Saturday, November 19, 2005

# 110: Contradictions and Uncertainties

This post is being written in response to several comments and e-mails I received, asking for the list of Bible verses that show contradictions and uncertainties in the New Testament, which is contrary to what some churches teach: that the Bible is the inerrant and infallible Word of God. WARNING: This post may be disturbing to some. Caution is advised.

Thanks for your inquiry. These Biblical contradictions could upset a person’s faith, as they did to mine in the early 1970s. I pray that does not happen to anyone who is reading this section. God has the ability to work through humanity’s shortcomings. In fact, He can take advantage of these errors in a surprising way: When people want to purposely find these mistakes to justify some ungodly belief or action, they are given more than enough rope to hang themselves with these contradictions. Also, this is good ammunition for those who desire to undermine Scripture. Those who are true Christians will understand that these human errors show that this book, although inspired by the Holy Spirit, is written by imperfect, though fallible, reborn humans. One important thing to remember is that the Gospels were written mostly by memory, 30 or more years after the fact. Even people with excellent memories still have lapses in memory. The sad thing is that some churches attempt to hide these errors and then teach that the Bible is without error. I believe it is best to tell the truth if it hurts or hinders, and let the chips fall where they may. These contradictions and uncertainties do not discredit the Bible, but let it be known that it was written and interpreted as best these authors and translators knew. I am not saying the old manuscripts were not tampered with, because there is some evidence that they were. Whether these alterations were done maliciously, inadvertently, or for benevolent reasons, who is to say? Regardless, the Bible will always stand tall. No book in the world does a better job of teaching and inspiring a way of life where ordinary people can reach their spiritual genetic potential, regardless of what organized religion has done to display just the comfy-cozy parts of the Christian life while playing down obedience, which takes effort.

And of course, there are those who haven’t studied the New Testament sufficiently enough to catch errors. I have known about those errors for over 30 years and my faith is stronger than ever. Repeating, of course in the hands of atheists, they can do much harm by undermining the faith of those just starting out to know the Lord. You can see why some churches don’t encourage the reading of the Bible.

All the bible verses in this complete blog are quoted from the “New International Version” of the Bible, a popular and accepted version by the majority of the Christian world.

1) This first contradiction, most likely, is the largest. In a casual reading, it could be easily overlooked. As big as it is, it doesn’t take away anything of substance. In other words, it doesn’t mean a hoot or a holler. Even though this large discrepancy doesn’t have any theological implications, it does reflect an uncertainty as to the accuracy of other portions of the New Testament.

This partially secluded error has to do with the genealogy of Jesus Christ. In Matthew 1:2, starting in reverse order with Abraham, Matthew ends up in verse 17 with the birth of Jesus. Now in Luke 3:23, Luke starts with Jesus and ends up with God in verse 37. But you don’t have to go as far as God. Go up to the last part of verse 33 where Abraham is mentioned. Starting with Abraham, go backward from Abraham to Jesus to coincide with how Matthew wrote it. Repeating, the genealogy from Jesus Christ to Abraham is totally different in Matthew than in Luke where he starts with Jesus and ends with God. If it sounds screwy, it is. Then, some have said that one account is of Jesus and the other is of Mary. That is foolish talk for the unlearned. There has never been genealogy of women in the Old or New Testament, and besides, Mary is never even mentioned in these two accounts. Someone was misinformed. If I didn’t make myself clear, let me know and I will try again.

2) Luke 9:50: “‘Do not stop him,’ Jesus said, ‘for whoever is not against you is for you.’”

Matthew 12:30: “He who is not with me is against me. . .” Luke contradicts what he said earlier. In Luke 11:23, “He who is not with me is against me. . . .”

3) Matthew 26:34: “‘I tell you the truth,’ Jesus answered, ‘this very night, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times.’” Luke says the same thing in Luke 22:60.

Mark 14:30: “‘I tell you the truth,’ Jesus answered, ‘today –yes, tonight–before the rooster crows twice, you yourself will disown me three times.’” Did the rooster crow once or twice?

4) Luke 23:39: “One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: ‘Aren’t you the Christ? Save yourself and us,’ but the other criminal rebuked him. ‘Don’t you fear God,’ he said, ‘since we are under the same sentence? We are punished justly, for we are getting what we deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.’”

Matthew 27:44: “In the same way the robbers [plural] who were crucified with him also heaped insults on him.” Who said what?

5) In this next verse, the translators/interpreters are in error. Remember, there was no punctuation in Bible writings until about the 15th century; therefore, the translators put punctuation in as they thought was the common belief. Luke 23:42-43: “Then he said, ‘Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.’ Jesus answered him, ‘I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise.’” Written that way, Jesus is saying that that very day, the thief will be in paradise. Now if the comma was placed after the word ‘today,’ the complete meaning would change. It should be read this way: "I tell you the truth today, you will be with me in paradise." The thief will be with Jesus in paradise, but not that same day.

Here is why I say that: In John 20:17, three day after Jesus’ crucifixion, while Jesus was at the site of His tomb, Mary was there. “Jesus said, ‘Do not touch me, for I have not yet returned to the Father.’” The question remains: Did the thief go to paradise before Jesus? With the comma as it is written in the New Testament, the answer is yes. Big error. This subject can have long-term implications, which I don’t desire to discuss at this time. But you can read an answer I gave to a comment in post #102 entitled “Conscious State at Death.” That may help you. There are seven comments in that comment section.

6) This next verse is in three Gospels, but is not mentioned in John. Matthew 12:32, Luke 12:10, and I will quote Mark 3:29: “But whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven; he is guilty of an eternal sin.” What is this sin against the Holy Spirit? I have heard many flimsy answers, but none will suffice. I personally don’t know if this is sinning against the Holy Spirit, but the only sin I know that can never be forgiven is the sin of unbelief in what God said in the Bible. This eternal sin contradicts 1st John 3:5: “But you know that he appeared so that he might take away our sins.” Can Jesus take away that eternal sin?

7) The two most reliable manuscripts do not contain Mark 16:9-20. Those verses are in my Bible and others I have. Should we believe those 11 verses or not? Do yourself a favor and read them. See how important and different they are from the other Gospels.

8) Matthew 20:18-19: Jesus said to them, speaking of himself, “They will condemn him to death and will turn him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and flogged and crucified. On the third day he will be raised to life!” Since Jesus knew this was going to happen to him, why is it written in Matthew 26:39 that Jesus said this in prayer to His Father: “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”?

9) Concerning divorce, see Matthew 5:31: “It has been said, ‘Anyone who divorces his wife must give her a certificate of divorce.’ But I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, causes her to commit adultery, and anyone who marries a woman so divorced commits adultery.” My question is, what if the wife was an excellent wife, but the husband just wanted a younger, sexier woman and therefore divorced her? Was it her fault? No. It doesn't make any sense. Now listen to what Luke says in Luke 16:18, “Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery, and the man who marries a divorced woman commits adultery.” My question is this: Is adultery a sin that can be forgiven? I am sure it can be forgiven. Or is that the eternal sin against The Holy Spirit? Is a man or a woman still guilty of adultery after they repented and received forgiveness? I am sure the blood of Jesus Christ could cleanse that sin. Then what is the problem? If you know more than I do concerning this issue, let me know. There seems to be some type of misunderstanding somewhere.

10) When this New International Version Bible was being written in 1982, there were many—almost a hundred—uncertainties for the interpreters, since they had many ancient manuscripts to study from. They had to pick and choose which words and even sections they thought were the most accurate. Even though I mentioned only a few inconsistencies, there are many more minor ones I didn't mention, because that would only be nitpicking.

11) In 1st Corinthians 14:22-24, the Apostle Paul is teaching about speaking in tongues. In verse 22, he says that tongues are a sign for unbelievers; then in verse 23 and 24, he says the exact opposite. Read it yourself and see if you can figure out what he is saying.

12) In Romans 7:18-20, the way the Apostle Paul wrote those three verses has given many Christians a license to sin. It was never meant to be taken that way. This section is not an error, but the way it is taken is where the error occurs. As a matter of fact, the way it is taken, without a doubt, has done more damage to Christianity than any other obvious heresy. This is the way it reads: “I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do–this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.” To clarify these three verses, I devoted blog post #76 to this extremely controversial subject, regarding exactly what Paul meant. If you read nothing else in this blog, read this post.

13) The end of the world is mentioned in four different sections. These four different versions could be united into one coherent study; nevertheless, on the surface they seem to contradict each other and leave some people bewildered. The Apostle Paul speaks of the rapture, as it is called in Christian circles, in 1st Thessalonians 4:16-18. “For the Lord himself will come down from heaven and with a trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage each other with these words.” My question is this: who will be left, God’s people, or those that have been condemned? The Apostle Luke mentions it in his 21st chapter. I will quote only one verse, and if one desires to be more informed, read the whole 21st chapter. 21:10. “Then he said to them: nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be great earthquakes, famines and pestilences in various places, and fearful events and great signs from heaven.” Matthew speaks on the same subject in Matthew 24th chapter, but with a few different events. The Apostle Peter has a different scenario in 2nd Peter 3:10: “But the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare.” And lastly, the book of Revelation mentions the destruction of the earth and its people from the sixth to the twentieth chapter. That is the most gruesome account. If you desire to learn more about the end of the world, read #103: “Living in the Midst of the Doomsday Age.” There you will also get my personal views.

14) Read Matthew 20:29-34. Those verses tell of two blind men that were healed by Jesus. Then read Mark 11:46-52. This section tells of one blind man healed by Jesus. There are so many similarities in language that one could assume they are the same story, with the exception of the number of blind men.

15) Matthew 27:32: “As they were going out, they met a man from Cyrene, named Simon, and they forced him to carry the cross.” Now compare that verse with John 19:16. “So the soldiers took charge of Jesus. Carrying his own cross, he went out to the place of the Skull (which in Aramaic is called Golgotha). Here they crucified him, and with him two others—one on each side and Jesus in the middle.” You decide!


JC said...

When was the last King James Version revised?

Anonymous said...

what about John the baptist, what can you say about his alter identities?

JC said...

Thanks for your comment. John the Baptist has been a mystery figure to me. I am sorry to say, I don't have much more on him then one can read in the Bible. I am not sure is it is an excuse or whatever, but I have always down- played his part as a voice of one crying in the wilderness. Other than a person who annnounced the coming of the Messiah, and his water baptism,whatever it meant to do, and his gruesome death, your guess is as good as mine. Next time ask me an easier question. Looking forward to hearing from yu again


Anonymous said...

First of all thanks for your blogs which challenge and encourage me to understand scripture more.
My question is in regards to comparing Matthew 27:32 with John 19:16: Are you just pointing out the discrepancies? I was taught Simon carried Jesus' cross part of the way to Golgotha so wouldn't these two verses actually make sense?


4A6v2l3a6s0 said...

Dear Sarah,

Thanks for your comment. I appreciate your diligence. After also reading Luke 23:26, I would say you are correct. jc

JC said...

Dear Sarah,

Thanks for your comment. It is nice to visit with people like you who are diligent in the study of the New Testament.

After reading Luke 23:26, I would say you are correct. jc