Biblical contradictions?

Feb 14, 2007
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Biblical contradictions?

I posted this in general discussions but maybe I will have more luck here.

I have just started studying the Bible (I'm new to this). I came across "bible contradictions" online and I am wondering...how can this be?
Things like:
God wanted one pair and seven pair of everything on the Ark. - Genesis 6/7
Did David slew Goliath or Elhanan? I Samuel 17/II Samuel 21
David is introduced to Saul for the first time on two different occasions. I Samuel 16/17
Michal never bore children. She bore five of them. II Samuel 6/21
Joseph's father was Jacob or Heli? Matthew 1 and Luke 3

I'm confused! Maybe I don't know enough about it yet...isn't the Bible supposed to be perfect? Could someone help me out? Thank you.
 

Pastor Gary

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Genesis 7:2 was a command to take along animals for FOOD while on the Arc - this is why the reference is made to CLEAN BEASTS (Refer to Leviticus 11 for details).

1 Samuel 17 is where David is a teenager. 2 Samuel 21 is when David has grown and has already become a King. Many years separated these events and look especially in 2 Samuel 21:19 where it says AGAIN. This is another event all together... same geographical area, different players.

And we'll skip down to Matthew 1 and Luke 3:

In Matthew 1, THAT is the seed line of Joseph - the ADOPTIVE FATHER of Christ. Luke 3 contains the seed line of Mary, the mother of Christ. In Luke 3:23, it says "AS WAS SUPPOSED, the son of Joseph..." etc. "AS WAS SUPPOSED" in the original language means as a son-in-law or by marriage. HELI, was a Levitical priest and the FATHER of Mary.

I'll stop here. PLEASE read the Bible through SEVERAL TIMES before you start reading the anti-Christian blogs and 'information sites' which use scripture against itself by those who mis quote the contexts in God's Word and wish to destroy Christianity. Do your homework and then YOU YOURSELF will be able to find the data to refute these so called biblical 'experts' that publish that garbage.

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Boanerges(Inactive)

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Good answers Pastor Gary, the clean beasts were for sacrifice also.
 
Feb 22, 2007
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Critics will claim there are all sorts of contradictions in the Bible but if one takes the time to examine it these can usually be explained as seen by Pastor Gary's explanations.
 
Feb 14, 2007
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Thank you!

Thank you so much for your answers. I don't mean to doubt, it didn't shake my faith any, I was just curious. I know I have a lot of work to do and I will read the Bible! You're right, atheists just try to twist the truth to suit their argument and this is a lesson learned not to spend any time on their information.
 
Jan 18, 2007
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As I've been reading the bible I've been taking notes. One thing I've been noticing is the references to violence against women and children. I'm trying to view this in the light that I don't fully understand the translation or the meaning behind it, but these passages in particular have bothered me...

Hosea 9:11-16, Ezekiel 9:5-7, Exodus 12:29-30, Jeremiah 51:20-26, Leviticus 26:21-22, Isaiah 13:15-18, Numbers 31:17, Deuteronomy 2:34, Deuteronomy 28:53, I Samuel 15:3, 2 Kings 8:12, 2 Kings 15:16, Lamentations 2:20, Hosea 13:16

Granted, I'm just finishing the Old Testament, and I'm certainly NOT out to start an argument against the Word. But considering my recent conversion back to Christianity, I feel that I need to bring up things like this and invite conversation so I can truly understand. How can we grow in our faith if we don't question a few things or challenge ourselves every now and again?

I want to stress that I mean no disrespect or blasphemy in posting this...It just helps to explore the bible with others! Thank YOU!!!!

WasLost:confused:
 
Feb 22, 2007
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WasLost the verses you note are rather violent this much is true. As with any scripture you need to look at the content and context. Some of these verses do indeed talk of women and children being slain but look at the circumstances. Some are instances where the people are being told what their enemies will do to them or what the result of their disobedience to God will be. Deut 28 as an example when it talks of eating the fruit of their own body. Notice earlier verses talked of how the enemies would be eating the fruit of the Jews cattle, etc. but they (the Jews) would be in such a bad state that they would be essentially be eating their own dead to survive. Some of the verses like those in 1 Sam where God instructs the Hebrews to destroy an entire people, even down to their livestock, yes it seems severe to us and if man said do it then it would be but God the creator (who has the right to do with his creation as he wants) said to do this.
 
Feb 19, 2007
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WasLost.... you have not said anything about the answers already given you regarding your earlier questions.... what is going on with you in that regard? Do you agree....? disagree? ... still have more questions....? If you continue to share only biblical difficulties, without sharing whether or not the answers already given you helped encourage you in the faith, or perhaps made you doubt even more, or how ever it is that the answers effected you.... you may start to come across as one who is merely trying to introduce doubt into the mind of others, and are not really asking these questions out of any sincere desire to know the answers to the questions you have already asked, for it may be you have already formed answers in your own mind about these questions, namely that Christianity is false... I hope this is not true of you.... so if you could, when people go to great effort to try and answer your questions, it would be good to interact and respond to those answers before moving on to another set of questions, its the least you could do out of respect to the time and effort gone into responding to your questions.

I apologize for being a bit late with these responses to your earlier questions.... I have been feeling pretty poorly the last several days... severe muscle spasms etc, so I have tried to work on this post on and off over the last few days as I have been able.... its a bit lengthy, but I have tried to research your questions fairly well so as to give you much to think about and hopefull will put your mind somewhat at ease....

I posted this in general discussions but maybe I will have more luck here.

I have just started studying the Bible (I'm new to this). I came across "bible contradictions" online and I am wondering...how can this be?
Things like:
God wanted one pair and seven pair of everything on the Ark. - Genesis 6/7"

great questions!! I had the awesome oppurtunity to learn some new things by seeking out further explanations, and by the answers already given in this thread, that is always a good thing.... here are a few other perspectives....

"6:19–20; 7:2–3 How Many Animals Went into the Ark?
During the last century and a half, the prevailing nonevangelical interpretation of the Noah story has been that this is not one story but at least two separate stories poorly patched together in an attempt to make them one unified whole. Evidence offered for the existence of two original stories is the fact that Noah is first told to take two of each kind of animal on board the ark and then to take seven of each clean kind.
In the final analysis, according to one eminent critical scholar, there is only one piece of evidence for the disunity of the Noah story, and that is repetition or repeated occurrence. The repetition, he reasoned, makes no sense unless two or more narratives have been conflated.
Repetition can sometimes be a sign of divergent traditions and of an editor having welded together several versions of the same story, or even different stories. But there are other explanations for this same phenomenon. Repetition is one of the most fundamental tools of the literary artist. Its presence does not necessarily indicate that the literary piece is a composite hodgepodge reflecting heterogeneous elements of mixed sources, oral or written.
To claim, as many have done, that Genesis 6:19–20 came from a priestly source around 450 b.c. and that Genesis 7:2–3 came from an earlier Yahwistic source around 850 b.c. is to say that the editor of the material let the contradiction stand. There is no need for such extravagant theories of origins, especially since we have a second-millennium flood story from Mesopotamia, the Gilgamesh Epic, with many of the same details. The Gilgamesh Epic, only unearthed in this century, could hardly have incorporated the so-called priestly and Yahwistic sources from the fifth and ninth centuries b.c., having been written and buried long before then. Why then must we suppose that Genesis incorporates such allegedly later sources?
The truth is that there is no inherent incompatibility between the two texts as they presently stand. Genesis 7:2–3 is just more precise than 6:19–20 on the question of the types and numbers of animals and birds that would board the ark.
Noah’s first instruction was to admit pairs of all kinds of creatures on the ark to preserve their lives (Gen 6:19–20). That was the basic formula. Then he was given more specific instructions about admitting seven pairs of each of the clean animals and seven pairs of each kind of bird. The purpose of this measure was to become clear only after the flood. Birds would be needed to reconnoiter the earth (Gen 8:7–12), and the clean animals and birds would be offered in sacrifice to the Lord (Gen 8:20). If Noah had taken only one pair of each and then offered each of these pairs in sacrifice, these species would have become completely extinct.
The simplest and most adequate explanation is that chapter 6 of Genesis contains general summary directions—take two of each. After Noah had understood these general instructions, God spoke more specifically about the role the clean beasts and birds were to play.
Scripture does not indicate how the distinction between “clean” and “unclean” arose. Later on the Mosaic law would sanction this distinction and formally define it. But we are left without any indication of the origin of the distinction, just as we are left in the dark regarding how and when the whole idea of sacrifices started. Cain and Abel both sacrificed, but a formal declaration inaugurating this ritual is not recorded.
If some analysts still wish to excise the clean animals from the so-called priestly account of the Genesis flood story, they only introduce into what they are calling the Yahwistic account the very sort of repetition that they had earlier taken as a sign of divergent sources. This is too high a price to pay just to avoid admitting that perhaps the accounts of the boarding of pairs of unclean animals are connected with the boarding of seven pairs of clean animals. Genesis 7:6–15 does not support a Yahwistic-and-priestly-source explanation; indeed, it causes unusual trouble for such an analysis of the material. (Kaiser, Hard Sayings)
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"Did David slew Goliath or Elhanan? I Samuel 17/II Samuel 21
17:49 Who Killed Goliath?
In 1 Samuel 17 and 21:9 it is claimed that David is the one who killed Goliath; however, in 2 Samuel 21:19 it says that Elhanan killed him. Both cannot be right, can they? And who was Lahmi, mentioned in 1 Chronicles 20:5?
While some have tried to resolve the contradiction by suggesting that Elhanan may be a throne name for David, a reference to David, under any name, in a summary of exploits by David’s mighty men appears most peculiar.
The bottom line on this whole dispute is that David is the one who slew Goliath and Elhanan slew the brother of Goliath, as it says in 1 Chronicles 20:5. The problem, then, is with the 2 Samuel 21:19 text. Fortunately, however, we can trace what the original wording for that text was through the correctly preserved text in 1 Chronicles 20:5.
The copyist of the 2 Samuel 21:19 text made three mistakes: (1) He read the direct object sign that comes just before the name of the giant that Elhanan killed, namely Lahmi, as if it were the word “Beth,” thereby getting “the Bethlehemite,” when the “Beth” was put with “Lahmi.” (2) He also misread the word for “brother” (Hebrew ˒āḥ) as the direct object sign (Hebrew ˒eṯ) before Goliath, thereby making Goliath the one who was killed, since he was now the direct object of the verb, instead, as it should have been, “the brother of Goliath.” (3) He misplaced the word “Oregim,” meaning “weavers,” so that it yielded “Elhanan son of Jaare-Oregim,” a most improbable reading for anyone: “Elhanan the son of the forests of weavers.” The word for “weavers” should come as it does in 1 Chronicles 20:5 about the spear being “a beam/shaft like a weaver’s rod.”5
Elhanan gets the credit for killing Lahmi, the brother of Goliath; but David remains the hero who killed Goliath. (Kaiser, Hard Sayings)
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David is introduced to Saul for the first time on two different occasions. I Samuel 16/17

can you be more specific here? where exactly are the contradictions...?
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Michal never bore children. She bore five of them. II Samuel 6/21:

"It is usually thought that “Michal” [(so MT) = Masoretic Text - Ken)] is a scribal error for “Merab” who was the wife of Adriel from Meholah (see 1 Sam 18:19) while Michal’s second husband was Paltiel (2 Sam 3:15). (Anderson, A. A.: Word Biblical Commentary 2 Samuel)

"Probably then, the niv is correct in following the two Heb. mss. and a few other mss. that have ”Merab.“
(Walvoord and Zuck The Bible Knowledge Commentary)

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to be continued
 
Feb 19, 2007
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Joseph's father was Jacob or Heli? Matthew 1 and Luke 3

"There appear to be differences between Luke's and Matthew's genealogies. Some differences can be explained by Matthew's omitting names in order to achieve a symmetry of three sets of fourteen generations (see Matthew commentary for explanation). Not every single person had to be included in a genealogy—the words "son of" could also mean "descendant of." Luke most likely was tracing Jesus' natural human ancestry through Joseph, while Matthew was focusing on the legal and royal names to emphasize the succession of the throne of David and Jesus' arrival as the promised King. Matthew stressed Israelite history. Luke's longer genealogy traced Jesus' ancestry through David's son, Nathan, not through Solomon, as Matthew did. Matthew also included the names of four women, which Luke did not. Matthew's genealogy begins with Abraham and moves forward to Jesus, showing that Jesus is related to all Jews (Matthew 1). Luke's genealogy begins with Jesus and goes backward to Adam, showing that Jesus is related to all human beings.
Why does Luke give a genealogy at all? To his Gentile audience, it would have had little significance—not nearly as important as to the Jews to whom Matthew was writing. Luke probably included his genealogy to show that Jesus was a man, not a god or a demigod. His story is unlike those of the Greek and Roman gods of mythology. Luke presented a human, descended from the first human, who came to be by God's will alone. This is consistent with Luke's picture of Jesus as the Savior of the whole world.
While it is impossible to completely harmonize the genealogies recorded by Matthew and Luke, believers can trust, as they can with all Scripture, that this is factual information obtained from different sources. Luke would have had no reason to include a false genealogy, for it would have been refuted quickly and would have ruined his purpose to give a "carefully investigated" and "orderly account" of Jesus' life (1:3 niv). If there had been no information on Jesus' heritage other than what Matthew wrote, Luke would have been content to do without a genealogy. While most of Matthew's names can be found in the Old Testament, Luke's names came from other sources, perhaps personal interviews or written registries of the day.
Luke's genealogy begins by saying that Jesus was the son, so it was thought, of Joseph, the son of Heli. Genealogies were always traced through the fathers, so Luke begins with the man who was "thought" to be Jesus' father, Joseph. Although God was Jesus' Father, God had a reason for placing him in this particular line with Mary as his mother and Joseph as his legal father.
According to Matthew 1:16, Joseph's father was Jacob. The answer to this apparent discrepancy may lie in the ancient custom of "levirate marriage" by which the widow of a childless man could marry his brother. A son born to that union would be considered the son of the deceased man. Heli and Jacob may have been half brothers—same mother but different fathers. One may have died and the other married his widow. So depending on which line of the genealogy was to be followed, the name of the actual or legal father would be used.
—Life Application Bible Commentary

"Scholars have proposed various explanations for the differences between the genealogies of Matthew and Luke, of which the following are most prominent: (1) one (probably Matthew) records the genealogy of Joseph, the other of Mary; (2) one (probably Matthew) spiritualizes the genealogy rather than following it literally; (3) the lines of descent cross but are different because one list includes several adoptive lines through levirate marriages (Deut. 25:5-10).—Bible Background Commentary

"The son of need not imply a strict father-son relationship with no gaps in between any more than Matthew’s ‘was the father of’; both family trees may contain jumps over the generations. For Heli Matthew has ‘Jacob’. 24 It is uncertain whether Matthat is to be identified with Matthan (Mt. 1:15). 27 Zerubbabel was the leader of the Jewish community after the return from Babylonian exile. For Shealtiel see Hg. 1:1; but in 1 Ch. 3:19 (Heb. text, not the lxx) Zerub-babel’s father is Pedaiah. According to 1 Ch. 3:17 Shealtiel was the son of Jehoiachin (graecized as Jeconiah, Mt. 1:12) and not of Neri; perhaps an adoption took place. 31 This Nathan is not the well-known prophet but a son of David (2 Sa. 5:14). 32 From this verse onwards the names agree with those in the Gk. version of the OT except for minor spelling differences. See Gn. 5:1–32; 11:10–26; Ru. 4:18–22; 1 Ch. 1:1–34; 2:1–15; 3:5–19. 36 Cainan occurs in the lxx, but not in the Hebrew OT.
---- DA Carson, The New Bible Commentary

"3:23 Heli may have been Joseph's father-in-law. If that were the case, this would be Mary's genealogy that Luke may have received personally from her. It is fitting that Luke would show Mary's genealogy because of the prominence he gives women in his Gospel.

3:23-38 Matthew's genealogy goes back to Abraham and shows that Jesus was related to all Jews (Matthew 1). Luke's genealogy goes back to Adam, showing that Jesus is related to all human beings. This is consistent with Luke's picture of Jesus as the Savior of the whole world.
—Life Application Bible Notes

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Lastly, you said "I'm confused! Maybe I don't know enough about it yet...isn't the Bible supposed to be perfect? Could someone help me out? Thank you."

Christians claim that the Bible is perfect, as contained in the original manuscripts. We don't have those today, but what we do have are many many manuscripts. Any difficulties that arise can usually be corrected by this practice (manuscript comparison). I encourage you to check out the following link, which goes to an important statement made regarding the inerrancy, infallibility and inspiration of the Scriptures, its called The Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy. The article is prefaced with this:

"NOTE: This was the statement that launched the International Council on Biblical Inerrancy, an interdenominational joint effort by hundreds of evangelical scholars and leaders to defend biblical inerrancy against the trend toward liberal and neo-orthodox conceptions of Scripture.
The Statement was produced at the Hyatt Regency O'Hare in Chicago in the fall of 1978, during an international summit conference of concerned evangelical leaders. It was signed by nearly 300 noted evangelical scholars, including Boice, Norman L. Geisler, John Gerstner, Carl F. H. Henry, Kenneth Kantzer, Harold Lindsell, John Warwick Montgomery, Roger Nicole, J.I. Packer, Robert Preus, Earl Radmacher, Francis Schaeffer, R.C. Sproul, and John Wenham.
The ICBI disbanded in 1988, its work complete. The Council ultimately produced three major statements: this one on biblical inerrancy in 1978, one on biblical hermeneutics in 1982, and one on biblical application in 1986. A published copy of the statement may be found in Carl F. H. Henry in God, Revelation and Authority, vol. 4 (Waco, Tx.: Word Books, 1979), on pp. 211-219." ( see the full statement at http://www.spurgeon.org/~phil/creeds/chicago.htm )
 
Jan 6, 2007
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theochurch.darkbb.com
Waslost said:
Granted, I'm just finishing the Old Testament, and I'm certainly NOT out to start an argument against the Word. But considering my recent conversion back to Christianity, I feel that I need to bring up things like this and invite conversation so I can truly understand. How can we grow in our faith if we don't question a few things or challenge ourselves every now and again?
I for one understand this. But, I hope you understand, especialy comming from an X- Satanist belief that questions of this nature posted in an open forum even in the best of intentions can be an error.
As one seeking to know God better and seeking redemption I'm sure you would not want to come off as still being a Satanist or in some way hindering the faith of another in God.

Your questions though ask kindly and (I believe sincerely ) are very close to those used to refute God. Those that Satanist often use to justify Satan and bring doubt upon the nature God.

I also see that you as many others, including many Christians, see things from a tempral perspective rather than an eternal one.

When one forgets or doesn't realize that we are eternal beings and that there is life after death here, then death here becomes a focal point rather than transition point in ones mind. A finalality and something to be avoided.

Life after death is what holds all the promice, all the imporantance for all eternity. It is what we do here and now that determines were we will be and what we do for all eternity. Once we realize that then death and suffering here is held in it's proper perspective.

I ask that you do two things.
1. (This for the benifit of others)refrain from asking such questions in an open forum. Use PMs or subforums or some private or semi -private section or thread for this topic. It would be much more appropate if you wish to discuss this.(Contact a mod or admin to find out how you might do this)
Feel free to Pm or email me if you wish.
2. (This for your benifit)Read and study the New Testement before questioning the nature and purpose of God.
 
I posted this in general discussions but maybe I will have more luck here.

I have just started studying the Bible (I'm new to this). I came across "bible contradictions" online and I am wondering...how can this be?
Things like:
God wanted one pair and seven pair of everything on the Ark. - Genesis 6/7
Did David slew Goliath or Elhanan? I Samuel 17/II Samuel 21
David is introduced to Saul for the first time on two different occasions. I Samuel 16/17
Michal never bore children. She bore five of them. II Samuel 6/21
Joseph's father was Jacob or Heli? Matthew 1 and Luke 3

I'm confused! Maybe I don't know enough about it yet...isn't the Bible supposed to be perfect? Could someone help me out? Thank you.
The bible is accurate. You simply do not have all the information yet. Give it time and it will all come together.
 

Otetiani

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Feb 26, 2007
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another thing

Aside from the very precise examples you listed there are many others who point to larger theme and concept contradictions. Many fail to recognize the Rabbinic methods of teaching. It is Jewish tradition to present a subject from opposite ends so you can grasp the subject’s greatness. Paul does this a lot. He was a Pharisee after all. This, to some, appears to be contradiction when it is really just complexity. When it comes to human understanding of G-d, his various attributes are hard to grasp without employing concepts that seem to oppose each other. Thus, the greatness of G-d.
 
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Boanerges(Inactive)

Guest
No problem my brother write it the way you do with the reverance that is in your heart. It is my understanding that scribes had to bathe ceremonouisly before writing His Name and monks used a pen set aside only for the purpose of writing His Name and then use special gold ink- we are free to honor God in the way our heart deams best and none of us want to be like the sons of Eli who sinned against God by profaining their brothers offering. I would like to say again how much I enjoy your unique perspective on the scriptures- Shalom