SAB Contradictions 1 – 492 tested and falsified
Ham, Ken Demolishing Supposed Bible Contradictions Volume 1 2010
Ham, Ken Demolishing Supposed Bible Contradictions Volume 2
Greg Vanden Berge Bible Contradictions 2011
Bible Contradictions Explained: 4 Reasons the Gospels “Disagree” September 19, 2017 1
When you realize that the gospels were written in Greek, the fact that Jesus probably spoke Aramaic becomes very significant. This means that most of his words had to be translated into Greek—making every quote an interpretation. Languages don’t necessarily have equivalent words or phrases to make translating one vocabulary into another a trouble-free endeavor. Each gospel writer had to interpret Jesus’ words and sayings in order to find equivalents in an entirely different language. Translation is interpretation.
This is one of the reasons that scholars have long held that we have Jesus’ “authentic voice” (ipsissima vox) rather than his “exact words” (ipsissima verba). We can trust the essential meaning of the words attributed to Jesus in the gospels even though we can’t know precisely what words Jesus used.
The gospel writers’ authority as interpreters of Christ’s story meant that their translation or paraphrase of Jesus’ words would focus on the theological implications.
In the Gospel of Luke, Jesus is quoted as saying “Blessed are the poor” (Luke 6:20), but Matthew records him saying, “Blessed are the poor in spirit” (Matt. 5:3). Now it could be that Jesus said both of these things at different times, but it’s also likely that Matthew felt it was extremely important to clearly communicate the spiritual significance of Jesus’ words.
We can see another example of this at the foot of the cross. Both Matthew and Mark quote the centurion as saying “Surely this man was the Son of God!” (Matt. 27:54, Mk. 15:39), but that’s not how Luke records it. In Luke 23:47, the centurion says, “Surely this was a righteous man.” This translation make sense in light of each author’s focus. Both Matthew and Mark are focused on emphasizing Jesus’ position as the Son of God, but Christ’s innocence and righteousness is a recurring theme in Luke’s gospel. The two iterations of the centurion’s comment don’t contradict each other, they simply focus on different theological implications.
If we expect that each other gospel writers are going to give us Jesus’ words verbatim, we’re holding the gospels to a historical standard that no other historical document would be able to meet—classical or modern. Remember, no one was standing around Jesus with a tape recorder.
We see also Matthew omitting details in the story of the centurion’s servant. In Luke’s telling of the story, the centurion sends a contingent of Jewish elders to Jesus (Lk. 7:1–10), but Matthew reports it as the centurion himself coming to Jesus (Matt. 8:5–13). Is that a contradiction? From Matthew’s point of view, the centurion was speaking directly to Jesus through the elders. In the first century, there was no functional difference between a centurion telling you something face-to-face or through an emissary.
What about when one gospel mentions two individuals while another only speaks of one?
Two demon-possessed men (Matt. 8:28) vs. one (Mk. 5:2)
Two blind men (Matt. 20:30) vs. one (Mk. 10:46)
Two angels at the tomb (Lk. 24:4) vs. one (Mk. 16:5)
It’s important to note that Mark never insists that there’s only one person present. He simply shines a spotlight on one individual. It’s very likely that he’s highlighting the most important player and ignoring the other. But ultimately, we should see little discrepancies like these as proof of the accounts’ veracity. After all, they didn’t get together to make sure their stories were entirely free of conflict.
Last edited by Otangelo on Thu Apr 07, 2022 8:49 am; edited 3 times in total