Answering Alleged Bible Contradictions
Though the main purpose of the Bible is to reveal the plan of
salvation to mankind, under closer scrutiny there certainly appears
to be some problems within the text. In this section we will
examine these alleged Bible contradictions and difficulties.
The outline we will be following for this discussion is as follows:
1) Introduction (Current Page)
2) Translation Errors
3) Scribal Errors
4) Theological Conflicts
5) Literary Techniques
6) Contradictions Regarding Jesus
7) Messianic Genealogy Conflicts
Most Bible contradictions may be dismissed as translation errors as we will prove throughout this article with the
assistance of lexicons. Other difficulties are resolved once we explore the context of the conflicting passages,
examine older manuscripts which verify some contradictions as simple scribal errors, and apply logic to solve
One thing I find in common with those who distribute Bible contradictions is their use of the 1611 King James
Bible. However, this is a 400 year old English translation- not an original Biblical language. Linguistic scholars
have learned a lot in regards to how the Bible should more accurately translate into English. Although the KJV
sufficiently gets the point of salvation across to the reader (the fundamental purpose of th Bible), I strongly
suggest using a more modern and accurate translation and the use of lexicons when examining the Bible in
depth. We will now answer some common criticisms of those who have answered Bible contradictions in the past.
TRANSLATION ERRORS Many Biblical critics do not reference the original Hebrew and Greek texts when
searching for errors. In my opinion, this is poor, irresponsible scholarship. Such critics fail to realize translation
difficulties are not exclusive to the Bible. Any text translated into another language will contain errors due to the
use idioms, archaic terminology, and puns that do not translate properly into other languages. In order to finally
resolve such errors, links will be provided to the original Hebrew/Greek throughout this article. Using this
method, we will find most alleged contradictions do not even exist.
SCRIBAL ERRORS Few critics are satisfied when a contradiction is explained as being a scribal error. However,
the Bible was obviously written long before electronic methods of reproduction. Scribes had no choice but to hand
write new copies, thus allowing room for human error. Furthermore, though a newer manuscript may reveal
conflicts, older manuscripts reveal the original correct text and answer the apparent contraction.
Skeptic Interjection: If the Bible truly is the Word of God, why doesn't He protect it from human error?
Answer: As with any gift God has given to humans, we have found a way to misuse it. But this does not mean
God will stop giving to His children! God created this earth but we waste its natural resources and pollute its
atmosphere. God sent prophets to the people and many were stoned. God sent His Son to earth and we
crucified Him! Likewise, God gave us His Scriptures knowing we would distort them from their original integrity
(either accidentally through scribal errors or intentionally by those who use His Word to further their own
agendas). Consider this analogy: I am the mother of a two-year old. When I buy my child a new toy, I know
eventually it will be covered in crayon or broken- yet I still give my child gifts knowing they will not remain in
pristine condition for long! Likewise, God gives us His message knowing our own fallibility will somehow distort it.
CONTEXT Many contradictions are explained once we examine the context of the conflicting passages. This is
another explanation I have seen skeptics criticize. But context is extremely important when dealing with any
text. When one passage is isolated it becomes vulnerable to manipulation. Isolated verses may seem
contradictory but become clear once the context is taken into consideration. Years ago I remember watching a
television special where a comedian was poking fun at awful movies that receive raving reviews. To emphasize
the importance of context, his routine went something like this (this quote might offend some readers but it is
simply that- a quote from his act):
"Have you ever seen an awful movie that received a great review like, '...the best movie ever!' It makes me
wonder what the rest of the comment was but I have a good idea: 'I thought this movie downright sucked but my
blind, deaf, and retarded neighbor thought it was the best movie ever!'"
LITERALISM VS. METAPHORIC Some contradictions we will examine have erroneously been assigned literal
interpretations. When apologists explain such verses are actually poetic in context, their answer is not generally
accepted. However, critics fail to realize the Hebrew Tanakh (roughly the Christian Old Testament) is organized
into three divisions: The Law, The Prophets, and The Writings. Books such as Job, Psalms, Proverbs, and
Ecclesiastes are composed using poetic styles. Even Biblical books not classified as The Writings may still contain
literary styles just like The Writings may also contain prophecies. Don't automatically assume a literal
interpretation by default but instead use common sense and spiritual discernment.
DUALISM In some instances, two seemingly conflicting passages may both be correct. For instance, God is a
God of mercy but He is also a God of judgment. In a later section, we will explain how such terms are not
HYPOCRITICAL BIAS I've heard it said Christians would dismiss any other text for containing the same errors
found within the Bible. Though this may be true to a point, (hopefully) they would take a less superficial
approach. One needs to take an impartial view when examining the facts. Many times a skeptic will point out a
verse to me as the ultimate proof that the Bible is a fraud. Unfortunately, they don't read the next two verses
that clearly explain their problem.
DEFENSIVENESS Some apologists have been accused of answering Bible contradictions because they feel
threatened. Though this is not true for everyone, I will expose my own humanity and admit that when I was a
"baby" Christian I was rather nervous when confronted with difficulties such as Bible contradictions and pagan
copy-cat allegations. I had to seriously consider the possibility my own beliefs were in error! I certainly didn't
want to be deceived so I did what any responsible investigator would do- I researched the claims for myself.
Hopefully the following information in this article will answer some nagging doubts for other believers.
WHO BOUGHT THE POTTER'S FIELD?
(NIV) Contradiction 1: With the reward he got for his wickedness, Judas bought a field... Acts 1:18
(NIV) Contradiction 2: The chief priests picked up the coins and said, "It is against the law to put this into the
treasury, since it is blood money." So they decided to use the money to buy the potter's field as a burial place for
foreigners. Matthew 27:6-7
Once we examine the original Greek, we see Matthew and Luke differentiate between terms of ownership.
Matthew uses the word ajgoravzw (legal ownership) while Luke uses ktaomai (physical possession). In other
words, Judas purchased the field in his name and was therefore the legal owner, but after his death, the priests
obtained the field for communal use yet did not possess the legal rights to it. In layman's terms, The original
Greek states Judas purchased the field but the priest acquired the field after his death.
WHO WAS THE MOTHER OF ABIJAH?
(KJV) Contradiction 1: [Abijah's] mother's name also was Michaia... II Chronicles 13:1-2
(KJV) Contradiction 2: ...Maachah the daughter of Absalom; which bare him Abijah... II Chronicles 11:20
(NIV) Accurate: [Abijah's] mother's name was Maacah, a daughter of Uriel of Gibeah. II Chronicles 13:1-2
(NIV) Accurate: Then he married Maacah daughter of Absalom, who bore him Abijah. II Chronicles 11:20
Though the spelling differs in some versions, the KJV lexicon states both names refer to the same woman (See
here [note 6] and here [note 2]) Both are described as the wife of King Rehoboam and the mother of Abijah.
Though Maacah is her literal name, Michaiah (meaning depression) was a pun the author of Chronicles uses in
chapter 13 (with the humorous twist being lost in translation). On the other hand, various texts reveal the name
as Maacah in both verses.
Skeptic Interjection: How is this the same woman when one verse says she is Uriel's daughter while the other
says she is Absalom's?
Answer: This conflict has two possible solutions: Some believe Absalom was Maacah's father while Uriel was her
mother. Although Uriel's gender is not specified, most of my sources reveal Uriel was a man. This leads us to the
second and more likely possibility. The Hebrew word used in both verses is bath which is an ambiguous term
meaning daughter, granddaughter, daughter-in-law, etc. Basically, any female descendant- both immediate and
long term. If Uriel was indeed a man, he was most likely her immediate father while Absalom was one of her
ancestors, with his name being mentioned to reference her royal heritage. This explanation is reinforced by the
fact Maacah's name is not found in the list of Absalom's children mentioned in II Samuel 14:27 where we are told
his daughter was Tamar (not Maacah).
HOW MANY CHILDREN DID MICHAL (THE DAUGHTER OF SAUL) HAVE?
(KJV) Contradiction 1: Therefore Michal the daughter of Saul had no children. II Samuel 6:23
(KJV) Contradiction 1: ...And the five sons of Michal the daughter of Saul... II Samuel 21:8
(NIV) Accurate: ...Together with the five sons of Saul's daughter Merab... II Samuel 21:8
I Samuel 14:49 reveals Saul had two daughters (Michal and Merab): The name of his older daughter was Merab,
and that of the younger was Michal. Some pre-Masoretic texts reveal Merab as the possible accurate daughter
mentioned in chapter 21.
Skeptic Interjection: But don't most Hebrew texts state the name as Michal?
Answer: Most Hebrew texts as well as some copies of the Septuagint use the name Michal. This causes some
skeptics to believe later scribes purposely changed the name to Merab in order to fix the contradictions. But the
name Merab is also used in some older manuscripts including two Hebrew texts, some copies of the Septuagint,
and the Syriac version.
RABBITS DO NOT CHEW CUD
(KJV) Contradiction: And the hare, because he cheweth the cud... Leviticus 11:6
The error in this translation is the use of the word cud from the Hebrew word gerah which basically means
partially digested material. Rabbits do alah (move) their gerah (undigested food) with the fact they eat their own
feces in order to reabsorb the nutrients of the undigested material. This process, known as refection (See: note
2a), differs from our modern definition of the process of rumination (See: note 2). In this case, the translators of
the KJV used the word they felt best suited this process although it technically is not what we know today as
Skeptic Interjection: Rabbits do not chew their pellets- they swallow them whole.
Answer: The actual infinitive literally meaning to chew the cud is gerar (See: note 2) and is only used in
Leviticus 11:7 as a reference to cud chewing. Gerar is not the term used when referring to the refection process
of rabbits/hares in Leviticus 11:6. The word used in this case is alah which does not remotely mean chew
(though the translators of the KJV thought it did!). Alah encompasses many definitions referring to movement of
some sort (to ascend, to depart, to withdraw, etc.) but never as a reference to chewing. Critics view the English
translations which state chew the cud in both verses and think Ah ha! But they ignore the original Hebrew
which differentiates between the two processes. I cannot be anymore clear than this. Skeptics are trying to
correctly merge 17th century A.D. English definitions with 15th century B.C. Hebrew terminology but common
sense tells us there are many errors in this line of thinking.
BATS ARE NOT BIRDS
(KJV) Contradiction: And these are they which ye shall have in abomination among the fowls...and the stork,
the heron after her kind, and the lapwing, and the bat. Leviticus 11:13,19
The error in this translation is the use of the word fowls from the Hebrew word owph which literally refers to any
flying creature. The original Hebrew text is explaining what flying creatures were acceptable for consumption and
which ones were not. Because the bat is technically a flying creature, it was accurately included in this list.
Skeptic Interjection: Why didn't the Bible just classify the bat with other mammals?
Answer: At the time, the bat fit best under the classification of winged creatures. The extensive scientific
classifications we have today did not exist 3500 years ago. The Bible listing the bat with other winged creatures
was literally and technically correct. Just because modern definitions have changed does not make the 3500 year
old classification of winged creatures incorrect.
WHO SHOULD BEAR A MAN'S BURDEN?
(NIV) Contradiction 1: Carry each other's burdens... Galatians 6:2
(NIV) Contradiction 2: For each one should carry his own load. Galatians 6:5
These two verses are basically telling us to lend each other a helping hand but not to take advantage of those
who are willing to help. Upon examination of the original Greek, we can see two different words are used.
Galatians 6:2 uses baros which implies troubles/burdens we are to share with one another while Galatians 6:5
uses phortion which literally translates as the burdens of the conscience for which we are individually responsible.
DOES GOD TEMPT MAN?
(KJV) Contradiction 1: And it came to pass after these things, that God did tempt Abraham... Genesis 22:1
(KJV) Contradiction 2: Let no man say when he is tempted, "I am tempted of God" for God cannot be tempted
with evil, neither tempteth he any man. James 1:13
(NIV) Accurate: Some time later God tested Abraham... Genesis 22:1
The Hebrew lexicon primarily defines the word nacah used in Genesis as to test, try, or prove in the sense of
putting someone to the test- not in the sense of tempting to do evil. On the other hand, the Greek lexicon
specifically states the definition of the word in Galatians (apeirastos) as cannot be tempted by evil or not liable
to the temptation of sin. The Hebrew word implies to test while the Greek implies what we understand to literally
mean tempt. The KJV uses the antiquated translation as tempt though this is not technically correct. This issue
has been debated to death so in order for our point to really hit home, let's use a few examples from the Old
Testament which use the term nacah as a reference to test/try:
- Daniel 1:12,14 Please test your servants for ten days: Give us nothing but vegetables and water...
- Ecclesiastes 7:23 All this I tested by wisdom and I said...
- I Kings 10:1 When the queen of Sheba heard about the fame of Solomon and his relation to the name of
the Lord, she came to test him with hard questions.
- Judges 6:39 Then Gideon said to God... "Allow me one more test with the fleece."
If we replace the word test with the word tempt in the above passages, the verses would make no sense
whatsoever. Did the Queen of Sheba tempt Solomon's wisdom with difficult questions? Did Daniel ask the chief
official to tempt the effects of his requested diet on his body? Was Gideon wanting to make a tempt with the
fleece? When we examine other verses which use the word nacah, we can reach a logical conclusion regarding
the correct definition in Genesis.
WAS JESUS' FIRST SERMON ON A PLAIN OR ON A MOUNT?
(KJV) Contradiction 1: And seeing the multitudes, He went up into a mountain... Matthew 5:1
(KJV) Contradiction 2: And He came down with them, and stood in the plain... Luke 6:17
(NIV) He went down with them and stood on a level place... Luke 6:17
As the NIV more accurately explains, the Greek word used in Luke is pedinos which simply refers to a level or
flat place. All this fuss basically comes down to Jesus finding a flat surface on which to gain His footing! Skeptics
are assuming inclined areas contain no level places but this obviously is not so. A plateau, for instance, is a flat
area that may be found on higher ground.
DID THOSE AT SAUL'S/PAUL'S CONVERSION HEAR A VOICE?
(NIV) Contradiction 1: The men traveling with Saul stood there speechless. They heard the sound but did not
see anyone. Acts 9:7
(NIV) Contradiction 2: My companions saw the light, but they did not understand the voice of him who was
speaking to me. Acts 22:9
I must be missing something because I personally see no contradiction in the above verses. Both verses state
the men heard a voice but verse 22 expands on the incident by explaining the men did not understand what was
said. I'm assuming the problem comes from those referencing the KJV which states "they did not hear the voice."
But once we examine the original Greek, we see Luke uses the word akouo which can also mean to understand,
comprehend, or perceive (as the NIV explains).
CAN HUMANS ASCEND TO HEAVEN?
(NIV) Contradiction 1: As they were walking along and talking together, suddenly a chariot of fire and horses
of fire appeared and separated the two of them, and Elijah went up to heaven in a whirlwind. II Kings 2:11
(NIV) Contradiction 2: No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaventhe Son of
Man. John 3:13
The Hebrew word used in Kings is shamayim which can either refer to the skies (primary) or the actual abode of
God (secondary). In Hebrew tradition, the meaning in this case is the skies. On the other hand, John uses the
Greek word ouranos which can also refer to either the skies or the actual abode of God. In this sense, tradition
states no man can physically ascend into Heaven. The dualism of the definitions offers us a reasonable answer
free of any contradiction.
CAN GOD BE SEEN?
(NIV) Contradiction 1: The Lord spake to Moses face to face, as a man speaks with his friend. Exodus 33:11
(NIV) Contradiction 2: No one has ever seen God... John 1:18
In the first verse, the Hebrew idiom for face to face translates into English as without a mediator. This verse does
not imply Moses physically seeing the face of God but that he was able to communicate with God as a man
speaks to his friend (as a true friend would not require a go-between for communication). This explanation is
given once we read the context:
Then Moses said, "Now show me your glory." And the Lord said, "I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of
you... "But," he said, "you cannot see my face, for no one may see me and live." Then the Lord said, "There is
a place near me where you may stand on a rock. When my glory passes by, I will put you in a cleft in the rock
and cover you with my hand until I have passed by. Then I will remove my hand and you will see my back.
But my face must not be seen." Exodus 33:18-23
God can appear to us as a physical manifestation but He does not appear to us in full glory. The original Hebrew
texts mostly differentiate between the type of presence God takes with either the use of the word Elohim (God's
glory) or Jehovah (God's literal name). Elohim is usually used in spiritual encounters while Jehovah is usually
used in physical encounters, thus eliminating any contradiction.
However, we seem to find ourselves in a bit of a predicament with the verse in Genesis 32:30: So Jacob called
the place Peniel, saying, 'It is because I saw God [Elohim] face to face, and yet my life was spared.' Again we
see the Hebrew idiom face to face referring to without a mediator. I also see the words "yet my life was spared"
as a possible reference to his struggle with God in Genesis 32:22-30 (and not necessarily a reference to him
seeing "God's glory"). Lastly, the context shows Jacob struggling with a manifestation of God and not God's
glory (Then Jacob was left alone, and a man (iysh) wrestled with him until daybreak).
Though the Hebrew scribes took tremendous care when copying the Scriptures, some mistakes should be
expected due to human error. Many languages of antiquity did not contain vowels, spacing, paragraphs, or even
punctuation. Whereas today we would write I love you very much this would be written in antiquity as
LVYVRYMCH. Naturally this became the cause of much confusion once vowels and punctuation were later added
into the texts as the written language progressed. It was at the scribe's discretion to best determine each word
and number. If a word was spelled BN, the scribes had to determine if this word was bone, ban, bane, etc.
Though the scribes could usually find their answer using tradition or context, this still left room for occasional
human error. If we pretend for a moment that 4 is a consonant and 0 is a vowel, should a certain number be
considered 4 thousand, 40 thousand, or 400 thousand? This was one of the difficulties scribes had to consider.
Throughout this section we will see that many of the older manuscripts do not even contain the errors of newer
texts (this gives us reason to believe some contradictions may logically be explained as transcription errors).
Other discrepancies are shown as they appear in the Masoretic text to demonstrate just how easy it was to
commit a scribal error.
YEARS OF FAMINE
(KJV) Contradiction 1: Choose thee either three years' famine... I Chronicles 21:11
(KJV) Contradiction 2: Shall seven years of famine come unto thee... II Samuel 24:13
(NIV) Accurate: Take your choice: three years of famine... I Chronicles 21:11
(NIV) Accurate: Shall there come upon you three years of famine... II Samuel 24:13
Though the Masoretic text shows conflicting amounts between three and seven years, the Greek Septuagint
reveals the possible accurate length of three years in both verses.
HOW OLD WAS JEHOIACHIN WHEN HE BEGAN TO REIGN?
(KJV) Contradiction 1: Jehoiachin was eight years old when he began to reign... II Chronicles 36:9
(KJV) Contradiction 2: Jehoiachin was eighteen years old when he began to reign... II Kings 24:8
(NIV) Accurate: Jehoiachin was eighteen years old when he became king... II Chronicles 36:9
Pre-Masoretic manuscripts record the presumably correct age as being 18 in both verses.
THE AMOUNT OF KING SOLOMON'S HORSES & STALLS
(KJV) Contradiction 1: Solomon had forty thousand stalls of horses for his chariots... I Kings 4:26
(KJV) Contradiction 2: Solomon had four thousand stalls for horses and chariots... II Chronicles 9:25
(NIV) Correct: Solomon had four thousand stalls for chariot horses... I Kings 4:26
(NIV) Correct: Solomon had four thousand stalls for horses and chariots... II Chronicles 9:25
The Septuagint states the possible correct amount as being 4,000 in both verses.
KING BAASHA BATTLED ASA IN THE 36TH YEAR OF HIS REIGN BUT DIED DURING THE 26TH YEAR
(KJV) Contradiction 1: So Baasha slept with his fathers...in the twenty sixth year of Asa... I Kings 16:6,8
(KJV) Contradiction 2: In the six and thirtieth year of the reign of Asa... II Chronicles 16:1
Now that we understand the basic principles behind scribal errors, here are a few other contradictions that may
be resolved through the same means:
THE AMOUNT OF GOLD TALENTS SOLOMON RECEIVED
(KJV) Contradiction 1: [They] fetched from thence gold, four hundred and twenty talents, and brought it to
king Solomon... I Kings 9:28
(KJV) Contradiction 2: [They] took thence four hundred and fifty talents of gold, and brought them to king
Solomon... II Chronicles 8:18
THE AGE OF KING AHAZI'AH WHEN HE BEGAN HIS REIGN
(KJV) Contradiction 1: Two and twenty years old was Ahazi'ah when he began to reign... II Kings 8:26
(KJV) Contradiction 2: Forty and two years old was Ahazi'ah when he began to reign... II Chronicles 22:2
THE AMOUNT OF SUPERVISORS FOR SOLOMON'S TEMPLE PROJECT
(KJV) Contradiction 1: Solomon's officers were... three thousand and three hundred... I Kings 5:16
(KJV) Contradiction 2: Solomon told...three thousand and six hundred to oversee them... II Chronicles 2:2
THE AMOUNT OF ARAMEAN CHARIOTEERS KILLED BY DAVID
(KJV) Contradiction 1: David slew the men of seven hundred chariots... II Samuel 10:18
(KJV) Contradiction 2: David slew of the Syrians seven thousand men in chariots. I Chronicles 19:18
IS GOD MERCIFUL?
(NIV) Contradiction 1: The Lord is good to all. He has compassion on all he has made. Psalms 145:9
(NIV) Contradiction 2: I will not pity, nor spare, nor have mercy, but destroy them. Jeremiah 13:14
Critics often ask how God can be both a God of mercy and judgment. Though God is absolutely merciful when
we are willing to accept His mercy, He is also a just God who promises consequences for sin. Throughout the
Bible we see the wicked being warned before judgment occurs. Only after they refused to come to repentance
did God send judgment.
Modern Analogy: Imagine one of your loved ones being brutally murdered. The perpetrator is arrested and
found guilty by a jury. Now imagine the criminal in a hands of a judge who releases him without issuing any
sentence. Would this be considered just? Would this even be considered mercy? Not in the opinion of the victim's
family or anyone with half a brain! In short, mercy and judgment are not necessarily mutually exclusive.
IS GOD A GOD OF WAR OR PEACE?
(NIV) Contradiction 1: The Lord is a warrior. The Lord is his name. Exodus 15:3
(NIV) Contradiction 2: The God of peace be with you all. Amen. Romans 15:33
Again, God is both. God can be moved to righteous anger just like we as people can be moved to righteous
anger. God desires peace but if He is truly a just and holy God, He would not tolerate wickedness.
Modern Analogy: Imagine a peaceful Utopian society being invaded by a hostile enemy. Should this society sit
back while its people are mercilessly slaughtered or should they stand up and confront the threat? Would they be
considered warmongers for defending themselves and not tolerating evil?
DOES GOD CHANGE HIS MIND?
(NIV) Contradiction 1: He who is the Glory of Israel does not lie or change his mind. I Samuel 15:29
(NIV) Contradiction 2: When God saw what they did and how they turned from their evil ways, he had
compassion and did not bring upon them the destruction he had threatened. Jonah 3:10
Throughout the Bible we can see God threatening judgment until the people repented. In other words, the people
were given an "either/or" option: Either they continue in their sin and come under judgment, or they come to
repentance and are spared.
Modern Analogy: A parent who is concerned with their child's poor grades at school warns the child they will be
punished if they bring home another failing report card. The child studies every night and eventually brings home
a report card showing all A's. The parent is so proud that they go out for pizza. Does this mean the parent lied or
changed their mind? Not at all- the child was given a warning which would be followed by consequences. If
anything, such passages reveal God's mercy.
SHOULD WE JUDGE OTHERS?
(NIV) Contradiction 1: The spiritual man makes judgments about all things... I Corinthians 2:15
(NIV) Contradiction 2: Do not judge, or you too will be judged. Matthew 7:1
I'm not exactly sure why these two verses are presented as contradictions. It is not a matter of one verse telling
us to judge while another verse is telling us not to. When we read the context of Corinthians, we see the concept
of "judging others" isn't even the focus of discussion- the chapter is referring to wisdom (good "judgment")! It
would be like a parent telling their child, "Use good judgment today!" On the other hand, the verse in Matthew is
telling us to check our motives when we correct others and to work out our own faults before we judge others.
SHOULD WE PERFORM GOOD WORKS IN FRONT OF OTHERS?
(NIV) Contradiction 1: But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is
doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
(NIV) Contradiction 2: In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds
and praise your Father in heaven. Matthew 5:16
The focus of these two verses is not the performance of good works but the intent behind our actions. Matthew 6
tells us when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do... to be honored
by men. Jesus is pointing out the hypocrisy of those who do good deeds solely for the purpose of being esteemed
in the eyes of the public. On the other hand, Matthew 5 has Jesus comparing Christians to city lights used for
illumination. He is telling us not to hide our Christian convictions from others. The comparison to lights is
symbolic once we realize their function and purpose: A light meekly shines and performs its function regardless
of whether or not others notice. Likewise, Jesus is telling Christians to set a example and not to seek praise.
Modern Analogy: A person is riding in a car with friends when they see a beggar on the street corner. Should
the Christian decide not to help the man because others are around or could they hand the man a few dollars
and explain (humbly) to their friends (if asked) that they did this because the Bible tells them to assist the poor?
The moral of the story is God doesn't only consider our actions but our intent.
IS IT GOOD TO BE WISE?
(NIV) Contradiction 1: Wisdom is supreme therefore get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get
understanding. Proverbs 4:7
(NIV) Contradiction 2: For with much wisdom comes much sorrow. The more knowledge, the more grief.
These verses don't necessarily contradict each other inasmuch as they capture a predicament. Just as we have
sayings along the lines of Ignorance is bliss and The truth hurts, the Bible also relays the dilemma between the
truth's ability to both enlighten and distress. We also see an allusion to the negative side-effects of knowledge in
the verse that is apparently endorsing wisdom (...though it cost all you have). In summary, no contradiction
really even exists between these two verses.
Modern Analogy: A loved one is missing and a concerned relative begins a search to uncover the truth. At the
moment, this person can accept the possibility that their beloved is alive and starting a new life somewhere. But
one day the police inform them their loved one's body was discovered and that the suspect is in custody. On one
hand, this person has received closure and can now work on finding justice for their loved one. On the other
hand, they are in agony when thinking of what their loved one had to endure in their last moments.
WHO IS ON GOD'S SIDE?
(NIV) Contradiction 1: He who is not with me is against me, and he who does not gather with me scatters.
(NIV) Contradiction 2: For whoever is not against us is for us. Mark 9:40
(NIV) Contradiction 3: Do not stop him, Jesus said, for whoever is not against you is for you. Luke 9:50
Are those who are considered on God's side those who are actually for Him or those who are simply not
against Him? The first verse in Matthew clearly states whoever does accept God is not of Him whereas the
passages in Mark and Luke state whoever is not against the Christians is for them. The passages of Mark and
Luke contain completely different circumstances leading up to Jesus' statement as compared to the
circumstances in Matthew. In Matthew, Jesus is commenting on the hypocrisy of the pharisees and states "He
who is not with Me (God) is against Me (God)." In Mark and Luke, the circumstances consist of the apostles
alerting Jesus to a man who was casting out demons in His name. The apostles took offense as the man was not
a part of their "inner circle." Jesus explains to the apostles that they were all working together in essence and
that "He who is not against us/you (The Christian mission) is for us/you."
Modern Analogy: A Chinese communist and an American capitalist are at complete odds in regards to their
opinions of government and social order. On the other hand, an American Republican and an American Democrat
generally hold the same views regarding democracy, capitalism, and nationalism though their opinions may differ
in issues such as taxation and social issues. They are still "on the same team" in essence. Catholicism and
Protestantism may teach differing doctrinal issues but they both hold the same core beliefs, accept Jesus Christ
as the Son of God, and believe in the of immorality of the soul. On the other hand, religion and atheism are
completely opposed to each other.
IS IT GOOD TO MARRY?
(NIV) Contradiction 1: He who finds a wife finds what is good and receives favor from the Lord.
(NIV) Contradiction 2: Now for the matters you wrote about: It is good for a man not to marry.
I Corinthians 7:1
The above verse in Corinthians is not telling us to abstain from marriage. Paul is responding to the Corinthian's
inquiry concerning marriage as we can conclude from the words Now for the matters you wrote about. In
Corinthians 7 Paul endorses the union of marriage for those who are not able to commit to abstinence. Paul
states that every person has their own calling and he understands celibacy is not suitable for everyone. He tells
those who can commit to celibacy should do so in order to focus on eternal things but that this was not a
requirement. Furthermore, Paul emphasises this is his person opinion.
SHOULD CHILDREN SUFFER FOR THE SINS OF THE FATHER?
(NIV) Contradiction 1: Fathers shall not be put to death for their children, nor children put to death for their
fathers. Each is to die for his own sin. Deuteronomy 24:16
(NIV) Contradiction 2: "You shall not bow down to them or worship them for I, the Lord your God, am a
jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate
me." Exodus 20:5
To understand the above verses, we need to distinguish between mankind's sinful nature as compared to a
specific act of sin committed by an individual. If you have ever heard a friend say Alcoholism runs in my family,
this is an example of inherited iniquity whereas something like robbing a store would be an act of sin. The
meaning behind the first passage is a direct order not to punish an individual for someone else's crime whereas
the second verse is stating a spiritual principle which exists where sin begets sin, iniquity begets iniquity (one
bad apple spoils the bunch) from one generation to the next.
DO THE RIGHTEOUS LIVE OR DIE?
(NIV) Contradiction 1: The righteous will flourish like a palm tree, they will grow like a cedar... Psalms 92:12
(NIV) Contradiction 2: The righteous perish, and no one ponders it in his heart... Isaiah 57:1
This is a contradiction which I feel is given more attention than needed. Obviously we all die- the wicked and the
righteous. Psalms is praising the abundance of God's people in the future whereas Isaiah (composed in a
completely different century and under totally different political circumstances) is lamenting the death of the
righteous which results in the decay of society.
DO YOU ANSWER A FOOL?
(NIV) Contradiction 1: Do not answer a fool according to his folly, or you will be like him. Proverbs 26:4
(NIV) Contradiction 2: Answer a fool according to his folly, or he will be wise in his own eyes. Proverbs 26:5
Similar to the dilemma we discussed with wisdom, these two verses don't reveal a contradiction but a
predicament (especially when we see one proverb is written immediately after the other!). The proverbs warn
us not to engage in heated circular debates with those who are blind to reason but to offer a brief response so
the fool will not be encouraged by our silence.
DOES MAN SIN?
(KJV) Contradiction 1: For there is not a just man upon earth, that...sinneth not. Ecclesiastes 7:20
(KJV) Contradiction 2: Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin... I John 3:9
Lets put emphasis on the words whoever is born of God- this means a Christian believer. None of us are born
sinless- it is only after our acceptance of Jesus, who carried the punishment for our sins, that we are considered
sinless. Though this does not technically mean we will never sin again, it is telling us that once we accept Jesus,
God considers us blameless in His eyes.
WHO PROPHESIED THE POTTER'S FIELD?
(NIV) Contradiction: Then what was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet was fulfilled: They took the thirty silver
coins, the price set on him by the people of Israel, and they used them to buy the potter's field, as the Lord
commanded me. Matthew 27:9-10
The problem with the above verse in Matthew is that no passage in Jeremiah appears to speak of such an event
(the actual prophecy is found in Zechariah 11:12-13)! Matthew is simply employing a common exegetic
technique used in antiquity when referring to the prophets. Though the scattered verses in Jeremiah refer to a
potter, a field, and seventeen (not 30!) shekels, Matthew summarizes and combines the prophetic symbolism of
both prophets, giving credit to the greater of the two which was often done during his time.
SNAKES DO NOT EAT DIRT
(NIV) Contradiction: [The Serpent] will crawl on your belly and you will eat dust all the days of your life.
Surely we have all heard the expression Eat my dust and we understand it to not be a literal statement.
Throughout the Bible we see the act of eating/licking dust as a parallel to a demeaning lowly state (examples:
Psalms 72:9 and Isaiah 49:23). This verse is not literally cursing serpents to eat dust/dirt/soil.
CHRISTIANS ARE NOT IMMORTAL
(NIV) Contradiction: I tell you the truth, if anyone keeps My word, he will never see death. John 8:51
This verse is not promising physical immortality to Jesus' followers but eternal spiritual life and salvation from
judgment. The original Greek uses the word thanatos which can refer to both a physical and spiritual death. Jesus
even warns believers that many will be persecuted and even die for their faith so anyone can see that He is
promising an escape from spiritual death and damnation- not physical death.
SNAILS DO NOT MELT
(KJV) Contradiction: As a snail which melteth, let every one of them pass away: like the untimely birth of a
woman, that they may not see the sun. Psalms 58:8
(NIV) Accurate: Like a slug melting away as it moves along, like a stillborn child, may they not see the sun.
This poetic verse in Psalms refers to the liquid trail snails leave behind as they move along- not a literal
reference to the creatures dissolving.
INSECTS DO NOT HAVE FOUR FEET
(NIV) Contradiction: There are, however, some winged creatures that walk on all fours that you may eat:
those that have jointed legs for hopping on the ground. Of these you may eat any kind of locust, katydid, cricket
or grasshopper. But all other winged creatures that have four legs you are to detest. Leviticus 11:21-23
The discerning reader can see the above verse differentiates between legs and feet used for transportation
versus limbs used for manipulation. It is not specifically stating insects have four feet.
IS THE EARTH ROUND OR FLAT?
(NIV) Contradiction 1: He sits enthroned above the circle of the earth... Isaiah 40:22
(NIV) Contradiction 2: He will assemble the scattered people of Judah from the four quarters of the earth.
An incorrect translation of Isaiah 40:22 is sometimes rendered sphere. A few apologists, apparently not aware of
the original Hebrew, believe this reveals the Bible's foreknowledge of a spherical earth (though it is fair to point
out the original Hebrew does not distinguish between a one-dimensional circle and a three-dimensional sphere-
their word chuwg could refer to both).
Regardless, neither of the above verses in Isaiah refer to a literal description of the earth. The context of Isaiah
40 is obviously poetic as it refers to people as grasshoppers! The second verse (sometimes translated as corners
instead of quarters) is also not a literal reference to the shape of the earth. Even today we sometimes use the
expression the four corners of the earth (and we obviously know better!).
ARE HEAVENS AND THE EARTH SUPPORTED/IMMOBLE?
(NIV) Contradiction 1: He suspends the earth over nothing. Job 26:7
(NIV) Contradiction 2: He set the earth on its foundations. It can never be moved. Psalms 104:5
(NIV) Contradiction 4: He shakes the earth from its place and makes its pillars tremble Job 9:6
- Job 26:7 According to modern scientific knowledge, this verse is correct as we know the earth is
suspended in space.
- Psalms 104:5 The Hebrew word for foundation in this passage is yacad which literally refers to an
establishment or founding- not necessarily a physical base.
- Job 26:11 The Hebrew word for pillars in this passage is ammuwd. Job 26 is in poetic format as the
THE SUN DOES NOT STAND STILL
(KJV) Contradiction: ...So the sun stood still in the midst of heaven, and hasted not to go down about a
whole day. Joshua 10:13
The Hebrew word used in Joshua for still is amad which represents many definitions. Regardless, even today we
say the sun rises in the east and sets in the west to describe dawn and dusk. Other modern terminology includes
high-noon, sunrise, and sunset. These are obviously not literal statements as we know better than to believe in a
stationary earth and a revolving sun. Likewise, the verse in Joshua is not necessarily referring to a geocentric
earth but to the apparent position of the sun.
THE EARTH IS NOT STATIONARY
(NIV) Contradiction: He set the earth on its foundations. It can never be moved. Psalms 104:5
The Hebrew word for moved in the above passage is mowt (totter, shake, slip, or to be dislodged) while the word
for foundation is yacad (establishment). As far as I can see, the above verse is not referring to the concept of a
geocentric earth (as critics suggest), but the establishment of the earth as created by God.
STOREHOUSES ARE NOT A PART OF THE HYDROLOGICAL CYCLE
(NIV) Contradiction: Have you entered the storehouses of the snow or seen the storehouses of the hail?
Though Job uses metaphoric language to describe natural phenomena, if my memory serves me correctly, I
learned in 4th grade geology that storehouses are a part of the hydrological cycle. Of course, we use the term
Contradictions Regarding Jesus
WHAT COLOR WAS THE ROBE PLACED ON JESUS?
(NIV) Contradiction 1: They stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him. Matthew 27:28
(NIV) Contradiction 2: They clothed him in a purple robe. John 19:2
One possible solution to this conflict lies in the similarity of the two colors, with purple being a derivative of the
primary color red. In antiquity, the same dye was used to create both red and purple cloths, depending on the
amount of dye used. Even though the two colors seem distinctly different to us, scarlet and purple were very
similar in ancient Roman clothing (See: here). I feel another possible answer may lie in the symbolism of the two
colors- they both represented royalty and power. Because of this, it is quite possible the robe was red and purple.
WHAT WERE JESUS' LAST WORDS?
(NIV) Contradiction 1: About the ninth hour Jesus cried out... My God, My God, why have you forsaken
me? Matthew 27:46
(NIV) Contradiction 2: Jesus called out with a loud voice, Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.
When he had said this, he breathed his last. Luke 23:46
(NIV) Contradiction 3: Jesus said, It is finished. With that, he...gave up his spirit. John 19:30
The passage in Matthew doesn't present a problem for us as it states these were not Jesus' last words. Matthew
also partially solves our problem when he states in verse 50 that Jesus cried out again before finally expiring.
The real "problem" comes from Luke and John who both claim to quote Jesus' actual last words. One possible
solution is the men's position in relation to the cross. The above verses differentiate between Jesus' spoken and
shouted statements. Because John was said to have been at the foot of the cross, it is possible he heard Jesus'
spoken words while the others only heard the statements Jesus shouted. Because Matthew mentions Jesus
shouting another statement, this scenario is possible.
However, I understand some skeptics may feel I am streeeetching this one so I'll offer a further explanation for
those who may not be satisfied. The four Gospels were written by four different authors, each of them recording
their version of events. Once we harmonize the Gospel accounts, our explanation doesn't seem to be so difficult:
It was now about the sixth hour, and darkness came over the whole land until the ninth hour. About the ninth
hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice, "Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?"which means, "My God, my God, why have
you forsaken me?" When some of those standing there heard this, they said, "He's calling Elijah." Later... Jesus
said, "I am thirsty." A jar of wine vinegar was there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put the sponge on a stalk of
the hyssop plant, and lifted it to Jesus' lips and offered it to Jesus to drink. When he had received the drink, Jesus
said, "It is finished." [referring to the fulfillment of prophecy] The rest said [implying Jesus was not yet dead],
"Now leave him alone. Let's see if Elijah comes to save him. And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice,
"Father, into your hands I commit my spirit" he breathed his last and He gave up his spirit.
WHAT WAS JESUS GIVEN TO DRINK?
(NIV) Contradiction 1: There they offered Jesus wine to drink, mixed with gall... Matthew 27:34
(NIV) Contradiction 2: Then they offered him wine mixed with myrrh... Mark 15:23
Mark and Matthew both agree Jesus was given wine mixed with something. But this something seems to differ in
each account. However, Matthew uses the word chole which represents a number of bitter substances including
myrrh (which is famous for its bitterness), thus eliminating any contradiction.
HOW LONG WAS JESUS IN THE TOMB?
(NIV) Contradiction 1: The Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the earth. Matthew 12:40
(NIV) Contradiction 2: The Son of Man [would] on the third day be raised again. Luke 24:7
Semantics, semantics. Critics point out the "inconsistency" between after three days and on the third day as if an
apostle is standing outside the tomb with a stopwatch and counting out three 24-hour periods. Jesus was crucified
on Friday and subsequently placed in the tomb where He would remain until Sunday. The Greek work literally
meaning all night dianuktereuo is not used in Matthew so there is no reference to literal 24 hour periods. Instead,
he uses the word nux which can refer to a literal or metaphorical night.
HOW MANY TIMES WOULD/DID THE COCK CROW?
(NIV) Contradiction 1: Before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times. Matthew 26:34
(NIV) Contradiction 2: Before the rooster crows twice you yourself will disown me three times. Mark 14:30
(NIV) Contradiction 3: Before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times! John 13:38
(NIV) Contradiction 1: Immediately the rooster crowed the second time. Mark 14:72
(NIV) Contradiction 2: I don't know the man! Immediately a rooster crowed. Matthew 26:74-75
(NIV) Contradiction 3: Again Peter denied it, and at that moment a rooster began to crow. John 18:27
(NIV) Contradiction 4: Just as he was speaking, the rooster crowed. Luke 22:60-60
Matthew, Luke, and John are in agreement that the rooster would/did crow once (but not necessarily only once!)
whereas Mark mentions the rooster crowing twice. Regardless of who did or did not use the word twice the fact of
the matter is that if Peter denied Jesus before the cock crowed once, then he also denied Him before the cock
crowed twice. If I say I am grocery shopping before Saturday, it wouldn't matter if I went to the store on
Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday- I still went before Saturday.
WHERE DID JESUS GO AFTER HIS BAPTISM?
(NIV) Contradiction 1: At once the Spirit sent him out into the desert. Mark 1:12
(NIV) Contradiction 2: The next day John was there again with two of his disciples... John 1:35-36
Skeptics ask, "So did Jesus go into the desert after His baptism or did He stick around?" Apparently our friends
weren't paying attention to the texts! Mark is documenting the events of Jesus' baptism in the present tense and
states Jesus went into the desert immediately after His baptism. But John (the apostle) is not presenting the
actual baptism account but is documenting John the Baptist's testimony to his disciples! John 1:32 states "Then
John gave this testimony..." This shows John rehashing the events in the past tense. His statement the next day
was referring to the day after John had given his testimony to his disciples- not the day after Jesus baptism.
IS JESUS EQUAL TO OR LESSER THAN GOD THE FATHER?
(NIV) Contradiction 1: I and my Father are one. John 10:30
(NIV) Contradiction 2: If you loved me, you would be glad that I am going to the Father, for the Father is
greater than I. John 14:28
This question really requires a thorough explanation but I will give a brief answer as to how I personally
understand the Trinity. We'll use the analogy of a marriage though I'll admit it's not a perfect analogy. When a
man and a women are married, they are said to become one flesh. Of course, they are still two separate physical
entities but they become united in spirit. God appoints the husband to be "the head" of the union, though neither
gender is considered more or less precious than the other. Likewise, though God and Jesus are spiritually equal,
Jesus makes it clear that He submits to the Father. Just because they are united does not necessarily mean one
cannot be subordinate to the other. Though the husband has been placed into the role of leadership, the wife is
not less important. They simply have different roles.
HOW MANY APOSTLES DID JESUS APPEAR TO AFTER HIS RESURRECTION?
(NIV) Contradiction 1: And that He appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve. I Corinthians 15:5
(NIV) Contradiction 2: Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them
to go. Matthew 28:16
Because Judas had committed suicide and because Matthias had not yet been appointed to replace him, Paul
seems to be wrong when he mentions the twelve in his letter to the Corinthians. But we can see the twelve refers
to the apostles as a group and not necessarily to the specific number of apostles. We don't need a long-winded
explanation because our answer is found within the verse itself: Paul states Jesus appeared to Peter and then to
the twelve- but we know Peter was one of the original apostles. If Judas was dead and Jesus already appeared to
Peter, then (if we want to get technical) it should say to the ten in the above verse! The twelve was simply a
reference to the apostles- before Judas, after Judas, before Matthias, and after Matthias. Another possible
solution is that Paul is referring to Jesus' appearance to the remaining eleven apostles at a time when Matthias,
the soon-to-be twelfth, was present. In other words, Paul could have been using an anachronism.
Messianic Genealogy Conflicts
The following contradictions are taken from the genealogies of Jesus as told in Matthew 1:1-17 and Luke 3:23-38.
WHO IS THE FATHER OF JOSEPH
(NIV) Contradiction 1: And Jacob the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus...
(NIV) Contradiction 2: Jesus...was the son, so it was thought, of Joseph, the son of Heli. Luke 3:23
Though this belief is not unanimous, it is generally accepted among scholars that Matthew records the genealogy
of Joseph while Luke records the genealogy of Mary. Jacob is believed to be the biological father of Joseph while
Heli is believed to be the father of Mary and the father-in-law of Joseph. If Heli only fathered the two daughters
mentioned in the New Testament it is possible Joseph, the son-in-law, would be mentioned as his son in order to
preserve the family name and inheritance.
THE NUMBER OF ANCESTORS BETWEEN ABRAHAM AND JESUS
Matthew directs his Gospel to a Jewish audience and records the genealogies from Abraham to demonstrate
Jesus' Jewish heritage. Luke addresses his Gospel to a Gentile audience and records the genealogies to Adam to
allow all of humanity to identify with their Savior. But why does Luke record more generations from Abraham to
Jesus than Matthew? One possible solution, referred to as an open genealogy, is that Matthew paraphrased Jesus'
ancestors in order to make the Gospel easily remembered for oral evangelism. This is evident when he organizes
his genealogy into three sets of fourteen: 14 generations from Abraham, 14 generations from David, and 14
generations from the exile. Matthew also uses the word gennao which can refer to either an immediate or
long-term descendant (as in a patriarch begetting his descendants, although not directly). On the other hand,
Luke uses the word ho which represents the son of (definite article). Luke also recorded his Gospel using a more
historical approach as compared to Matthew, Mark, and John (which explains his more thorough documentation).
THE CURSE OF JECONIAH
(NIV) Contradiction 1: This is what the Lord says, "Record this man [Jeconiah] as if childless, a man who will
not prosper in his lifetime, for none of his offspring will prosper, none will sit on the throne of David or rule
anymore in Judah." Jeremiah 22:30
(NIV) Contradiction 2: Jeconiah was the father of Shealtiel... Matthew 1:12
Because Jeconiah is cursed to be childless and his descendants cannot inherit David's throne, why is he listed as
Jesus' ancestor? First of all, Jeremiah does not state Jeconiah is childless but he will be recorded as if childless
(a great insult in antiquity). Also, the curse does not appear to be permanent (will not prosper in his lifetime)
as we can see God promises to raise up a righteous branch from David (but this would be impossible if David's
line was just wiped out). Another theory is that this is not even the same Jeconiah, for the only thing the two
seem to have in common is their name: both have different parents, different children, and are from different
sons of David. One last possible explanation is if we assume the curse was eternal, technically Jesus was not
even a blood descendant of Jeconiah. Jeconiah is mentioned in Joseph's genealogy but not Mary's. Because
Matthew's genealogy is a lineage-via-adoption, we can assume Jesus is not even a blood relative of Jeconiah.
HUMAN OR SUPERNATURAL CONCEPTION
(NIV) Contradiction 1: The patriarch David died and was buried... but he was a prophet and knew that God had
promised him on oath that he would place one of his descendants on his throne. Acts:2:29-30
(NIV) Contradiction 2: [Jesus'] mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came
together, she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit. Matthew 1:18
Both Luke and Matthew acknowledge the virgin birth in their genealogies: Matthew interjects Mary's name into
Joseph's genealogy before mentioning Jesus' birth: Joseph, the husband of Mary, of whom [feminine] was born
Jesus. Luke uses the wording He was the son of Joseph, or so it was thought as his disclaimer. When the Messiah
was promised to be born from David's line, this was indeed fulfilled. Mary was the biological parent of Jesus and
descendant of King David (which fulfills the promise to David literally) while Joseph was the adoptive father of
Jesus and biological descendant of King David.
HOW DID JUDAS DIE?
(NIV) Contradiction 1: Judas bought a field; there he fell headlong, his body burst open and all his intestines
spilled out. Acts 1:18
(NIV) Contradiction 2: So Judas threw the money into the temple and left. Then he went away and hanged
himself. Matthew 27:5
Under Jewish law, the handling of a dead body would make one temporarily unclean. Because Judas was said to
have hung himself during the Passover before the Sabbath, it is very likely no one wanted to handle his corpse.
Scientifically, we know if a body is not embalmed soon after death, the decomposition process will cause the
corpse to accumulate gas. If Judas was left hanging, it is likely he remained in such a state until his body
eventually bloated, causing the rope to snap and his corpse to fall and burst (notice the verse in Acts does not
say this is how Judas died but only what happened to his body).
Others speculate Matthew is using a literary technique and is not referring to a literal hanging but associating
Judas with the traitor, Ahithophel, of the Old Testament.
WHO WAS SEEN AT THE TOMB?
(NIV) Contradiction 1: An angel of the Lord came down from heaven to the tomb... Matthew 28:2
(NIV) Contradiction 2: As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe... Mark 16:5
(NIV) Contradiction 3: Suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. Luke 24:4
(NIV) Contradiction 4: Two angels in white, seated where Jesus' body had been... John 20:12
Several conflicts arise in the above passages: How many angels were seen at the tomb- one or two? Were the
angels seen inside or outside the tomb? Were the angels standing or sitting? In Matthew, one angel appears to
the women outside the tomb while Mark states the women were then greeted by a second angel upon
entering the tomb. We see one angel outside and one angel inside, giving us a total of two angels (with Mark
and Matthew focusing on one encounter each). Luke and John combine the two encounters by mentioning two
angels without offering the specifics given by Matthew and Mark.
WHO WAS JOSIAH'S SUCCESSOR?
(NIV) Contradiction 1: Shallum son of Josiah, who succeeded his father as king of Judah... Jeremiah 22:11
(NIV) Contradiction 2: The people took Jehoahaz son of Josiah and made him king... II Chronicles 36:1
Our lexicon states this is a reference to the same person (See: note 2a). This should come as no surprise as
several individuals (particularly males) throughout the Bible are referred to by more than one name.
CONFLICTING CREATION ACCOUNTS
As told in Genesis 1 verses Genesis 2
Many Biblical critics believe there are inconsistencies between the two creation accounts mentioned in the first
two chapters of Genesis. Call me dense but I just don't see it! The first chapter in Genesis relays the actual
events of the traditional six day creation in the true chronological order. The second chapter of Genesis
expands the creation of man and woman and their relationship to the environment in greater detail using a
topical order. Upon closer examination of Genesis 2 as compared to Genesis 1, we see different verbs being
used in the original Hebrew. To see what I am referring to, I suggest reading this article and this article by two
authors who examine the original Hebrew in depth.
WHO WAS CAIN BEING PROTECTED FROM?
(NIV) But the Lord said to him, Not so if anyone kills Cain, he will suffer vengeance seven times over. Then the
LORD put a mark on Cain so that no one who found him would kill him. Genesis 4:15
In my opinion, this is somewhat of a pointless objection. Due to the longer lifespans recorded in the Bible, Cain
would have been around much longer to have come in contact with many future generations.
HOW CAN CAIN POPULATE AN ENTIRE CITY?
(NIV) Cain was then building a city, and he named it after his son Enoch. Genesis 4:17
This goes along with the same concept mentioned above. Furthermore, this city was not necessarily a raging
metropolis like our modern day New York City.
WHO KILLED KING SAUL?
(NIV) Contradiction 1: Saul said to his armor-bearer, Draw your sword and run me through, or these
uncircumcised fellows will come and run me through and abuse me. But his armor-bearer was terrified and would
not do it. So Saul took his own sword and fell on it... I Samuel 31:4
(NIV) Contradiction 2: [Saul] then said to me, "Stand over me and kill me! I am in the throes of death but still
alive.' So I stood over him and killed him... II Samuel 1:9-10
Let's look at the context of both passages (I Samuel 31 and II Samuel 1). I Samuel is the actual recorded
account of the events that took place. II Samuel is the dialogue between David and an Amalekite witness who is
relating his own version of events. We can clearly see the account given by the Amalekite was his personal
testimony and that he was also lying to David! The Amalekite went before David with his false testimony of
killing Saul in the hope of seeking a reward but instead David ordered his death.
Skeptic Interjection: What about the passage in II Samuel 21:12 which mentions Paul being slain/struck down
by the Philistines?
Answer: The Hebrew word meaning slay (as in the literal sense of killing) is harag (v) and chalal (n). However,
neither of these words are used in reference to Saul's fate at the hands of the Philistines. Instead, the word used
in this passage is nakah which is an ambiguous term meaning to conquer, destroy, defeat etc. This verse does
not imply Saul was killed by the Philistines but that he was defeated by them in battle which corresponds with the
other accounts mentioned throughout the Old Testament.
As we have seen throughout this discussion, most contradictions are resolved upon examination of the original
Hebrew and Greek texts. Others need only to be read within their context. Scribal errors can be compared
against earlier texts to reveal the contradiction is indeed just that- a scribal error. So the next time you are faced
with verses that seemingly contradict each other, do some research and you will see that the majority of conflicts
can be resolved by simple and obvious methods.
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