Does The Bible Have Contradictions/Errors?
The Bible is a collection of 66 books, written by an estimated 40 seperate authors from different walks of life over a period of over 1,500 years, with overlapping details, and yet all of these books are in complete agreement. Some people make the claim that the Bible is full of contradictions. However, these people are referring to the obvious fact that there are going to be minor issues such as typos in select manuscripts used. The manuscripts are translated literally without fixing some of the minor typos, different word orders, etc. However, it is important to note that none of these cases concern anything theologically significant. They are all details like numbers or misspellings. In reference to word order differences, Bruce M. Metzger, professor emeritus at Princeton Theological Seminary, explains: "It makes a whale of a difference in English if you say, 'Dog bites man' or 'Man bites dog' -- sequence matters in English. But in Greek it doesn't. One word functions as the subject of the sentence regardless of where it stands in the sequence."
The Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John)
The term "the Gospels" refers to the four books mentioned and the first four books of the New Testament. They give us the greatest detail on Jesus' life while on the earth. Two of the gospels were written by the apostles Matthew and John, men who knew Jesus personally and traveled with him for over three years. The other two books were written by Mark and Luke, close associates of the apostles. These writers had direct access to the facts they were recording. The early church embraced the four gospels because they detailed what was already common knowledge about Jesus' life.
Each of these Gospel writers made a very detailed account. As you would expect from multiple biographies of a real person, there is variation in the style, but there is complete agreement in the facts. We know the authors were not simply making things up, because the Gospels give specific geographical names and cultural details that have been confirmed by historians and archaeologists. We can have complete confidence in their writings, which the Bible states are truth and inspired by the Holy Spirit. It's interesting that Jesus' recorded words leave out many topics the early church would have liked a statement on. This indicates that the biographers were honest, not putting words in Jesus' mouth to suit their own interests. There are many things Christians would like to have seen said, or perhaps said differently, but it has been recorded accurately.
No one has ever found a single contradiction, nor has there ever been any evidence, even thousands of years later, that there are any inaccuracies in the Bible. The Bible cannot be broken (see John 10:35). It will judge you on the last Day (see John 12:48) and skeptics only twist it to their own destruction (see 2 Peter 3:16). Because it is so clearly a supernatural book that has been supported by so many different means, the greatest being Christ Himself, we can have complete faith in it.
For more information, please see my article on The History of the Bible.
1. Strobel, Lee. The Case for Christ (Zondervan Publishing House, 1998), p. 83.
© Todd Tyszka
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