Biblical Contradictions


The Bible has many seeming contradictions within its pages. For example, the four Gospels give four differing accounts as to what was written on the sign that hung on the cross. Matthew said,

And set up over his head his accusation written, THIS IS JESUS THE KING OF THE JEWS.

Matthew 27:37 KJV

However, Mark contradicts that with

And the superscription of his accusation was written over, THE KING OF THE JEWS.

Mark 15:26 KJV

Luke says something different:

And a superscription also was written over him in letters of Greek, and Latin, and Hebrew, THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS.

Luke 23:38 KJV

and John maintains that the sign said

And Pilate wrote a title, and put it on the cross. And the writing was, JESUS OF NAZARETH THE KING OF THE JEWS.

John 19:19 KJV

Those who are looking for contradictions may therefore say, "See the Bible is full of mistakes!" and choose to reject it entirely as being untrustworthy.

However, those who trust God have no problem harmonizing the Gospels. There is no contradiction if the sign simply said, "This is Jesus of Nazareth the King of the Jews." The godly base their confidence on two truths:

  1. "all scripture is given by inspiration of God" (2 Timothy 3:16);
  2. an elementary rule of Scripture is that God has deliberately included seeming contradictions in His word to "snare" the proud. He has hidden things from the "wise and prudent" and "revealed them to the babes" (Luke 10:21), purposely choosing foolish things to confound the wise (1 Corinthians 1:27).

All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

II Timothy 3:16 KJV

In that hour Jesus rejoiced in spirit, and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes: even so, Father; for so it seemed good in thy sight.

Luke 10:21 KJV

But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;

I Corinthians 1:27 KJV

If an ungodly man refuses to humble himself and obey the gospel, and instead desires to build a case against the Bible, God gives him enough material to build his own gallows.

This incredible principal is clearly illustrated in the account and capture of Zedekiah, king of Judah. Jeremiah the prophet told Zedekiah that God would judge him. He was informed that he would be "delivered into the hand of the king of Babylon".

And Zedekiah king of Judah shall not escape out of the hand of the Chaldeans, but shall surely be delivered into the hand of the king of Babylon, and shall speak with him mouth to mouth, and his eyes shall behold his eyes;

Jeremiah 32:4 KJV

This is later confirmed in Jeremiah where we are told that he was captured and brought to King Nebuchadnezzar, then they "bound him with chains, to carry him to Babylon."

But the Chaldeans' army pursued after them, and overtook Zedekiah in the plains of Jericho: and when they had taken him, they brought him up to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon to Riblah in the land of Hamath, where he gave judgment upon him. Then the king of Babylon slew the sons of Zedekiah in Riblah before his eyes: also the king of Babylon slew all the nobles of Judah. Moreover he put out Zedekiah's eyes, and bound him with chains, to carry him to Babylon.

Jeremiah 39:5-7 KJV

However, in Ezekiel, God Himself warned, that He would bring Zedekiah to Babylon, but Zedekiah shall not see it, although Zedekiah would die there"

My net also will I spread upon him, and he shall be taken in my snare: and I will bring him to Babylon to the land of the Chaldeans; yet shall he not see it, though he shall die there.

Ezekiel 12:13 KJV (emphasis added)

Here is material to build a case against the Bible! It is an obvious mistake. Three Bible verses say that the king would go to Babylon, and yet the Bible in another place says that he would not see Babylon. How can someone be taken somewhere and not see it? It makes no sense at all-unless Zedekiah was blinded. And that is precisely what happened. Zedekiah saw Nebuchadnezzar face to face, saw his sons killed before his eyes, then king Nebuchadnezzar put out Zedekiah's eyes before taking him to Babylon.

Then the king of Babylon slew the sons of Zedekiah in Riblah before his eyes: also the king of Babylon slew all the nobles of Judah. Moreover he put out Zedekiah's eyes, and bound him with chains, to carry him to Babylon.

Jeremiah 39:6,7 KJV

This is the underlying principal behind the many "contradictions" of Holy Scripture (such as how many horses David had, who was the first to arrive at the tomb after the resurrection, etc.)

God has turned the tables on the proud, arrogant, self-righteous man. When he proudly stands outside the kingdom of God, and seeks to justify his sinfulness through evidence he thinks discredits the Bible, he doesn't realize that God has simply lowered the door of life, so that only those who are prepared to exercise faith, and bow in humility may enter.

It is interesting to note that the seeming contradictions in the four Gospels attest to the fact that there was no corroboration between the writers.

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