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How do you explain discrepancies in the Scriptures—such as those between the four Gospels—in light of scriptural inerrancy?

Much of the debate on the integrity of the Scriptures focuses specifically on those problems. When you have parallel accounts of something, you expect them to be consistent, particularly if you're maintaining that these accounts are inspired by God the Holy Spirit. We know that God may use different authors to record the same or similar events, and the authors can describe the event from their perspective, with their respective languages and literary styles. But still we would expect agreement in the substance of what is being taught if all accounts are speaking under the superintendence of God the Holy Spirit.

That's why it's interesting to me that very early in church history there were attempts to write harmonies of the Gospels. There are three synoptic Gospels—Matthew, Mark, and Luke—which give a biographical sketch of the life and ministry of Jesus. Many events are parallel among those three authors, though they don't always agree in each detail—how many angels were at the tomb on the day of resurrection, what the sign on the cross said, what day of the week Jesus and the disciples celebrated the Passover celebration in the upper room, and so forth.

Those things have received a tremendous amount of careful attention by biblical scholars, some coming to the conclusion that there is no way to harmonize them and that we just have to accept that there are contradictions among the biblical writers, which would then seem to falsify any claim to divine inspiration. Others have felt that they indeed can be reconciled. For example, one Gospel writer tells us that there were two angels at the tomb on the day of the Resurrection, and another mentions only one. Now the critical word that's absent from the text is the word only. If one writer says there were two angels at the tomb and the other one comes along and says there was only one, there you have a bona fide contradiction between the two. If one says there were two angels at the tomb and the other says we came and saw an angel, obviously if there are two angels, there has to be one angel—there's no contradiction. There is a discrepancy; that is, they don't say exactly the same thing. The question is, Can the two accounts be harmonized—are they logically compatible with one another?

A good friend of mine in seminary was very troubled by these issues and quoted one of our professors who said, "The Bible is filled with contradiction." And I said, "Why don't you go home and I'll meet you here tomorrow at one o'clock. You come back with fifty contradictions. If the Bible's full of them, then that should be an easy task." The next day at one o'clock I met him and I said, "Do you have your fifty?" He'd been up all night and he said, "No, but I found thirty." And we went through each one of them, rigorously applying the principles of logic and symbolic logic. To his satisfaction I demonstrated to him that not one of his alleged contradictions in fact violated the law of contradiction.

Now I have to say in closing that in my judgment he could have pulled out some more difficult passages. There are some extremely difficult passages in the Scriptures, and I'm not always happy with some of the resolutions, but I think that for the most part those difficult discrepancies have been thoroughly reconciled through biblical scholarship.

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I think it is a good article, Redva May.

The best part, in my view, would be the thought :

"For example, one Gospel writer tells us that there were two angels at the tomb on the day of the Resurrection, and another mentions only one. Now the critical word that's absent from the text is the word only. If one writer says there were two angels at the tomb and the other one comes along and says there was only one, there you have a bona fide contradiction between the two."

___________

A similar thing is found in the story of the demoniacs. In Matthew 8:28, two demoniacs are mentioned, but in Mark and Luke, only one is referred to. But of course there is no contradiction or "problem" in this point of seeming difference.

To me, a more "difficult" situation is found in Jesus' wilderness temptations. The order of the temptations is different in Matthew and Luke. Only one of those sequences can represent the true order of events, but again, to me this difference is not evidence of an error or mistake. I have no doubt that the order is different for a good reason.

The need for tight, rational, logic was never a big part of Jewish thinking..

The Bible says that the Jews "require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom”. (1Cor 1:22)

Both those groups were in error, and neither of them recognized Christ.

The Greeks sought wisdom. And it was a particular kind of wisdom that they wanted.

Greek wisdom was epitomized by men like Aristotle and Plato.  These men created the “science of logic”, “the science of exact reasoning”.  They admired clever, tight, logic. But this – they couldn't find this –  in Christianity.  The Christians called Aristotle’s “science of exact reasoning”, science so-called (1Tim 6:20).  And to the “wise” Greeks, Christianity seemed foolish – it lacked the one great element they prized.

Today, a lot of people still look for the same kind of “wisdom” that the Greeks looked for. But the great danger, for them, is that Christ will become a glorified Aristotle...  rational and clinical, dry and formal.

Thank Stewart you the word is true even is the sequence  is different and a few items are missing here and there.

Sis Redva

I don't want to critique articles I'm not a systematic theologian.  I would rather just read the bible here a little there a little even a little more if I want to.

Ok Andrew Thank you

Sis. Redva

After I clean my large apartment on my hands and knees till God is satisfied.  Because God gets the glory.  Amen

AMEN Bro Andrew

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