Contradictions (7): Cleansing the Temple

Driving of the Merchants from the Temple, Scarsellino, 1580-1585

Driving of the Merchants from the Temple, Scarsellino, 1580-1585

The gospels relate a key event in which Jesus cleansed the Jewish temple in Jerusalem, kicking out the money changers and merchants who he felt were defiling that sacred place.  In the synoptic gospels (Matthew 21, Mark 11, and Luke 19), this event is portrayed as taking place at the end of Jesus’ ministry, shortly before his crucifixion.

However, John’s gospel (chapter 2) tells us that this event took place at the beginning of Jesus’ ministry.  Critics cite this as an example of contradiction between the gospels, and assert that it demonstrates the gospels’ unreliability as historical documents. Continue reading

Contradictions (3): Angels or Men?

Contradictions Title ImageAll four Gospels describe the events that happened when female followers of Jesus discovered his body was missing from the tomb on Easter morning.  The four accounts are quite similar to one another and agree on the major points.

However, there are some differences between them, and there appear to be slight differences recorded in the order of events on that momentous and confusing morning.  Critics over the years have seized upon these differences, claiming that the accounts contradict one another.  Such contradictions, they add, are evidence of the gospel accounts’ historical unreliability. Continue reading

Contradictions (2): Which Women Visited Jesus’ Tomb?

Contradictions Title ImageThe gospel accounts of what happened at Jesus’ tomb on Easter Sunday are another favorite target of Bible critics.  They point to several inconsistencies in the accounts’ details to illustrate that the gospels are inaccurate and contradictory.

In fact, a close reading of the text shows neither inaccuracy nor contradiction.  Those who use this as a means of tearing down the text’s credibility do so either because they’re biased and have never actually read the text, or because they are intentionally attempting to deceive others into believing that these accounts are contradictory. Continue reading

Dealing with the Bible’s Apparent Contradictions

The Scribe, George Cattermole, 1800-1868, from The Cooper Gallery

The Scribe, George Cattermole, 1800-1868, from The Cooper Gallery

Critics have tried for at least 2,000 years to discredit the biblical texts.  One of their most common charges is that the Bible is full of contradictions that prove it is neither “divinely inspired” nor “inerrant.”  Rather, it is just another example of fictional literature, produced by primitive people trying to explain the world around them.  Is the Bible really “full of contradictions” as some claim?  Or are there reasonable explanations for these textual difficulties that can maintain the Bible’s credibility and authority?  Let’s take a look. Continue reading