Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Contradictions in Scripture?

Have you ever been reading your Bible, and you come across a passage that you know contradicts another? Or have you heard a child's Bible being read, and it had a different story than what you've read in the Bible you have? I have.

Are there contradictions in Scripture itself?

I do not believe so, and here is why:

1. ALL scripture is God-breathed (2 Timothy 3:16)
2. ALL true prophecies about Jesus came true
3. It was written by over 40 different people
4. It was written over a very long period of time

Now we shall look a little at these four things...

1. ALL Scripture is God-breathed

Scriptural backup: 2 Timothy 3:16 - All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness. (For a bit more study of this verse, see part nineteen of my 2 Timothy Study).

God breathed it! The whole thing is His Word! And God cannot lie or contradict Himself. (Titus 1:2 - In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began.)

2. All true prophecies about Jesus came true

For example:

Isaiah 53:4 - Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried out sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.

Compared to:

Matthew 8:17 - That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias (Isaiah) the prophet, saying, Himself took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses.

See this page to find a bunch of references to them.

3. It was written by over forty different people


Just to name a few!

4. It was written over a very long period of time

From the time of Moses till the time of Paul, that's a very long time! I'm not sure how long, but I know, a few thousand years!


So what kind of "contradictions"* are there? I have personally found one, and I have heard of another, I'll write both down here:

1. The death of Judas Iscariot

(Keep in mind! No one knows exactly what happened, so we don't know for sure. These are just educated guesses, or, in my case, just guesses.)

Matthew 27:5 - And he cast down the pieces of silver in the temple, and departed, and went and hanged himself.

Acts 1:18 - Now this man (Judas Iscariot) purchased a field with the reward of iniquity; and falling headlong, he burst asunder in the midst, and all his bowels gushed out.

So here, we have two "contradictions"*.

1. Did he throw down the silver in the temple or did he purchase a field with it?

Both! He bought the field, then threw down his payment.

2. Did he hang himself or did he fall and burst open?

Both! He hung himself on a tree that was hanging over a cliff (the normal thing to do back then, or so I've read) and when he, uh, his body, was, well, decapitated, or in regular English, had his head disconnected from the rest of his body, he kinda, well, fell, and uh, "burst asunder". *shudder* gross.

No contradiction there!

2. The Withered Fig Tree

Mark 11:12-22 - 12And on the morrow, when they were come from Bethany, he was hungry: 13And seeing a fig tree afar off having leaves, he came, if haply he might find any thing thereon: and when he came to it, he found nothing but leaves; for the time of figs was not yet. 14And Jesus answered and said unto it, No man eat fruit of thee hereafter for ever. And his disciples heard it. 15And they come to Jerusalem: and Jesus went into the temple, and began to cast out them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves; 16And would not suffer that any man should carry any vessel through the temple. 17And he taught, saying unto them, Is it not written, My house shall be called of all nations the house of prayer? but ye have made it a den of thieves. 18And the scribes and chief priests heard it, and sought how they might destroy him: for they feared him, because all the people was astonished at his doctrine. 19And when even was come, he went out of the city. 20And in the morning, as they passed by, they saw the fig tree dried up from the roots. 21And Peter calling to remembrance saith unto him, Master, behold, the fig tree which thou cursedst is withered away. 22And Jesus answering saith unto them, Have faith in God.

Compared to:

Matthew 21:18-20 - 18Now in the morning as he returned into the city, he hungered. 19And when he saw a fig tree in the way, he came to it, and found nothing thereon, but leaves only, and said unto it, Let no fruit grow on thee henceforward for ever. And presently the fig tree withered away. 20And when the disciples saw it, they marvelled, saying, How soon is the fig tree withered away!

Here we have one "contradiction"*:

Did the fig tree wither away right before their eyes, or did it wither away while they were gone, and then they saw it when they came back by it in the morning?

On this one, I am not really sure. A few different things could have happened.

"Presently" means soon, or immediately. So according to what we find in Mark, the fig tree withered away right before their eyes. But according to Matthew, Jesus commanded the fig tree to bear no fruit, and then they left before it happened. Now, you must be thinking, "one is wrong". But that is not possible! Both are correct, for both are the inspired word of God, and God doesn't lie, or forget what happened! So what did happen? I don't know. But my only guess would be that the fig tree started to wither while they were there, and then when they came back the next day, it was completely dead. But I am not sure. What do you think?

Have you found any "contradictions" in scripture? Have you figured out why both (or more) are true? For they must be true, no matter how much they seem to "contradict".

God never lies. Nor does He forget. Nor does He contradict Himself. The Bible is the inspired Word of God, so we can trust it. It is the only book we can trust. It is the only map for life that we can trust. "His word IS truth!" (John 17:17)

In Christ,

*I did quote marks because they are not really contradictions.

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