The Over 50 Writer

Don't Let Bible Contradictions Rob Your Faith
Thursday, January 2, 2014 by Patti Shene

A common New Year's resolution is to commit to daily Bible readings, or even read through the Bible in a year. That's why I thought it would be fitting to start the New Year with an article by author Vince Latorre, who addresses those supposed Bible contradictions. Welcome Vince!

Don't let Bible "contradictions" rob you of your faith!

by

Vincent Latorre

We hear a lot about Bible "contradictions" from people these days. Many say that because of these discrepancies, the reliability of the Bible cannot be trusted. Especially brought up are the four gospels, since they have many parallel accounts that have surface disagreements with one another. Let me give you six different ways you can explain these supposedly fatal contradictions:

1.They used “paraphrase.” Saying the same thing in different words. In first century culture, it was permissible to vary the exact wording when you quoted someone, as long as the meaning of the quote remained intact. They could vary the amount of detail given for a specific account also. For example, "two cars collided in the intersection" might be said also as "the first car crashed into the second car as they both were moving through the intersection of First and Second Street." Each describes the same event, one gives more detail, but the basic meaning is not changed. If the second quote said: "there was only one car in the accident, and it hit a pole," then that would be a contradiction. But we find none like this in the gospels.

2.They were different witnesses to the same events One thing the seeming disagreements in Scripture shows is the absence of collusion. They could even have been designed that way as more evidence of authenticity. Some of the Bible’s verses, when carefully studied in the proper context, exhibit superficial discrepancies and conflicts which resolve themselves on closer examination. This kind of evidence is exactly what is looked for in a court of law to establish credibility and independence of witnesses. If facts agree too well, they look artificial and contrived.

3.They didn’t always put things in time order. Some of the Bible writers record historical events out of chronological order to fit whatever theme they are trying to emphasize, but this does not detract from the historicity of the events themselves.

4.Repetition of teachings. Another simple explanation would be that Jesus gave the same essential teachings more than once, with slightly varying words each time. Surely over three years of ministry he repeated certain teachings!

5.Verses taken out of context. A large number of perceived discrepancies are the result of taking a Bible verse out of context. Some are also due to the prejudice of the critic. Many of these contradictions are "much ado about nothing."

6. “Compression” of the narrative. If every little detail in a Biblical account were given, it might clear up the discrepancies, but the Bible itself would be so bulky and hard to follow that it would not be nearly as useful to the reader.

“Fair or Foul?”

An example of a “contradiction” that is often brought up is the accounts of Peter's denial of Christ and the roosters crowing. All four gospels contain this account. In Matthew, Luke, and John, Jesus seems to be telling Peter that before the cock (rooster) crows once the next morning, Peter will deny Him three times, but in Mark, Jesus tells Peter that he will deny Him before the cock crows twice. Some say since the accounts disagree, they can't be trusted.

But is this fair? First of all, as we saw above, in that time period the use of paraphrase, even for memorization of sayings, was considered acceptable in recounting an event. Rather than the exact quotations required today, they could vary the wording and detail level, as long as the essence of the account was preserved.  In the Greek and Hebrew, quotation marks did not even exist.

In this case, Mark may be giving more detail, while the others are speaking more generally. "Before the rooster crows, you will deny me three times" is less detailed than "before the rooster crows twice you will deny me three times." Yet both convey the same event to historians, namely that after Peter denied Jesus three times, the cock would crow. They would not let such a minor discrepancy keep them from taking this account as historical. Indeed, other ancient literature that historians give credibility to has much more significant differences than this one. It was the practice of the writers of that day to vary wording and amount of detail, and it is not fair to judge their writing by modern standards.

The critics also don't seem to fairly consider possible reconciling explanations. For example, there was a certain time period early in the morning known as the "cockcrow" or "cockcrowing", when most of the roosters would be in full voice. (If you grew up on a farm, you might be remembering that natural alarm clock!) This term is used as such in Mark 13:35: '"At even, or at midnight, or at the cockcrowing, or in the morning." So when in Matthew and the other gospels, Jesus says, "before the cock crow," He could very well mean that before the time in the morning when the usual cockcrowing takes place, Peter will have made three denials.

Mark simply adds more detail by informing us that a rooster or two crowed right after Peter's first denial as well. How long was the time gap in between this early rooster crow and the normal "cockcrowing?" Luke gives the information that the time between Peter's first and second denials was "about the space of one hour" (Luke 22:59).We see that, rather than the gospels contradicting each other, all of the accounts blended together give a fuller picture of what went on that evening.

So when these discrepancies are used to call the historical reliability of the gospels into question, I am tempted to cry: "Foul"

 

As a young boy, author Vincent Latorre always had an inquisitive nature. He immediately wanted the answers to questions such as “Is there a God?” “How did I get here?” “How was the world and universe created?” His search for answers to these questions led him to a personal encounter with Christ at age nine or ten. As his faith grew, his desire to analytically research and validate the Word of God intensified.

Latorre spent many hours in libraries and bookstores sifting through more than 200 books and hundreds of articles on science, Bible textual criticism, and theology. As he researched these, the author began to see the powerful scientific evidence for creation as well as the evidence for the historical reliability of the Bible. In his latest book, The Bible Can Be Proven, Latorre shares the results of his research to strengthen believers and inform honest seekers.

Latorre is presently an accountant in a government agency, has taught Sunday School and Bible Studies for twenty four years, and currently works as a Lay Speaker in the United Methodist Church, speaking to students at high school and adult levels in many churches, including his own.


The Over 50 Writer


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WELCOME AUTHOR TERESA IVES LILLY
Patti Shene
4/2/2015

WELCOME AUTHOR PEG PHIFER
Patti Shene
3/19/2015

WELCOME AUTHOR DARLENE FRANKLIN
Patti Shene
3/4/2015

WELCOME AUTHOR MICHELLE GRIEP
Patti Shene
2/20/2015

NEGOTIATING THE LEARNING CURVE
Patti Shene
2/6/2015

WHEN ENCOURAGEMENT COMES YOUR WAY
Patti Shene
1/30/2015

WELCOME AUTHOR SANDY NADEAU
Patti Shene
1/14/2015

I AM A WRITER--OR AM I REALLY?
Patti Shene
1/1/2015

WELCOME AUTHOR GEORGE DUNCAN
Patti Shene
12/3/2014

WELCOME AUTHOR MARTHA ROGERS
Patti Shene
11/21/2014

WELCOME AUTHOR EDITH EDWARDS
Patti Shene
11/6/2014

WELCOME AUTHOR GAIL KITTLESON
Patti Shene
10/16/2014

WELCOME AUTHOR CAMILLE EIDE
Patti Shene
10/2/2014

WELCOME AUTHOR FRANCES SUSANNE BROWN
Patti Shene
9/18/2014

WELCOME AUTHOR AVA PENNINGTON
Patti Shene
9/4/2014

WELCOME AUTHOR LILLIAN DUNCAN
Patti Shene
8/21/2014

WELCOME AUTHOR CYNTHIA TONEY
Patti Shene
8/6/2014

WELCOME AUTHOR CARRIE STUART PARKS
Patti Shene
7/16/2014

WELCOME AUTHOR & PUBLISHER TRACY RUCKMAN
Patti Shene
7/3/2014

WELCOME AUTHOR JANET SKETCHLEY
Patti Shene
6/18/2014

WELCOME AUTHOR ANE MULLIGAN
Patti Shene
6/4/2014

WELCOME AUTHOR REBECCA CAREY LYLES
Patti Shene
5/15/2014

DARK BIOLOGY BY BONNIE DORAN
Patti Shene
5/1/2014

BY THE WATERS OF KADESH BY CAROLE TOWRISS
P
4/17/2014

WHERE HOPE STARTS BY ANGELA D. MEYER
Patti Shene
4/3/2014

THE CHARM BRACELET BY SUSAN PAGE DAVIS
Patti Shene
3/20/2014

Love Redeemed by Kelly Irvin
Patti Shene
3/5/2014

Shadows of the Past by Patricia Bradley
Patti Shene
2/20/2014

WELCOME WRITER DELORES LIESNER
Patti Shene
2/5/2014

The Heartbeat of the Novel by James R. Callan
Patti Shene
1/15/2014

Don't Let Bible Contradictions Rob Your Faith
Patti Shene
1/2/2014

Welcome Author Lilliann Duncan
Patti Shene
5/30/2013

Confessions of a Reluctant Reader
Patti Shene
5/9/2013

WELCOME AUTHOR LENA NELSON DOOLEY
Patti Shene
5/2/2013

WELCOME AUTHOR KATHI MACIAS
Patti Shene
4/24/2013

Review of Congo Dawn by Jeanette Windle
Patti Shene
4/18/2013

I'm back
Patti Shene
4/11/2013

Welcome Author JoAnn Durgin
Patti Shene
2/14/2013

Welcome Award-Winning Author Susan Page Davis
Patti Shene
2/7/2013

Teaching Old Dogs New Tricks
Patti Shene
1/30/2013

Introducing Jeanette Windle and Congo Dawn
Patti Shene
1/23/2013

Author Carole Johnson on Perseverance
Patti Shene
1/17/2013

The Value of Social Media
Patti Shene
1/9/2013

A Glimpse Into the Future
Patti Shene
1/2/2013

Welcome Author Jo Huddleston
Patti Shene
12/20/2012

Give Some Holiday Hope for Just $3.99
Patti Shene
12/14/2012

Great Christmas books from Lena Nelson Dooley
Patti Shene
12/7/2012

Welcome to Author Jude Urbanski
Patti Shene
11/13/2012

A Writers Journey Part IV
Patti Shene
11/13/2012

Interview with Author Kelly Irvin
Patti Shene
11/13/2012

Whose prophecy do you believe?
Patti Shene
11/13/2012

Welcome Author Michal J. Webb
Patti Shene
11/13/2012

Meet Author Sharon Shrock and the Women of Valley
Patti Shene
11/13/2012

Welcome Author Lillian Duncan
Patti Shene
11/13/2012