Biblical Discrepancies and Contradictions: Just the Tip of the Iceberg

The world is aware of the fact that Christendom has been at odds with itself for a long time already, splitting into many denominations and Churches. However, they all claim adherence to the Bible. Let us take a brief look into some of the discrepancies and contradictions in the Bible, with the sole purpose of analyzing whether the Christian critics of Islam have a leg to stand on from their own position.

The New Testament is the second of the two major divisions of the Christian Bible. It comprises twenty-seven books[1], written by sixteen or seventeen authors.[2]

Bible readers and scholars, in many cases, overlook and turn a blind eye to the major textual problems of the New Testament. The New Testament is authoritative to Christianity only. There are discrepancies and loads of contradictions in the text that are not commonly addressed by Christian clergy.

Bear the following verse of the Noble Qur’an – stating its divine origin and authenticity -in mind as you read further,

Then do they not reflect upon the Qur’an? If it had been from [any] other than Allah, they would have found within it much contradiction.[3]

Discrepancies in the Bible about the Life of Sayyiduna ‘Isa ‘Alayhi as-salām (Jesus):

The birth of Sayyiduna ‘Isa ‘Alayhi as-salām (Jesus) is mentioned in Matthew and Luke. There is nothing about this (i.e., the Christmas story) in Mark and John. However, these two accounts about the birth of Sayyiduna ‘Isa ‘Alayhi as-salām (Jesus) are contrastingly different.

In fact, the differences in the accounts cannot be reconciled. What is said in Matthew is not in Luke and what is said in Luke is not found in Matthew.

Matthew speaks about dreams that came upon Joseph and Luke speaks about angelic visions to Elizabeth and Mary.

The account of Matthew contains wise men, the slaughter of children by Herod, the trip to Egypt, the family bypassing Judea to return to Nazareth. In the other account (Luke), the birth of John the Baptist is mentioned, the census of Caesar is covered, the trip to Bethlehem is spoken about, the manger and the inn are covered, as well as information about the shepherds, the circumcision, the presentation in the Temple, and the return home.

If Sayyiduna ‘Isa ‘Alayhi as-salām (Jesus) was born during the era of Herod according to one account, it cannot be simultaneously correct for him to be born during the time of Quirinius – as in Luke.

The hometown of Joseph and Mary is Nazareth according to Luke, but Bethlehem in Matthew.

The Voice at the Baptism: 3 Different Things

This is mentioned in Matthew, Mark, and Luke.

Matthew says, “This is my son, in whom I am well pleased.” (Understood to be addressed to people around Sayyiduna ‘Isa ‘Alayhi as-salām (Jesus) or John the Baptist.

Mark says, “You are my son, in whom I am well pleased.” (Here the voice seems to address Sayyiduna ‘Isa ‘Alayhi as-salām (Jesus).

Luke says, ‘“You are my son, today I have begotten you” (Here the voice indicates that baptism has made him special).

A Matter of Life & Death

In Mark (5: 21-43), we are told of a synagogue leader called Jairus. He comes to Sayyiduna ‘Isa ‘alayhi as-salām (Jesus) and asks him to hurry home with him because his daughter is ill and he wants Sayyiduna ‘Isa ‘alayhi as-salām (Jesus) to heal her. On the way, Sayyiduna ‘Isa ‘alayhi as-salām (Jesus) heals another person. Servants arrive to tell him that the daughter of Jairus has died. He then goes to the house and raises her from the dead.

However, in Mark’s version, Jairus comes to Sayyiduna ‘Isa ‘alayhi as-salām (Jesus) because his daughter has already died. He requests not healing, but to raise the girl from the dead.

Like this, if we continue reading, studying, and analyzing, we come to the safe conclusion that the Bible is loaded with discrepancies and irreconcilable differences. Soon, we shall look into some of the more problematic ones, Insha Allah.

Notes

References from: Jesus Interrupted, by Bart Ehrman.

  1. This is a list of the 27 books of the New Testament, ordered canonically according to most Christian traditions.

  2. Jesus, Interrupted, Bart D Erhman, p.20
  3. Sūrah An-Nisā’: 82
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