Is it true that there are so many contradictions in the Bible?

Yes. Biblical scholars, expert in Hebrew and Greek, have carefully researched the Bible and are very much in agreement that the Bible does contain contradictions. These are not just issues of interpretation or understanding, but fundamental differences in meaning.

What we see in 21st century Western standards of analysis as "contradictions" do not necessarily come out as "contradictions" to first-century Jewish standards. For example, "five hundred thousand" is adequately close to "four hundred seventy thousand" that this isn't really a contradiction; perhaps 30,000 guys moved and were miscounted. Other "contradictions" can be explained by recognizing that, though God inspired the Bible, it was still written by men with different viewpoints; for example, the gospel of Matthew was written by a former tax collector, while the gospel of Mark was written by a physician, and the two different viewpoints can be seen. This is similar to seeing two different news reports of an incident, one "contradicting" the other, but accurately reporting the same event.

Can errors be accepted to be the word of God?

Even though Christians believe that God inspired the Bible, it was still written by men. A weak and sinful creation of God that makes mistakes and more mistakes in life. If the Bible is indeed holy and the Word of God,then it should be perfect without any flaws. Even a tiny error cannot be tolerated. So can these men who contradict each other's writings be trusted to write the "Word of God?". Did God 'inspire' these people to write different things?
  • God inspired men to note what is important. Perhaps God doesn't think that "a tiny error" is important. Do you or I? Who cares? I believe that God protected what's important -- the way to salvation -- in spite of what sinful man could do to it. It's up to me to accept it or not. I'm not God. I have no right to dictate to Him what is tolerable and what is not.

We are not talking about just a normal book here. We are talking about a holy book, a book that should have been no confusion and error-free since it is for our guidance in this life, and in the here-after.

About the contradiction of how Simon Peter found out that Jesus was the Christ:

(a) By a revelation from heaven (Matthew16:17).

(b) His brother Andrew told him (John 1:41).

Which is it now? How can such information about the holy Jesus be inaccurate? If the writers can't even decide how Simon Peter found out that Jesus was the Christ, how can these men who cant even get a simple information correct, be obliged to write other things in the Bible? Maybe this contradiction is not good enough to convince, but lets see another one.

  • Both can be accurate. John's story tells how Simon first hears about this man from Nazareth, whom his brother Andrew claimed was the Messiah. That didn't mean Simon believed it, just that his brother thought so. Matthew, on the other hand, tells about what happened later, after Simon had gotten to know Jesus. At '''that''' point, Simon knows beyond the shadow of a doubt that this man really is the Christ. God revealed it to Simon in a way far greater than his brother Andrew's claim did.

Did Jesus ascend to Paradise the same day of the crucifixion?

(a) Yes. He said to the thief who defended him,

"Today you will be with me in Paradise" (Luke 23:43).

(b) No. He said to Mary Magdelene two days later,

"I have not yet ascended to the Father" (John 20:17).

So here, did he or did he not ascend to Paradise the same day of the crucifixion? This is not merely a question of "Did president Bush go to Iraq the same day he went to Israel?" This is about a significant event that happened to a holy man in which the Christians claimed to be as "the Son of God". Previously it was mentioned by one of the commentors above that the people who wrote the Bible are "accurately writing the same event". Have all of the contradictions presented so far been the "same event"? Maybe it can be justified that numbers such as 470000 can be rounded up to 500000, even though the difference is still undeniably large. But can a "yes" be rounded up into a "no"? If this 'yes' or 'no' contradiction still can be tolerated, then lets just go to another contradiction.

  • I've heard of claims that "Paradise" in this context doesn't mean Heaven, but rather a holding area in Hell where those who were considered righteous before Christ's sacrifice stayed protected. Since there is no Biblical account of this, I'm not going to say this is the explanation. 2 Corinthians 12 '''does''' indicate that there are different layers or levels of "the heavens," one of which includes "paradise" (v. 4). Thus, it's possible that the Paradise to which Jesus refers before His death is not the place to which He ascended after His resurrection.

Another contradiction:

(a) Adam was told that if and when he eats the forbidden fruit he would die the same day (Genesis 2:17).

(b) Adam ate the fruit and went on to live to a ripe old age of 930 years (Genesis 5:5)

  • There is death, and there is death. Is it not possible that there is more than one death? Part of Adam did die that day, because he was separated from God.

The story seems undeniably and completely different. So now, how can we believe that Jesus is really the Son of God? Isn't it possible that Jesus was just a messenger of God, who was trying to deliver God's messages to His creation? Isnt it possible that these "men" who wrote the Bible were wrong about Jesus being the Son of God? Yes, it is hard to accept the fact that Jesus is not the Son of God after being told otherwise since we were small. But think about it. Aren't most stories about Jesus in the Bible somewhat illogical?

  • No, it is not possible that Jesus was merely a messenger from God. He claimed to be God incarnate. (There are other questions on FAQ Farm dealing with this.) Because of what He said, he was either Lord, a liar, or a lunatic. He couldn't be just a good man, let alone a mere messenger from God. As for logical vs. illogical, again I ask, by whose standards? Those of sinful and imperfect man? By your own admission, that is no standard worth using.

Answer: Show Me A Genuine Contradiction

I have seen so many lists of contradictions. They all sound very impressive. One small problem. They've all been answered many times already. The people who keep on putting them forward are either ignorant of the answers which is possibly understandable or even worse they are trying to push an agenda, having already decided the Bible is false without really looking for a sensible answer. In some cases they already have another religion but the Bible is annoying by the exclusiveness of its claims to absolute truth, so they feel the need to cut it down to size.

Its all been done before. The answers are all there - if you look for them. If you really want them. If you will be silent long enough to hear the still small voice of truth.

One specific area where there are supposedly hundreds of contradictions is that of the different Gospel accounts - but they don't. They're just different. When closely and fairly examined they just put forward slightly different views, a different 'angle' or perspective of what is essentially the same amazing truth. People can be so clever and yet so 'willingly ignorant'.

There's an awful lot I don't know. But I do know this. The Bible does not contradict itself. They are all like a morning mist when the hot glaring light of the sun comes on it, it fades into nothing.

Answer: Yes, many contradictions

When caught in obvious contradictions, bible believers simply reinterpret the bible. When caught again, they reinterpret it again with another twist. Bible academics will pull their hair out attempting to rationalize away these contradictions with complex answers that exhaust the reader instead of enlightening them. It's almost like observing a high-priced lawyer giving a "Chewbacca" defense -- where the aim of the argument is to confuse the jury. The simple truth is that many of these contradictions are in fact contradictions.

God is a mighty God, not a confusing God. Would God, being all-knowing, give a message that would require such complex rationalizations for humans that he knows are so simplistic by comparison?

Some versions of the bible actually delete verses, such as Matthew 17:21. It is in King James but isn't in others. The bible, though a good book, not only contradicts itself, it is clearly fallible.

Does anyone really believe the earth is only 6,000 years old, for instance? Many bible believers did by following a biblical genealogy. But as stated before, when caught in contradictions or an inaccuracy, bible believers simply reinterpret the bible --over and over and over for hundreds of years.

If you need a list of contradictions, they are all over the internet along with counter arguments. Many are not legitimate, but others certainly are. Decide for yourself.

The bible does NOT contradict itself in any way. God cannot contradict Himself.

If you are humble and can admit you have found a "contradiction" previously and later learn through knowledge and the Holy Spirit, you are wrong, then that should tell you all other "contradictions" are also wrong.

There are many bibles out there by religions who choose to take what has been handed down through the ages and change it to read what they want it to read.

If you study the history of religions, you will find all, except one, was started in the 16th century or after. Only the church Jesus founded, was started at Penticost over 2000 years ago. Google Scott Hahn and also check the EWTN network for the real truth to all your question.