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On Bible Contradictions & the Death of King Saul
A: “No, sir, Christianity is not for me – there are way too many unresolved questions.”
B: “Oh, really? For instance?”
A: “Well, for one thing, I can’t accept all those contradictions in the Bible.”
B: “Bible contradictions? Really? How about giving me an example of one?”
A: “Sure. For instance, in, uh, …well, like, for example…, uh, well… Okay, I guess I can’t really think of any off hand, but I do know that there are lots of them out there, so let me get back to you on that.
NOTE: this response in typical of that of many folks who are under the false impression that there are an incredible number of contradictions in the Bible. Yet, when pressed, they are often unable to produce even one example. However, some apparent discrepancies do exist and, on occasion, present an obstacle for the sincere seeker. Here is one case.
TWO DAYS LATER
A: “Hey, about those Bible contradictions… I’ve sure got one here for you today, and it’s a real doozy. I doubt very much you’re ever going to be able to crack this one. Look, here in 1 Samuel 31:4-5 it says, ‘Then Saul said to his armor bearer, “Draw your sword and pierce me through with it, lest these uncircumcised come and pierce me through and make sport of me.” But his armor bearer would not, for he was greatly afraid. So Saul took his sword and fell on it. And when his armor bearer saw that Saul was dead, he also fell on his sword and died with him.'”
“Okay, so this says that Saul committed suicide, right? But look at the very next book and chapter, II Samuel 1:2, 6-10: ‘And it happened on the third day, that behold, a man came out of the camp from Saul, with his clothes torn and dust on his head. And it came about when he came to David that he fell to the ground and prostrated himself. And the young man who told him said, “By chance I happened to be on Mount Gilboa, and behold, Saul was leaning on his spear. And behold, the chariots and the horsemen pursued him closely. And when he looked behind him, he saw me and called to me. And I said, ‘Here I am.’ And he said to me, ‘Who are you?’ And I answered him, ‘I am an Amalekite.’ Then he said to me, ‘Please stand beside me and kill me; for agony has seized me because my life still lingers in me.’So I stood beside him and killed him, because I knew that he could not live after he had fallen. And I took the crown which was on his head and the bracelet which was on his arm, and I have brought them here to my lord.”‘”
“Now, you see, this text says that the Amalekite performed a little Kevorkian-style euthanasia on old Saul. So in back-to-back texts you got yourself one huge, glaring, contradiction! Suicide or euthanasia-which shall it be? See, this is exactly why I’m no Christian. Why should I put faith in a book that’s so full of discrepancies?”
Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties, Gleason Archer, 476 pages, ©1982 by Zondervan