Saturday, February 23, 2008

Contradictions In the Bible?


A Response to A List of Biblical Contradictions [1]

God good to all, or just a few?
PSA 145:9 The LORD is good to all: and his tender mercies are over all his works.
JER 13:14 And I will dash them one against another, even the fathers and the sons together, saith the LORD: I will not pity, nor spare, nor have mercy, but destroy them.

This is only a contradiction to one who considers "good" to be synonymous with "friendly" or "nice", which it is not. We cannot afford to assume that a "good" God would never do such a thing. Would a "good" judge let criminals run free and escape punishment? A "good" God executes justice when it is necessary.

War or Peace?
EXO 15:3 The LORD is a man of war: the LORD is his name.
ROM 15:33 Now the God of peace be with you all. Amen.

Well, it would probably help to check the context before you tack something up as a "contradiction"... Notice the present tense "is" in Exodus 15:3, this was a description of how the Lord saved the Israelites from the Egyptians by bringing the pharaoh's army to its demise. God has many attributes, after all He's God... don't try to limit Him to just one. If someone said you were a loving man, and then someone else said that they saw you attack a man to protect your wife from him, I could take those comments about your character out of context and say that the two contradicted each other because a "loving" man would never attack someone. Also, peace is brought about by war. It has always been this way. Name one time in all of human history where peace came about without war coming first.

Who is the father of Joseph?
MAT 1:16 And Jacob begat Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ.
LUK 3:23 And Jesus himself began to be about thirty years of age, being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph, which was the son of Heli.


Heli was the father of Mary. He was only the father of Joseph by marriage. The entire passage is describing the genealogy of Mary, not Joseph.

Who was at the Empty Tomb? Is it:
MAT 28:1 In the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre.
MAR 16:1 And when the sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, had bought sweet spices, that they might come and anoint him.
JOH 20:1 The first day of the week cometh Mary Magdalene early, when it was yet dark, unto the sepulchre, and seeth the stone taken away from the sepulchre.

Hmm... again, let's try reading in context before labeling something a "contradiction". Mark 16:9-10 (only 9 verses after having said that all three went to the tomb) tells us that Jesus appeared to Mary Magdalene first and that it was she who went and told the disciples. Notice none of the above verses claim that Mary Magdalene went to the tomb alone, they simply don't all make mention of the other two women. As Mary was the one who told the disciples of the event, it makes perfect sense for a writer to say that it was Mary who went and neglect to mention the others, particularly Salome, considering that she is a very minor character in the gospels and we know practically nothing about her anyway. This is the only place in the Bible I know of where Salome is mentioned at all.

Is Jesus equal to or lesser than?
JOH 10:30 I and my Father are one.
JOH 14:28 Ye have heard how I said unto you, I go away, and come again unto you. If ye loved me, ye would rejoice, because I said, I go unto the Father: for my Father is greater than I.

First, I'll state the obvious in pointing out that John 10:30 does not say that Jesus is equal to the Father, it says that they are one. There's a difference. Jesus is God wrapped in a cloak of flesh. He willingly restrained much of His power during His earthly ministry (for instance, He could have easily come down off of the cross had He chosen to, but He didn't). The Father did not restrain Himself. The two are one and the same, but Jesus was also fully human, the Father was not. Jesus gave up the glory of heaven for a short time, the Father did not.

Which first--beasts or man?
GEN 1:25 And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good.
GEN 1:26 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.
GEN 2:18 And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.
GEN 2:19 And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof.


Genesis chapter 1 and chapter 2 do not contradict each other. If you actually read the book of Genesis, it is clear that Genesis chapter 1 is describing the events of the creation and Genesis chapter 2 is not. Chapter 2 is describing only the events which occurred in the Garden of Eden, which was created later. There was no reason for God to need to place the creatures in the Garden of Eden in the same order that He created them.

The number of beasts in the ark
GEN 7:2 Of every clean beast thou shalt take to thee by sevens, the male and his female: and of beasts that are not clean by two, the male and his female.
GEN 7:8 Of clean beasts, and of beasts that are not clean, and of fowls, and of every thing that creepeth upon the earth, GEN 7:9 There went in two and two unto Noah into the ark, the male and the female, as God had commanded Noah.

Verse 8 is simply stating that "the male and his female (vs. 2)" entered the ark together. Two at a time does not equal two of each kind. Nice try though, that was clever.

How many stalls and horsemen?
KI1 4:26 And Solomon had forty thousand stalls of horses for his chariots, and twelve thousand horsemen.
CH2 9:25 And Solomon had four thousand stalls for horses and chariots, and twelve thousand horsemen; whom he bestowed in the chariot cities, and with the king at Jerusalem.

Read the two verses again, this time more carefully. 1 Kings 4:26 states that Solomon had forty thousand "stalls of horses for his chariots" and 2 Chronicles 9:25 says that Solomon had "four thousand stalls for horses and chariots". There were 10 horses per chariot. You don't even have to check the context on this one to figure out where the misunderstanding is... the answer is in the question.

Is it folly to be wise or not?
PRO 4:7 Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding.
ECC 1:18 For in much wisdom is much grief: and he that increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow.
1 Cor.1:19: "For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and wil bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent."


Ecclesiastes 1:18 speaks of "too much of a good thing", so to speak. The preceding verses speak of Solomon's mounting pride at his growing wisdom, and the folly of that pride. 1 Corinthians 1:19 speaks of the same, saying that God will put those in their place who would worship their wisdom more than their God.

Human vs. ghostly impregnation
ACT 2:30 Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne;


MAT 1:18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost.

Acts 2:29 tells us that the verse following is referring to David, and that Jesus would descend from the "fruit of his loins" (his children). Mary is a descendant of David. Had the verse been referring to Joseph, you might have been on to something.

The sins of the father
ISA 14:21 Prepare slaughter for his children for the iniquity of their fathers; that they do not rise, nor possess the land, nor fill the face of the world with cities.
DEU 24:16 The fathers shall not be put to death for the children, neither shall the children be put to death for the fathers: every man shall be put to death for his own sin.


Isaiah 14:21 speaks of the Babylonians, Deuteronomy 24:16 speaks of the Israelites. Read the chapter, not just the verse.

The bat is not a bird
LEV 11:13 And these are they which ye shall have in abomination among the fowls; they shall not be eaten, they are an abomination: the eagle, and the ossifrage, and the ospray
LEV 11:14 And the vulture, and the kite after his kind;
LEV 11:15 Every raven after his kind;
LEV 11:16 And the owl, and the night hawk, and the cuckow, and the hawk after his kind,
LEV 11:17 And the little owl, and the cormorant, and the great owl,
LEV 11:18 And the swan, and the pelican, and the gier eagle
LEV 11:19 And the stork, the heron after her kind, and the lapwing, and the bat.
DEU 14:11 Of all clean birds ye shall eat.
DEU 14:12 But these are they of which ye shall not eat: the eagle, and the ossifrage, and the ospray,
DEU 14:13 And the glede, and the kite, and the vulture after his kind,
DEU 14:14 And every raven after his kind,
DEU 14:15 And the owl, and the night hawk, and the cuckow, and the hawk after his kind,
DEU 14:16 The little owl, and the great owl, and the swan,
DEU 14:17 And the pelican, and the gier eagle, and the cormorant,
DEU 14:18 And the stork, and the heron after her kind, and the lapwing, and the bat.


According to modern biologists, bats are not birds. Today our definition of "bird" is different, we have different qualifications. During the particular time period in which the book of Deuteronomy was written, a "bird" was any creature with wings which was not an insect. God was speaking to them on their level, if He had said "and also, do not eat any flying mammal" they would not have understood, because to them there was no such thing. To say that a bat is not a bird is a matter of opinion and depends entirely upon your definition of "bird". While we use the same word now as they did then, the definition is entirely different. To them, if a mammal could fly then it was no longer a mammal. The Biblical animal classification system is based off of different criteria.

Rabbits do not chew their cud
LEV 11:6 And the hare, because he cheweth the cud, but divideth not the hoof; he is unclean unto you.
"Gerah," the term which appears in the MT means (chewed) cud, and also perhaps grain, or berry (also a 20th of a sheckel, but I think that we can agree that that is irrelevant here). It does *not* mean dung, and there is a perfectly adequate Hebrew word for that, which could have been used. Furthermore, the phrase translated "chew the cud" in the KJV is more exactly "bring up the cud." Rabbits do not bring up anything; they let it go all the way through, then eat it again. The description given in Leviticus is inaccurate, and that's that. Rabbits do eat their own dung; they do not bring anything up and chew on it.


Well yes, I would agree that shekels have nothing to do with this. But that's the only thing I agree with here. I would like to point out that the word which was translated "cheweth" was עלה (‛âlâh), which is used all over the Old Testament to refer to many things other than just "bringing up" things, so there is very obviously an idiomatic meaning to this word as well.

Insects do NOT have four feet
LEV 11:21 Yet these may ye eat of every flying creeping thing that goeth upon all four, which have legs above their feet, to leap withal upon the earth;
LEV 11:22 Even these of them ye may eat; the locust after his kind, and the bald locust after his kind, and the beetle after his kind, and the grasshopper after his kind.
LEV 11:23 But all other flying creeping things, which have four feet, shall be an abomination unto you.


The hind legs of the grasshopper and locust were not considered to be the same type of legs as the other four. Notice the fact that the four legs which they "goeth upon" are listed separately from the legs which are "above their feet, to leap withal upon the earth", they were not considered to have six legs, but rather to have four legs used only for walking, and two legs for leaping. They would not have said that they had six legs, because they differentiated between the different types of legs.

Snails do not melt
PSA 58:8 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.


Interesting that you chose not to employ the original Hebrew meaning this time... and for obvious reasons. The word translated "melteth" was תּמס (temes) which primarily refers to liquefaction. Of course snails don't "melt" (you've got to be kidding me)... they do, however, leave a trail of slime behind them as they move, which does cause them to lose moisture. And if that moisture isn't replaced, then they will dry out and die.

Fowl from waters or ground?
GEN 1:20 And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven.
GEN 1:21 And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that it was good.
GEN 2:19 And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof.


See Which First--Beasts or Man?

Odd genetic engineering
GEN 30:39 And the flocks conceived before the rods, and brought forth cattle ringstraked, speckled, and spotted.


Well it certainly is odd, I'll give you that... but notice, the passage never indicates that the rods caused the cattle to be brought forth ringstraked, speckled, and spotted. Merely that the two coincided and that Jacob probably thought that the rods were the cause of it. However, if you read chapter 31 you see that it was not this "odd genetic engineering" that Jacob attempted to employ which caused this phenomenon, but God Himself. Jacob only thought that the rods would make a difference, it was God who worked the miracle, the rods had nothing to do with it. And even if they did, there's quite a difference between something being "odd" and something being contradictory... so why on earth is this even on this list?

The shape of the earth
ISA 40:22 It is he that sitteth upon the circle of the earth, and the inhabitants thereof are as grasshoppers; that stretcheth out the heavens as a curtain, and spreadeth them out as a tent to dwell in:
MAT 4:8 Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them;
Astromical bodies are spherical, and you cannot see the entire exterior surface from anyplace. The kingdoms of Egypt, China, Greece, Crete, sections of Asia Minor, India, Maya (in Mexico), Carthage (North Africa), Rome (Italy), Korea, and other settlements from these kingdoms of the world were widely distributed.

Let's look at the parallel verse in Luke 4:5 to shed a little more light on this: "And the devil, taking him up into a high mountain, showed unto him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time." This was clearly a supernatural viewing, not a literal looking out onto the horizon and seeing, say, Alexandria. I'm pretty sure that Matthew was aware that there were no mountains out in the wilderness that were tall enough to see Carthage from anyway, so saying that he fabricated this seems even more far-fetched than believing it.

Snakes, while built low, do not eat dirt
GEN 3:14 And the LORD God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life:

True, it would have been more accurate to say that the serpent licks the dirt, as they take in particles with their tongues as their taste of smell. The terminology "eat" was used here, however, as an irony to the tempting of Adam and Eve to eat the forbidden fruit.

Earth supported?
JOB 26:7 He stretcheth out the north over the empty place, and hangeth the earth upon nothing.
JOB 38:4 Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding.
Heaven supported too
JOB 26:11 The pillars of heaven tremble and are astonished at his reproof.

The word יסד (yâsad) can be interpreted as a literal foundation, or as a figurative (beginning of) foundation. "Where were you when I founded the earth?" No different from founding a business or organization, which has a very clearly figurative "foundation". As to heaven having pillars, who's to say that it doesn't?

The hydrological cycle
ECC 1:7 All the rivers run into the sea; yet the sea is not full; unto the place from whence the rivers come, thither they return again.
JOB 38:22 Hast thou entered into the treasures of the snow? or hast thou seen the treasures of the hail,
Storehouses are not part of the cycle


Clouds are storehouses. Also, if you read the verse in context, the symbolic nature of this portion of scripture isn't hard to see, so even if you don't buy the "clouds=storehouses" theory, it shouldn't be an issue.

Order of creation
Here is the order in the first (Genesis 1), the Priestly tradition:
Day 1: Sky, Earth, lightDay 2: Water, both in ocean basins and above the sky(!)Day 3: PlantsDay 4: Sun, Moon, stars (as calendrical and navigational aids)Day 5: Sea monsters (whales), fish, birds, land animals, creepy-crawlies (reptiles, insects, etc.)Day 6: Humans (apparently both sexes at the same time)Day 7: Nothing (the Gods took the first day off anyone ever did)
Note that there are "days," "evenings," and "mornings" before the Sun was created. Here, the Deity is referred to as "Elohim," which is a plural, thus the literal translation, "the Gods." In this tale, the Gods seem satisfied with what they have done, saying after each step that "it was good."
The second one (Genesis 2), the Yahwist tradition, goes:
Earth and heavens (misty)Adam, the first man (on a desolate Earth)PlantsAnimalsEve, the first woman (from Adam's rib)
How orderly were things created?#1: Step-by-step. The only discrepancy is that there is no Sun or Moon or stars on the first three "days."#2: God fixes things up as he goes. The first man is lonely, and is not satisfied with animals. God finally creates a woman for him. (funny thing that an omniscient god would forget things)
How satisfied with creation was he?#1: God says "it was good" after each of his labors, and rests on the seventh day, evidently very satisfied.#2: God has to fix up his creation as he goes, and he would certainly not be very satisfied with the disobedience of that primordial couple. (funny thing that an omniscient god would forget things)


Again, Genesis 1 and 2 do NOT describe the same event (see Which First--Beasts or Man?). As to there being days before sun, moon, and stars, an omniscient God would know how long a day was without the sun, and even though the sun had not been created yet light had, so it wouldn't have matter. God Himself is light, this is why there will be no need of a sun in heaven, and hell will be dark (absence of God). And as for everything being "good" when Adam and Eve had been disobedient, you've mixed up the order of events. God did not say that things were good after Adam and Eve sinned, but before. God made it abundantly clear that things were not "good" after they disobeyed His commandment.

Moses' personality
Num.12:3: "Now the man Moses was very meek, above all the men which were upon the fact of the earth."
Num.31:14, 17, 18: "And Moses was wroth...And Moses said unto them, "Have ye saved all the women alive? ... Now therefore kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman, ... But all the women children ... keep alive for yourselves."


Meek people lose their tempers all the time, this is an incredible stretch... in fact, the meek are usually the ones who lose their tempers the most incredibly, because they so often say anything that once they finally get started they have quite a bit to say. Also, "meek" doesn't necessarily mean "nice".

Righteous live?
Ps.92:12: "The righteous shall flourish like the palm tree."
Isa.57:1: "The righteous perisheth, and no man layeth it to heart."


"Flourish" doesn't mean "live forever without ever encountering problems", I think you're confusing this verse with the "prosperity gospel". God never promises that the righteous will live a perfect life without problems, only that they will have His comfort in the face of troubles. Also, Psalm 92 is written in praise to God and describes the author's hopes, not actual events as Isaiah 57 does.

Potters Field (untitled in the original list)
Acts 1:18: "Now this man (Judas) purchased a field with the reward of iniquity; and falling headlong, he burst asunder in the midst, and all his bowels gushed out."
Matt. 27:5-7: "And he (Judas) cast down the pieces of silver in the temple, and departed, and went and hanged himself. And the chief priests...bought with them the potter's field."


The priests bought the field with silver which belonged to Judas. They only handled the transaction, it was not actually their field, they purchased it under Judas' name. And after Judas killed himself in the same field, the land would have been defiled and it is unsurprising that it would then be made into a cemetery, as it wasn't good for anything else.

Jesus' first sermon plain or mount?
Matt.5:1,2: "And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain: and when he was set, his disciples came unto him: And he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying...."Luke6:17,20: "And he came down with them, and stood in the plain, and the company of his disciples, and a great multitude of people...came to hear him.. And he lifted up his eyes on his disciples and said..."


Not all mountains are shaped like triangles, in fact most are not. Most have large areas of flat ground part way up with fields, woods, and lakes. Don't assume that they were sitting on top of some jagged peak, they were on a plain in the mountains. This is further supported by the structure of the particular mountain itself, which has since been identified.

Jesus' last words
Matt.27:46,50: "And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, "Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?" that is to say, "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" ...Jesus, when he cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost."
Luke23:46: "And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, "Father, unto thy hands I commend my spirit:" and having said thus, he gave up the ghost."
John19:30: "When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, "It is finished:" and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost."


None of these verses actually claim that the phrase cited is in fact Christ's "last words". The three writers all had different perspectives of this event and as some of them were closer to Jesus than others, it would make sense that one would hear what the others had not (a dying man doesn't usually speak very loud, particularly over the shouting and jeering crowd). All of these things were spoken by Jesus, and probably in fairly quick succession.

Years of famine
II SAMUEL 24:13: So God came to David, and told him, and said unto him, shall SEVEN YEARS OF FAMINE come unto thee in thy land? or will thou flee three months before thine enemies, while they pursue. thee?
I CHRONICLES 21:11: SO God came to David, and said unto him, Thus saith the LORD, Choose thee. Either THREE YEARS OF FAMINE or three months to be destryed before thy foes, while that the sword of thine enemies overtaketh thee;


Notice that in both of the above passages a choice is put forth, so clearly nothing was set in stone. The number of the years of the famine may have been reduced. Also, it is of course possible that there was simply a copyist error, though I'm reluctant to ever put anything down to that.

Moved David to anger?
II SAMUEL 24: And again the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel, and he moved David against them to say, Go, number Isreal and Judah.
I CHRONICLES 21: And SATAN stood up against Isreal, and provoked David to number Israel.

Who moved David to number Israel, God or Satan? The answer is simple. Both. God uses Satan to accomplish His goals all the time. Just read the book of Job, where God uses Satan to test the faith of Job. God did the same here, using Satan to provoke David to number Israel, so that David would realize that he must put his faith in God, not the number of soldiers he possesses.

The GENEALOGY OF JESUS?
In two places in the New Testament the genealogy of Jesus son of Mary is mentioned. Matthew 1:6-16 and Luke 3:23-31. Each gives the ancestors of Joseph the CLAIMED husband of Mary and Step father of Jesus. The first one starts from Abraham(verse 2) all the way down to Jesus. The second one from Jesus all the way back to Adam. The only common name to these two lists between David and Jesus is JOSEPH, How can this be true? and also How can Jesus have a genealogy when all Muslims and most Christians believe that Jesus had/has no father.

See Who is the father of Joseph?

God be seen?
Exod. 24:9,10; Amos 9:1; Gen. 26:2; and John 14:9 God CAN be seen:"And I will take away my hand, and thou shalt see my backparts." (Ex. 33:23)"And the Lord spake to Moses face to face, as a man speaketh to his friend." (Ex. 33:11)"For I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved." (Gen. 32:30)
God CANNOT be seen:"No man hath seen God at any time." (John 1:18)"And he said, Thou canst not see my face; for there shall no man see me and live." (Ex. 33:20)"Whom no man hath seen nor can see." (1 Tim. 6:16)

None of these verses specify which member of the trinity is referred to, and for a good reason. God the Father cannot be seen, as anyone who sees Him will die. However, God the Son (Jesus) can be seen. Any time, Old or New Testament, that God is seen, it is Jesus, as God the Father is spirit and does not possess a physical body (John 4:24), but Jesus does (John 1:14).

CRUEL, UNMERCIFUL, DESTRUCTIVE, and FEROCIOUS or KIND, MERCIFUL, and GOOD:
"I will not pity, nor spare, nor have mercy, but destroy." (Jer. 13:14) "Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not, but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling."
"The Lord is very pitiful and of tender mercy." (James 5:11)"For his mercy endureth forever." (1 Chron. 16:34)"The Lord is good to all, and his tender mercies are over all his works." (Ps. 145:9)"God is love." (1 John 4:16)


See War or Peace?

Tempts?
"And it came to pass after these things, that God did tempt Abraham." (Gen 22:1)
"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)

The Hebrew word נסה (nâsâh) used in Genesis 22:1, translated as "tempt", is primarily defined as "to test". God was testing Abraham, not tempting him to sin.

Judas died how?
"And he cast down the pieces of silver into the temple and departed, and went out and hanged himself." (Matt. 27:5)
"And falling headlong, he burst asunder in the midst, and all of his bowels gushed out." (Acts 1:18)


Judas died on the Passover. No one could come and clean up the mess that day without being defiled. The body hung there a long time, not at all surprising that the rope eventually gave way and the body fell to the ground and burst asunder. Read it again with that in mind, and it makes perfect sense.

Ascend to heaven
"And Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven." (2 Kings 2:11)
"No man hath ascended up to heaven but he that came down from heaven, ... the Son of Man." (John 3:13)


While many will assert here that Elijah was simply not taken up to the third heaven (the abode of God, which admittedly is not directly referred to), I believe that it is pretty well implied both here and in the case of Enoch (Hebrews 11:5). There may be a better answer here. The Hebrew word έἰ μή (ei mē) which is interpreted "but" in John 3:13 can also be interpreted as "except that" or "save that". Replacing "but" with either of these equally plausible phrases suggests now that it is because of Jesus' willingness to descend from Heaven that it is possible for humans to ascend into Heaven.

What was Jesus' prediction regarding Peter's denial?
Before the cock crow - Matthew 26:34
Before the cock crow twice - Mark 14:30


If a cock crows a second time, then that would indicate that it had crowed once already. Nowhere does Jesus say that the cock will crow only one time. Let's use a little common sense.

How many times did the cock crow?
MAR 14:72 And the second time the cock crew. And Peter called to mind the word that Jesus said unto him, Before the cock crow twice, thou shalt deny me thrice. And when he thought thereon, he wept.
MAT 26:74 Then began he to curse and to swear, saying, I know not the man. And immediately the cock crew.MAT 26:75 And Peter remembered the word of Jesus, which said unto him, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice. And he went out, and wept bitterly.
LUK 22:60 And Peter said, Man, I know not what thou sayest. And immediately, while he yet spake, the cock crew.LUK 22:61 And the Lord turned, and looked upon Peter. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how he had said unto him, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice.
JOH 13:38 Jesus answered him, Wilt thou lay down thy life for my sake? Verily, verily, I say unto thee, The cock shall not crow, still thou hast denied me thrice.
JOH 18:27 Peter then denied again: and immediately the cock crew


See What was Jesus' prediction regarding Peter's denial?

Who killed Saul
SA1 31:4 Then said Saul unto his armourbearer, Draw thy sword, and thrust me through therewith; lest these uncircumcised come and thrust me through, and abuse me. But his armourbearer would not; for he was sore afraid. Therefore Saul took a sword, and fell upon it.SA1 31:5 And when his armourbearer saw that Saul was dead, he fell likewise upon his sword, and died with him.SA1 31:6 So Saul died, and his three sons, and his armourbearer, and all his men, that same day together.SA2 1:15 And David called one of the young men, and said, Go near, and fall upon him. And he smote him that he died.


Well, first off, you've listed the wrong scripture. 2 Samuel 1:15 refers to David commanding that the Amalekite be killed, not Saul. However, I can see the point that you're attempting to make, you've simply jumped a few verses ahead of the more incriminating ones that you should have used (2 Samuel 1:8-10). Notice here the account given in 1 Samuel is what actually happened, whereas the account in 2 Samuel is merely what the Amalekite said happened (he was prideful and wanted everyone to think that he himself had slain Saul, rather then Saul slaying himself - read the verse in context... and pick the right one next time! If you're going to attack God's Word, at least have the sense to do it right...)

How many beatitudes in the Sermon on the Mount
MAT 5:3 Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
MAT 5:4 Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.
MAT 5:5 Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.
MAT 5:6 Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.
MAT 5:7 Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.
MAT 5:8 Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.
MAT 5:9 Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.
MAT 5:10 Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
MAT 5:11 Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.
LUK 6:20 And he lifted up his eyes on his disciples, and said, Blessed be ye poor: for yours is the kingdom of God.
LUK 6:21 Blessed are ye that hunger now: for ye shall be filled. Blessed are ye that weep now: for ye shall laugh.
LUK 6:22 Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man's sake.
LUK 6:23 Rejoice ye in that day, and leap for joy: for, behold, your reward is great in heaven: for in the like manner did their fathers unto the prophets.


It is important here to observe the differing writing styles of Matthew and Luke. Matthew's intent was to teach, Luke's to inform. As Jesus taught the same principles over and over again in multiple locations, Matthew may not have remembered the exact verbatim content of this particular sermon, but was able to keep the basic message which Jesus taught in general intact. Luke's style is most likely the more historically accurate, however Matthew's offers additional teachings which may not have been involved in this particular sermon, but which were certainly taught by Jesus at one point or another. Matthew's version does not distort the message of Christ, but may not be technically historically accurate to this particular sermon.

Does every man sin?
KI1 8:46 If they sin against thee, (for there is no man that sinneth not,) and thou be angry with them, and deliver them to the enemy, so that they carry them away captives unto the land of the enemy, far or near;
CH2 6:36 If they sin against thee, (for there is no man which sinneth not,) and thou be angry with them, and deliver them over before their enemies, and they carry them away captives unto a land far off or near;
PRO 20:9 Who can say, I have made my heart clean, I am pure from my sin?
ECC 7:20 For there is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good, and sinneth not.
JO1 1:8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.JO1 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.JO1 1:10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.
JO1 3:9 Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.


To be "born of God" does not refer to physical birth, but spiritual birth. Those who have been "born again" will not continue to sin (1 Peter 1:23)

Who bought potter's field
ACT 1:18 Now this man purchased a field with the reward of iniquity; and falling headlong, he burst asunder in the midst, and all his bowels gushed out.ACT 1:19 And it was known unto all the dwellers at Jerusalem; insomuch as that field is called in their proper tongue, Aceldama, that is to say, The field of blood.
MAT 27:6 And the chief priests took the silver pieces, and said, It is not lawful for to put them into the treasury, because it is the price of blood.MAT 27:7 And they took counsel, and bought with them the potter's field, to bury strangers in.MAT 27:8 Wherefore that field was called, The field of blood, unto this day.


See Potters Field

Who prophesied the potter's field?
Matthew 27:9-10 (mentions Jeremy but no such verse in Jeremiah) is in Zechariah 11:12-13


Jeremiah, while not the author of this prophecy, was the collector of many of the writings of the prophets. It is the equivalent of citing a text book author as a source for your facts in an essay, even though the author of course retrieved the information from somewhere else.

Who bears guilt?
GAL 6:2 Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.
GAL 6:5 For every man shall bear his own burden.


First and foremost, I feel the need to point out that these two quotations are only THREE VERSES APART. There is clearly a collective point being made here. Secondly, in the original Greek we can see that these two verses do not refer to the same type of burden. 6:2 uses the word βάρος (baros), while 6:5 uses φορτίον (phortion). Verse two refers to burdens which can be shared, such as misery and sorrow. Verse five refers to burdens which must be bore alone, such as physical ailments and difficult tasks.

Do you answer a fool?
PRO 26:4 Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest thou also be like unto him.
PRO 26:5 Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own conceit.


Again, a collective point is clearly being made. This time the verses are in immediate succession. This verse presents a difficult situation in which it is almost impossible to win, because fools are, well... foolish. You should not answer a fool on his own level, because he will think that you are agreeing with his foolish presuppositions, thus making you equally foolish (verse four). However, it is wise to answer the fool's idiotic suggestions with a rational response, rather than allow him to take your silence as agreement (verse five).

How many children did Michal, the daughter of Saul, have?
SA2 6:23 Therefore Michal the daughter of Saul had no child unto the day of her death.
SA2 21:8 But the king took the two sons of Rizpah the daughter of Aiah, whom she bare unto Saul, Armoni and Mephibosheth; and the five sons of Michal the daughter of Saul, whom she brought up for Adriel the son of Barzillai the Meholathite:


Saul had two daughters, Merab and Michal (1 Samuel 14:49). It is widely held by many scholars that this was an ancient scribal error, and that 2 Samuel 21:8 should have read "Merab", not "Michal". The author of the book contradicting himself (both passages come from the same book of the Bible) seems unlikely, whether you believe the story to be true or fabricated.

How old was Jehoiachin when he began to reign?
KI2 24:8 Jehoiachin was eighteen years old when he began to reign, and he reigned in Jerusalem three months. And his mother's name was Nehushta, the daughter of Elnathan of Jerusalem.
CH2 36:9 Jehoiachin was eight years old when he began to reign, and he reigned three months and ten days in Jerusalem: and he did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD.


"The correct age of Jehoiachin was 18, not 8. Obviously, Jehoiachin was 18 when he began his rule since it says he did evil in the site of the Lord which suggests maturity and responsibility. The discrepancy in ages is probably due to a copyist error. We can see that the difference in ages is 10 years. The system of number notation used by the Jews at the time of Ezra consisted of horizontal hooks that represented values of ten... If one or both of the hooks were smudged or flaked off of a papyri, then the dates would be off by values of 10 years. Does this mean the Bible is not trustworthy? Not at all. Inspiration is ascribed to the original writings and not to the copies. Scribes made errors. However, the errors were very infrequent and from other information in the Bible, we can easily ascertain what the correct age is.
Another possible explanation is that the difference of 10 years from the two different texts could be that he began to rule with his father at the age of eight but did not take complete control until the age of 18, a 10-year difference." [source] [2]

Marriage?
Proverbs 18:22 1 Corinthians 7 (whole book. See 1,2,27,39,40)

Proverbs 18:22 refers to finding a wife as "a good thing". 1 Corinthians 7 does not contradict this. What Paul says in this passage is that if it is possible for a man to remain unmarried and still keep himself from fornication, then it is even better for that man, because he can now put all of his focus on God and not on earthly things. Paul never says that it is wrong or sinful to enter into marriage.

Did those with Saul/Paul at his conversion hear a voice?
ACT 9:7 And the men which journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing a voice, but seeing no man.
ACT 22:9 And they that were with me saw indeed the light, and were afraid; but they heard not the voice of him that spake to me.


The NIV interprets Acts 22:9 more accurately, and the NIV reads: "My companions saw the light, but they did not understand the voice of him who was speaking to me." The companions did indeed hear the voice, but did not comprehend what was spoken.

Where was Jesus three days after his baptism?
MAR 1:12 And immediately the spirit driveth him into the wilderness.
JOH 1:35 Again the next day after John stood, and two of his disciples;
(various trapsing)

In John chapter one, John the Baptist is mentioned as bearing record of having seen the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, but it does not say that he was in fact bearing record of it as it was happening. Most likely this was a separate event from the baptism of Christ recorded in Mark chapter twelve. There is, in fact, no indication that the two speak of "the next day" following the same event.

How many apostles were in office between the resurection and ascention?
1 Corinthians 15:5 (12)Matthew 27:3-5 (minus one from 12)Acts 1:9-26 (Mathias not elected until after resurrection)
MAT 28:16 Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, into a mountain where Jesus had appointed them.

While it is possible that Judas was in fact still alive during the period described in 1 Corinthians 15:5, probably a more logical standpoint would be to point out that "the twelve" was merely a phrase used to refer to the apostles, a literal interpretation is not necessarily accurate here anyway. "The Twelve" was what the apostles were known as, if they had been referred to as "the eleven", many would have been left wondering who exactly that was referring to. It was the generally recognized title of the group, not necessarily an accurate description of the exact number of its members. Titles wear out and become inaccurate all the time. I seem to recall a certain time period in literary history commonly known as "modernism". Oddly enough, we still refer to that long passed time period as "modernism" even though it is most certainly not "modern" any more. If we changed the title now, nobody would know what we were talking about.

Judging
1 Cor 2:15 "The spiritual man makes judgments about all things, but he himself is not subject to any man's judgment:" (NIV)
1 Cor 4:5 "Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait till the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of men's hearts. At that time each will receive his praise from God."

Different type of judging. 1 Corinthians 2:15 uses the term ἀνακρίνω (anakrinō), which means to ask, question, or discern. 1 Corinthians 4:5 uses the term κρίνω (krinō), which carries with it the implication to try, condemn, or punish. The spiritual man questions/tests all things, but does not condemn or punish, as that authority belongs to the Lord.

Good deeds
Matt 5:16 "In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven." (NIV)
Matt 6:3-4 "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 secert. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you." (NIV)


The point here is that the believer should be willing to do both of these things, because in both cases it is the motivation behind the good deeds that is being addressed. We should be unashamed of our good works for the Lord's sake (5:16), yet also willing to do the same good works in secret, because we are not to act out of pride (6:3-4). Reading verses in context is usually helpful in discerning the meaning of a passage.

For or against?
MAT 12:30 He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad.(default is against)
MAR 9:40 For he that is not against us is on our part.(default is for)
LUK 9:50 And Jesus said unto him, Forbid him not: for he that is not against us is for us.(default is for)


If it hadn't been for your parenthetical statements, no one would have thought that these passages contradicted each other. These verses do not contradict each other as to what the default position is, because the whole point of these statements is that there is no middle ground. There is no need of a default position, because everyone has already chosen their sides. Read the verses again with this in mind and you will see that there is clearly no contradiction here. The whole point Jesus was making was that "sitting on the fence", so to speak, wasn't an issue because there was never a fence to sit on to begin with.

Whom did they see at the tomb?
MAT 28:2 And, behold, there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it.MAT 28:3 His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow:MAT 28:4 And for fear of him the keepers did shake, and became as dead men.MAT 28:5 And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified.
MAR 16:5 And entering into the sepulchre, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, clothed in a long white garment; and they were affrighted.
LUK 24:4 And it came to pass, as they were much perplexed thereabout, behold, two men stood by them in shining garments:
JOH 20:12 And seeth two angels in white sitting, the one at the head, and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain.


If two angels were present, does that indicate that both of them had to speak? Or that both of them had to roll back the stone? No where is it indicated that there was only one angel present.

God change?
malachi 3:6
james 1:17
1 samuel 15:29
jonah 3:10
genesis 6:6


The first three verses listed suggest that God does not change, the fourth sounds as if He does, and the last… has nothing to do with this subject. Jonah 3:10 states “And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil, that he said that he would do unto them; and he did it not.” When God ‘repented’ of the evil He said He would do unto them, did God change? The answer, in a word, is no. The Lord only turned His wrath away from the inhabitants of Nineveh for a short time, because He says that He will forgive those who repent of their sins. When Nineveh once more fell into sin, it was utterly destroyed, just as the Lord said that it would be. The Lord does not change.

Destruction of cities (what said was jeremiah was zechariah)
MAT 27:9 Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremy the prophet, saying, And they took the thirty pieces of silver, the price of him that was valued, whom they of the children of Israel did value;
zechariah 11:11-13
(nothing in Jeremiah remotely like)


See Who prophesied the potter's field?

Who's sepulchers
acts 7:16
genesis 23:17,18

Genesis 23 states that Abraham purchased the land from the children of Heth, Acts 7 states that the land was purchased from the sons of Hamor. How is this reconciled? A large amount of time would have passed between the events being described, the land could have been purchased twice. Abraham lived a nomadic lifestyle and abandoned land was often claimed by others after a period of time. Upon return, Abraham may have been required to purchase the land once more.

Strong drink?
proverbs 31:6,7
john 2:11-11


Neither of these verses say that drinking alcohol is good. Proverbs 31:6-7 says to give wine to those who are perishing, doesn’t sound like an activity the righteous ought to partake of now does it?

When second coming?
MAT 24:34 Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.
MAR 13:30 Verily I say unto you, that this generation shall not pass, till all these things be done.
LUK 21:32 Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass away, till all be fulfilled.
1 thessalonians 4:15-18

The word translated “generation” in the above verses is γενεά (genea), which means nation or tribe. This is not a failed prophecy, but a miraculously fulfilled prophecy. Forced from their land and held in captivity over and over again throughout history, the Israelite people have still remained a distinct race, rather than disappearing into the global community as so many other ancient civilizations did. You never here about a Babylonian living down the street, do you? Yet the Hebrew race remains forever prominent within the global community.

Solomon's overseers
550 in I Kings 9:23
250 in II Chron 8:10

1 Kings gives us 3300 foremen, when we add 550 to this, we get 3850. 2 Chronicles gives us 3600 foremen, when we add 250 to this, we once more get 3850. As the two accounts agree with each other on the total number of workers, it is clear that there is merely a difference in categorization here as to what the “chief officers” were. “Chief”, after all, is a matter of opinion.

The mother of Abijah:
Maachah the daughter of Absalom 2 Chron 9:20
Michaiah the daughter of Uriel 2 Chron 13:2


Maachah and Michaiah are different spellings of the same name, isn’t hard to see. The difference in parenthood indicates that one is an ancestor and the other is the literal parent as we would now define it. See genealogical information here. [3]

When did Baasha die?
26th year of the reign of Asa I Kings 16:6-8
36th year of the reign of Asa I 2 Chron 16:1


“In Jewish tradition there was no provision for a queen. Here, the queen-mother, Maachah, takes on an important role when her son Abijam dies after reigning only 3 years. She adopts one of his sons Asa (I Kings 15:10) apparently as a figure-head and actually reigns herself for the first 10 years (see II Chronicles 14:2). After this period, Asa wins a great battle, is encouraged by the prophet in chapter 15, and takes over. He cleans the idols out of Judah AND Benjamin (as noted above) and removes the idolatrous Maachah as queen (I Kings 15:13 and II Chronicles 15:16). Likely this ten-year reign of the Queen mother alongside Asa is the reason for the ten-year discrepancy in dating the Baasha event by how long Asa had ruled.” [source] [4]

How old was Ahaziah when he began to reign?
22 in 2 Kings 8:26
42 in 2 Chron 22:2


Ahaziah only reigned for one year, so it is possible that these are not in fact the same kings. After all, Ahaziah’s father began to reign at age 32 and reigned for 8 years, dying at the age of 40. Clearly his son could not have been 42 at the time, making it entirely possible that this was not in fact the same person.

Who was Josiah's successor?
Jehoahaz - 2 Chron 36:1
Shallum - Jeremiah 22:11


A little historical background ought to shed some light on this apparent contradiction: “Pharaoh Necho took advantage of Assyria's downfall by seizing Palestine. King Josiah of Judah went against him at Megiddo and was defeated and slain. "And his servants carried him in a chariot dead from Megiddo and brought him to Jerusalem" (2 Kings, xxiii, 30). Jehoahaz was selected as Josiah's successor, but Necho deposed him and made him a prisoner...” (2 Kings, xxiii, 34).” [source] [5]

The differences in the census figures of Ezra and Nehemiah.

Ezra was written around 538 B.C. whereas Nehemiah was written around 444 B.C. The difference in census figures is most likely do to the families having grown (and/or families members dying) during the nearly 100 years between the two.

What was the color of the robe placed on Jesus during his trial?
scarlet - Matthew 27:28
purple John 19:2


“…we read of “a scarlet robe...faded to resemble purple” (The Wycliffe Bible Commentary). [It is difficult to imagine Pilate arraying Jesus’ bloody body with a new robe. More likely it was one that had been worn and cast off as useless (Barnes).] According to A.T. Robertson, there were various shades of purple and scarlet in the first century and it was not easy to distinguish the colors or tints (1997). In fact, the ancients (especially the Romans) used the term purple when speaking of various shades of red (McGarvey, 1875, p. 361; Barnes, 1997). Consequently, these different colors sometimes would be called by the same name.” [source] [6]

What did they give him to drink?
vinegar - Matthew 27:34
wine with myrrh - Mark 15:23

The “vinegar” in Matthew 27:34 was ὄξος (oxos), which could also be interpreted as a “sour wine”. Myrrh was often included in wine during the period to contribute to the flavor and scent.

How long was Jesus in the tomb?
Depends where you look; Matthew 12:40 gives Jesus prophesying that he will spend "three days and three nights in the heart of the earth," and Mark 10:34 has "after three days (meta treis emeras) he will rise again." As far as I can see from a quick look, the prophecies have "after three days," but the post-Resurrection narratives have "on the third day."


That certainly was a quick look. I'm not sure what Bible translation you were using (you claim to be using the KJV), but when I checked my KJV (the only version I use, so I'm not just picking whatever's convenient) Mark 10:34 didn't say anything about "after three days", what it said was: "And they shall mock him, and shall scourge him, and shall spit upon him, and shall kill him: and the third day he shall rise again." No contradictions here, because neither of these verses say "after three days".


There are, of course, other compilations of Biblical “contradictions” scattered about the web, but this one (put together by Jim Merritt) is the most comprehensive one I’ve found which was worth looking at.


In Christ's Love,
Matthew



Works Cited

[1] http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/jim_meritt/bible-contradictions.html

[2] http://www.carm.org/diff/2Chron36_9.htm

[3] http://www.complete-bible-genealogy.com/names/maachah_854.htm

[4] http://www.drdino.com/articles.php?spec=90

[5] http://www.sacred-texts.com/egy/eml/eml40.htm

[6] http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/559

Friday, February 22, 2008

Willingly Ignorant

2nd Peter 3:3-7 "Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation. For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water: Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished: But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men."

Sound familiar? What was once largely undisputed is now largely counted as foolishness: that the Lord formed the earth and all creatures which live upon it. While the Bible tells us that God created us in His own image, it was Charles Darwin (author of The Origin of Species) who said, "We must, however, acknowledge as it seems to me, that a man with all his noble qualities...still bears in his bodily frame the indelible stamp of his lowly origin." Lowly origin? Ironically, the great "scientist" Charles Darwin only had a degree in one subject... Theology. So why is this theologian regarded so highly by the atheistic community? Because he told them what they wanted to hear. With or without evidence, evolution will continue to be believed so long as there are those who are desperate to believe it. Ironically, Charles Darwin also once said, "False facts are highly injurious to the progress of science, for they often endure long". How many false facts are used to support evolution in public school science textbooks? The list is endless. While not all evidences for evolution can be falsified, the fact that so many long disproven lies are still purported as 'evidence' by the evolutionist community suggests that they have something to hide. What are they trying to hide? Perhaps the lack of any of the thousands of 'transitional species' that Darwin promised would be found...
In Christ's Love,
Matthew

Thursday, February 21, 2008

"For men shall be lovers of their own selves..." 2nd Timothy 3:2

"Love yourself first and everything else falls into line. You really have to love yourself to get anything done in this world." - Lucille Ball (1911 - 1989)

Doesn't it seem like modern society is continually pushing us to do something that would have been at one point unthinkable? To love yourself above all else? Where the self-less were once looked to as role models, they are now pitied as sad, deprived individuals who surely "must have been miserable" and would have been so much happier and more fulfilled if they had just known how to "love themselves". Now the prideful and selfish are seen as secure and full of wisdom, and we all wish we could be more like them.

"I finally realized that being grateful to my body was key to giving more love to myself." - Oprah Winfrey

The Bible warns us of those who love themselves above all else. 2nd Timothy 3:2 begins by stating "For men shall be lovers of their own selves..." The world has nearly accomplished it's ultimate goal of making itself into a god. Ever since Lucifer tempted Eve in the Garden of Eden by telling her that by sinning she could become like God, man has continually strove to commit the same sin which caused Satan himself to fall from Heaven: to exalt ourselves. That thing which you love more than anything else, your top priority, is the god of your life. Whether you call it a god or not. And if that thing is yourself, then you have transgressed the Lord's commandment "you shall have no other gods before Me", you have committed the sin of idolatry. Love is meant to be an outward action, not an inward one. Once you truly know what love is, it is impossible to be a lover of your self more than anyone else and not know that it is wrong. To love yourself is to be selfish, it's as simple as that. Jesus said that the most important commandment is to love the Lord your God, and the second most important commandment is to love your neighbor as yourself. We are to love God more than ourselves, and to love others as much as we love ourselves. Why is the world falling apart despite our best efforts? Because we continue to grow in our sinful desire for self-exaltation.

Turn from your self-love towards the One who can save you from your sins and from an eternity in hell. If you place your hope and trust primarily in yourself, then in the end your "god" will not be able to save you from an eternity of misery, because your god will be yourself. No man can save himself from hell.

In Christ's Love,
Matthew

Monday, February 4, 2008

Which Bible Translation Do You Trust?

Ever wondered how the Bible can be the infallible word of God when there are so many different versions of it? Can they really all be infallible? Do they all say basically the same thing? There can be no doubt that there are numerous differences between the multitude of different translations of the Bible available in the English-speaking world. We're going to look at just a few of them.

The most popular English translations today include the King James Version (KJV), New International Version (NIV), New American Standard Bible (NASB), and New King James Version (NKJV). There are others as well, of course, but these four are considered by many to be the most popular. Now there are two ways we can examine the reliability and authenticity of these versions: 1.) by examining the facts we know about the manuscripts they were translated from, and 2.) by comparing the last three to the KJV and examining any contradiction that arises.

Let's take a look at the manuscripts. As the King James Version was translated from younger manuscripts, particularly a compilation known as the Textus Receptus, than the other three, it is often argued that when there are differences between them it is the KJV which is in error, as older manuscripts are naturally more accurate. This is of course a very sensible assertion, as that is generally how things are done. However, one must account for logic and reasoning as well. There are many verses and/or sections of verses found in the KJV that are simply non-existent in the modern versions. One example of this can be found in Acts 8:37 (assuming you're using a KJV Bible, if on the other hand your Bible is NIV, for instance, you won't find it): "And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God." Here's the whole thing in context, Acts 8:36-38: "36And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized? 37And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. 38And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him." Now, many believe that the younger manuscripts used in translating the King James were alterations of the originals which were changed for the purpose of supporting extra-biblical doctrines. Is believing with all your heart before being baptized extra-biblical? I doubt that anyone would draw that conclusion, regardless of what translation you're using. Belief before baptism is a doctrine which can be backed up in other places in the Bible, so why would it be inserted falsely here? Likewise, many believe that 1 John 5:7 in the KJV was inserted later to support extra-biblical doctrine, yet this verse is an explanation of the Trinity, an already Biblical doctrine. In at least one manuscript that did not include 1 John 5:7 in the main text it was included in a marginal note. Is it not logical to assume that this was in fact a marginal note in the original text? And that perhaps some scribes felt it important enough to include in the main text when copying it while others ignored it as it was a marginal note? These are questions we must ask ourselves. And if this is the case then perhaps the verse should be enclosed in parentheses but it should most certainly not be dropped altogether. The bottom line is that as the Trinity doctrine can be backed up Biblically with or without this verse, so adding it in with the intent of perverting the Gospel doesn't quite add up. Perhaps all verses excluded from the modern translations should be re-inserted, if only in parentheses, as they do not pervert the Gospel but in fact clarify it and most likely were present, whether in the body of the text or in the margins, in the original manuscripts.

While this "logical" viewpoint is of course far from being proof that the KJV publication of 1611 is more accurate, there are other more definitive reasons, not the least of which being the location of the older manuscripts from which many modern translations receive their justification. These texts come from a region of northern Africa that is certainly worthy of some skepticism as to their authenticity. The older manuscripts are traced back to Alexandria, the known location of a cult often referred to as the "Alexandrian Cult", founded in part by an Alexandrian by the name of Origen. This cult, which some have compared to the Watchtower Society in modern times, wished to be viewed as legitimately Christian while still holding to its unique and unscriptural teachings. Thus, it had its own unique version of the Bible. Not only can many "modern" Bibles be traced back to these Alexandrian manuscripts, but in fact the Latin Vulgate, later translated into English and currently known as the Douay-Rheims Bible (the translation most commonly accepted and used by the Roman Catholic Church) is also translated from these same manuscripts, as well as the New World Translation used by Jehovah's Witnesses. While some have taken this revelation to the extent of referring to all who use modern translations of the Bible as being members of this same "Alexandrian Cult", it is clear that they are at worst misled and that English-speaking churches are safe from faulty doctrine, if for no other reason than because the King James Version is still present to balance them out. In conclusion, it is reasonable to assert that the more modern versions are perfectly good translations of the wrong text, most likely with the best of intentions, but nonetheless not the original scriptures.

From this viewpoint that the missing verses in modern translations are in fact inspired scripture, let's examine the possible motivation for their more recent omission. If we read Acts 8:36-38 excluding verse 37 it now reads: "And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized? And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and thy went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him." If something doesn't quite seem right here, that's because it isn't. The problem with omitting verse 37 is that now it would appear that baptism is something that can be done upon a simple whim, merely having come across water alongside the road. Philip no longer explains to the eunuch that he must understand the significance of baptism before undergoing it. This leaves an opening for a church to use this passage to justify baptizing members without explaining to them what baptism is, why it's important, and why they must count the cost (Luke 14:28) before going through with it. Like Mark 9:44 and 9:46 are also missing completely. Both are explanations of hell which are entirely Biblical (with or without these verses), yet when you remove them you end up with a less terrifying vision of eternal damnation. Does this leave room to assert that there are certain levels of punishment in hell and that perhaps the "worm that dieth not" and "fire that is not quenched" are only for particularly sinful individuals? Perhaps, or it may be completely innocent. It's impossible to tell, but this could certainly be used as a comfort for those who reject Christ's atonement, and that is far from Biblical. For a more extensive look at the differences between various Bible translations, click here.

Feel free to draw your own conclusions on this one, but I'll be sticking with my KJV until I'm convinced otherwise.

In Christ's Love,
Matthew