ISO: Actual Bible Contradictions
October 16, 2018 § Leave a comment
Skeptics of Christianity often will mention “contradictions” in the Bible without specifics, but refer to one resource in particular. So I chose three Biblical “contradictions” completely at random from the oft-cited Skeptic’s Annotated Bible Contradictions to see if they truly represent internal contradictions in the Bible.
1. “David’s sons” compares 2 Samuel 3:2-5 to 1 Chronicles 3:1-4, revealing that David’s 2nd son is identified as Chileab in 2 Samuel and as Daniel in 1 Chronicles.
Why this is not a contradiction: Chileab and Daniel are the same person.
2. “Would we fear God?” lists 49 verses that deal with the “fear of God”, and also 2 verses that supposedly contradict this teaching (1 Timothy 1:7 and 1 John 4:8).
Why this is not a contradiction: 1 Timothy says “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” This is a rejection of baseless fear, a very different fear than the meaning expressed in the sense of fearing God, which “refers to fear or a specific sense of respect, awe, and submission” to God. It’s a mystery as to why the authors chose 1 John 4:8, however: “He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.” No mention of “fear” in this verse.
3. “When did Ahaziah begin to reign?” points out that 2 Kings 8:25 has this Judean king beginning his rule “in the twelfth year” of the reign of Joram, the son of Ahab, while 2 Kings 9:29 indicates Ahaziah began his rule “in the eleventh year” of the reign of Joram.
Why this is is not a contradiction worth mentioning: Similarly, 2 Kings 8:26 says Ahaziah was 22 when he began his reign, and 2 Chronicles 22:2 says he was 42. I don’t know if this discrepancy is listed, but the answer to this “contradiction” is the same for many non-critical differences: They are copyist errors. An error that a scribe makes while making copies would be significant if it presented a theological or doctrinal issue, and most of these errors can be rectified with context, methods of textual criticism archaeology, and other resources. But none of these errors—most relating to punctuation, word endings, minor grammatical issues, word order, numbering errors, misspellings—prove significant. Scriptural inerrancy maintains that the original autographs, inspired by God, are without error. Humans making copies make mistakes, but God has not allowed any mistakes to creep in that alter any meaning or doctrine. In fact, copyist errors account for less than 1 percent of the discrepancies in the tens of thousands of biblical manuscripts we have available.
These 3 are just a random sample. Hundreds of alleged contradictions are listed at bibviz.com. Without my having to browse them all, are there any ACTUAL contradictions to discuss that can’t be rationally explained with context or an insignificant copyist mistake? Something that actually challenges the authenticity and authority of scripture?
Some other posts I’ve written that deal with supposed contradictions in the Bible: