Doesn't the Bible contradict itself?

Yes, there are several passages in the Bible which would seem to contradict each other, or contradict reason, or contradict our own perceived logic. The explanations of these apparent contradictions, particularly in response to atheistic charges of biblical errancy, are better left to professional apologists. Christian apologetics is the primary defender of attacks against biblical inerrancy. For those who hold to the Bible as the inerrant truth of God, as well as those who question its absolute authority, scriptural conflicts cannot simply be ignored or explained away as mysteries beyond our comprehension. The problem is that if there are contradictions in the Bible, then it cannot be totally inerrant, and therefore, cannot be totally reliable. Fundamentally, just one contradiction -- a passage in one book and chapter which challenges and ultimately nullifies the truthfulness of another -- would then discount the credibility of the Bible as a whole. As a believer, one or two seeming contradictions may not be sufficient enough to challenge the faith, nor be of concern for debate with an unbeliever. However, once they begin to add up, it can be challenging enough to contend for the faith of even the most legalistic of Christians. A closer look at some of the more glaring contradictions is necessary, semantics aside, because the Bible cannot contradict itself... or can it? Although some explanations may not seem adequate enough for the average, objective intellect, ultimately the Bible needs no defense if it is the absolute word of God. On the other hand, since it was introduced to mankind and written, compiled, transcribed, translated, and interpreted by men, then it does bear the responsibility of explanation and/or clarification.

        "Do not answer a fool according to his folly, or you will be like him yourself. Answer a fool according to his folly, or he will be wise in his own eyes." (Proverbs 26:4-5)

From an apologetic viewpoint, the Bible transcriptions we have today are roughly 95-98% accurate from the original manuscripts, of which none have survived. This is a major source of contention for many an athiest, since Bible adherents can pick and choose verses from different translations to aid in their defense, both presuming and speculating what the originals really meant. In his book, The Encyclopedia of Biblical Errancy, author C. Dennis McKinsey states on page 44, "I have often told apologists who constantly use this tactic that they should put aside the King James, the New American Standard, the Revised Standard, and every other well known version of the Bible on the market and, instead, write their own version of the Bible... Are we going to interpret a verse by how it is written or how biblicists say it should have been written? This kind of defense has to be squashed immediately; otherwise, apologists will be able to run from version to version as expediency dictates and choose the wording they prefer. Before people can even discuss or debate the Bible, there has to be some common ground upon which to operate. There must be just one version of each verse, otherwise chaos will reign. How can people discuss a book upon which there is no agreement as to the words that are on the page?" A possible answer to this is twofold -- that the original languages which the Scriptures were written are difficult to translate in word and meaning and that God has allowed this to be so. If there are several translations, each developed by hundreds of scholars, then so be it. More than one version may be used to explain a book which is already difficult to grasp, even in its most literal and straightforward passages. To this, McKinsey states on pages 30-31, "Bible adherents are deceived into believing they don't have to worry, that scholars have brought forth that which came from the horse's mouth so to speak. In point of fact, they have no way of substantiating a guarantee of that kind. They are wishing and hoping while projecting an aura of certainty." Of this we can be certain, that scholars are doing their best to accurately transcribe the Bible from the most reliable sources and believers are guided by faith to accept in their own generation and language that it still remains the inspired word of God.

        "Where is the wise man? Where is the scholar? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. Jews demand miraculous signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than man's wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man's strength." (1 Corinthians 1:20-25)

Did God create man before or after plants?
(Genesis 1:11-13 vs Genesis 2:4-7)

According to the first chapter of Genesis, plants and trees sprang up before man was created, however, according to the second chapter of Genesis, it seems that plants may not have appeared until after man was created.

Did God form birds from water or land?
(Genesis 1:20-21 vs Genesis 2:19)

According to the first chapter of Genesis, birds may have been formed from water at the time when water creatures were created, however, according to the second chapter of Genesis, birds were created from out of the ground.

Did God make man before the animals or after?
(Genesis 1:25-26 vs Genesis 2:18-19)

According to the first chapter of Genesis, animals were created before man, however, the second chapter of Genesis seems to place the creation of animals after man.

Does God get tired and have to rest?
(Genesis 2:2-3, Exodus 31:17, and Hebrews 4:4, 9-10 vs Isaiah 40:28 and John 5:17)

According to Genesis, God rested from all his work on the seventh day. According to Exodus, the seventh day was made a Sabbath day of rest as a sign between God and the Israelites. Hebrews reminds us that there remains a day of rest because God rested from his work. However, according to Isaiah, God never grows weary and according to John, God never stopped working.

If God told Adam he would die after eating the forbidden fruit, then why didn't he?
(Genesis 2:6-7 vs Genesis 5:5)

According to the second chapter of Genesis, God promised Adam that if he ate from the tree of the knowledge of good then he would die, however, he ate from it and went on to live 930 years.

Has anyone before Christ ever gone into heaven?
(Genesis 5:24, 2 Kings 2:11 and Hebrews 11:5 vs John 3:13)

According to Genesis and Hebrews, Enoch was taken away by God before he could experience death. According to 2 Kings, Elijah was the second person taken alive by God and was reported to have gone to heaven. However, according to John, no one but Christ has ever gone into heaven.

Did Jesus exclude Noah and Job when he said that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God?
(Genesis 6:9 and Job 1:1, 8 vs Romans 3:23)

According to Genesis and Job, both Noah and Job were righteous men in God's sight. Does this mean that they still fell short of the glory of God, according to Romans?

Did Noah take two of each clean animal or seven of each onto the ark?
(Genesis 6:19-20 and Genesis 7:2-3 vs Genesis 7:8-9)

According to the sixth and seventh chapters of Genesis, God ordered that two of every animal be taken onto the ark and seven of every clean animal be taken onto the ark, however, when it came time to board, only two of each of the clean and unclean animals entered the ark.

Did the Nephilim survive the flood?
(Genesis 7:21-23 vs Numbers 13:33)

According to the seventh chapter of Genesis, all living creatures on land were killed in the flood. A report in Numbers records a sighting of the Nephilim, who, according to Genesis chapter six, were around before the flood.

What kind of living creatures are permissable by God for man to eat?
(Genesis 9:3 and Acts 10:9-16 vs Leviticus 11 and Deuteronomy 14)

According to Genesis chapter nine, God told Adam and Eve "Everything that lives and moves will be food for you. Just as I gave you the green plants, I now give you everything." When the Law of Moses was established, only certain animals were permitted as food as outlined in Leviticus chapter 11 and Deuteronomy chapter 14. According to Acts, God told Peter that all animals were once again to be considered food. Why?

Was there really only one common language over the whole earth before the Tower of Babel?
(Genesis 10 vs Genesis 11)

According to Genesis chapter 11, the whole world had one common language, which was confounded by God during the construction of the tower of Babel, however, according to the previous chapter, each clan had its own language.

Who was the father of Shelah -- Arphaxad or Cainan?
(Genesis 10:24, 11:12 vs Luke 3:36)

According to Genesis 10:24 and 11:12, Arphaxad was the father of Shelah, however, Luke 3:36 claims that Shelah was the son of Cainan and that Arphaxad was his grandfather.

How old was Abraham when he left Haram for the Promised Land?
(Genesis 11:26, 32 and Acts 7:4 vs Genesis 12:4)

Genesis 12:4 plainly states that Abraham was seventy-five years old when he left Haran, however, according to calculations based on Genesis chapter 11 and Acts 7:4, he may have been over 135.

Who dug the well called Beersheba -- Abraham or Isaac?
(Genesis 21:27, 30-31 vs Genesis 26:32-33)

According to Genesis chapter 21, Abraham was responsible for the well named Beersheba, however, Genesis chapter 26 attributes it to Isaac.

Does God tempt man?
(Genesis 22:1 vs James 1:13)

According to Genesis 22:1, God tempted Abraham to sacrifice his son, however, James 1:13 states that God tempts no one.

Did Abraham know God by his name?
(Genesis 22:14 vs Exodus 6:2-3)

According to Genesis chapter 22, Abraham knew God by the name which was later revealed to Moses ("I AM"), however, according to Exodus chapter 6, God told Moses that he did not reveal this name to Abraham.

Was Keturah Abraham's wife or his concubine?
(Genesis 25:1-2 vs 1 Chronicles 1:32)

Both Genesis and 1 Chronicles agree on the names of the sons born to Abraham by Keturah, however, they differ as to her relationship to him.

Was Jacob's son Benjamin a young boy or an older man when his clan entered Egypt?
(Genesis 44 vs Genesis 46)

According to Genesis chapter 44, Jacob's youngest son Jacob was just a boy, however, according to Genesis chapter 46, Jacob had ten sons.

Was the seventh tribe of Israel Dan or Manasseh?
(Genesis 49:16 vs Revelation 7:6)

According to Genesis 49:16, Dan was the seventh tribe of Israel, however, according to Revelation 7:6, Manasseh was the seventh tribe of Israel.

Is the ark of the covenant a graven image?
(Exodus 20:4 vs Exodus 25:18-20)

According to Exodus 20:4, God commanded, "You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below," however, according to Exodus 25:18-20, God ordered Moses to create the likeness of two cherubim.

Does God punish children for the sins of their parents?
(Exodus 20:5 and Isaiah 14:20-21 vs Deuteronomy 24:16 and Ezekiel 18:20)

According to Exodus and Isaiah, children are punished for the sins of their fathers, however, according to Deuteronomy and Ezekiel, children are not punished for the sins of their fathers.

Does God violate his own commandments?
(Exodus 20:13 vs Exodus 32:27)

According to Exodus 20:13, one of the ten commandments is not to kill, however, according to Exodus 32:27, God orders the Israelites to kill their enemies.

Who wrote the ten commandments, God or Moses?
(Exodus 34:1 vs Exodus 34:27)

According to Exodus 34:1, God told Moses that he himself would write down the commandments, however, in Exodus 34:27, God tells Moses to write them down.

Does God repent?
(Numbers 23:19 and 1 Samuel 15:29 vs Exodus 32:14, Jeremiah 15:6, and Amos 7:3-6)

According to Numbers and 1 Samuel, God does not repent, however, according to Exodus and Amos, God does repent. Jeremiah even says that God was weary with repenting.

How many Israelites died from the plague as a result of sexual immorality with the Moabites?
(Numbers 25:8-9 vs 1 Corinthians 10:8)

According to Numbers, 24,000 Israelites died from a plague as a result of sexual immorality with the Moabites, however, according to 1 Corinthians, 23,000 died.

How many animals were to be sacrificed on the first of every month?
(Numbers 28:11-13 vs Ezekiel 46:6-7)

According to Numbers, on the first of every month two bulls, one ram, and seven lambs were to be sacrificed, however, according to Ezekiel, one bull, six lambs, and one ram were to be sacrificed.

Which clan inherited Eshtaol and Zorah -- Judah or Dan?
(Joshua 15 vs Joshua 19)

According to Joshua chapter 15, the tribe of Judah inherited the lands of Eshtaol and Zorah, however, according to Joshua chapter 19, these lands were inherited by the tribe of Dan.

Who occupied Aijalon and Gath Rimmon before the Kohathites, the tribe of Dan or Ephraim?
(Joshua 21:20-24 vs 1 Chronicles 6:66-69)

Both Joshua and 1 Chronicles agree that the Kohathites inherited the lands of Aijalon and Gath Rimmon, however, Joshua claims that these lands formerly belonged to the tribe of Dan while 1 Chronicles claims that they formerly belonged to the tribe of Ephraim.

Is there anything too hard for God?
(Judges 1:19 vs Jeremiah 32:27)

According to Judges 1:19, God drove out the inhabitants of the mountain but could not drive out the inhabitants of the valley because they had chariots of iron, however, according to Jeremiah 32:27, there is nothing too hard for the God of all flesh.

When was the first time that Saul met David?
(1 Samuel 16:21-23 vs 1 Samuel 17:55-58)

According to 1 Samuel chapter 16, Saul first met David before going to battle against the Philistines, however, according to chapter 17, it wasn't until after the battle was over that he met David for the first time.

Who was high priest when David and his men ate the consecrated bread, Ahimelech or Abiathar?
(1 Samuel 21:1-6 vs Mark 2:25-26)

According to 1 Samuel chapter 21, Ahimelech was high priest when David and his men went to Nob and ate the loaves of consecrated bread, however, according to Mark chapter 2, Jesus said that it was Ahimelech's son Abiathar who was high priest during this incident.

Did David capture 1,700 or 7,000 horsemen from Hadadezer king of Zobah?
(2 Samuel 8:4 vs 1 Chronicles 18:4)

According to 2 Samuel 8:4, David captured 1,700 horsemen and 20,000 foot soldiers from King Hadadezer, however, according to the same account in 1 Chronicles 18:4, David captured 7,000 horsemen and 20,000 foot soldiers.

How many Aramean charioteers did David kill -- 700 or 7,000?
(2 Samuel 10:17-18 vs 1 Chronicles 19:17-18)

According to 2 Samuel chapter 10, David crossed the Jordan River and killed 700 Aramean charioteers and 40,000 of their foot soldiers, however, according to the same account in 1 Chronicles chapter 19, he killed 7,000 of their charioteers.

How many sons did Absalom have?
(2 Samuel 14:27 vs 2 Samuel 18:18)

According to 2 Samuel chapter 14, Absalom had three sons, however, according to 2 Samuel chapter 18, he claimed he had no son to carry on his name.

Who was chief of David's mighty men and how many men did he kill in one encounter?
(2 Samuel 23:8 vs 1 Chronicles 11:11)

According to 2 Samuel chapter 23, David's mighty men were led by Josheb-Basshebeth, a Tahkemonite, who killed 800 men in one encounter, however, the same account in 1 Chronicles chapter 11 records David's chief as Jashobeam, a Hacmonite, who killed 300 men in one encounter.

Did the LORD or Satan incite David to take a census of Israel?
(2 Samuel 24:1 vs 1 Chronicles 21:1)

According to 2 Samuel chapter 24, the anger of the LORD burned against Israel and he incited David to take a census of Israel and Judah, however, according to the same account in 1 Chronicles chapter 21:1, it was Satan who rose up against Israel and incited David to take a census.

How many fighting men did Joab report to David?
(2 Samuel 24:9 vs 1 Chronicles 21:5)

According to 2 Samuel chapter 24, Joab reported the number of the fighting men to King David as 800,000 in Israel and 500,000 in Judah, however, according to the same account in 1 Chronicles chapter 21, Joab reported 1,100,000 men in Israel and 470,000 in Judah.

Did Gad offer David the option of seven years of famine or three?
(2 Samuel 24:13 vs 1 Chronicles 21:11-12)

According to 2 Samuel chapter 24, Gad the prophet came to David and offered him the option of either seven years of famine over the land, three months of being pursued by his enemies, or three days of pestilence. However, the same account in 1 Chronicles chapter 21 records Gad's offer as either three years of famine, three months of being pursued by his enemies, or three days of pestilence.

How much did David pay Araunah for the threshing floor and oxen?
(2 Samuel 24:24 vs 1 Chronicles 21:24-25)

According to 2 Samuel chapter 24, David paid Araunah 50 shekels of silver for his threshing floor and oxen, however, according to the same account in 1 Chronicles 21, David paid him 600 shekels of gold.

How many stalls for chariot horses did Solomon have -- 40,000 or 4,000?
(1 Kings 4:26 vs 2 Chronicles 9:25)

According to 1 Kings chapter 4, Solomon had forty thousand stalls for chariot horses and twelve thousand horses, however, according to the same account in 2 Chronicles chapter 9, he had only 4,000 stalls.

How many foremen did Solomon have to oversee the building of the temple -- 3,300 or 3,600?
(1 Kings 5:15-16 vs 2 Chronicles 2:18)

According to 1 Kings chapter 5 and 2 Chronicles chapter 2, both agree that Solomon had 70,000 carriers and 80,000 stonecutters for the building of the temple, however, 1 Kings records the number of foremen overseeing the job as 3,300, while 2 Chronicles records the number of foremen as 3,600.

How many baths did the Sea of cast metal hold -- 2,000 or 3,000?
(1 Kings 7:26 vs 2 Chronicles 4:5, )

According to the description of the metal Sea in the temple, both 1 Kings chapter 7 and 2 Chronicles chapter 4 agree that it was a handbreadth in thickness, however, 1 Kings records its volume as 2,000 baths, while 2 Chronicles records it as 3,000 baths.

Does God dwell in the temple in Jerusalem?
(1 Kings 8:12-13 and 2 Chronicles 7:16 vs Acts 17:24)

According to 1 Kings chapter 8, Solomon built the temple in Jerusalem as a dwelling place for God. According to 2 Chronicles chapter 7, God said he would be present in the temple forever. However, according to Acts chapter 17, God does not live in temples built by hands.

How much gold did Hiram's men bring to King Solomon from Ophir -- 420 talents or 450 talents?
(1 Kings 9:27-28 vs 2 Chronicles 8:18)

According to 1 Kings chapter 9, Solomon's sailors, along with the assistance of Hiram's men, brought back 420 talents of gold from Ophir, however, 2 Chronicles chapter 8 records the amount of gold from Ophir as 450 talents.

When did Baasha king of Israel die and his son Elah begin to reign?
(1 Kings 16:6, 8 vs 2 Chronicles 16:1)

According to 1 Kings chapter 16, Elah became king of Israel after his father Baasha died, which was in the 26th year of the reign of Asa king of Judah. However, according to 2 Chronicles chapter 16, Baasha was still alive during Asa's 36th year as king of Judah.

Was Christ the first to rise from the dead?
(1 Kings 17:21-23, 2 Kings 4:32-35, 2 Kings 13:21, Luke 7:12-15, and John 11:43-44 vs Acts 26:22-23)

According to Acts chapter 26, Paul proclaimed to King Agrippa that Christ was the first to rise from the dead, however, according to 1 Kings chapter 17, Elijah resurrected a young boy, according to 2 Kings chapter 4, Elisha also raised a young boy from the dead, according to 2 Kings chapter 13, the dead body of a man came to life when it touched the remains of Elisha's body, according to Luke chapter 7, Jesus brought back to life the dead body of a young man, and according to John chapter 11, Jesus also resurrected Lazarus from the dead.

How old was Jehoiachin when he became king of Judah and how long did he reign?
(2 Kings 24:8 vs 2 Chronicles 36:9)

According to 2 Kings chapter 24, Jehoiachin was 18 years old when he became king and he reigned in Jerusalem three months, however, according to 2 Chronicles chapter 36, he was 8 years old when he became king and he reigned in Jerusalem three months and ten days."

How old was Ahaziah when he became king of Judah -- 22 or 42?
(2 Kings 8:26 vs 2 Chronicles 22:2)

According to 2 Kings chapter 8, Ahaziah was 22 years old when he became king and he reigned in Jerusalem one year, however, according to 2 Chronicles chapter 22, he was 42 years old when he became king.

When did Nebuzaradan of Babylon burn down all the important buildings of Jerusalem?
(2 Kings 25:8-9 vs Jeremiah 52:12-13)

According to 2 Kings chapter 25 and Jeremiah chapter 52, Nebuzaradan, commander of the imperial guard of the king of Babylon, came to Jerusalem and set fire to every important building, including the temple and royal palace. However, the accounts recorded in each are off by three days.

What was the height of each of the two pillars and their capitals in the house of the Lord?
(1 Kings 7:15-16 and Jeremiah 52:21-22 vs 2 Kings 25:17 vs 2 Chronicles 3:15, 17)

The accounts in 1 Kings 7, 2 Kings 25, 2 Chronicles 3, and Jeremiah 52 are all similar in their description and measurements of the temple in Jerusalem, however, only two of them agree on the height of the two pillars as being 18 cubits and the capitals as being 5 cubits. 2 Kings chapter 25 records the capitals as 3 cubits and 2 Chronicles chapter 3 records the pillars at 35 cubits.

Was Maacah the daughter of Uriel or Absalom?
(2 Chronicles 11:18-20 vs 2 Chronicles 13:1-2)

According to 2 Chronicles chapter 11, Maacah was the daughter of Absalom, however, according to 2 Chronicles chapter 13, she was the daughter of Uriel.

Did Jehoshaphat remove the pagan high places from Judah during his reign?
(2 Chronicles 17:5-6 vs 2 Chronicles 20:32-33 and 1 Kings 22:43)

According to 2 Chronicles chapter 17, Jehoshaphat removed the high places and the Asherah poles from Judah, however, according to 2 Chronicles chapter 20 and 1 Kings chapter 22, he did not remove the high places.

Did Jehoahaz or Shallum succeed Josiah as king of Judah?
(2 Chronicles 36:1 vs Jeremiah 22:11)

According to 2 Chronicles chapter 36, Jehoahaz son of Josiah was made king in Jerusalem in place of his father, however, according to Jeremiah chapter 22, Shallum son of Josiah succeeded his father as king of Judah.

How many of each family returned to Judah from Babylonian captivity?
(Ezra 2 vs Nehemiah 7)

Did the exiles from Babylon return to Jerusalem with 200 or 245 singers?

Ezra 2:65, "...and they also had 200 men and women singers."

Nehemiah 7:67, "...and they also had 245 men and women singers."

How much gold, silver, and priestly garments were donated toward the rebuilding of Jerusalem upon returning from Babylonian captivity?
(Ezra 2:69 vs Nehemiah 7:70-72)

According to Ezra chapter 2, the people returning from Babylonian captivity gave to the treasury for rebuilding Jerusalem 61,000 drachmas of gold, 5,000 minas of silver, and 100 priestly garments. However, according to Nehemiah chapter 7, the total given was 41,000 drachmas of gold, 4,200 minas of silver, and 597 priestly garments.

Were the stars created before or after the earth?
(Job 38:4-7 vs Genesis 1:14-19)

According to Genesis chapter 1, the stars were created after the earth, however, according to Job chapter 38, the stars were already in place when God laid the foundations of the earth.

Are fools acceptable to God?
(Psalm 5:5 vs 1 Corinthians 4:10)

According to Psalms, the foolish shall not stand in the sight of God, however, according to 1 Corinthians chapter 4, Paul considered himself and the other leaders to be fools.

Are God's laws perfect?
(Psalm 19:7 vs Hebrews 8:6-7)

According to Psalms, the law of the LORD is perfect, however, according to Hebrews chapter 8, the covenant of which Jesus is mediator is superior to the old one, and it is founded on better promises. Hebrews also states that if there had been nothing wrong with the first covenant, no place would have been sought for another.

Will the earth last forever or not?
(Psalm 78:69 vs Psalm 102:25-26)

According to Psalm 78, God established the earth forever, however, according to Psalm 102, the earth will perish.

Does God respect people?
(Psalm 138:6 vs Romans 2:11)

According to Psalms, God is a respecter of the lowly, however, according to Romans, God is no respecter of persons.

Is wisdom a blessing or a cause of grief?
(Proverbs 3:13-18 vs Ecclesiastes 1:12-18)

According to Proverbs, wisdom is a blessing which brings peace and is to be sought, however, according to the same author in Ecclesiastes, wisdom is a chasing after the wind which brings grief and sorrow.

Should a fool be answered according to his folly?
(Proverbs 26:4 vs Proverbs 26:5)

According to Proverbs 26:4, "Do not answer a fool according to his folly, or you will be like him yourself," however, according to Proverbs 26:5, "Answer a fool according to his folly, or he will be wise in his own eyes."

Which is better, to be happy or sad?
(Ecclesiastes 7:2-4 vs Ecclesiastes 8:15)

According to Ecclesiastes chapter 7, mourning and sorrow are better than feasting and laughter, however, according to the chapter following it, there is no better thing under the sun than eating, drinking, and merry making.

Did God command burnt offerings of the Israelites after leaving Egypt?
(Jeremiah 7:22-23 vs Exodus 20:24)

According to Exodus chapter 20, God commanded sacrifices of burnt offerings from the Israelites after leaving Egypt, however, according to Jeremiah chapter 7, he denied commanding burnt offerings of them at that time.

When did Nebuchadnezzar besiege Jerusalem?
(Jeremiah 25:1 vs Daniel 1:1)

According to Daniel, Nubchadnezzar king of Babylon besieged Jerusalem in the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah, however, according to Jeremiah, this event was not prophesied until the fourth year of Jehoiakim's reign, which was the first year Nubchadnezzar became king.

Did Zedekiah see Nebuchadnezzar with his own eyes?
(Jeremiah 34:3 vs 2 Kings 25:7)

Jeremiah had prophesied that Zedekiah king of Judah would be taken captive to Babylon and see king Nebuchadnezzar with his own eyes, however, according to 2 Kings chapter 25, Zedekiah's eyes were put out before being taken captive to Babylon.

Did Jehoiachin son of Jehoiakim sit on the throne of David?
(Jeremiah 36:30 vs 2 Kings 24:6)

Jeremiah prophesied that Jehoiakim king of Judah would have no sons as successors, however, according to 2 Kings chapter 24, his son Jehoiachin succeeded him as king.

How many royal advisers did Nubuzaradan capture from Jerusalem -- five or seven?
(Jeremiah 52:24-25 vs 2 Kings 25:18-19)

According to Jeremiah the prophet, Nubuzaradan, the commander of the Babylonian guard, took as prisoner seven royal advisers from Jerusalem, however, according to 2 Kings chapter 25, he took only five advisers.

When was Jehoiachin king of Judah released from prison under Babylonian captivity?
(Jeremiah 52:31 vs 2 Kings 25:27)

Both Jeremiah and the author of 2 Kings chapter 25 agree that Jehoiachin king of Judah was released after 37 years of Babylonian captivity in the year Evil-Merodach became king of Babylon, however, they are off by two days of each other.

Where did the parents of the infant Jesus take him after leaving Jerusalem?
(Matthew 2:13-15 vs Luke 2:39)

According to Matthew chapter 2, Mary and Joseph took the infant Jesus and fled to Egypt, however, according to Luke chapter 2, they went home to Nazareth in Galilee.

Where did Jesus go after his baptism?
(Matthew 4:1, Mark 1:12, and Luke 4:1-2 vs John 1:35-2:2)

According to the three synoptic gospels (Matthew, Mark, and Luke), after his baptism in the Jordan River, Jesus was led by the Holy Spirit into the desert for forty days to be tempted by Satan. However, according to the gospel of John, he stayed in the region for another day and then went to Galilee where he attended a wedding.

Should good deeds be done in the open or in secret?
(Matthew 5:16 vs Matthew 6:3-4)

According to Matthew chapter 5, Jesus said to let good deeds be seen that others may praise the Father in heaven, however, in the next chapter he is reported to say that one such good deed, that of giving to the needy, should be done in secret.

Was Jesus in danger of the fires of hell for calling others fools?
(Matthew 5:22 vs Matthew 23:16-17 and Luke 11:39-40)

According to Matthew chapter 5, Jesus said that to call someone a fool would put themselves in danger of the fires of hell, however, according to Matthew chapter 23 and Luke chapter 11, Jesus himself called the Pharisees a bunch of fools.

In Capernaum, did the centurion himself approach Jesus or did he send others on his behalf?
(Matthew 8:5-13 vs Luke 7:1-10)

According to Matthew, a centurion came to Jesus in Capernaum to ask that his servant be healed, however, according to Luke, the centurion sent Jewish elders and firends on his behalf to ask Jesus for healing.

Who was the tenth apostle, Lebbaeus surnamed Thaddaeus or Judas son of James?
(Matthew 10:2-4 and Mark 3:16-19 vs Luke 6:13-16 and Acts 1:13)

The three synoptic gospels (Matthew, Mark, and Luke) list the twelve apostles, however, Luke lists the tenth apostle as Judas son of James, whereas Matthew and Mark consider it to be Thaddaeus. Since Luke wrote the Book of Acts, Judas son of James is listed here as one of the original Twelve.

Did Jesus return during his generation?
(Matthew, Mark, and Luke vs Reality)

According to Mathew 10:23, 16:28 and 24:34, Mark 13:30, and Luke 21:32, Jesus gave several indications that his second coming would be during the generation which witnessed his first coming.

Was John the Baptist Elijah?
(Matthew 11:13-14, 17:11-13 and Mark 9:13 vs John 1:19-23)

According to Matthew and Mark, Jesus considered John the Baptist to be the return of Elijah, however, according to John, John the Baptist denied he was Elijah.

Was the thief on the cross with Jesus in paradise that same day?
(Matthew 12:40 vs Luke 23:43)

According to Matthew chapter 12, Jesus claimed that after his death he would be in the heart of the earth for three days and three nights, however, according to Luke chapter 23, he told the thief on the cross that he would be with him in paradise that same day.

Should we honor our father and mother or hate them?
(Matthew 15:3-6 vs Luke 14:26)

According to Matthew chapter 15, Jesus scolded the Pharisees for not upholding the commandment to honor their father and mother, however, according to Luke chapter 14, he said that if anyone came to him without hating their father and mother, then they couldn't be his disciples.

When was Jesus transfigured?
(Matthew 17:1-2 and Mark 9:2 vs Luke 9:28-29)

According to Matthew and Mark, Jesus went to the mountain to be transfigured six days after arriving at Caesarea Philippi, however, according to Luke, he embarked to the mountain about 8 days later.

Did the cursed fig tree wither immediately or over night?
(Matthew 21:18-22 vs Mark 11:12-14, 20-24)

According to Matthew chapter 21, Jesus cursed the fig tree and it immediately withered, however, according to Mark chapter 11, its withering wasn't noticeable until the next day.

Did the rooster crow before or after Peter's denial and how many times did it crow?
(Matthew 26, Luke 22, and John 13 and 18 vs Mark 14)

All four of the gospels agree that Peter disowned Jesus three times during his trial before the rooster crowed, however, Mark reports that it wasn't until after the rooster crowed a second time that Peter realized what he had done.

Who bought the Field of Blood, Judas or the Pharisees?
(Matthew 27:5-10 vs Acts 1:18-19)

According to Matthew chapter 27, it was the chief priests who bought the potter's field as a burial place for foreigners, however, according to Acts chapter 1, it was Judas Iscariot who purchased the field.

How did Judas kill himself?
(Matthew 27:5-8 vs Acts 1:18-19)

According to Matthew chapter 27, Judas hanged himself, however, according to Acts chapter 1, he fell headlong into a field and his body burst open and all his intestines spilled out.

Did Jesus carry his cross to Golgotha?
(Matthew 27:32-33, Mark 15:21-22, and Luke 23:26 vs John 19:17)

According to the synoptic gospels (Matthew, Mark, and Luke), Jesus was unable to carry his cross all the way to Golgotha, so the Roman soldiers forced Simon of Cyrene to carry it, however, according to John, Jesus carried his own cross all the way.

What was Jesus offered to drink at Golgotha?
(Matthew 27:33-34 vs Mark 15:22-23 vs John 19:28-29)

According to Matthew, the Roman soldiers at Golgotha offered Jesus wine mixed with gall, which he tried but refused. According to Mark, they offered him wine mixed with myrrh, which he didn't drink. According to John, they offered him wine vinigar, which he requested and drank.

Did both of the thieves who were crucified with Jesus hurl insults or just one?
(Matthew 27:44 and Mark 15:32 vs Luke 23:39-43)

According to Matthew and Mark, the two thieves crucified with Christ both hurled insults at Jesus, however, according to Luke, only one thief insulted Christ while the other rebuked him and asked Jesus for mercy.

What were the last words of Jesus on the cross?
(Matthew 27:46 and Mark 15:34 vs Luke 23:46 vs John 19:30)

According to Matthew and Mark, Jesus' last words on the cross were, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" According to Luke, his last words were, "Father, into your hands I commit my spirit." According to John, his last words were, "It is finished."

When Jesus died, did the centurion call him the Son of God or a righteous man?
(Matthew 27:54 and Mark 15:39 vs Luke 23:47)

According to both Matthew and Mark, the centurion standing near the cross of Jesus exclaimed, "Surely this man was the Son of God!" However, Luke records the centurion's words as, "Surely this was a righteous man."

Were the female followers of Jesus close to the cross or at a distance?
(Matthew 27:55-56, Mark 15:40-41 and Luke 23:49 vs John 19:25-27)

According to the synoptic gospels (Matthew, Mark, and Luke), all of Jesus' followers, particularly the female disciples, stood at a distance from the cross. However, according to John, they stood near enough to have a conversation with the crucified Christ.

Who went to the tomb of Jesus on the first of the week and what did they see?
(Matthew 28:1-3 vs Mark 16:1-5 vs Luke 24:1-4, 9-10 vs John 20:1-12)

All four gospels agree that the burial site of Jesus was visited early on the first day of the week by female disciples who saw the stone rolled away from the entrance of an empty tomb, along with the appearance of an angel dressed in bright white. However, they don't quite agree about who went to the tomb, how many angels there were, and the exact sequence in which it all happened.

Where did Jesus make his final appearance to his disciples and how many were present?
(Matthew 28:16-17 and Mark 16:14 vs Luke 24:33-36, vs John 20:19, 24-26)

All four gospels agree that Jesus appeared to the remaining apostles after his death and resurrection, however, they do not all agree about where he appeared or who was present.

Should Christians obey God rather than men?
(Acts 5:29 vs Romans 13:1-2 and 1 Peter 2:13-14)

According to Romans 13 and 1 Peter 2, believers should submit to all authorities established among men, however, according to Acts 5, some of the apostles defied authority and said, "We must obey God rather than men!"

What did Saul's traveling companions see and hear on their way to Damascus?
(Acts 9:7 vs Acts 22:9)

According to Acts chapters 9 and 22, Paul and his companions experienced the presence of the Lord on their way to Damascus, however, both accounts don't quite agree as to how everyone but Paul comprehended it.

Are all who call on the name of the Lord saved?
(Romans 10:12-13 vs Matthew 7:21)

According to Romans (which is Paul quoting Joel 2:32), "Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved." However, according to Matthew, Jesus said that not everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved, "but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven."

Should Christians try to please everyone?
(Romans 15:1-2 and 1 Corinthians 10:32-33 vs Galations 1:10)

According to Romans chapter 15 and 1 Corinthians chapter 10, we should try to please everyone in every way, however, according to Galations chapter 1, which was written by the same author, a servant of Christ does not try to please men.

Should Christians judge others or not?
(1 Corinthians 2:15-16 vs 1 Corinthians 4:3-5)

According to 1 Corinthians chapter 2, "the spiritual man makes judgments about all things, but he himself is not subject to any man's judgment." However, according to 1 Corinthians chapter 4, the author of the previous passage also states, "It is the Lord who judges me. Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait till the Lord comes."

Should Christians bear one another's burdens or just their own?
(Galations 6:2 vs Galations 6:5)

According to Galations 6:2, we should bear one anothers burdens, however, according to version 6:5, we are to bear our own burdens.

Does God dwell in darkness or light?
(1 Timothy 6:15-16 vs Psalm 18:11-12, 97:2)

According to 1 Timothy chapter 6, God dwells in unapproachable light, however, according to Psalms chapters 18 and 97, God is surrounded by thick darkness.

Is all Scripture inspired by God?
(2 Timothy 3:16 vs 1 Corinthians 7:12, 25)

According to 2 Timothy chapter 3, all Scripture is inspired by God, however, the same author has taken the liberty of sharing his own opinion in 1 Corinthians chapter 7.

Are Christians without sin?
(1 John 1:8-10 vs 1 John 3:6, 9 and 1 John 5:18)

According to 1 John chapter 1, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us if we claim to be without sin. However, according to 1 John chapters 3 and 5, no one sins who is born of God and lives in him.

        "Sorrow is better than laughter: for by the sadness of the countenance the heart is made better. The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning; but the heart of fools is in the house of mirth." (Ecclesiastes 7:3-4, KJV)
        "Then I commended mirth, because a man hath no better thing under the sun, than to eat, and to drink, and to be merry: for that shall abide with him of his labour the days of his life, which God giveth him under the sun." (Ecclesiastes 8:15, KJV)

Holier Than Thou

Reference sources: 101 Cleared-Up Contradictions in the Bible! by Jay Smith, Alex Chowdhry, Toby Jepson, and James Schaeffer (; The Encyclopedia of Biblical Errancy, ©1995 by C. Dennis McKinsey, published by Prometheus Books, ISBN 0-87975-926-7; The KryssTal Web Site - Bible Contradictions, by Kryss Katsiavriades and Talaat Qureshi (; The Secular Web - A List of Biblical Contradictions, by Jim Merritt (; The Skeptic's Annotated Bible - Contradictions in the Bible (