, including the Psalms, Proverbs and other Wisdom literature, and Esther, among other books.

Now, in Alexandria, a Greek-speaking community of Jews developed, and they translated the Bible (OT) into Greek, eventually getting the Septuagint. This Old Testament included some other works on the fringe of the Bible, like Maccabees, Judith, Tobit, Sirach. That was OK, as long as nobody griped. However, when the Christians came along and took over this Greek Bible as their own Old Testament, the Jews reacted by tightening their own Scriptures, rejecting those books and parts that were not found in Hebrew.

Fast forward to the Reformation. Luther wanted to purify the Bible of excessive Catholic tendencies, and one way was to reject these “additional” books not in the Jewish Scriptures. The Catholics, though, just kept on using the Bible as they had kept it for 1500 years. So, we say it’s not that the Catholics added stuff to the Bible; it’s that the Protestants took stuff away. Anyway, that’s how we have two (or more) different versions of the Bible.

Answer #74

kmr1763 said it in a couple of words up top. Faith=Forsaking All In Trusting Him (Jesus) Hebrews 11:1 clearly states, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” I’m sure this doesn’t help you tho, since you don’t believe the Holy Bible is accurate. If your really interested in some evidence go to youtube and look up The Bible vs the book of mormon, infact here is the link for you I found that packed full of evidences that you are looking for. As for your belief in the apostasy (that the Bible is flawed) that is mormonism. God tells us in Revelation 22:18-19 “For I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to these things, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book: and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the Book of Life, from the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.” Another good source for the things that are being talked about here is Down in the religious movements you will find information regarding things of different “religions”. But, Jesus isn’t about religion, He is Salvation.

Answer #75

Heathen…, I’ll do a bit of non litergical research and get back to you on inerrancy issues and accuracy for you. It shouldn’t take long. I’m glad that you’re open minded about trying to find the truth about issues. As for the other people, yes I know the church in these areas are and were very hard pressed and have been present in those countries and others for years. I’m not that naive. Anyways, my point is that the church had been forced underground and despite that the church had grown. I know a missionary in our congregation who said to us that from O.M.’s people in these countries, people are coming to faith in Christ at enormous numbers. Also, yes Hitler did try to form his own system of religion and therefore ordered all other sources of faith, not just bibles, be destroyed.

Answer #76

Lets see, the bible having no flaws huh? Let me see. The catholic book has more books then the NIV Bible. Thats the first step. Also many have thought that the scribs placed in the bible words to make the Roman Catholic right or something like that. Although i must say there are some things the Catholic hold in their religion that many dont have. Both catholic and chritian have the same people and God in their books, Yet the two are not the same. Adding and removing was as God said a geat sin. But The pope who holds such power over these documents can it be changed or not changed we may never know. Yet I guess if there was a false thing in the Bible we really wouldn’t know where to start looking. Some say the Knights templar held a truth that the church was trying to destory and many of the Knights were killed for it and they went underground after wards. They are now The Mansons and the Illumanti. Maybe they had a secret thats wasn’t allowed to be known about Religion. I must say that your question is a tough one. The best answer may just be, who knows. Till we have prof of which is right and which is wrong I guess we just gotta hope its right or just reject it ,say its wrong. Its a path which you give all the way or give nothing. Hopefully something may lead you further to answer you seek. Good luck on finding your answer though.

Answer #77

gasmanobt3, I don’t understand your argument. basically I think you have made three statements:

  1. God has protected his word… Great! How do you know? I am asking for some kind of examination of the facts, not just a statement of belief.

  2. People have tried to eradicate the bible throughout history and failed. OK, how does this statement address the question of it’s accuracy?

3.People are hungering for the bible and underground churches are thriving because it gives them hope. Great! Again, does this address the question of the accuracy of the bible?

I am glad that you believe in the bible unquestioningly, you must take great comfort from it. What I was hoping for from you was some sort of statement of any kind of evidence or facts that were, at least, related to my question. Better yet I would love to hear an explanation that would illuminate in any way the inconsistencies in the bible. My greatest hope would be to have someone give me a scholarly or at least well-thought-out opinion on how well-educated christians can believe the book is accurate when there are so many well documented mistranslations and that huge parts of the scriptures were rewritten or just dropped rom the bible in the centuries after christ. That would be GREAT! Just stating your opinion that it is true is not an argument. It is just a feeling that is un-examined.

Answer #78

So, amblessed, let me see if I understand your argument.. You believe that it is pure and unadulterated, “just because”? You have avoided responding to any reference of the corruption or censorship of the document and your argument is only, ‘it just is’? What about the Council of Nicea? Were the untold documents concerning the life of Christ which were destroyed and forbidden to be in the Bible not worth mentioning? How do you overlook such a well-documented event which chops the bible into pieces and throws much of it away? Was that work directed by God?

Answer #79

The Bible has enterpretations because of how people are raised. Different upbringing, cultures, feelings. All you need to know is that if you are a good person to all including yourself that is all that counts. Love is God and God is love. You wouldn’t steal from your neighbor if you have love for your neighbor. All things good is what you need to keep in perspective. This is my only simple explanation to you of what the Bible should be about. It teaches us to be good.

Answer #80

amblessed, I have a great opportunity for you! There is a bridge in Brooklyn and I just inherited it from my uncle. I don’t want it and I’ll sell it to you for $10,000, and it must be worth millions. Believe this, just because! Don’t think about it!

Answer #81

Hey Heathenscum, God has allowed His word to be protected and preserved over the generations. All throughout history man has to eradicate the bible because of its lack of liberal theology. There are many documented proofs of this. Hitler for example tried to have every bible burned, Russia made it against the law to even have a bible, China will arrest you and condemn you for mentioning or gathering in a place to have a bible discussion. Why then in all these areas are Christian underground churches thriving if there is no truth to God’s word. Surely not by accident. These are only a few places that today are hungering and yearning for biblical truth not because it only gives them hope but because the bible is,”living, breathing and active” as is described within its pages. People like acronyms. B I B L E. Beautiful. Instruction, Before, Leaving, Earth. Try typing in “The peoples gospel hour” or “Perry F. Rockwood. They have very good resources for your query.

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