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Bible Contradictions-Real or Imaginary?

21 May 2012, 08:34

Does the Bible Contradict Itself? Some call it more a matter of consistency rather than contradiction. Then again that's just their opinion. If that were true than anybody that reads the Bible has a very serious problem not just christians.

Who wrote the Bible,how was it written exactly? Well 40 different people wrote the 66 books that makes up the Bible over 1600 years. Are any of the Bible composers professional writers? No they weren't. You have a shepherd, fisherman, tax collector, physician, tentmaker, priest, prophet and even a king that is a writer of the Bible. On top of that the writings in the Bible mentions people and customs that are unfamiliar to us in the 21century.And the writers themselves says that what they wrote down was not always understood by them(Daniel 12:8-10).So it works both ways. 

Here are just 10 of such "contradictions":

1.Where did Cain get his wife(Genesis 4:17)?

A. Adam and Eve had a large family(Genesis 5:3,4) so Cain took his sister or niece and married her. Was it lawful? Leviticus 20:17 says one cannot marry your own sister,so what was this then? It appears that unlike today,marriage back then didn't pose health risk as inbreeding would today. Many would still scream incest! Medical doctors says diseases are genetic disorders that has been increased over time. Genesis says Adam and Eve had no disorders,hence they were perfect. Their son Cain was very close(in the larger time frame of human development) to that perfection. All we know from the Genesis account is that Adam and Eve had children other than Cain and Abel.How many more we don't know the exact number just a brief reference and that's it. Just as we don't know the full detail of George Washington's family,Julias Caesar's family or Abraham Lincoln family or anybody else of historical interest.  

2.How did Judas Iscariot die(Matthew 27:5/Acts 1:18)?

A. Matthew's account says he hung himself,Acts says something else. Matthew's account deals with the mode of his attempted suicide,whereas Acts deals with the actual result. Judas apparently tied a rope to the branch of a tree, put a noose around his neck, and tried to hang himself by jumping off a cliff. It seems that either the rope or the tree limb broke so that he plunged downward and burst open on the rocks below. The topography around Jerusalem makes such a conclusion very reasonable infact.

3.Who carried Jesus’ cross(John 19:27/Matthew 27:32;Mark 15:21;Luke 23:26?

A. John says Jesus carried it himself but the other 3 writers mentioned above says it was Simon of Cyrene. So John wrote a condensed account of Jesus carrying the cross and did not add the point that Simon was compelled or impressed into service to carry the cross. And that's it-one account harmonizing the others.

4.What colour was the garment Jesus wore on the day of his death(Mark 15:17;John 19:2/Matthew 27:28?

A. Mark and John says the garment was purple(royal),but Matthews says it was scarlet cloak(military) emphasizing its redness. Purple is a mixture of red and blue. Hence its a range of hues of colour that had a red hue. When light reflects on the garment and bearing in mind the  background as well,it could both have given different casts onto the garment, and the Gospel writers just mentioned the colour that was strongest to them or to those from whom they got their information from. A minor variation here and there just shows the individuality of the writers and don't prove contradiction.

5.How many men did Jesus Christ expel the demons from who took possession of a large herd of swine(Matthew 8:28/Mark 5:2;Luke 8:27)?

A. Matthew's account says 2 men,but Mark and Luke says just one. Mark and Luke focussed on the man wanting to accompany Jesus,how Jesus spoke to him personally as his case was more outstanding than any other. Also this particular man was more violent than anyone else and suffered under demon control for much longer than anyone else. This only proves that was at least one such man and no contradiction at all.

6.Who was the father of Shealtiel(1 Chronicles 3:16-18;Matthew 1:12/Luke 3:27?

Some accounts says its King Jeconiah whereas Luke says his father was Neri.Neri had a daughter that got married to Shealtiel.Ancient Jewish custom says sons-in-law are also called sons as per genealogical listings. Hence Luke calling Shealtiel as Neri's son.This same writer,Luke,also calls Joseph the son of Heli,who(Heli) was infact Joseph's father-in-law.

7.How can one harmonize the different figures given for Israelites and Judeans in David’s account(2 Samuel 24:9/1 Chronicles 21:5)?

A.One account says it was 800,000 Israelites and 500,000 Judeans whereas the other account says it was 1,100,000 Israelites and 288,000 Judeans. Troops enlisted for royal service back then were 288,000,divided into 12 groups of 24,000 each each serving one month in a year. Added to that were additional 12,000 that were just attendant that is serving on the 12 princes of the tribes. When combining it all it comes to 300,000.The 1,100,000 spoken of in 1 Chronicles 21:5 included the 300,000 to the 800,000,whereas 2 Samuel doesn't include them. At 2 Samuel 6:1 with regards to Judah,30,000 men are mentioned in an army of observation that is stationed on the Philistine frontier,but are not included in the figure in the Chronicles account. Two different writers with two different views on things that's all.

8.Since Agag was a contemporary of Israelite king Saul, was not Balaam’s much earlier reference to an Amalekite ruler of that name a discrepancy(Numbers 24:7/1 Samuel 15:8)?

A.Agag was a personal name repeatedly used by Amalekite rulers."Agag" may also have been a royal title similar to that of Pharaoh in Egypt.

9.How many Israelites died for having immoral relations with Moabite women and for engaging in the worship of the Baal of Peor(Numbers 25:9)?

A. Numbers 25:9 says it was 24,000 but Paul says in 1 Corinthians 10:8 it was 23,000.Numbers account says the "head ones of the people" involved in these acts got killed by the judges. A matter of adding  a 1000 of these "head ones" to the figure of 23,000  mentioned in Paul's account that's all.

10.Who sold Joseph into Egypt(Genesis37:27,28)?

A.Ishmaelites or Midianites merchants?Midianites and Ishmaelites could have travelled together in an Ishmaelite caravan of people. They were related to each other though their common forefather Abraham.

These are just some of the "contradictions" people brings up in order to bash the Bible. Looking at it carefully one can easily see how difficulties can be resolved instead of having an overwhelmingly negative approach towards the Bible. Many people do not have an accurate view of what constitutes a contradiction. Truth must be constantly emphasized. A mere difference does not make it a contradiction. It's never legitimate to assume a contradiction until every possible means of harmonization has been fully exhausted. The differences in various scriptural accounts of the same events actually just demonstrate the independence of the writers,not contradictions.

Author Henry Van Dyke once wrote: “Born in the East and clothed in Oriental form and imagery, the Bible walks the ways of all the world with familiar feet and enters land after land to find its own everywhere.

References:

1.www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Genesis+37%3A27-28

2.www.textweek.com/history.

3.bible.org/.../there-contradiction-between.

4.www.whatistruth.info/that/heart/html.

5.creation.com/cains-wife-brother-sister-intermarriage. 

6.www.web-books.com/Classics/ON/B0/B897/03MB897.

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