Contradictions In The Bible???

Discussion in 'General Discussions' started by JustPassingThru, Jul 3, 2013.

  1. I've thought about this subject ever since the first time I read it here, I've talked with a pastor friend about it and they were curious too.

    I guess this really has two parts to it,

    1) When registering for this site we affirm we believe in the inerrency of the Bible, so after affirming that fact how can someone believe there are contradictions in God's Word?

    2) While during my walk with the Lord there have been verses I didn't/don't understand, but I've never found any contradictions in His Word, so can someone please list some verses they believe are contradictory?

    Hopefully this will be conducted in the Love of Christ and will glorify God, I also must add I'm on Hawaii time and I also work full time so I'll only be able to respond at night, thanks for your understanding.


  2. G'day Gene,
    I can't think of any passages that are contradictory (in the Bible). I am aware of many interpretations that lead to contradictory understandings though:(
    I'd say that if a person starts out with the commitment that the Bible originally was the word of God inspired, then any and all difficulty can be viewed as a human failing, not contradiction of the Bible.
    Major and KingJ say Amen and like this.
  3. Hey Calvin,

    That's how I was taught, but from what I've seen posted here there are some who say the Bible is contradictory or has contradictions, so I guess we'll see.


  4. I am with you Gene and I look forward to participating in your thread.
  5. And just where have you been young man????

    I would agree with you as well.
  6. There are several textual contradictions. Most are actually fairly minor issues, but they are often impossibilities.

    2 Kings 24:8 : "Jehoiachin was eighteen years old when he became king, and he reigned three months in Jerusalem; and his mother’s name was Nehushta the daughter of Elnathan of Jerusalem."
    2 Chronicles 36:9: "Jehoiachin was eight years old when he became king, and he reigned three months and ten days in Jerusalem, and he did evil in the sight of the Lord."
    So, How old is Jehoiachin when he becomes king? 8 or 18? Obviously, not a big issue, but it IS a contradiction. Kings and Chronicles does this a handful of times.

    Matthew 27:28 : "They stripped Him and put a scarlet robe on Him."
    John 19:2 : "And the soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on His head, and put a purple robe on Him;"
    What color was Jesus' robe? Again, not a big issue, but any explanation is automatically an interpretation.

    Matthew 27:34 : "they gave Him wine to drink mixed with gall; and after tasting it, He was unwilling to drink."
    Mark 15:23 : "They tried to give Him wine mixed with myrrh; but He did not take it."
    What drink was Jesus offered on the cross?

    Matthew 27:5 : "And he threw the pieces of silver into the temple sanctuary and departed; and he went away and hanged himself."
    Acts 1:18 : "(Now this man acquired a field with the price of his wickedness, and falling headlong, he burst open in the middle and all his intestines gushed out."
    Who bought the Potter's field? How did Judas die?

    Feel free to do the work and use a good Greek translation if you like. I chose NASB in these examples, but the same contradictions exist in other version, as well as many others (Most notably the 4 Gospels often disagree on details of Jesus' ministry). If you read various interactions that Jesus had with the Pharisees, the story is actually really fun. In one Gospel, the Pharisees are quite belligerent to Jesus, in other Gospels, it is Jesus that takes the offensive. Some version of the Bible "smoothed" these out a bit. Now, none of these are very big deals. They aren't really very important, but to read them completely literally, they don't resolve. Interpretation HAS to be done at some level or another somewhere along the line.

    There are a number of theories regarding these. Mostly, I studied the differences in the Gospels. The main way we resolve these differences is using a concept called Markan priority. Basically, Mark is believed to have been written much earlier than the other synoptic Gospels, and so would have been available when the other Gospels were written. Another theory states that there was another Gospel that is now lost to time, but for some odd reason called "Q" that also contains information that was known by the writers of the other Gospels.

    Markan priority isn't the ONLY resolution, and neither is the idea of "Q". Certainly we know that all of the Gospels were written many years after the events described in them. None of them are "live" accounts, and most contain elements that the writer was not present for (Such as Jesus and John the Baptist's births). The important thing to note is that these are all just details. Nothing here conflicts or contradicts God's nature in any way, counters Salvation, or actually affects Christian life in a tangible way. It is simply the fact that different writers wrote according to their own experiences and styles.
  7. 1.
    2 Kings 24:8 ---------2 Chron. 36:9 ",
    How old is Jehoiachin when he becomes king? 8 or 18?

    Jehoachin's father, Madehim, became an unofficial co-ruler at the age of eight to train him! This was followed with Jehoachin becoming officially the king at his father's death at 18 years of age!

    Matthew 27:28 -----------John 19:2
    What color was Jesus' robe? Again, not a big issue, but any explanation is automatically an interpretation.
    I agree that this is not really a contradiction at all. Two different people see a color two different ways.
    Isn't that why we have courts today to settle what is actually seen. A middle-ground color is another way for a cloak to be two colors at the same time.

    Matthew 27:34 ---------- Mark 15:23 :
    What drink was Jesus offered on the cross?

    This why we "study the Scriptures to be approved". We have to dig into the Word and we see that there is no contradiction at all. They first gave Jesus wine mingled with myrrh, but Jesus did not recieve it, which means he did not taste it (Mark 15:23), in other words it must have gotten spilled or something before they gave it to Jesus so they got another drink for him, which was vinegar mingled with gall, and this time he did drink it and he did tasted it and did not drink it. It's talking about different drinks given to Jesus at the time at different points of time. No Contradiction.

    Matthew 27:5 ----------- Acts 1:18 :
    Who bought the Potter's field? How did Judas die?

    This is a common contradiction amongst scoffers. It has been around for a long time. Judas betrayed Jesus, and after feeling remorse rid himself of the blood-money by casting it down. He then went and hung himself by a rope which had to have snapped, dropping his body down upon rocks which would have torn his body, and thus causing him to burst asunder.
    Bought: in such cases the purchase was made in the name of the man to whom the money had been paid and to whom the money by a legal act was supposed all the time to belong.

    This fun!!!!
  8. That's an interpretation of what the text says. It's actually not a bad one, but it's not literally what the text says. The text is a contradiction as written. Another option would be a copyist issue. Either way, the literal text is a contradiction. Easy to explain, but contradictory nonetheless.

    If God literally penned the words of the Bible, then he would not see two different colors. You just gave the reason these two differed as being the perspective of the writer. That would mean that the writer added perspective, which is is exactly what I believe and feel like I'm being attacked for despite the fact that it is how many Biblical Scholars have interpreted Scripture. If the Bible is the literal, inerrant word, written word for word by God, not inspired, but literally word for word, you can't then claim a difference is because of the writer's perspective because that is saying that the writers contributed to the language, so it is no longer word for word what God dictated.

    Dig into = Interpret. You are reading more into this than is there. Again, you are interpreting something after the fact, yet claiming you aren't interpreting. I'm not calling you on that, or disagreeing with you. What I'm saying is that we are both doing the same exact thing, only you call it reading it literally, and I say it is still interpreting because that ISN'T what the text says. Two writers both wrote about the same event, or for some reason both writers wrote about two separate events. Either way, it is the writers that either described the drink differently, or chose to redact the other writers rendition from the story. Nowhere did it state that there was "another" drink.

    That is a MASSIVE interpretation of the text Major, in fact way more than I would be willing to "interpret". That isn't literally what it says at all. It's a fairly common interpretation and possibly correct, but not the only explanation. Remember, one writer did not write both of these things. Two writers did. In other words, for some mystery reason, one writer chose to redact information and only tell a portion of the story...and actually odd portion of the story in this case, or both writers were simply aware of a different telling of the same exact event. It is entirely possible that Matthew saw that Judas was hung and wrote that down, and that John later decided to elaborate (or correct) and add description.

    We could do this all day, but nothing will be accomplished. The point is, if you require this to be literally God creating the Bible word for word, then any proof that there is a genuine contradiction means that God screwed up somewhere. There are only so many differences that we can chalk up to "copyist" issues or "translation" issues. The truth is, any contradictions aren't genuine, and I didn't posit these examples to imply they WERE genuine, only that they are textual contradictions that would not exist if there was 1) a single writer and 2) that writer was perfect. If an idiot like me can find these, I'm pretty sure God would. We know that the writers wrote what they experienced and what they believed under the inspiration, and sometimes under the revelation of God. They all saw the same truth. Just as if you and I both saw the same movie, and then wrote as unbiased of a synopsis of the movie as possible, we would not produce two word for word literal scripts from the movie that would match in even the smallest of details. Likely neither of us would produce a script that was much more than "mostly" accurate. That doesn't mean they are wrong, it just means we would each contribute what we remember as the most important facts.

    My point is that every time I see someone claim to read the Bible literally without interpretation, the first thing they seem to do is start interpreting things to justify their "literal" reading. How is it that a "literal" read requires WAY more interpretation than the simplest read?
  9. Ban............I require nothing.

    I accept what God says and work to understand what His meaning is. I believe that God spoke through the 43 men who wrote the Bible using their personalities and human traits to explain what they believed God wanted them to proclaim. IF you choose to call that "interpretation", fine with me. I have always felt that learning what was said was the motivation of understanding what the original intent of what was said really was.

    Doesn't the word "interpretation" mean to arrive at the original meaning the writer wanted to say? The original meaning the author intended is the interpretation and must be found before we can use it in our lives. A wrong interpretation will produce a wrong application.

    IS the Bible the Word of God? That is what we must answer.

    If we want to be intellectually honest, we will study the evidence so as to arrive at the correct meaning. Again, IF you want to call that "interpretation" fine with me.

    The Bible claims that ALL Scripture is God breathed. That means the part about Adam and Eve was real, as was Balaam's donkey talking, Jonah being eaten by a fish, a real flood, the Red Sea parted, 3 boys lived through a fire pit and Daniel lived through the night with lions. ALL Scripture is God breathed and it is for us and YES it is the Literal Word of God.

    Consider what the wrong teaching, or interpretation has done over the years as different denominations read the same words and make different choices. They do that by their lack of Biblical interpretation which has led to wrong doctrine.
    I am having a little trouble understanding what you are saying and actually it seems that we are in agreement because it seems to me that the great need today determining what the Bible really teaches is a correct method of interpretation.
    I think we are saying the same thing.

    Evangelical churches teach that salvation is by one's faith through God's grace and no works. But some churches teach that baptism is necessary for salvation. Both claim the Bible as the source of their belief. Most Protestants practice baptism by sprinkling whereas Baptists baptize by immersion. The Roman Catholic Church teaches it is the only true church, and that Peter was the first pope based on their interpretation of Matthew 16:18. No one else outside Catholicism accepts this interpretation.

    "Even the cults such as the Jehovah's Witnesses use the Bible to deny the deity of Jesus Christ, the existence of Hell, and most doctrines of the Christian faith. The Mormons, another cult, uses the Bible verse in 1 Corinthians 15:29 as the source for their practice of baptisms for the dead. No one else accepts this interpretation. Seventh Day Adventists have their church services on Saturday, the Jewish "Sabbath Day" and teach Michael the Arch Angel is Christ. They teach this based on their understanding of the Bible's instruction concerning the Sabbath. Pentecostal churches and the modern Charismatic movement teach "tongues" and miracle healings as valid gifts of the Holy Spirit today. All fundamentalists and many other Christian denominations strongly disagree". (
  10. That's actually the point I'm trying very hard to make. We ARE saying the same thing. We agree on more than you might think, though we define our methods differently. See, I keep hearing people claim to read the Bible literally as though God penned the words Himself, yet to manage that, they have to justify the textual contradictions using interpretations that add a great deal to the text itself. Wherein, to read the text as written by humans, but inspired and revealed by God, "minor contradictions and inconsistencies" become like ash. They vanish with no need to add anything to the text to make it work.

    The only reason it is important at all is because I find that many fly the banner of "literal and inerrant" as a way of controlling and attacking rather than communicating. I"m seeing it a LOT around here lately and it's rather tiring. It comes across as very haughty and bullying, contrary to the Spirit of Love that we should be answering to. The Bible is there for us to understand and learn about God, about Salvation, and about how we can live according to the desires and expectations of a Holy God. That's what we need to use it for. To reach those who do not know Christ, to disciple those that do, and to grow and learn.

    The OP asked about contradictions, and I offered them. You resolved them by adding to the text, I resolve them by saying that the authors wrote according to what they experienced and saw (though the first case is more likely a copyist error because 18 years and 8 years in Hebrew look a LOT alike, and the second one we basically have the exact same interpretation). Contradictions do not imply fault, only something that requires some amount of interpretation to be resolved, and that was always my point. At some point or another, interpretation is going to happen, and this is what causes the differences.
  11. See, what I said was rather loose and too brief. Many people from time to time cite 2 Tim 3:16 to include the whole 66 books of the Bible, and in my opinion do so without stopping to ask "what actually is scripture?" "What did Paul have in mind?"
    2 Tim 3:15,16,17. and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings,which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.v16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, v17 thatthe man of God may be competent,equipped for every good work.
    In the Kjv, 'sacred writings' (v15) is rendered as 'scripture.' To follow through with Paul's thoughts, in v16 isn't he saying that 'all sacred writing' is inspired by God and profitable for teaching etc.
    There is no Greek word for 'scripture' as far as I know. It comes from Latin...'scriptus' or similar. The Greek in v15 and 16 use words derived from a verb 'grapho'
    So now the emphasis is on what God/Jesus has directly said or inspired to be written, not on a collection of narrative and historical perspective? We trust that collection of narrative and historical information, but when we ascribe literally everything to being the word of God then we risk entering into misunderstanding.
    We trust the writers of the gospel narratives to have faithfully recorded what Jesus said. Their perceptions and recollections of other incidentals serve only to give us a picture of what was happening.....the mood of a crowd and so on.
    Looking at the accounts that talk of vinegar mixed with gall and/or wine mixed with myrrh, neither would be 'thirst quenchers' and I think whatever was given was a cruel exercise in mockery.
  12. Bana: What about this much weightier seeming contradiction?:

    (same as 1Ch 10:4)

    However this is also stated:

    Not trivial at all, IMO. Nor do I think it a copyist's snafu.
  13. Okay Ban,

    I’ve already said this in another thread, but I think it’s relevant so I’ll repeat it here.

    I think we can agree that a unregenerated person can't understand the spiritual truths of the Bible, but only the historical, so looking through my "eyes" there was a moment in time when the Holy Spirit illuminated my state of being lost and going to Hell, at that moment I had the choice of accepting salvation or rejecting it, if I rejected it was like calling the Holy Spirit a liar, now, every true born again child of God has had the same experience in their lives,, I have experienced the opportunity of calling the Holy Spirit a liar (blasphemy), but didn't, from that experience we know the act is "literal" (occupies a point of time in the time-space domain) and we know the signification of what Jesus was saying, ... so, from our knowledge ("ginosko," knowledge that comes from experience) we can use the gift of teaching, reading the text distinctly, giving the sense and help the people to understand, to "interpretate" the verse correctly in the sense that He meant, ...the proof we have that this is correct is in the fact the Word of God is living, but these words were spoken almost two thousand years ago and yet there are people being convicted by the Holy Spirit from them today.

    We are growing in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ, I look at it like when I was framing houses, I used the Pythagorean theorem to calculate the rafter lengths, I didn't have to stop and first review the multiplication tables because I had already learned them, so it is with the Truth of God, we keep building on what He has/is teaching us and we are growing in knowledge.

    The Word is like a gem with many different facets, in one facet we will see a truth and in another will we see another truth, however these truths won’t be contradictory, but rather will build on each other, compliment each other. What each child of God will see in a facet is dependent on their level of spiritual maturity, babe, child, teenager or adult, Paul taught this when he told the Corinthian church he had to feed them watered down milk because the couldn’t accept the meat of the Word and we also find the same thing in the Hebrew epistle. Heb 5:12, 14 Comprehension will also depend on the spiritual state/condition of the child with Father, there could be sin in the heart, unwillingness to submit to His authority (pride), an inattentive heart (lackadaisical study habits) , failure to do what He has already told them to do, etc., for example if a person ahs been saved for 25 years and are still in the baby stage, Father could be remaining silent until they decide in their heart to take off the dirty diaper and grow in the knowledge of the Lord.

    Okay, now for the contradictions you have listed:

    2 Kings 4:8, 2 Chron 36:9

    As major has stated, Jehoiachin was co regent with his father starting at the age of eight and came to be king when he was eighteen, so to answer your question he was eighteen, however, man lives by every word that comes out of the mouth of God, so there is more here, let’s look at the story through another facet.

    1) This story is repeated twice and Jesus set a principle that when something is stated twice we need to take notice, “Verily, Verily”

    2) In both books it records “he did evil in the sight of the Lord” and what resulted from his sin, the Temple was destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar, now Paul tells us in Corinthians that the Old Testament was written for us to receive instruction from, 1 Cor 10:11, which for us today the lesson in this verse is, the wages of sin is death, ..when we sin something will die, be it a relationship, ministry, or possibly our physical body, no one escapes this principle, saved or unsaved.

    A different facet:

    1) Eight in this Scripture is used to represent fatness, …Jehoiachin was king, he had it all.
    2) Eighteen is two x nine, in this Scripture two is the number of witness (see above) and nine is the number of finality or judgment, Jehoiachin was judged by God when he was eighteen, again the answer to your question.

    And another facet

    Jeremiah pronounced a curse on Jehoiachin, …he would never have a descendent that would sit on the throne of David Jer 22:30, which set the stage for Jesus to receive the legal right to sit on the throne of David through his adoptive father Joseph Matt 1:12, 16

    I hope you can see my point, when I come across a seeming contradiction I dig deeper to see what treasure I will find hidden there.

    Matt 27:28, John 19:2

    1) Matt was written to the Jews to prove Jesus is their Messiah, he used the same teaching technique as Jesus by giving references to the Old Testament, scarlet is a reference to the “tola” worm and the Jews would immediately flash on Ps 22.

    2) John was written to the church (Gentiles) and was recording history, the original word purple was from Latin, the language of the soldiers, and is a reference to the dye that was extracted from a mussel, his Gospel was written in the ‘90s while he was the pastor of the seven churches mentioned in the Revelation, one of those churches was in Thyatira, well know at the time for producing this die, hence the readers would be familiar with this word.

    Matt 27:34, Mark 15:23

    In Matt the word for wine is sour wine and gall was added to the wine mixed with myrrh, since it was a benevolent ladies club that customarily provided this stupefant they wouldn’t add something revolting like gall to the mixture, hence it is assumed it was added by someone after it left their hands.

    Matt 27:5, Acts 1:18

    1) Matt was probably an eyewitness account while Acts was written by Luke gathering info from people after the fact.

    2) The Pharisees used the money Judas returned to buy the Potters Field to bury the poor who didn’t have money for burial because it was blood money and couldn’t be returned to the treasury.

    3) A historian, Josephus or Edersheim, I don’t remember which one tonight, recorded that Judas hung himself on the high wall of the city, either the rope broke or he hung there until his body putrefied and he fell outside of the wall into the field called Aceladama, or field of blood, so named not because of Judas , but because it was better know then Jos 15:8 as well as today as the valley of the sons of Hinnom or Gihenna where the idolatrous Jews burned their children alive to Moloch and Baal.

    Now you can say I’m interpreting or even reading something in to the verse that isn’t written there, but that’s Bible study, we prayfully read the Word and the Holy Spirit teaches, He’s the one filling in the blanks, He is the one that is revealing the different facets of the Word to us.


    Major likes this.
  14. Calvin,

    The problem with that is we are judging the Word, what part is of God, which isn't, making us God's judge, the LIE of the serpent in the Garden, "You will become like God," ...rather than letting the Word judge us.


  15. Careful major,

    Again they are judging God's Word as to what is relevant for today and what is not.


  16. Rusty,

    Chron 10:14 is a recapitulation of the chapter, the words "therefore he slew," is the Hebrew word muth which means to die, literally or figuratively, but it is also used causetively, which is the signification the author was using in his recapitulation, ...God caused or orchestrated the events that caused Saul to commit suicide because it was time for him to die, all the days of his life were written in a book Psa 139 and the book recorded that Saul would die that day.


  17. I searched for a reference I have, but can't find it tonight, this is what it said,

    The letters of the word Elohim in Hebrew are repeated separately E-L-O-H-I-M every fifty words in the Pentateuch, every fiftyth word starting with the next consecutive letter repeating the name throughout the five books, now if the Bible isn't inspired by God, or literally "God breathed" then please convince me how could any group of men do this?


  18. So you say God forced/manipulated/caused Saul to take his own life? God uses suicide for His own glory?? Suicide He causes???

    Now you alos said this:

    I'm not debating this...just want to know where you got this idea about the meaning of these two numbers. Did God tell directly or through someone else?
  19. NOPE! No contradiction here at all. Neither is it trivial or a copyist snafu!!!

    The Bible interprets itself.

    The Amalekite lied. He made up the story hoping to receive a reward from David for killing his enemy:

    2 Samuel 4:10...................
    "When one told me, saying, Behold, Saul is dead, thinking to have brought good tidings, I took hold of him, and slew him in Ziklag, who thought that I would have given him a reward for his tidings".

    GOOD STUFF!!!!
  20. Gene.........the context of that comment is rooted in the post I made of this truth.....

    "Consider what the wrong teaching, or interpretation has done over the years as different denominations read the same words and make different choices. They do that by their lack of Biblical interpretation which has led to wrong doctrine."

    I do not think "relevance" was my focus. MY focus was on how many different organizations have incorrectly understood the Word of God therefore have led to erroneouse doctrines such as infant baptism's, baptism's for the dead, denying the diety of Christ, denying the Trinity etc.

    Keep up the good work!

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