Bible Contradictions and Discrepancies
A Short List of Bible Contradictions and Discrepancies
Although this list of further Bible contradictions and discrepancies is nowhere near exhaustive, it just goes to show how many problematic, confusing, contradictory, contrary, and incoherent bits of scripture compound to create an incontrovertible problem for theists who believe the Bible is inerrant, or else divinely inspired, and are ready to pass these discrepancies off as merely misunderstandings and error in human judgement. However, most skeptics see the dismissal of such inherent problems as a form of deep seeded denial, not to mention an implicit admission that the periscopes in question are obviously confusing and do not reveal any clear or comprehensible message. And so, the fact remains, there are incontestable errors and mistakes within the Holy Bible.
How did they get their? Reason dictates that they probably crept in either because of shoddy dictation, poor transcription, or faulty translation, over nearly three thousand years of emendation and alteration to compound and form condradictions and discrepancies in abundance. Of the thousands of Bible errors, inconsistencies, descrepancies, if not outright contradictions which negate and counfound one another, suffice to say, I can only offer a concise overview.
Discovering the discrepancies for oneself simply comes down to a matter of reading the text and exercisizing some critical thinking skills. If your conclusion does not overwhelmingly prove to you the undeniable mistakes, errors, and contradictions therein then, I’m afraid, you simply have not read the text closely or exactingly enough. Such blatant errors cannot simply be dismissed. These Bible contradictions and discrepancies are very real indeed.
1) How many generations were there between Abraham and David?
Matthew 1:17 lists fourteen whereas Matthew 1:2 lists thirteen generations.
2) Is Paul lying?
In Acts 20:35 Paul told the people “to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’” Since Jesus never made such a biblical statement, isn’t Paul guilty of deception, fabrication, or perjury?
3) Is scripture inspired by God?
According to 2 Timothy 3:16 “all scripture is given by inspiration of God.” But again, Paul has his own agenda, which is made clear when he states, “But I speak this by permission and not by commandment,” (1 Corinthians 7:6); and “But to the rest speak I, not the Lord,” (1 Corinthians 7:12); as well as, “That which I speak, I speak I not after the Lord.” (2 Corinthians) Aren’t Christians being dishonest when they claim the whole of the Bible is “God inspired” as Paul took great pains to say it was not?
4) Did Jesus command Paul to Baptize others or not?
In 1 Corinthians 1:17 Paul clearly states that Jesus sent him not to baptize but to preach the Gospel. Consequently, this contradicts Jesus command to, “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them…” (Matthew 28:19)
5) Was the baby Jesus ever taken to Egypt?
Matthew 2:15, 19, and 21-23 tells that the infant Christ was taken into Egypt to escape the massacre of the innocents. Luke 2:22 and 39 the infant Christ was NOT taken to Egypt. Moreover, the massacre of the innocents is deemed redaction by New Testament historians. This means the event as told by Matthew and Luke is simply an interpolation, a literary technique by which they link the themes of one Messiah to give validity to the next by rewriting the Moses myth and the flight from a bloodthirsty pharaoh and fitting it into the new work of fiction. Notably, there is no historical account of Herod the Great killing any children during any period.
6) Where did Jesus preach the first Beatitudes?
In Matthew 5:1-2 Jesus preached his first sermon on the mount, but in Luke 6:17 and 20 he preached his sermon in the plain. A mountain is distinctly not a plain.
7) Who did Jesus tell the Lord’s Prayer to?
In Matthew 5:1, 6:9-13 and 7:28 Jesus delivered the Lord’s Prayer during the Sermon on the Mount before the multitudes (round about 5,000 people according to scripture), but Luke 11:1-4 he delivered it before the disciples alone, and not as part of the Sermon on the Mount.
8) What, exactly, did Jesus instruct them to take?
Matthew 10:10 Jesus instructed them not to take a staff and not to wear sandals. However, in Mark 6:8-9 Jesus instructed his disciples to wear sandals and take a staff on their journey. So which is it? Or is it more likely that the author Matthew has made an error in copying Mark? Or perhaps both are inaccurate?
9) When did the fig tree hear of its doom?
In Matthew 21:17-19 when Jesus cursed the fig tree after purging the temple, or was it before the purging as in Mark 11:14-15, and verse 20? It cannot be both, unless Jesus cursed the same fig tree twice, which would make him verifiably senile.
10) When did the fig tree keel?
The fig tree withered immediately in Matthew 21:9, and the disciples registered surprise then and there. Yet in Mark 11:12-14 and 20 the disciples noticed it had withered the morning after and expressed astonishment.
11) When did the leper become not a leper?
In Matthew 8:13 and 8:14 Jesus healed the leper before visiting the house. On the other hand, in Mark 1:29-30 and 1:40-42 Jesus healed the leper after visiting Simon Peter’s house.
12) Was the girl dead or just dying?
In Matthew 9:18 Jairus asks for Jesus’ help, saying his daughter was already dead, but in Luke 8:41-42 he approaches Jesus to request his help because his daughter was dying. So which is it, was she dying or dead?
13) How many blind men besought Jesus?
Matthew 20:30 has two blind men, although Luke 18:35-38 states only one.
14) Who made the request to sit beside Jesus in his Kingdom?
Matthew 20:20-21 has the children of Zebedee’s mother request that James and John should sit beside Jesus, although Mark 10:35-37 states the children made the request themselves.
15) Was John the Baptist Elias?
Matthew 11:14 says that “this is Elias which was to come.” But Matthew 11:14 the people inquire, “Art though Elias? And he said I am not.” (John 1:21)
16) When did John the Baptist find out that Jesus was the Messiah?
While he was imprisoned, as in Matthew 11:2-3, or before he was imprisoned as made clear by John 1:29-34, 36 as John already knew that Jesus was the Messiah prior to his imprisonment?
17) When was John the Baptist imprisoned? Or was he?
John was in prison when Jesus went into Galilee (Mark 1:14). John was not in prison when Jesus went into Galilee (John 1:43 and 3:22-24).
18) Did the Centurion approach Jesus?
According to Matthew 8:5-7 the Centurion approached Jesus, beseeching help for a sick servant. But in Luke 7:3 and 7:6-7 the Centurion did not approach Jesus, instead he sent friends and elders of the Jews.
19) Who was the father of Joseph?
Matthew 1:16 has the father of Joseph as Jacob, whereas Luke 3:23 informs the father of Joseph was Heli. Christians shall try to reconcile this discrepancy by telling us that one is the heritage of Mary and the other of Joseph, but this is historically implausible. According to Hebrew and Greek cultures of the time, both patriarchal societies, ever only concerned themselves with paternal lineage. Moreover, both passages claim it is Joseph’s bloodline, not Mary’s.
20) What was the nationality of the woman who besought Jesus?
Matthew 15:22 claims it was a Canaan, Phoenician woman (current day Palestine), but Mark 7:26 states it was a Syrophenician, Greek woman (current day Greece).
21) What animals (and how many) did the disciples bring to Jesus?
In Matthew 21:2-7 Jesus was brought an ass and a colt (2 animals) whereas Mark 11:2-7 contradicts that claim by stating Jesus was only brought 1 animal, a colt.
22) When was Jesus crucified?
Mark 15:25 claims it was the third hour, whereas John 19:14-15 claims it was the sixth hour during the preparation of the Passover.
23) Did the temple shroud tear before or after the death of Jesus?
Luke 23:44-46 states the curtain of the temple was torn in tow prior to Jesus last breath, whereas Matthew 27:50-51 states it occurred during his last breath, the same time as Jesus’ death.
24) Who reviled Christ and who rebuked him?
Of the two thieves crucified alongside Jesus, Matthew 27:44 and Mark 15:32 claim that both reviled Christ, but Luke 23:39-40 claims only one reviled Christ while the other rebuked him for it.
25) If we decide to do good works, should those works be seen?
Matthew 5:16 says, “Let your lights so shine before men that they may see your good works.” 1 Peter 2:12 similarly states, “Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that… they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation.” This contradicts Matthew 6:1-4 “Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them… that thine alms may be in secret,” and Matthew 23:3-5 which states, “Do not ye after their [Pharisees’] works… all their works they do for to be seen of men.”
26) Can anyone pray in public?
Matthew 6:5-6 says Jesus condemned public prayer. But Paul, in 1 Timothy 2:8, encouraged public prayer.
27) Where did the devil take Jesus first?
Matthew 4:5-8 states that the Devil took Jesus first to the parapet of the temple, then to a high place to view all the Kingdoms of the world. Luke 4:5-9 tells s different story, where the Devil took Jesus first to a high place to view the Kingdoms, then to the temple.
28) Where was Jesus taken immediately after his arrest?
Matthew, Mark and Luke say that Jesus was taken directly to the high priest (Matthew 26:57, Mark 14:53 and Luke 22:54). John says that Jesus was taken first to Annas, the father-in-law of the high priest (John 18:13) who, after an indeterminate period of time, sent Jesus to the high priest (John 18:24).
29) Who is correct, Jesus or Jesus?
The fact of the matter is, Jesus contradicted his own teachings on more than one occasion, okay, on a few dozen occasions; in obvious cases such as John 8:14 where he states “Though I bear record of myself, yet my record is true…” which contradicts by what he said previously in John 5:31 stating, “If I bear witness of myself, my witness is not true.” So which is it? As such they negate each other and make Jesus words imbecilic at best. Here is a continuation of Jesus specific contradictions:
i. Jesus consistently contradicts himself concerning his Godly status. “I and my father are one.” (John 14:28) Also see Philippians 2:5-6 Those verses lead us to believe that he is a part of the trinity and equal to his father being a manifestation of him. Yet, Jesus also made many statements that deny he is the perfect men, much less God incarnate. Take the following for example: “Why callest thou me good? There is none good but one, that is God” (Matthew 19:17). “My father if greater then I.” (John 14:28) Also see Matthew 24:26 Clearly, Jesus is denouncing the possibility of him being the Messiah in those three verses.
ii. Jesus said, “whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire” (Matthew 5:22). Yet, he himself did so repeatedly, as Matthew 23:17-19 and Luke 11:40 & 12:20 show. Clearly Jesus should be in danger of hell too?
iii. Does Jesus support peace, or war? Matthew 5:39 “Resist not evil, but whoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.” Also note Matthew 6:38-42 & 26:52 where Jesus teaches non-resistance, Non-violence. Now read (Luke 22:36-37) Where Jesus commands people to take arms for a coming conflict. (John 2:15) Jesus uses a whip to physically drive people out of the temple.
iv. Matthew 15:24 Jesus said, “I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of lsrael,”. This would of course mean that he is here only to save the Jews. The scriptures repeatedly back up this notion that Christ is savior to the Jews and not the gentiles (see Romans 16:17, Revelations 14:3-4 & John 10). The contradiction lies in what Jesus later tells his followers: “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations” (Matthew 28:19).
v. Can we hate our kindred? Luke 14:26 Jesus says “If any man come unto me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brother, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he can not be my disciple.” John 3:15 “Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer.” Also see Ephesians 6:22, 5:25, & Matthew 15:4
vi. Even many of the staunchest defenders of Jesus admit that his comment in Matthew 10:34 (“I came not to send peace but a sword”) contradicts verses such as Matthew 26:52 (“Put up again thy sword into his place: for all that take the sword shall perish with the sword”).
vii. Deuteronomy 24:1 & 21:10-14 all say that divorce is allowed for the simple reason if a “man no longer delighteth in his wife”. Yet Jesus comes along and breaks his father’s law by saying in Matthew 5:32 that adultery is the only way one can be divorced.
viii. In Mark 8:35 Jesus said: “…but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel’s the same shall save it.” How could Jesus have said this when there was no gospel when he lived? The gospel did not appear until after his death.
ix. Matthew 6:13 Jesus recites a revised prayer and states, “Don’t bring us into temptation.” God is the cause of everything, even Satan. God has been leading people into temptation since the Garden of Eden. Otherwise, the trees of life and knowledge would have never been there.
x. Matthew 12:1-8 Jesus thinks it’s okay to break his father’s laws, by breaking the Sabbath day. He states that he is basically exempt for such fiascoes and that he is Master of the Sabbath.
xi. John 3:17 Jesus contradicts himself when he says, “God didn’t send his son into the world to condemn it, but to save it.” Jesus seems to forget his own stories.
xii. James 4:3 If your prayers are not answered, it’s your own damned fault. This is in direct contradiction to where Jesus says “seek and ye shall find, ask and it shall be known to you.”
xiii. “If Jesus bears witness of himself his witness is true” John 8:14, “If I bear witness of myself it is not true.” John 5:31
xiv. “I am with you always, even unto the end of the world” (Matthew 28:20), versus “For ye have the poor always with you; but me ye have not always” (Matthew 26:11 , Mark 14:7, John 12:8) and “Ye shall seek me, and shall not find me: and where I am thither ye cannot come” (John 7:34). Is this the kind of friend one can rely on?
xv. “And he saith unto them, Whosoever shall put away his wife, and marry another, committeth adultery against her” (Mark 10:11 & Luke 6:18), versus “And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery” (Matthew 19:9). In the book of Matthew, Jesus said a man could put away his wife if one factor– fornication–is involved. In Mark and Luke he allowed no exceptions.
xvi. Jesus is quoted: “Judge not, and ye shall be not judged; condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven” (Luke 6:37 & Matthew 7:1), versus “Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment” (John 7:24). Jesus stated men are not to judge but, then, allowed it under certain conditions. As in the case of divorce, he can’t seem to formulate a consistent policy.
xvii. “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” Matthew 27:46, (also note the time before crucification where Jesus prays for the “cup to passeth over me”) versus “Now is my soul troubled. And what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour?’ No, for this purpose I have come to this hour” (John 12:27 RSV). Jesus can’t seem to decide whether or not he wants to die. One moment he is willing; the next he isn’t.
xviii. In Luke 23:30 (“Then shall they begin to say to the mountains, fall on us, and to the hills, cover us”) Jesus quoted Hosea 10:8 (“…and they shall say to the mountains, cover us; and to the hills, fall on us”). And, like Paul, he often quoted inaccurately. In this instance, he confused mountains with hills.
xix. “And Jesus answered and said unto them, Elias truly shall first come, and restore all things. But I say unto you, That Elias is come already, and they know him not, but have done unto him whatsoever they listed. Likewise shall also the Son of man suffer of them. Then the disciples understood that he spake unto them of John the Baptist” (Matthew 17:11-13). John the Baptist was beheaded, but Jesus was not. And what did John the Baptist restore? Nothing!
xx. We are told salvation is obtained by faith alone (John 3:18 & 36) yet Jesus told a man to follow the Commandments-Matthew 19:16-18 (saving by works)-if he wanted eternal life.
xxi. In Luke 12:4 Jesus told his followers to “Be not afraid of them that kill the body.” But Matthew 12:14-16, John 7:1, 8:59, 10:39, 11:53-54, & Mark 1:45 show that Jesus consistently feared death. Jesus went out of his way to hide, run, and attempt escape from the Roman and Jewish authorities.
xxii. Matthew 5:28 says to sin in “your heart” is considered a sin in itself. The messiah is supposed to be God incarnate, not able to sin, yet in Matthew 4:5 & Luke 4:5-9, Jesus was tempted by Satan in the desert, which is sinning in his heart. Jesus also took upon all the sins of the world during his crucifixion, so how can it be said that “Jesus was the perfect man without sin”? This would lead one to believe he was not the Messiah.
xxiii. Jesus told us to “Love your enemies; bless them that curse you,” but ignored his own advice by repeatedly denouncing his opposition. Matthew 23:17 (“Ye fools and blind”), Matthew 12:34 (“0 generation of vipers”), and Matthew 23:27 (“. . . hypocrites . . . ye are like unto whited sepulchres. . .”) are excellent examples of hypocrisy.
xxiv. Did the people of Jesus’ generation see any signs? (Matthew 12:38-40) Jesus announced that no signs would be given to that generation except the Resurrection itself. (Mark 8:12-13) Jesus announced that no signs would be given to that generation. (Mark 16:20) They went out preaching, and the Lord confirmed the word through accompanying signs. (John 20:30) Jesus provided many wonders and signs. (Acts 2:22) Jesus provided many wonders and signs. (Acts 5:12 & 8:13) many signs and wonders were done through the apostles.
xxv. Jesus commands the disciples to go into Galilee immediately after the resurrection. Matthew 28:10 Jesus commands the disciples to “tarry in Jerusalem” immediately after the resurrection.
xxvi. Matthew 28:18 & John 3:35 both tell that Jesus said he could do anything. Yet Mark 6:5 says Jesus was not all powerful.
xxvii. Jesus says in Luke 2:13-14 that he came to bring peace on earth. Matthew 10:34 Jesus back peddles and says he did not come to bring peace on earth.
xxviii. Did Christ receive testimony from man? “Ye sent unto John and he bare witness unto the truth. But I receive not testimony from man.” John 5:33-34 “And ye shall also bear witness, because ye have been with me from the beginning.” John 15:27
xxix. Christ laid down his life for his friends. John 15:13 & 10:11 Christ laid down his life for his enemies. Romans 5:10
xxx. Deuteronomy 23:2 says that bastards can not attend church unto the tenth generation. If Jesus was spawned by Mary and Jehovah as the Bible claims then he is technically a bastard and should not be the leader of the church.
30) When did Satan enter Judas?
Satan entered into Judas while at the supper (John 13:27), or Satan entered Judas before the supper (Luke 23:3-4, 7).
31) Judas died by asphyxiation and a broken neck or by being disemboweled?
Acts 18 Judas is disemboweled and all his guts spilled out, but in Matthew 27:5 it distinctly states that Judas hung himself.
32) Who purchased the potter’s field?
Acts 1:18 says the field was purchased by Judas before he died, but John 20:1 says that the potter’s field was purchased by the chief priests after Judas’ death.
33) How many women came to the sepulcher?
John 20:1 states only one, Mary Magdalene went alone, but Matthew 28:1 claims otherwise, stating that is was Mary Magdalene and the “other Mary” (possibly Jesus’ Mother or Mary of Bethany) went together.
34) How many angels were within the sepulcher?
John 20:11-12 says two, Mark 16:5 says one.
35) Who bought the sepulcher?
Jacob did according to Josh 24:32. Abraham did according to Acts 7:16.
36) Where did Jesus Christ first appear to the disciples after the resurrection?
Was it in a room in Jerusalem (Luke 24:32-37) or on a mountain in Galilee some sixty miles away? (Matthew 28:15-17) The bottom line is, although a magical Jesus may be able to be in two places at once, certainly the disciples could not possibly be.
37) Was it lawful for the Jews to put Jesus to death?
“The Jews answered him, we have a law, and by our law he ought to die” (John 19:7); or “The Jews therefore said unto him, It is not lawful for us to put any man to death” (John 18:31).
38) Where did Christ ascend from?
From Mount Olivet (acts 1:9-12) or from Bethany (Luke 24:50-51).
39) Has anyone ascended up to heaven?
Elijah went up to heaven: “And Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven” (2 Kings 2:11). Or “No man hath ascended up to heaven but he that came down from heaven, even the son of man” (John 3:13).
40) Can all sins be forgiven?
Acts 13:39 says all sins can be forgiven, but wait, Mark 3:29 suggests that cursing or blaspheming the Holy Spirit is unforgivable. Shouldn’t the Bible state all sins but one are forgivable? Yet it does not say this, it says all sins are forgivable and then contradicts itself by adding the stipulation but for one unforgivable sin.
Further Biblical Contradictions
Most of the above Bible contradictions and descrepancies were collected from my own readings and/or compiled from the following various online resources. For hundreds of more Bible contradictions and descrepancies please refer to these informative websites: