Mistakes and Contradictions in the Bible?
In the past, I've run across numerous complaints about mistakes and contradictions which occur within the Bible. However, each time, those "mistakes and contradictions" have been proven to be misrepresentation, verses taken out of context, or people reading such things with darkened understanding, which causes the person to see something as a contradiction, though it's no contradiction whatsoever!
In light of this, and because we are to study the Word of God, this page will confront these "mistakes and contradictions" and prove them wrong. The Bible is the Infallible Word of God, and therefore has no contradictions or mistakes. Now, because we are human and have human minds, we may not fully understand certain things as of yet. But rest assured the Bible is infallible.
In order for these "contradictions and mistakes" to be answered here though, I will need your help. As I have read and studied the Word of God, I've indeed found it to be infallible, and therefore I cannot personally find or think of things within the Word of God, which may be seen by others as a contradiction. Therefore, I do ask that you send me things you personally have found in the Word of God, that seem like a contradiction, or perhap have been confronted/asked about. While I have faced many of them in the past, nearly all were rather incredibly ridiculous and therefore would be a nuisance to list them on this site for those who understand the Truth. So please, send me some you might know, so that I may answer them on this page!
Also note, while this page can be used as an "apologetics" type page proving the infallibility of the Bible, it is aimed mostly to help the Body of Christ to more fully understand complicating matters within the Word of God.
Please, Send Them to be answered,
(As I receive and answer them, They will be posted below)
"Mistakes and Contradictions" List
Who Killed Goliath? | Wisdom, bringer of happiness? or grief? | Who Provoked David? God or Satan? | When did Jesus fill their nets? before, or after His Resurrection? | When was Jesus crucified? | Who carried Jesus' Cross? | What did Jesus hang on, a Cross, or a Tree?  | Who anointed Jesus' feet (and Where)? Mary Magdalene or a sinful woman? | If John Baptized for the remission of sins, why was Sinless Jesus baptized? | What happened to Judas Iscariot? |
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|Who Killed Goliath? (1 Samuel 17:51 and 2 Samuel 21:19)|
|1 Samuel 17:51||Therefore David ran, and stood upon the Philistine, and took his sword, and drew it out of the sheath thereof, and slew him, and cut off his head therewith. And when the Philistines saw their champion was dead, they fled.|
|2 Samuel 21:19||And there was again a battle in Gob with the Philistines, where Elhanan the son of Jaare-oregim, a Beth-lehemite, slew the brother of Goliath the Gittite, the staff of whose spear was like a weaver's beam.|
Reading the above, we can see there is no contradiction. HOWEVER, the contradiction lies in using another Version of the Bible, which says in 2 Samuel 21:19, that Elhanan slew Goliath. This can be seen on this page here.
Now, in light of that, there actually is a Biblical Contradiction . . . in that particular Version of the Bible being used. However, in the Word of God, the True Word of God, there is no contradiction, as seen above.
|Wisdom, Bringer of Happiness? or Grief? (Proverbs 3:13 and Ecclesiastes 1:18)|
|Proverbs 3:13||Happy is the man that findeth wisdom, and the man that getteth understanding.|
|Ecclesiastes 1:18||For in much wisdom is much grief: and he that increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow.|
Both are true, no contradictions here. Indeed wisdom and understanding are happily gained by a man, for they are treasures (Proverbs 2:1-5) The entire book of Ecclesiastes was written as Solomon was depressed while looking at the earth and the folly of men. He saw that everything man did while on the earth was vanity; the work he did, the toil, and so forth, all except for what was done for and toward God.
This reminds me of a verse in Revelation: Revelation 10:9-10 "And I went unto the angel, and said unto him, Give me the little book. And he said unto me, Take it, and eat it up; and it shall make thy belly bitter, but it shall be in thy mouth sweet as honey. And I took the little book out of the angel's hand, and ate it up; and it was in my mouth sweet as honey: and as soon as I had eaten it, my belly was bitter." Knowledge, Wisdom, Prophecy, any great responsibility . . . all these things are wonderful treasures to obtain. They are wonderful blessings. Yet at the same time, these things require responsibilities of their own. When one obtains such things, there is a need to rightly distribute and rightly use them.
I personally know it well, as God shows me each day so many things, even into the very lives and hearts of others. At times, I've said to myself, "What do I do when I am given such knowledge that I need to tell others about, but no one will listen?" It is a heartfelt sorrow. And that is what is meant by BOTH verses claimed as contradictions. It is as said in Luke 12:48 " . . . For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required; and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more." This is true for those in high places of authority, ask them.
No contradiction is here, it is both a great blessing to have wisdom, yet a sorrow in that there are so few, or none, you can confide in or have understand you in your wisdom. Also, there is a responsibility and burden in your heart to spread it to those who have not wisdom, yet that's hard to do.
|Who Provoked David? God or Satan? (2 Samuel 24:1 and 1 Cronicles 21:1)|
|2 Samuel 24:1||And again the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel, and he moved David against them to say, Go, number Israel and Judah.|
|1 Cronicles 21:1||And Satan stood up against Israel, and provoked David to number Israel.|
In 2 Samuel 24:1 it says God did this, that is True. In the same account though, in 1 Chronicles 21:1, it says Satan did this. It appears there is a contradiction in the Word of God here, yet in honesty, both are true and correct!
There is no contradiction, if we simply remember the way Satan is always ready to bring harm and sin to God's People, yet always has to go to God for permission. We know and understand that, by Job 1 and 2, where the devil went to God for permission and was given permission to afflict Job, yet not unto death. There are many other accounts that show how Satan does evil, but ultimately God is in control and that thing Satan did was what God allowed because God had a plan for it: from Job, to Jesus in the wilderness, to Peter's Three Denials of the Lord, and even our present day troubles and persecutions (our troubles come as the Devil tempts us and brings them, yet God uses such things to strengthen us)!
So we know there is no contradiction in these two verses, because Both God and Satan were involved. Satan did it, but had to get permission from God, and God allowed it. The latter verse, simply explains the former verse in more understanding of how Satan was involved in David numbering Israel.
|When did Jesus fill their nets? before, or after His Resurrection? (Luke 5:1-11 and John 21:1-14)|
|Luke 5:1-11||And it came to pass, that, as the people pressed upon him to hear the word of God, he stood by the lake of Gennesaret, And saw two ships standing by the lake: but the fishermen were gone out of them, and were washing their nets. And he entered into one of the ships, which was Simon's, and prayed him that he would thrust out a little from the land. And he sat down, and taught the people out of the ship. Now when he had left speaking, he said unto Simon, Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught. And Simon answering said unto him, Master, we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing: nevertheless at thy word I will let down the net. And when they had this done, they inclosed a great multitude of fishes: and their net brake. And they beckoned unto their partners, which were in the other ship, that they should come and help them. And they came, and filled both the ships, so that they began to sink. When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus' knees, saying, Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord. For he was astonished, and all that were with him, at the draught of the fishes which they had taken: And so was also James, and John, the sons of Zebedee, which were partners with Simon. And Jesus said unto Simon, Fear not; from henceforth thou shalt catch men. And when they had brought their ships to land, they forsook all, and followed him.|
|John 21:1-14||After these things Jesus shewed himself again to the disciples at the sea of Tiberias; and on this wise shewed he himself. There were together Simon Peter, and Thomas called Didymus, and Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, and the sons of Zebedee, and two other of his disciples. Simon Peter saith unto them, I go a fishing. They say unto him, We also go with thee. They went forth, and entered into a ship immediately; and that night they caught nothing. But when the morning was now come, Jesus stood on the shore: but the disciples knew not that it was Jesus. Then Jesus saith unto them, Children, have ye any meat? They answered him, No. And he said unto them, Cast the net on the right side of the ship, and ye shall find. They cast therefore, and now they were not able to draw it for the multitude of fishes. Therefore that disciple whom Jesus loved saith unto Peter, It is the Lord. Now when Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he girt his fisher's coat unto him, (for he was naked,) and did cast himself into the sea. And the other disciples came in a little ship; (for they were not far from land, but as it were two hundred cubits,) dragging the net with fishes. As soon then as they were come to land, they saw a fire of coals there, and fish laid thereon, and bread. Jesus saith unto them, Bring of the fish which ye have now caught. Simon Peter went up, and drew the net to land full of great fishes, an hundred and fifty and three: and for all there were so many, yet was not the net broken. Jesus saith unto them, Come and dine. And none of the disciples durst ask him, Who art thou? knowing that it was the Lord. Jesus then cometh, and taketh bread, and giveth them, and fish likewise. This is now the third time that Jesus shewed himself to his disciples, after that he was risen from the dead.|
There may be some who get confused by these verses, or or some who just like to believe that the Word of God contradicts itself here, because they believe it is showing the very same account, yet one that occurred at the beginning of Jesus' ministry, and then elsewhere that it happened AFTER Jesus rose from the dead!
Yet there are no contradictions here, because the Bible is showing Two separate accounts of when Jesus filled the fishermen's nets. If we look at the account in Luke 5:1-11, we see a difference to that of John 21:1-14. In Luke 5, we see that indeed Jesus first called the certain disciples, in John it was when He revealed Himself AGAIN to the disciples after He was resurrected. Peter was clothed and came and fell at the feet of Jesus in Luke 5. In John 21 Peter was naked and cast himself in the sea after getting his fisher's coat, probably due to the shame he felt for denying Jesus. In Luke 5, they left everything and started following Jesus. In John 21, they came ashore and found a fire lit, and Jesus telling them to bring in the fish they caught, so that they could all eat together with Jesus (a way Jesus proved He was Alive, flesh and bone, and not just a ghostly apparition). Jesus in John 21 probably told them to cast their nets over the side, and filled their nets to overflowing (yet not to where their boats started to sink, nor that their nets brake, as happened in Luke 5), in a way of bringing to remembrance when He first called them, and that helped to reveal to them that this was Jesus. These are not different accounts of the same thing, but Two separate times the Lord filled their nets.
|When was Jesus crucified? (Mark 15:25 and John 19:14)|
|Mark 15:25||And it was the third hour, and they crucified him.|
|John 19:14||And it was the preparation of the passover, and about the sixth hour: and he saith unto the Jews, Behold your King!|
This one needs quite a few words to explain, so it deserves it's own page! Please go here for the explanation to this apparent contradiction in the Word of God: When was Jesus crucified? (Mark 15:25 and John 19:14) - Explained!
|Who carried Jesus' Cross? (Matthew 27:32 and John 19:17)|
|Matthew 27:32||And as they came out, they found a man of Cyrene, Simon by name: him they comelled to bear his cross.|
|John 19:17||And he bearing his cross went forth into a place called the place of a skull, which is callled in the Hebrew Golgotha.|
In Matthew 27:32 it appears Simon carried Jesus' cross, while in John 19:17 Jesus appears to carry His own cross . . .
Here we again see no contradiction, but rather one place helping to give furth explanation to the same account in another place. In fact, We can see from all four gospels, that Jesus started to carry the cross, and started to go into Golgotha, but then a Simon who passed by was made to carry it the rest of the way. It does not say they Immediately or Straightway found Simon and made him carry Jesus' cross. Rather, it says they led Jesus (who was carrying His Cross), and then after they already were leading Jesus out (out of Jerusalem perhaps, because as Jewish Laws said, no person could be killed IN Jerusalem, so they took Jesus OUT of Jerusalem to have Him Crucified . . . Pilate and Herod were in Jerusalem at the time) As we understand how Jesus was already being led away, let's Read Luke's account, in Luke 23:26 "And as they led him away, they laid hold upon one Simon, a Cyrenian, coming out of the country, and on him they laid the cross, that he might bear it after Jesus."
There's no contradiction here, but again, just a show of how the Lord Jesus carried the cross, and then also Simon of Cyrene taking it up after Jesus (This is all similar to the apparent contradiction in 2 Samuel 24:1 and 1 Chronicles 21:1 addressed above).
|What did Jesus hang on, a Cross, or a Tree? (Mark 15:31-32 and 1 Peter 2:24)|
|Mark 15:31-32||Likewise also the chief priests mocking said among themselves with the scribes, He saved others; himself he cannot save. Let Christ the King of Israel descend now from the cross, that we may see and believe. And they that were criucified with him reviled him.|
|1 Peter 2:24||Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.|
Jesus is said to be crucified on a cross, throughout the Word of God, yet in 1 Peter 2:24 it says He was crucified on a tree! This isn't a contradiction, but rather a misunderstanding of how a cross is not really the material, but a shape. A tree on the other hand, is not really a shape, but more of the material! Therefore, a tree and a cross can indeed be the same, if the cross shape is made of the material of a tree! This is the case of Jesus' Crucifixion. Jesus was crucified on a Cross, made of Wood, which comes from a tree.
Knowing this, it also explains Galatians 3:13, which shows how Jesus was made a curse for us, so that we could be free from the curse of the Law, "Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree:"
Knowing all that, we clearly see that there is No Contradiction in the least, between Jesus' hanging on a cross, and His hanging on a tree. It was both, because a cross is merely a shape, and a tree is notified and known to be a tree, mostly by what it is made of, namely Wood, which is what the Cross was made of.
|Who anointed Jesus' Feet (and Where)? Mary Magdalene or a sinful woman? (Luke 7:37-38 and John 12:3)|
|Luke 7:37-38||And, behold, a woman in the city, which was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at meat in the Pharisee's house, brought an alabaster box of ointment, And stood at his feet behind him weeping and began to wash his feet with tears, and did wipe them with the hairs of her head, and kissed his feet, and anointed them with the ointment.|
|John 12:3||Then took Mary a pound of ointment of spikenard, very costly, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped his feet with her hair: and the house was filled with the odor of the ointment.|
There are two different accounts. The account in Luke 7:38 shows Simon the Pharisee, who called for Jesus when He was in the city of Nain. The account in John 12:3 shows when Jesus was in Bethany, after Lazarus was already risen from the dead, in the house of Simon the leper (explained in Matthew 26:6).
The account in Luke, shows a sinful woman. The account in John shows Mary Magdalene, Lazarus’ sister. It’s unsure if both accounts are of Mary. One simply says a sinful woman, and the other, Mary.
It could be that they are the same person, but perhaps not. Luke 8:2 says Mary was healed of seven devils, but doesn’t mention that she was forgiven of many sins (as the sinful woman was) nor that she was the woman who anointed Jesus’ feet in the chapter before. So often, if there are connections like that, the Word of God lets us know somewhere along the line, and doesn’t keep us guessing.
Granted, in John 11:2 it mentions "(It was that Mary which anointed the Lord with ointment, and wiped his feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was sick.)" It appears this may be referring to the account in Luke 7:38. However, it only mentioned the ointment, and using her hair to wipe His feet. If the connection would have been made, it most likely would have mentioned the part of washing His feet with her tears, and kissing His feet—two major differences between the two accounts—so that the correct connection would be made. Instead, John 11:2 more rightly could be referring to the later John 12:3 account, as it’s often found that certain verses foreshadow, or mention things before they happens and before a better, fuller account of something is given. The account of Mary in John 12:3 was about as well-known as the death and resurrection of Jesus, as Jesus said it would be, in Matthew 26:13 (which DOES show a connection with John 12:3 because the same complaints were made by Jesus’ disciples, and Jesus gave the same answer). Therefore, the chances are high that the reader knows the John 12:3 account of Mary, when it was mentioned in John 11:2. (But that’s just a possibility, not something we can be dogmatic about.)
All in all though, in these two parts of Scripture, we see two separate accounts of Jesus’ feet being anointed. As far as whether both accounts were of Mary Magdalene doing it, the Word of God doesn’t make a clear connection, so we can’t be 100% sure. If they were, then there’s no contradiction or confusion because it simply means the "sinful woman" was Mary—one and the same.
|If John baptized for the remission of sins, why was Sinless Jesus baptized? (Mark 1:4 and Mark 1:9)|
|Mark 1:4||John did baptize in the wilderness, and preach the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins.|
|Mark 1:9||And it came to pass in those days, that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee, and was baptized of John in Jordan.|
It’s actually a common misbelief that one’s sins are washed away through baptism. It’s often called "Baptismal Regeneration." I did a Bible study on that. You can read it here, so you can understand the rest of this answer.
It’s true, John baptized for the remission of sins. However, it wasn’t the baptism that gave remission of sins—it was repentance! John’s baptism was the baptism of repentance—not remission itself. In the study linked above, we know baptism is a form of outward confession . . . and John’s baptism was an outward confession, that the person was repenting—dying to their sins, and living no longer walking in them. As explained in Mark 1:4 "John did baptize in the wilderness, and preach the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins." as well as Luke 3:3. It’s the repentance that brought remission of sins, not the actual baptism. It was what the baptism represented; what it outwardly confessed had already happened inside the person being baptized—repentance, and therefore remission. Repentance brought remission, as shown in 2 Chronicles 7:14, (Emphasis mine) "If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and TURN FROM THEIR WICKED WAYS; then will I hear from heaven, and will FORGIVE THEIR SIN, and will heal their land." Repentance means to turn from something (namely sin) and seek not to do it. This is also why Jesus made sure to link the two (repentance and remission of sins) in Luke 24:47.
Now, understanding that baptism does not remove sin, let's also understand why Jesus was baptized. Jesus said the reason in Matthew 3:15 "And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteous. Then he suffered him." It was done, to fulfill prophesy and for Jesus to show an example to those who follow Him, that they too should be baptized. It was also a show of His humility and meekness (also to be lived by Jesus’ followers). This is the reason He did many things in certain ways—for prophecy; strengthening of our faith; and just plainly for our sake. As he explained a bit in prayer in John 11:41-42 "Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead was laid. And Jesus lifted up his eyes, and said, Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me. And I knew that thou hearest me always: but because of the people which stand by I said it, that they may believe that thou hast sent me."
|What Happened to Judas Iscariot? (Matthew 27:5 and Acts 1:18)|
|Matthew 27:5||And he cast down the pieces of silver in the temple, and departed, and went and hanged himself.|
|Acts 1:18||Now this man purchased a field with the reward of iniquity; and falling headlong, he burst asunder in the midst, and all his bowels gushed out.|
I have to admit that the death of Judas is quite a difficult part in the Word of God. In our limited human understanding, we may very well come across difficult-to-understand passages. Some we may never get an understanding of until we are given completely understanding in heaven.
Until then, we can do our best to explain and can rest assured that the Word of God has shown itself to be infallible, and this case is no exception. Let me give my understanding:
In the account in Matthew we see that Judas felt the guilt of betraying the Lord, and after throwing the money down he hanged himself, then the chief priests and elders took the money and bought the potter’s field, and it was called thenceforth, "The field of blood."
In the account in Acts, we are told simply that Judas bought a field with the money, and fell headlong, burst asunder in the midst, and all his bowels gushed out, and the place this happened was called Aceldama, meaning "field of blood."
An explanation is that Judas hanged himself, and his body’s decomposition (due much to heat perhaps) caused his body to become bloated, then the branch (or whatever was holding his body up) broke (or perhaps when his body was being taken down), and it fell and when it fell, his body burst asunder in the midst—due to the bloating and decomposition—and his bowels spilled out. The place this happened was the same place bought with the thirty pieces of silver and was called the "field of blood" because of Judas’ death, as well as that it was a land later used as a graveyard, and even hinting at how the money used to buy it was "blood money."
That is a very viable explanation, as such decomposition is possible from a hanged body. Both accounts say something different, because one account compliments the other. These things happened according to prophecy.
It happens every now and then that prophecies say things that may seem contradicting, when they aren’t (and the Word of God explains it all through multiple accounts, or later scripture).
An example of this is how the Word says Jesus would come from Bethlehem, then again He’ll be called out of Egypt and again that He’ll be a Nazarene (someone from Nazareth). Those three seem to contradict another, when in fact they don’t. All three were true! Jesus was born in Bethlehem, fled to Egypt and later left Egypt, and then He grew up in Nazareth!
It is the same with Judas Iscariot—he hanged himself and yet his bowels still gushed out as his body fell headlong. And as for who bought the field, the chief priests and elders made the decision and used the money. However, even though Judas threw down the money, his hands were not cleansed of that blood money. All those involved—Judas, the chief priests, and the elders—had their hands filthy with it, and were responsible.