Bible: Inspired Incoherencies.


Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem
بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ ,

One of the primary arguments that Missionaries use is that the Bible is an inspired word of God, meaning God didn’t dictate to the unknown authors what to write, but inspired these authors to write a synoptic (general, but cohesive) story about the worldly ministry of Jesus. The problem with this though is that most Christians don’t exactly read all of the Bible. For example, a story which occurs in Matthew would be read and the reference for that similar story is acknowledged (in the footnotes), whether it be in Mark or Luke, however after one has read the story in Matthew and acting under the impression that it would be redundant to read the same story in another Gospel, Christians may simply become content with having just read the story in Matthew, while foregoing the reading of the other Gospels. This is problematic because Christians are indoctrinated with the impression that synoptic means, “recalling the same story, albeit from an alternate viewpoint”. While linguistically this definition is accurate, it behoves me to remind our Missionary friends as well as Evangelical inerrantists that while Mark, Matthew and Luke (I’m excluding John because it gives an entirely variant viewpoint all together) in some way do narrate similar stories their narratives are often conflicting if not incohesive and inconclusive. What we must come to realise, if we truly are seeking the truth in religion is that the Synoptic Gospels aren’t fully Synoptic, rather they present a myopic view of events surrounding the person and life of Jesus, the Messiah of Israel.

One of the more popular examples is the conflicting end of the Gospel of “Mark”, Christians often assume that such a conflict does not affect their doctrine therefore it is useless to discuss it. However, it does indeed affect their doctrine, if we agree with the presumption that God did inspire these 4 writers to complete a synoptic narrative of Jesus’ ministry where we could expect missing elements of one of the narratives but have the answer in another narrative, how could we account for one narrative that’s conflicting in itself. That therefore, presents a doctrinal problem, which manuscript of a select Gospel, did God actually inspire? We could have over 30 versions of Mark, 15 with the short conclusion and 15 with the longer conclusion, which 15 did God inspire? If we take this problem and replicate it among the 4 Gospels we are introduced to an even greater question, which group out of all of these manuscripts actually consist of the inspired word of God? To understand this problem, let’s take a look at Prof. Bruce Metzger’s analysis of the Ethiopic Manuscripts of the Gospel of Mark:

Until the latter part of the twentieth century, the status of the last 12 verses of Mark in this version was in doubt, arising from conflicting statements made concerning the evidence of the same manuscripts. Now, however, on the basis of the personal examination of photographs of the ending of the second Gospel in 65 Ethiopic manuscripts, belonging to about 30 different collections, Metzger has ascertained that all of them have the text of Mark 16.9-20. In addition, what is known as the “shorter ending” of Mark, found in several Greek and Syriac manuscripts, occurs in many Ethiopic manuscripts between 16.8 and 9. Subsequently, William F. Macomber of the Hill Monastic Manuscript Microfilm Library at Collegeville, Minnesota, examined microfilms of 129 additional Ethiopic manuscripts of Mark. Of the total of 194 (65 + 129) manuscripts, all but two (which are lectionaries) have Mark 16.9-20, while 131 contain both the shorter ending and the longer ending. At the end of the Ethiopic version of Acts chapter 28, there is a directive to readers to consult Paul’s letters and the Acts of Paul, as well as information about Paul’s further activities in Rome. This addition originated as a gloss or colophon that was later integrated into the main text.”  – (The Text of the New Testament: Its Transmission, Corruption and Restoration, Bruce M. Metzger & Bart D. Ehrman, pp 120-121.)

Prof. Bruce has clearly outlined a major problem for inerrantists and missionary zealots, what started as a colophon (an inscription placed usually at the end of a book, giving facts about its publication), became inspired scripture after a change of hands, through numerous scribes, eventually making its way into the mass population of Christendom. His statements are profound, for when missionary zealots propose that it is absurd that the word of God could have changed while so many people were in possession of it, we really must educate them. Clearly, as stated above, we have extant evidence of this happening, with various codices and manuscripts numbering more than 100, while in mass circulation having two varying endings. While the proposition of such corruption may be laughable to many missionary zealots, the empirical evidence is quite clear, the delusion that this could not happen, is smashed by the manuscripts themselves. Prof. Metzger continues:

Scholars differ on the question of the date of origin of the Ethiopic version; some argue for a date as early as the fourth century, while others attribute it to the sixth or seventh century. Opinion also differs as to whether the translators made use of a Greek or Syriac original. In any case, it is a curious fact that in the Epistles of Paul the version frequently agrees with p46 with little or no other support. The version also shows evidence of later contamination from Coptic and Arabic texts. Thus, the Ethiopic text eventually became a conglomerate with quite disparate elements standing side by side. Analyses of the earlier form of the Ethiopic version disclose a mixed type of text, predominantly Byzantine in complexion but with occasional agreement with certain early Greek witnesses (p46 and B) against all other witnesses. The little that is known of this version as far as the New Testament is concerned (the Old Testament has been studied more thoroughly) suggests that it deserves far more attention than it has received. The earliest known manuscript, a codex of the four Gospels, dates from the thirteenth century; most other manuscripts are of the fifteenth and succeeding centuries. – (The Text of the New Testament: Its Transmission, Corruption and Restoration, Bruce M. Metzger & Bart D. Ehrman, pp 120-121.)

In summation, what we’ve read from the above excerpt is that further corruption took place due to Coptic Christian and Arabic Christian transmission of the manuscripts of the New Testament Gospels. Wherein he seals the problem of the manuscript corruption with these words:

“Thus, the Ethiopic text eventually became a conglomerate with quite disparate elements standing side by side. Analyses of the earlier form of the Ethiopic version disclose a mixed type of text, predominantly Byzantine in complexion but with occasional agreement with certain early Greek witnesses (p46 and B) against all other witnesses.”

I personally look forward to the refutation of this article by missionary zealots, where they’ll have only one of two conclusions to arrive at:

(1) Deny the above evidence by reinterpreting the corruption as invalid stories by liberal scholars who lack faith.
(2) Concur with the corruption but say it doesn’t affect doctrine therefore it does not matter.

To refute position (1), we can simply question their logic and reason. If a person examines two sheets of paper and notices one is unlike the other, does that make such a person, a liberal atheist who only pretends to be Christian? Simple observation and determining a conclusive understanding based on one’s observation equates someone to being a fraudulent Christian?

To refute position (2), the very fact that Christians presuppose that God inspired these men to write, not by dictation but by their own ideas, implies that God wanted the variations to occur and thus sought to confuse rather than guide the masses. If God wanted to guide humanity, then he would have guarded it, protected it. We read from the Old Testament how much emphasis God placed on preserving the Torah:

“Take this Book of the Law and place it beside the ark of the covenant of the LORD your God. There it will remain as a witness against you.” – Bible : Deuteronomy (31) : 26.

Protected with great extravagance and attention to detail:

When the camp is to move, Aaron and his sons are to go in and take down the shielding curtain and put it over the ark of the covenant law. Then they are to cover the curtain with a durable leather, spread a cloth of solid blue over that and put the poles in place.- Bible : Numbers (4) : 5-6.

Furthermore to state that God wanted variations to occur is also in direct contradiction to the Bible in itself:

For God is not a God of confusion but of peace. As in all the churches of the saints. – Bible : 1 Corinthians (14) : 33.

As I have demonstrated above, we can conclude that either possible argument against Biblical manuscript corruption is not easily disproved, but also irrational and illogical. Only a person of great arrogance and ignorance would continue to contest such a simply demonstrable fact. If we forego the manuscript corruption, can we actually find incoherencies within the Gospels themselves? Yes, however normally at this stage we’d encounter counting and genealogical problems from the Old Testament and not the Gospels, such as:

And those that died in the plague were twenty and four thousand. – Bible : Numbers (25) : 9.

Neither let us commit fornication, as some of them committed, and fell in one day three and twenty thousand. – Bible : 1 Corinthians (10) : 8.

Or perhaps genealogical errors:

And the sons of Eliphaz were Teman, Omar, Zepho, and Gatam, and Kenaz. – Bible : Genesis (36) : 11.

These were dukes of the sons of Esau: the sons of Eliphaz the firstborn son of Esau; duke Teman, duke Omar, duke Zepho, duke Kenaz, Duke Korah, duke Gatam, and duke Amalek: these are the dukes that came of Eliphaz in the land of Edom; these were the sons of Adah. – Bible : Genesis (36) : 15 – 16.

The sons of Eliphaz; Teman, and Omar, Zephi, and Gatam, Kenaz, and Timna, and Amalek. – Bible : 1 Chronicles (1) : 36.

However, these are found in the Old Testament and while some Christians may profess they believe in this Old Testament, they are quick to to deny it’s applicability in relation to the New Testament which is based on the life of their God, Jesus. With that said, can we find similar inconsistencies, based on the doctrine of Christians? Indeed we can, to begin with, the Bible’s epistles are generally discussions by Church leaders on heretics and developing beliefs among the masses, usually they contain directives supposedly based on the life of Jesus, however these directives, although meant for the people, directly contradict the Gospels in themselves, leaving one with an air of confusion. For example, this simple directive in Titus 3:9 :-

But avoid foolish controversies and genealogies and arguments and quarrels about the law, because these are unprofitable and useless.

Seems like a simple directive, not hard to achieve, relatively good advice, except that the Bible here is calling itself unprofitable and useless. To begin with, it directs Christians to avoid genealogies, yet when we read Matthew 1 and Luke 3, we have entire chapters devoted to them:

This is the genealogy of Jesus the Messiahthe son of David, the son of Abraham:

2 Abraham was the father of Isaac,
Isaac the father of Jacob,
Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers,
3 Judah the father of Perez and Zerah, whose mother was Tamar,
Perez the father of Hezron,
Hezron the father of Ram,
4 Ram the father of Amminadab,
Amminadab the father of Nahshon,
Nahshon the father of Salmon,
5 Salmon the father of Boaz, whose mother was Rahab,
Boaz the father of Obed, whose mother was Ruth,
Obed the father of Jesse,
6 and Jesse the father of King David.
David was the father of Solomon, whose mother had been Uriah’s wife,
7 Solomon the father of Rehoboam,
Rehoboam the father of Abijah,
Abijah the father of Asa,
8 Asa the father of Jehoshaphat,
Jehoshaphat the father of Jehoram,
Jehoram the father of Uzziah,
9 Uzziah the father of Jotham,
Jotham the father of Ahaz,
Ahaz the father of Hezekiah,
10 Hezekiah the father of Manasseh,
Manasseh the father of Amon,
Amon the father of Josiah,
11 and Josiah the father of Jeconiah[c] and his brothers at the time of the exile to Babylon.
12 After the exile to Babylon:
Jeconiah was the father of Shealtiel,
Shealtiel the father of Zerubbabel,
13 Zerubbabel the father of Abihud,
Abihud the father of Eliakim,
Eliakim the father of Azor,
14 Azor the father of Zadok,
Zadok the father of Akim,
Akim the father of Elihud,
15 Elihud the father of Eleazar,
Eleazar the father of Matthan,
Matthan the father of Jacob,
16 and Jacob the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary, and Mary was the mother of Jesus who is called the Messiah.
17 Thus there were fourteen generations in all from Abraham to David, fourteen from David to the exile to Babylon, and fourteen from the exile to the Messiah.

A bit ironic isn’t it? Feel free to read Luke 3 here. Although it is well known that Paul’s epistles were authored before the Gospels were written, many missionary zealots tend to argue that the Gospels were written by the disciples themselves. Given that Paul’s epistles were authored between 50 CE and 65 CE, you’d think that atleast one disciple, apostle, presbyter, anyone really (acting under the premise that the 4 Gospels did exist at this time) would have seen this major and blatant inconsistency in New Testament directives. How could the Bible in essence, condemn genealogies (which contradict within themselves) but then have two areas where genealogies are listed, far worse where the New Testament even begins with one? It really does leave a lot of questions unanswered, but what it does do is prove the historical claim that the epistles were written first and then the gospels, by persons who had yet to place them together as a scripture, thus leaving much room for errors.

Are there instances where Jesus argued about the law? Why yes, there are many, but for the sake of brevity, let’s look at one instance, Matthew 22: 41-42, 45 :-

While the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them,  “What do you think about the Messiah? Whose son is he?”….. If then David calls him ‘Lord,’ how can he be his son?”

Notice, Jesus in this instance approaches and asks the Pharisees about laws and genealogies, not only contradicting the directive in Titus 3:9, but whosoever wrote Matthew 22, really had not seen Matthew 1, as it argues Jesus is the son of David:

This is the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah, the son of David, the son of Abraham.

Whereas Matthew 22 argues that Jesus is not the son of David, but the Lord of David, Matthew 1 argues that Jesus is the son of David and has no mention of him having lordship over anyone. It’s one mistake to have an epistle contradict a gospel, but to have a gospel contradicting itself, let alone the very first verse of the New Testament? Highly appalling to say the least.

Thus far, I’ve demonstrated inconsistencies:

(1) From within the manuscripts.
(2) From within New Testament Laws and Directives.
(3) From within the same Gospel.

What is left to demonstrate now, is the incoherencies from within the the synoptic narrative, this being between one Gospel and another:

When Jesus had again crossed over by boat to the other side of the lake, a large crowd gathered around him while he was by the lake. Then one of the synagogue leaders, named Jairus, came, and when he saw Jesus, he fell at his feet. He pleaded earnestly with him, “My little daughter is dying. Please come and put your hands on her so that she will be healed and live.” So Jesus went with him. – Bible : Mark (5) : 21-24.

In this version, the girl is dying, she has yet to die, so Jesus is asked to come to heal her so that she will continue to live, Jesus accepts the proposition and proceeds to heal her. However in this version, the girl is already dead and the father asks Jesus to make her live:

While he was saying this, a synagogue leader came and knelt before him and said, “My daughter has just died. But come and put your hand on her, and she will live.” Jesus got up and went with him, and so did his disciples.  – Bible : Matthew (9) : 18-19.

So we are presented with two conflicting narratives. Is the girl dying and awaiting Jesus to cure her, or has she already died and waiting for Jesus to raise her from the dead? Which narrative is true? Which one did God inspire? If I am to believe that Jesus did a miracle, which miracle in this case did he do? What’s worse is that even the Bible’s narration of this story was prohibited by Jesus, after he has cured the girl according to Mark’s gospel, Jesus gives a clear directive:

He gave strict orders not to let anyone know about this, and told them to give her something to eat. – Bible : Mark (5) : 43.

If Jesus did in fact speak those words, and he himself according to Christian theology is God, how can we explain, that the God who inspired two (2) Gospel authors to write about this story which more than 1 billion people have read, also commanded for it to remain secret?

In conclusion, I’ve demonstrated inconsistencies:

(1) From within the manuscripts.
(2) From within New Testament Laws and Directives.
(3) From within the same Gospel.
(4) From within the same Gospel’s chapter.
(5) From within the Synoptic Narrative.

If you are a Christian and you’ve read this article, the onus is on you to take the challenge further. Your faith here isn’t being demeaned or manipulated, but what is being done to it, is a critical examination of Biblical Gospel Truth. If you are willing to concede that these are errors and are willing to confirm in your heart and mind that you cannot accept that your faith’s foundations are this inconsistent, I encourage you to take a sincere look at the religion of Islam, which some 1400 and more years ago, from within the true word of God (The Qur’aan), speaking on the Bible, has said:

لِلَّذِينَ يَكْتُبُونَ الْكِتَابَ بِأَيْدِيهِمْ ثُمَّ يَقُولُونَ هَـٰذَا مِنْ عِنْدِ اللَّـهِ لِيَشْتَرُ‌وا بِهِ ثَمَنًا قَلِيلًا ۖ فَوَيْلٌ لَهُمْ مِمَّا كَتَبَتْ أَيْدِيهِمْ وَوَيْلٌ لَهُمْ مِمَّا يَكْسِبُونَ
(So woe to those who write the “scripture” with their own hands, then say, “This is from Allah,” in order to exchange it for a small price. Woe to them for what their hands have written and woe to them for what they earn. ) – Qur’aan : Suratul Baqarah (2) : 79.

wa Allaahu Alam.
[and God knows best.]

22 comments

  • Mashallah Great Job brother.

  • While some of these things are valid questions, others result from reading without intelligence. Let me dispose of those:

    1. Jesus gave orders that they not spread the news about the girl’s being raised from the dead, yet the bible relates the story. Obviously, these instructions were for that time, not for ever. This is part of a pattern in Jesus’ ministry. He did not want to be overwhelmed by wonder-seekers. Similarly, he told healed lepers not to spread the news but to go to the priest in accordance with the instructions in Leviticus. He would not permit the people to make him king, because it was not the right time, but on the prophesied day he rode into Jerusalem on a donkey in order to fulfil Zechariah’s prophecy of the Messianic king and thus he fulfilled to the very day the prophecy of Daniel 9:25, which gave the time that this would occur.

    2. Genealogies: Paul gives instructions “to avoid foolish controversies and genealogies and arguments and quarrels about the law, because these are unprofitable and useless.” Obviously an account of the genealogy is not the same as an unprofitable dispute about genealogies. The instruction is repeated in slightly different terms in 1 Timothy 1:4, where these genealogies are associated with myths. We don’t have enough information to know exactly what these were, but they clearly don’t have anything to do with the historical genealogies recorded in the scripture, of which Paul was fully aware, and whose role is to establish firmly that Jesus was qualified by his descent to be the redeemer of Israel.

  • Yes, these are valid questions in their entirety, as for your claim that they result from reading without intelligence, let’s examine your responses:

    (1) Your opening sentence sums up the crux of the argument: “Jesus gave orders that they not spread the news about the girl’s being raised from the dead, yet the bible relates the story.” You’re now implying that you understand the reason for why he said that or gave that command. You’re proposing his command was temporal or had a condition, another meaning. This is not clear from the text. If you’re saying his command was temporal, can you perhaps point us to another place in the Bible which indicates this? The claim that he did not want to be overwhelmed by wonder seekers is absurd as the Bible advocates him as a people’s man, who advertised himself publicly http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew%2021&version=NIV.

    (2) This is a problem for you as if you had read the above article, one would see that these genealogies are not only self contradicting, they have no relation to Jesus, Matthew 1 is about Joseph and Luke 3 about Mary, and as we see later on in Matthew 22:45, Jesus himself argues with the validity of Matthew 1:1, clearly refuting its place in the Greco-Roman New Testament.

    I do look forward to your response.

  • The bible is what is called “high-context” writing. It is not like an American legal text, which spells everything out from scratch. You are supposed to apply intelligence. You seem to think that the writer of the gospel would write that no one should talk about this event, that this was a permanent injunction, and that the writer would not notice the problem and should recount the event in violation of a continuing prohibition. That is ridiculous.

    The genealogies are not self-contradictory, if you know the bible. It is not enough to scan a few bits where you can find apparent contradictions! The genealogies both go back to David but via different sons. The genealogical records were maintained in the temple until its destruction in 70 AD and were available for research. Jesus was descended from David legally via Joseph, who was legally his father since he acknowledged him at birth. But he was also descended from David through his mother. The genealogy in Luke is that of Mary, but in accordance with Jewish practice she is not mentioned. Various provisions in the law of Moses make this a correct treatment. If a Jewish man had only daughters, they could inherit, provided that they married someone from the same tribe, so that the inheritance would not be lost to the tribe. This rule originates from the request of the daughters of Zelophehad (Numbers 26 and 27). So it appears that Heli, mother of Mary, had no sons and that therefore Joseph on marrying her was treated as his own son and his heir through his wife. Thus Jesus was the heir of David on both sides, both legally and genetically. This is particularly noteworthy because God cursed the last king of Judah, Jeconiah, and said that none of his descendants would ever be king again. Jesus was his legal descendant through Joseph but not his physical descendant.

  • Heli mother of Mary”: father of Mary, of course.

  • Now, as to the synoptic gospels, they do not give conflicting accounts but complementary accounts. Sometimes the account in one gospel is a summary, but much more detail is given in one of the others. Sometimes their acocunts are almost identical.

    In this case, Matthew gives more of a summary, and conflates Jairus’ original request with his having learned in the course of the story that his daughter is dead. Mark and Luke give fuller accounts.

  • Next, let us consider the question of biblical inerrancy. The Christian conception of inerrancy is not the same as what Muslims claim (falsely, I believe) for the Quran. Apart from the KJV-onlyists and similar groups, Christians do not consider inerrancy to apply to copies but only to the original writing. The scripture is inerrant and inspired to the last letter in the original autographs. The copies share those qualities only insofar as they are accurate copies. Given the many thousands of manuscripts that we have, there is a certain problem of determining which readings are correct. However, the problem is very much less serious than it might appear at first sight.

    The vast majority of differences are minor spelling errors, or obvious errors that can be corrected by checking other copies, such as dropping or duplicating a word or phrase. (Until the advent of printing, every new copy had to be written out by hand, a process that could easily give rise to errors.) The task of determining the correct reading is undertaken by the science of textual criticism, which attempts to determine the transmission history of the different manuscripts and by that and other means, such as internal consistency, to determine which reading is correct. In most cases, the correct reading is fairly easily determined. In a few it cannot easily be found. However, of those relatively rare differences, none affect any Christian doctrine, because God has so arranged his revelation that Christian doctrines are revealed in multiple places throughout the scripture; that is merely one part of its miraculous character.

    This page might be helpful for explaining the problem and methods of textual criticism: http://legacy.earlham.edu/~seidti/iam/index.html

    In brief, God has preserved his word by his providence (that is operating through the natural sequence of events) rather than by miraculous intervention. Almost any version of the scripture is good for teaching and devotion, but it is necessary to study and apply intelligence to determine the most likely version in the case of variants. The ordinary reader can trust almost any of the current translations. (The paraphrases are more problematical and should, in my opinion, be avoided, because they are too likely to import the paraphraser’s own prejudices into the text.)

  • Your comment on Matthew 22:45 is another example of unintelligent reading. The question is not about the genealogical descent of the Messiah.

    In biblical thinking, the son is permanently under the authority of the father, and this goes back through the generations. But Jesus Christ, the Son of God, cannot be under the authority of any man, and the scripture demonstrates this by having David call him Lord. This was a challenge to the Pharisees to correct their thinking about the Messiah.

  • Now you claim that I am wrong to suggest that Jesus wanted to avoid wonder-seekers and you cite Matthew 21 in rebuttal. That is ironic, because it demonstrates that you don’t really know the story of the gospels but presumably only regard them as material for ant-Christian polemic!

    Matthew 21 recounts Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem as the Messianic King, in fulfilment of Zechariah 9:9. On this occasion he was indeed seeking publicity, because this was the day prophesied more than 500 years before by Daniel (Daniel 9:25). This prophecy was fulfilled to the day on this occasion (483 years from the decree of Artaxerxes allowing the rebuilding of the city of Jerusalem). Jesus would not upset the timetable and he avoided earlier efforts to make him king by force (John 6:15) He also showed that he was not seeking followers who followed him only because of the miracles but he wanted those who would commit themselves to him, as indeed he still does.

  • This article just goes to show how little the author really knows about the bible, theology and the ways of God.

  • I’m striking out what I believe is your desperate attempt to overtly explain a definition.

    The bible is what is called “high-context” writing. It is not like an American legal text, which spells everything out from scratch. You are supposed to apply intelligence. You seem to think that the writer of the gospel would write that no one should talk about this event, that this was a permanent injunction, and that the writer would not notice the problem and should recount the event in violation of a continuing prohibition. That is ridiculous.

    It’s not what I “seem to think”, the author of the text clearly gave an extant and explicit command/ directive. You’re telling me that the command was temporal based on your implicit eisegesis of the text. This is grossly incorrect, I’m not appealing to any inference, I’m looking at the text in itself, it gives a directive and gives no further directives in relation to it. The writer gave a clear directive, not me, therefore the onus is on the “inspired” author to rectify the problem. For example in the case of adultery, the OT gives one injuction and the NT another, two clear directives, one superceding the other. I don’t see why you have to play with interpretations rather than reading the material as it is.

    The genealogies are not self-contradictory, if you know the bible.

    I know the Bible well enough to understand that the genealogies are incorrect and contain false information. For example, how can it be a genealogy of Christ, if no bloodline leads to him in Matthew 1? It’s not his genealogy! Simple.

    It is not enough to scan a few bits where you can find apparent contradictions! The genealogies both go back to David but via different sons. The genealogical records were maintained in the temple until its destruction in 70 AD and were available for research. Jesus was descended from David legally via Joseph, who was legally his father since he acknowledged him at birth. But he was also descended from David through his mother. The genealogy in Luke is that of Mary, but in accordance with Jewish practice she is not mentioned. Various provisions in the law of Moses make this a correct treatment.

    First problem, via different sons? No. Joseph has a different daddy, Matthew 1:16 has it as Jacob whereas Luke 3:23. That isn’t through different sons, but through entirely different people. Legally indeed he was Joseph’s child but a geneaology is about bloodline, otherwise for the Bible’s purpose of including David and Abraham, legally it’s irrelevant, this has to do with trying to show he’s from David, to prove he is the Messiah through David…….

    If a Jewish man had only daughters, they could inherit, provided that they married someone from the same tribe, so that the inheritance would not be lost to the tribe. This rule originates from the request of the daughters of Zelophehad (Numbers 26 and 27). So it appears that Heli, mother of Mary, had no sons and that therefore Joseph on marrying her was treated as his own son and his heir through his wife. Thus Jesus was the heir of David on both sides, both legally and genetically. This is particularly noteworthy because God cursed the last king of Judah, Jeconiah, and said that none of his descendants would ever be king again. Jesus was his legal descendant through Joseph but not his physical descendant.

    Legally perhaps Joseph would be his son, but as for bloodline, not so, Joseph had no relation to him and that’s the purpose of the genealogies, to show that Jesus has a bloodline back to David, but both bloodlines have no physical relation to Jesus, only legal reasons, therefore for the purposes they were authored make the legal reasons irrelevant while failing to prove he is genetically from David. Of course as a Muslim I believe he is from the bloodline of David, but for the sake of the erratic genealogies I’m arguing against the Bible, not his prophethood or place.

    Your ending line is perfect, you disproved the genealogies by admitting his bloodline through Joseph is nonsensical because he is not his physical descendant. Thanks.

  • The accounts do conflict, in Matthew the girl is dead and then the father comes to Jesus, in Mark the girl is dying and the father then comes to Jesus. Harmonize this account for me and show me how it makes sense, thanks.

  • Could you perhaps explain a little more, while I do appreciate your input it is insufficient for me to learn from what you are saying, thanks.

  • Next, let us consider the question of biblical inerrancy. The Christian conception of inerrancy is not the same as what Muslims claim (falsely, I believe) for the Quran. Apart from the KJV-onlyists and similar groups, Christians do not consider inerrancy to apply to copies but only to the original writing. The scripture is inerrant and inspired to the last letter in the original autographs. The copies share those qualities only insofar as they are accurate copies. Given the many thousands of manuscripts that we have, there is a certain problem of determining which readings are correct. However, the problem is very much less serious than it might appear at first sight. The vast majority of differences are minor spelling errors, or obvious errors that can be corrected by checking other copies, such as dropping or duplicating a word or phrase. (Until the advent of printing, every new copy had to be written out by hand, a process that could easily give rise to errors.) The task of determining the correct reading is undertaken by the science of textual criticism, which attempts to determine the transmission history of the different manuscripts and by that and other means, such as internal consistency, to determine which reading is correct. In most cases, the correct reading is fairly easily determined. In a few it cannot easily be found. However, of those relatively rare differences, none affect any Christian doctrine, because God has so arranged his revelation that Christian doctrines are revealed in multiple places throughout the scripture; that is merely one part of its miraculous character. This page might be helpful for explaining the problem and methods of textual criticism: http://legacy.earlham.edu/~seidti/iam/index.html

    I really don’t believe I need a lesson in Textual Criticism. The problem is, you aren’t solving the dilemma, you’re merely diverting it. Instead of saying, “we know what the original scripture is”, you’re saying, “we’re trying to get it as accurate as possible, even though we don’t know what the original was saying.” The biggest problem here, is which canon of which codex are you saying is the “original”? It’s merely shooting into the dark saying you’re trying to get something as close as to the original, especially if you don’t know what the original is. Quite absurd, isn’t it?

    In brief, God has preserved his word by his providence (that is operating through the natural sequence of events) rather than by miraculous intervention. Almost any version of the scripture is good for teaching and devotion, but it is necessary to study and apply intelligence to determine the most likely version in the case of variants. The ordinary reader can trust almost any of the current translations. (The paraphrases are more problematical and should, in my opinion, be avoided, because they are too likely to import the paraphraser’s own prejudices into the text.)

    The variants go beyond spelling errors, they extend to colophons becoming sacred scripture, words being attributed to Jesus whereas he never spoke them. Books being accepted on the virtue they were written by disciples or apostles, but we know now for certainty they are pseudopigrapha. With this in mind, the problems are not mere fixable errors. The problems are alarming, they are expansive and they are consequential.

  • Your comment on Matthew 22:45 is another example of unintelligent reading. The question is not about the genealogical descent of the Messiah.

    I think you need to read your scripture: http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew%2022&version=NIV
    The heading in itself says: “Whose Son Is the Messiah?” and furthermore, the Pharisees and Jesus were speaking on genealogical descent:

    “While the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them, 42 “What do you think about the Messiah? Whose son is he?”

    That’s clear from the text, which is why Jesus rebukes them:

    The son of David,” they replied.

    43 He said to them, “How is it then that David, speaking by the Spirit, calls him ‘Lord’? For he says,

    44 “‘The Lord said to my Lord:
    “Sit at my right hand
    until I put your enemies
    under your feet.”’[e]

    45 If then David calls him ‘Lord,’ how can he be his son?” 46 No one could say a word in reply, and from that day on no one dared to ask him any more questions.

    Please read your scripture before you call me names, thanks.

  • If the result of your manner of reading is to make the author contradict himself, there is obviously something very wrong with your manner of reading.

  • anyone who is interested in seeing the christian “how it could have been” scenarios RIPPED to pieces , please click on the links below. these discussions have been taking place on the ERRANCY forum email list and will show readers nearly ALL christian SPINS on thier holy bibles. have a nice read

    http://groups.google.com/group/alt.religion.islam/msg/22ef8fb8e069e4cb?dmode=print

    http://groups.google.com/group/alt.religion.islam/msg/c73555e87e13b678?dmode=print

    http://groups.google.com/group/alt.religion.islam/msg/585b5a05afc89379?dmode=print

    http://groups.google.com/group/alt.religion.islam/msg/09ae102aa85dd33c?dmode=print

    http://groups.google.com/group/alt.religion.islam/msg/43fda33dfcea05ac?dmode=print

    http://groups.google.com/group/alt.religion.islam/msg/e24c3cc5b5bedb6e?dmode=print

    http://groups.google.com/group/alt.religion.islam/msg/dbd6345d4a4e4eeb?dmode=print

    http://groups.google.com/group/alt.religion.islam/msg/a0438f8d2766cd77?dmode=print

    http://groups.google.com/group/alt.religion.islam/msg/39b6ad6c1afa4271?dmode=print

    http://groups.google.com/group/alt.religion.islam/msg/105a2f332aa8ffe1?dmode=print

    http://groups.google.com/group/alt.religion.islam/msg/a98bcb89971be614?dmode=print

    http://groups.google.com/group/alt.religion.islam/msg/c71e7e90e2e0d95d?dmode=print

    http://groups.google.com/group/alt.religion.islam/msg/f5d92c86392f67fa?dmode=print

    http://groups.google.com/group/alt.religion.islam/msg/4febd012c4887fcd?dmode=print

    http://groups.google.com/group/alt.religion.islam/msg/7b2c7ba51aa2d4a0?dmode=print

  • Now you claim that I am wrong to suggest that Jesus wanted to avoid wonder-seekers and you cite Matthew 21 in rebuttal. That is ironic, because it demonstrates that you don’t really know the story of the gospels but presumably only regard them as material for ant-Christian polemic!

    I don’t get what is ironic. You made a claim and I refuted that claim using the very scripture you are using. I don’t see how you can claim I am ignorant of the stories of the gospels because I have shown you areas where Jesus did one thing and said another. Disliking what I say, doesn’t mean I’m wrong, it just goes to show that you can’t respond, so you’re instead, attacking my character.

    Matthew 21 recounts Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem as the Messianic King, in fulfilment of Zechariah 9:9. On this occasion he was indeed seeking publicity, because this was the day prophesied more than 500 years before by Daniel (Daniel 9:25). This prophecy was fulfilled to the day on this occasion (483 years from the decree of Artaxerxes allowing the rebuilding of the city of Jerusalem). Jesus would not upset the timetable and he avoided earlier efforts to make him king by force (John 6:15) He also showed that he was not seeking followers who followed him only because of the miracles but he wanted those who would commit themselves to him, as indeed he still does.

    None of this is relevant to what we are discussing, please refer only to the points that are within the context of your comments. Thanks.

  • Of course it is relevant. At some times in his period of ministry, Jesus did not want additional publicity; he wanted people not to publicise his miracles. At another time he deliberately sought publicity. When we look at the prophecies that he fulfilled, we see why. A premature declaration of his kingship, as some of the people wanted, would have failed to fulfil the prophecies. Wide publicity for his miracles, many of which were specifically Messianic miracles by the Pharisees’ definition, would have brought many more people wanting to force him into a premature claim of the kingship, because the people wanted a Messiah who would defeat the Romans and make Israel the head of all the nations.

    But Jesus had to die at one particular Passover, at the exact time prophesied by Daniel, fulfilling all the types of the three spring feasts. At the right time, he proclaimed his kingship by his actions, riding into Jerusalem on a donkey, and this was on the day that the Passover lambs were selected, on the 10th of Nisan. They would be kept and examined for four days, just as Jesus was examined for four days and questioned by every group of the Jews, and no fault was found in him, so that he was perfectly qualified to be the sacrifice for the people on the day of the Passover sacrifice.

  • Of course it is relevant. At some times in his period of ministry, Jesus did not want additional publicity; he wanted people not to publicise his miracles. At another time he deliberately sought publicity. When we look at the prophecies that he fulfilled, we see why. A premature declaration of his kingship, as some of the people wanted, would have failed to fulfil the prophecies. Wide publicity for his miracles, many of which were specifically Messianic miracles by the Pharisees’ definition, would have brought many more people wanting to force him into a premature claim of the kingship, because the people wanted a Messiah who would defeat the Romans and make Israel the head of all the nations.

    I agree with you on the issue of him seeking no publicity and then wanting publicity, this is a trait of all the Prophets. They have to preach in secret to save themselves and new followers from persecution and when God commands it, they preach openly. This indeed was the case of the Muslims with Muhammad {saw}. However in retrospect, we must recall the argument I presented, and that which you implied. The directive of Jesus according to you was temporal, this is the matter at hand, to which I am saying that there is no other command rescinding this directive and as such it cannot be temporal.

    But Jesus had to die at one particular Passover, at the exact time prophesied by Daniel, fulfilling all the types of the three spring feasts. At the right time, he proclaimed his kingship by his actions, riding into Jerusalem on a donkey, and this was on the day that the Passover lambs were selected, on the 10th of Nisan. They would be kept and examined for four days, just as Jesus was examined for four days and questioned by every group of the Jews, and no fault was found in him, so that he was perfectly qualified to be the sacrifice for the people on the day of the Passover sacrifice.

    Irrelevant to what we’re discussing, however for the sake of commenting, I’ll permit discussion on it. I’ll begin with questioning your theological reasoning. Why does God need to be sacrificed for His creation? I’m not asking why God did it, I am asking why the need. Thanks.

  • “The directive of Jesus according to you was temporal, this is the matter at hand, to which I am saying that there is no other command rescinding this directive and as such it cannot be temporal.”

    The directive is contained in the scripture which has already described the event. Therefore it is obviously temporary. The scripture itself IS the word of Christ; even assuming that the prohibition had continued beyond Jesus’ crucifixion, the fact that the Holy Spirit inspired the gospel writers to include the story (and the prohibition) demonstrates that the prohibition no longer applied. In any case, one has to look at the reason Jesus would forbid publicity. He did not just issue arbitrary commands without any reason! On another occasion, the reason is explained, indirectly:

    ‘While he was in one of the cities, there came a man full of leprosy. And when he saw Jesus, he fell on his face and begged him, “Lord, if you will, you can make me clean.” And Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him, saying, “I will; be clean.” And immediately the leprosy left him. And he charged him to tell no one, but “go and show yourself to the priest, and make an offering for your cleansing, as Moses commanded, for a proof to them.” But now even more the report about him went abroad, and great crowds gathered to hear him and to be healed of their infirmities. But he would withdraw to desolate places and pray.’ Luke 5:12-16)

    So we see that as a result of the reports of miracles, even greater crowds would gather, but not because they were committed to Jesus himself, but only to the miracles, as we see from John 6:25-69. When he offended them with a hard saying, many of the crowd stopped following him, but those who were committed to him remained.

    Where miracles were performed in public, such as raising the widow’s son of Nain from the dead, or feeding the 5,000, there was no point in trying to prevent publicity, even if Jesus had wanted to.

    Matthew Henry’s commentary on Mark 5:43: “Christ endeavoured to conceal it; ‘He charged them straitly, that no man should know it.’ It was sufficiently known to a competent number, but he would not have it as yet proclaimed any further; because his own resurrection was to be the great instance of his power over death, and therefore the divulging of other instances must be reserved till that great proof was given: let one part of the evidence be kept private, till the other part, on which the main stress lies, be made ready.”

    Your attitude is a clear example of deliberately unintelligent reading; you adopt a perversely exact attitude, which you certainly do not apply to the Quran — or do you want me to start bringing up similar examples of conflicting Quranic statements?.

    [There is a comment above still awaiting moderation.]

  • Pingback: The Problem of Psalm 8:5 (or Psalm 8:6 – Hebrew Bible) | Calling Christians