Skeptics often argue that the Bible contains many contradictions or errors. First of all, this article will only deal with the King James Bible (please read our section on which Bible version to use), and also will defend the point of view that the King James Bible is infallible and inerrant.
Proverbs 30:5 tells us that “Every word of God is pure”. 2 Timothy 3:15 reads, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:” and 2 Peter 1:21 says “For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.”
The Bible is clear that God will preserve his word forever, and that everything in the Bible was given by God and penned down by men. It did not come by the “will of man”, but the Holy Spirit spoke directly through men.
God is perfect (Matthew 5:48) and cannot lie (Titus 1:2) and the Bible reflects this. It is our means of salvation (John 5:39, John 6:68, Romans 10:17) and if we cannot put our trust in it we have no assurance of God’s promises. God is all-knowing and therefore any word he gives us will never be disproven or corrected (Job 21:22 says, “Shall any teach God knowledge? seeing he judgeth those that are high.”). Therefore the Bible must be perfect if it was given to us by a perfect God.
Despite the claims of scholars, an actual issue has never been found within the Bible. There will always be an answer to any supposed problems, this is why as Christians we need to keep studying and reading so that we will be able to find the answer and remove the stumbling block. We will deal with some of the most common issues and show that there will always be a solution.
- 1 Kings 4:26, “And Solomon had forty thousand stalls of horses for his chariots, and twelve thousand horsemen.” and 2 Chronicles 9:25, “And Solomon had four thousand stalls for horses and chariots, and twelve thousand horsemen; whom he bestowed in the chariot cities, and with the king at Jerusalem.”
Solution: This simply needs to be read carefully, there were forty thousand stalls for just horses, but four thousand stalls that contained horses and chariots. No contradiction.
- Numbers 25:9, “And those that died in the plague were twenty and four thousand.” and 1 Corinthians 10:8, “Neither let us commit fornication, as some of them committed, and fell in one day three and twenty thousand.”
Solution: The two passages are talking about the same event, but yet have different death counts. However, the second verse says “in one day” – this means 23,000 died in one day and the other 1000 died either before or afterwards. No contradiction.
- 2 Kings 24:8, “Jehoiachin was eighteen years old when he began to reign…” and 2 Chronicles 36:9, “Jehoiachin was eight years old when he began to reign…”.
Solution: One explanation for this is that in 2 Kings, this was describing Jehoiachin’s age when he reigned alongside his father (co-regent) as other kings did as well (for example David appointed his son Solomon king while he was still alive, Jotham became co-regent and took over for his father Uzziah when he got leprosy). Then ten years later when Jehoiachin was eighteen he became king in his own right and took over completely. No contradiction.
- 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.” and 1 Chronicles 21:1, “And Satan stood up against Israel, and provoked David to number Israel.”
Solution: In 2 Samuel it says the LORD moved David, and in 1 Chronicles it says Satan did it. However, the answer is that Satan provoked him, and God allowed it to happen and used Satan to do it. This occurs in other places in the Bible, for example in the book of Job. No contradiction.
- 1 Kings 7:26, “And it was an hand breadth thick, and the brim thereof was wrought like the brim of a cup, with flowers of lilies: it contained two thousand baths.” and 2 Chronicles 4:5, “And the thickness of it was an handbreadth, and the brim of it like the work of the brim of a cup, with flowers of lilies; and it received and held three thousand baths.”
Solution: The first account tell us that “it contained two thousand baths”, but in 2 Chronicles it says “it received and held three thousand baths.” Therefore it had the possibility to contain three thousand baths but in 1 Kings it only contained two thousand baths, it was not full. No contradiction.
- 2 Samuel 24:24, “…So David bought the threshingfloor and the oxen for fifty shekels of silver.” and 1 Chronicles 21:25, “So David gave to Ornan for the place six hundred shekels of gold by weight.”
Solution: There appears to be an apparent contradiction in that the first passage says David paid “fifty shekels of silver” and the second account says he paid “six hundred shekels of gold”. However, the fifty shekels of silver was the price for the threshingfloor and oxen, whereas the payment in gold bought “the place” – the whole area where the temple was to be built. No contradiction.
- John 13:27, “And after the sop Satan entered into him. Then said Jesus unto him, That thou doest, do quickly.” and Luke 22:2-3, “And the chief priests and scribes sought how they might kill him; for they feared the people. Then entered Satan into Judas surnamed Iscariot, being of the number of the twelve.”
Solution: In John, Satan enters Judas during the Last Supper. In Luke, Satan enters Judas before the Last Supper. The solution is that Satan entered into him more than once. No contradiction.
- Acts 1:9 and 12, “And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight… Then returned they unto Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is from Jerusalem a sabbath day’s journey.” and Luke 24:50-51, “And he led them out as far as to Bethany, and he lifted up his hands, and blessed them. And it came to pass, while he blessed them, he was parted from them, and carried up into heaven.”
Solution: Acts tells us Jesus returned to heaven from Mount Olivet, in Luke it says it was from Bethany. Bethany is actually on Mount Olivet (Mark 11:1, Luke 19:29). No contradiction.
- Matthew 27:54, “Now when the centurion, and they that were with him, watching Jesus, saw the earthquake, and those things that were done, they feared greatly, saying, Truly this was the Son of God.” and Luke 23:47, “Now when the centurion saw what was done, he glorified God, saying, Certainly this was a righteous man.”
Solution: Did the centurion say “Truly this was the Son of God”, or “Certainly this was a righteous man”? He may have said both, there’s no reason he could only have said one thing. The two accounts are complimentary, not contradictory. No contradiction.
- Genesis 46:4, “I will go down with thee into Egypt; and I will also surely bring thee up again: and Joseph shall put his hand upon thine eyes.” and Genesis 49:33, “And when Jacob had made an end of commanding his sons, he gathered up his feet into the bed, and yielded up the ghost, and was gathered unto his people.”
Solution: God promised Jacob that he would go with him to Egypt and that he would bring him back out again. However in chapter 49, Jacob dies in Egypt. The answer is that in the next chapter, a large group of people led by Jacob’s sons take his body back to Canaan and bury him where he requested and where God promised. Genesis 50:13, “For his sons carried him into the land of Canaan, and buried him in the cave of the field of Machpelah, which Abraham bought with the field for a possession of a buryingplace of Ephron the Hittite, before Mamre.” No contradiction.
- 1 Samuel 8:19, “Nevertheless the people refused to obey the voice of Samuel; and they said, Nay; but we will have a king over us;” and 1 Samuel 9:17, “And when Samuel saw Saul, the LORD said unto him, Behold the man whom I spake to thee of! this same shall reign over my people.”
Solution: The first passage says that the people chose the king, the second quote says God chose the king. God granted the people’s demand for a king, so he guided their choice. No contradiction.
- Genesis 36:12, “And Timna was concubine to Eliphaz Esau’s son; and she bare to Eliphaz Amalek: these were the sons of Adah Esau’s wife.” and 1 Chronicles 1:36, “The sons of Eliphaz; Teman, and Omar, Zephi, and Gatam, Kenaz, and Timna, and Amalek.”
Solution: In Genesis, Timna is the name of Eliphaz’s concubine (female), but in 1 Chronicles Timna is the name of one of his sons (male). Clearly Eliphaz named one of his sons after his concubine, so Timna must be a name suitable for males and females, as we have many examples of today. No contradiction.
- Genesis 16:15, “And Hagar bare Abram a son: and Abram called his son’s name, which Hagar bare, Ishmael.” and Genesis 22:2, “And he said, Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest…”
Solution: Abraham has two sons, Ishmael and Isaac, but in Genesis 22, Isaac is referred to as Abraham’s “only son”. This is because Ishmael was born through man’s methods (Sarah told Abraham to have a child with her handmaid Hagar), but Isaac was the only child of promise according to God’s plan. Hebrews 11:17 says, “By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son,”. There is a distinction between Ishmael and Isaac in that Isaac was the only “begotten” son. No contradiction.
- Mark 15:25, “And it was the third hour, and they crucified him.” and 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!”
Solution: Mark writes using Jewish time, where the third hour is about noon. John writes with the audience of the Gentiles in mind so uses the Roman system of time, where the sixth hour is also about noon. No contradiction.
- Mark 15:40, “There were also women looking on afar off: among whom was Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James the less and of Joses, and Salome;” and John 19:25, “Now there stood by the cross of Jesus his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalene.”
Solution: Were the women “afar off” or “by the cross”? As Jesus was on the cross for about three hours, it is likely that the women may have moved around and both positions occurred. While the Romans were actually crucifying him, it is likely the women may have stood further back, but then have drawn closer to Jesus over time. No contradiction.
- John 13:38, “Jesus answered him, Wilt thou lay down thy life for my sake? Verily, verily, I say unto thee, The cock shall not crow, till thou hast denied me thrice.” and Mark 14:68, “But he denied, saying, I know not, neither understand I what thou sayest. And he went out into the porch; and the cock crew.”
Solution: In the accounts given by Matthew, Luke and John, Jesus said the cock will crow after Peter has denied Jesus three times. However, in Mark, the cock crows after Peter’s first denial and the third. There is not a contradiction here as in all of the accounts the cock sounds after the third denial. However Mark simply gives more information with another description of when it happened too. No contradiction.
- Mark 1:14, “Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God,” and John 3:22-24, “After these things came Jesus and his disciples into the land of Judaea; and there he tarried with them, and baptised. And John also was baptising in Aenon near to Salim, because there was much water there: and they came, and were baptised. For John was not yet cast into prison.”
Solution: Mark tells us Jesus begins his ministry after John the Baptist is in prison, whereas John says it was before John the Baptist was cast into prison. However, John’s account shows when Jesus began to teach in Judaea, whereas Mark records Jesus first teaching in Galilee. No contradiction.
- Matthew 15:4, “For God commanded, saying, Honour thy father and mother: and, He that curseth father or mother, let him die the death.” and Luke 14:26, “If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.”
Solution: Are we to honour our parents, or hate them? Jesus tells us to honour our parents, but this should not be superior to our obedience to God. If our parents ask us to forsake God or not follow Christ for example, we should honour God instead. Matthew 10:37 says, “He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.” No contradiction.
- Luke 11:1, “And it came to pass, that, as he was praying in a certain place, when he ceased, one of his disciples said unto him, Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples.” and Matthew 6:9, “After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.”
Solution: In Luke, Jesus teaches only the disciples the Lord’s prayer. However, in Matthew it was taught to many during the Sermon on the Mount. There is nothing to say that Jesus could not have taught it more than once. No contradiction.
- John 16:33, “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” and Matthew 10:34, “Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.”
Solution: Did Jesus come to bring peace or not? He brought a spiritual and eternal peace to the saved, as we have the blessed hope of salvation (Titus 2:13, Romans 5:1, 8:6), but he did not come to bring a worldly peace during our time on earth. No contradiction.
- Mark 15:43, “Joseph of Arimathaea, an honourable counsellor, which also waited for the kingdom of God, came, and went in boldly unto Pilate, and craved the body of Jesus.” and John 19:38, “And after this Joseph of Arimathaea, being a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews, besought Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus: and Pilate gave him leave. He came therefore, and took the body of Jesus.”
Solution: Did Joseph of Arimathaea request Jesus’ body “boldly” or “secretly”? His boldness is when he is talking to Pilate, his secrecy meant he kept the meeting quiet because he feared the Jews. No contradiction.
- Genesis 6:6, “And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart.” and Numbers 23:19, “God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?”
Solution: Can God repent or not? The difference in these two verses is the way that repent is used. In Genesis 6:6 repent is referring to God’s sorrow when he sees man’s wickedness. In Numbers 23:19 repent refers to God going back on his promise and saying he will do something and then it not coming to pass, which God cannot do. God is unchanging (Malachi 3:6) and his personality does not change, but he can change his mind as long as it does not involve going back on his word. No contradiction.
Are there contradictions?
As we have seen, the King James Bible is the perfect and flawless word of God and does not contain any errors. Although these are only some of the supposed ‘contradictions’, by examining each one there is a solution. We encourage you to do this with any apparent errors you may find.
Skeptics often misunderstand verses in the Bible and call this a contradiction, but there is always a logical solution. This testifies to the King James Bible being inspired by God, as so many authors over thousands of years could not have created one cohesive book by themselves that never contradicts itself, nor makes mistakes about science, history, mathematics, and never has been, nor ever will be, proven wrong.