By Michael Garrison
You may have had a knock at your door, answered it, and found two well-dressed young men wanting to give you their “testimony It about what a “modern day prophet” revealed. They claim to be elders, but the New Testament shows that an elder, bishop, overseer, and pastor is to be “the husband of one wife . . . having his children in subjection … not a novice” (1 Tim. 3:2,5-6). So, just because someone makes the claim of being an elder does not make him one!
These young men will also want you to think they are Bible believers. Yet, after you talk and study with them for awhile, as I did, you soon find out just the opposite! I studied with some of these young men for about 10 hours over a four or five week period and they brought me a list of what they alleged were Bible “contradictions.” If they believed the Bible to be the inspired word of God, they would have tried to harmonize these so-called “contradictions” rather than try to cause people to have less confidence in the Scriptures.
After these young men gave me the list of “contradictions” I prepared some answers which I wish to share with you at this time.
1. Acts 9.7 versus Acts 22:9. Did the men with Saul hear or not? In his Dictionary of New Testament Words, W.E. Vine says (p. 204), “Thus in Acts 9:7, ‘hearing the voice,’ the noun 6voice’ is in the partitive genitive case . . . whereas in 22:9, ‘they heard not the voice,’ the construction is with the accusative. This removes the idea of any contradiction. The former indicates a hearing of the sound, the latter indicates the meaning or message of voice (this they did not hear).” So, an honest investigation shows there is not any contradiction here!
2. Lying spirit (1 Kgs. 22:20-23 versus Tit. 1:2). God cannot lie, yet he is accused of doing so by the Mormons. I quote from Alleged Discrepancies of the Bible by J.W. Haley (p. 98): Quoting a Mr. Bahr, Mr. Haley says, “Because Ahab, who had abandoned God and hardened his heart, desired to use prophecy for his own purposes, it is determined that he shall be led to ruin by prophecy. As God often used the heathen nations as the rod of his wrath for the chastisement of Israel (Isa. X. 5), so now he used Ahab’s false prophets to bring upon Ahab the judgment which Elijah had foretold against him.” Then, Mr. Haley says, “God for judicial purposes suffered Ahab to be fatally deceived.” And as E.M. Zerr points out, God used various agencies to accomplish the results necessary to his plans. Again, there is no contradiction.
3. Matthew 20.-20-28 versus Mark 10.35-45. Who went, mother or her sons? “The Bible often tells of something being done by proxy, that is, by another. Examples – David killed Uriah (2 Sam. 12:9); but the Ammonites killed him (2 Sam. 11: 17). The priests bought the potter’s field (Matt. 27:6,7) and Judas purchased it, that is, furnished the occasion for its purchase (Acts 1: 18). So it is with the passages under consideration – he who does a thing for another, does it himself” (Haley, p. 347). No contradiction here, either!
4. Age of Ahaziah – 2 Kings 8.26 versus 2 Chronicles 22.-2. “According to the latter text, Ahaziah must have been two years older than his own father! The perfectly simple explanation adopted by Gesenius and most critics is that the copyist mistook one numeral letter for another” (Alleged Bible Contradictions, p. 398). (Note: if you see the original Hebrew for 20 and 40, you could see how the mistake might have occurred.) Scribes (those who copied the manuscripts) were not inspired men and a worn and faded copy of the Scriptures could be misread by anyone. Again, the problem is solved and no contradiction exists!
5. Matthew 28.-2 and Mark 16.-5 versus Luke 2434 and John 20.12. How many angels were at the tomb? When we compare the texts in their contexts, we will learn there are different people and different times under consideration. Some did see two angels; others saw only one angel There is not a discrepancy when one studies the matter honestly!
6. John 1:18; Genesis 32.30, John 6.46 and 2 John 11. Was God seen by men or not seen by men. To see God’s face is death (Exod. 33:20). In what way can it be said that one has “seen” God? Certainly not in a literal sense. We would be dead if we did! So, we see God figuratively. It can be said that we “see” God in the sun, moon, and other of his creations – that is, we see the evidence of his handiwork. There is no contradiction here!
7. In Matthew 27.,9-10, Jeremy (Jeremiah) is quoted, but the prophecy is found in Zechariah 11:13. “. . . the difficulty may have arisen from abridgment of the names. In the Greek, Jeremiah, instead of being written in full, might stand thus, ‘Iriou’; Zechariah thus, ‘Zriou.’ By the mere change of Z into I, the mistake would be made” (Alleged Bible Discrepancies, p. 15 3). This problem is solved, also!
8. Acts 7.22 versus Exodus 4.10. The only contradiction here is in one’s lack of reading and understanding. Who said one cannot be mighty in words and at the same time not be of slow speech and of slow tongue? The words spoken in slow speech and tongue can indeed be mighty ones! There is no contradiction here, except in the desperate attempts of false teachers and false prophets to discredit the word of truth!
We must never be guilty of twisting the holy word of God to our own destruction (see 2 Pet. 3:16). Nor should we call that which is good, evil (see Isa. 5:20-21).
Although we may admire the zeal of the young men who go from door-to-door teaching their false doctrine, we must realize they are in error and need to know the truth. Let us at least try to teach them when they come to our house. No, they may not be convinced by our teaching, but at least we can do our best to point to Jesus, The Way.
Guardian of Truth XXXIII: 2, p. 44
January 19, 1989