We who preach the gospel must not think of ourselves as public relations agents sent to establish good will between Christ and the world. We must not imagine ourselves commissioned to make Christ acceptable to big business, the press, the world of sports or modern education. We are not diplomats but prophets, and our message is not a compromise but an ultimatum. A.W. Tozer
Therefore let God-inspired Scripture decide between us; and on whichever side be found doctrines in harmony with the word of God, in favor of that side will be cast the vote of truth. --Basil of Caesarea
Once you learn to discern, there's no going back. You will begin to spot the lie everywhere it appears.

I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has strengthened me, because He considered me faithful, putting me into service. 1 Timothy 1:12

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Bible “Contradictions” Rebutted, #7

This is the final post of the series.

Contradiction claim #52, What were 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.
Luke 23:46:  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.
John 19:30:  When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, "It is finished:" and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.
None of this is contradictory; each author just told the part that he wanted to report or what he remembered. Here is the most likely sequence, combining the three texts:  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?" Some of them that stood there, when they heard that, said, “This man calleth for Elias.”  After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the scripture might be fulfilled, saith, “I thirst.”  Now there was set a vessel full of vinegar: And straightway one of them ran, and took a sponge, and filled it with vinegar, and put it upon hyssop, and put it to his mouth.  The rest said, “Let be, let us see whether Elias will come to save him.”  When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, “It is finished.”   And the sun was darkened, and the veil of the temple was rent in the midst.  And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, “Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit”: and having said thus, he gave up the ghost.

Contradiction claim #53, What was the color of the robe placed on Jesus during his trial?

Matt. 27:28  Scarlet
John 19:2  Purple
John MacArthur, commenting on Matthew 27:28, says of the apparent discrepancies, “scarlet robe. Mark 15:17 and John 19:2 say ‘purple,’ suggesting that the robe may have been something between royal purple, and ‘scarlet,’ the closest thing they could find to the traditional garb of royalty.”  The NET Bible says, “The scarlet robe probably refers to a military garment which had the color of royal purple, and thus resembled a king’s robe.”  Apparently the color is a cross between scarlet and purple, which means the description is the best the writer could describe it.  If anything, the color descriptions are complimentary, not contradictory.

Contradiction claim #54, What did they give him to drink?

Matt. 27:34  Vinegar 
Mark 15:23  Wine with myrrh
Matthew 27:34 actually says they gave him vinegar “mingled with gall.”  “Gall” refers to something bitter, while Mark identifies it specifically as the narcotic myrrh.  What is translated as “vinegar” in Matthew is actually sour wine, so both passages are saying the same thing.

Contradiction claim #55, Who was at the Empty Tomb?

Matt. 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.
Mark 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.
John 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.
None of this is contradictory.  Matthew doesn’t say only Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came; he only reports on these two. Mark mentions both of them (the other Mary being Mary the mother of James), but he also tells us of Salome’s presence with them.  John only mentions Magdalene, but again he does not say she was alone. For some reason Mary Magdalene was of enough importance that all three report her presence.  Could it be because she was the one Jesus freed from demons, and she knew the freedom of that which led her to be a disciple?  Anyway, not reporting all who are present is not contradicting someone who does.

Contradiction claim #56, Whom did they see at the tomb?

Matt. 28:2-5  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. His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow:  And for fear of him the keepers did shake, and became as dead men.  And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified.
Mark 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.
Luke 24:4  And it came to pass, as they were much perplexed thereabout, behold, two men stood by them in shining garments:
John 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.
These are complimentary rather than contradictory.  Each person is telling part of the story.  None say their story is complete in all aspects. This is common among anyone witnessing an event.  Each person gives some of the details and when all put together gives us the complete story.

Contradiction claim #57, Is Jesus equal to or lesser than God?

John 10:30  I and my Father are one.
John 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.
Jesus and God the Father are one in that they are both one God, part of the trinity.  However, in roles the Father is greater than the Son. Some thoughts about John 14:28:
a.  Revealing the subordinate role Jesus accepted as necessary part of the incarnation.  Must be understood in light of the unity in John 10:30
b.  Speaking at a time when he had done as stated in Philippians 2:6-7.  He became "lower than the angels” (Heb. 2:9).
c.  The Father is greater in that the incarnate son derives his being from Him.  The "greaterness" of the Father means that the revelation of Him manifested in Jesus is full so far as was possible in a human person.
d.  His state with his Father would be much more excellent and glorious than his present state; his returning to his Father would be the advancing of him to a much higher condition than that which he was now in.
e.  The Father is greater by office, but not by nature, since both are God.  Jesus is equal to the Father in essence, in nature, in character.  The Father is greater in function, in office, in position.
f.  The word "greater" is used to point to the Father's greater position (in heaven), not a greater nature. The word used was not "better".

Contradiction claim #58, Did those with Saul/Paul at his conversion hear a voice?

Acts 9:7  And the men which journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing a voice, but seeing no man.
Acts 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.
In Acts 9:7 they heard the sound of the voice, which is what the Greek (tes phones) means, but did not understand the speech. The NIV and other newer translations make this clear.  Acts 22:9 says they did not “hear,” i.e. they did not understand the words of the Lord.  The Greek word for “voice” here is “ten phonen".  Only Paul heard with understanding. As John MacArthur says, “Since Jesus spoke only to Paul, only he understood the Lord’s words.  His companions heard the sound, but could not make out the words.

Contradiction claim #59, 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.
The context of these two passages are about different things. The first text is speaking about spiritual discernment in regards to teaching.  The second text is in regards to them judging Paul compared to other so-called apostles, and he is saying they are not to judge the heart.  Nowhere in Scripture does it tell us not to judge at all, on the contrary, there are many passages that tell us to judge righteously.

Contradiction claim #60, Who bears guilt?

Gal. 6:2  Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.
Gal. 6:5 For every man shall bear his own burden.
This is intentionally removing the context.  It is quite easy to see the difference just by reading the passage of Gal. 6:1-5.  In the first passage the context is helping others with leaving their sins behind.  That’s the burdens we bear. The second passage is about doing our own work and testing our own actions and not comparing ourselves to others.  It has nothing to do with bearing guilt.

In this series I’ve addressed 60 claims of contradictions in the Bible.  I have come across a lot more, of course, but these are the ones I’ve most frequently seen, and were the ones provided me by the college student requesting responses.  I hope my readers have found this useful.


Jessie Lange said...

Hi Glenn,

Here are a some articles addressing alleged inconsistencies in the Bible:

April Alling said...

These have been very helpful. Thank you!