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Are There Contradictions in the Bible? Part I of a Series on Resolving Discrepancies in Scripture
One day last April (1994) I received correspondence from my friend, Les, in Boston. In his letter to me Les said that not long before he had met a man in neighboring Brockton who had given him a paper entitled “Errors in Your Holy Book!” Les immediately sent me a copy of this 6-page paper and proposed that I respond to the man’s charges. He said he’d see to it that he would read it. Fine-sounded good to me. But I’d like to take the whole matter even one step further. Believing that my effort to respond might prove beneficial not only to our friend in Brockton, but to all of our Proclamation readers, we’re taking the first three months of 1995 to run my response as part of the current series, with the intent of demonstrating how every charge of ‘Bible error’ can be answered-usually very simply. We’ll begin just where the paper begins.
The charge? Bible error.
I’m amazed at how many apparent mistakes there are in this so-called inspired Word of God. These aren’t worth the time that it would (take) to discuss them, so I will simply take a couple of them and put them here for you Christians to think about. There are many many other mistakes just like these in this so-called inspired word of God!
Mark 5:1-2 “And they came over unto the other side of the sea, into the country of the Gadarenes. And when he was come out of the ship, immediately there met him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit.” (KJV)
Here we have the so-called inspired word of God telling us that Jesus met one man possessed by an unclean spirit! Now let’s read the very same story in the book of Matthew.
Matthew 8:28 “And when he was come to the other side into the country of the Gergesenes, there met him two possessed with devils, coming out of the tombs, exceeding fierce, so that no man might pass by that way.” (KJV)
Here Matthew tells us that there were two (with) unclean spirits! This is the inspired word of God?
Now another mistake in your inspired word of God!
Mark 10:46-47 “And they came to Jericho: and as he went out of Jericho with his disciples and a great number of people, blind Bartimaeus, the son of Timaeus, sat by the highway side begging. And when he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out, and say, Jesus, thou Son of David, have mercy on me.”
Here you have this one guy, Bartimaeus, who is blind and cries out to Jesus. Now the same story in the Book of Matthew!
Matthew 20:29-30 “And as they departed from Jericho, a great multitude followed him. And, behold, two blind men sitting by the way side, when they heard that Jesus passed by, cried out, saying, Have mercy on us, 0 Lord, thou Son of David.” (KJV)
Now all of a sudden we have two blind guys sitting outside of Jericho! This is the inspired word of God?
The response? No conflict.
Both of these charges are fairly old and have been answered by many good scholars in many good books. But Dr. Norman Geisler’s response may be the best.
In When Critics Ask Dr. Geisler says that there is one simple fundamental mathematical law that reconciles these apparent contradictions very neatly-wherever there are two, there is always one! No exceptions.
“Wherever there are two, there is always one! No exceptions.” Problem solved.
There were obviously two demoniacs and two blind men in these stories. Why certain of the Gospel writers choose to mention only one is another matter. Maybe one was more noticeable or prominent. But the point is, in no place does any author specify that there was only one character present. The word only is not in the text.
A month or so ago someone called me on the phone and asked for my son Stephen. I said, “Stephen is not here right now.” Then I added, “Stephen is scheduled to fly into Bangor on December 16.” Of course the truth was that Stephen and his brother Andrew were both to fly into Bangor on December 16. Yet I’d mentioned only one. Did that make me a liar? Unreliable? Hardly. And you can be sure that I was no less “inspired” (the day we went to pick the boys up at the airport) for having said it!