Is there a contradiction in the gospels?

Discussion in 'Other Christian Denominations' started by xdisciplex, Apr 20, 2006.

  1. xdisciplex

    xdisciplex
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    A friend of me came to me with this question.
    In John the women return from the tomb and have no idea where Jesus is, but in Matthew Jesus presents himself to them on their way back!
    And where is the first angel in John?
    And why should the two Marys first of all be silent about the resurrection and then go to the tomb again because in Matthew 28:9 we read that Jesus showed himself to both of them!
    And Mark 16:9 says he showed himself first of all to Mary! :eek:
    This doesn't fit together at all.

    How can this be explained? :(
    The same stuff also happened to me when I used to read the bible. I often noticed differences between the gospels and they totally confused me and I didn't know how to deal with this. :(

    Mar 16:1 And when the sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, had bought sweet spices, that they might come and anoint him.
    Mar 16:2 And very early in the morning the first day of the week, they came unto the sepulchre at the rising of the sun.
    Mar 16:3 And they said among themselves, Who shall roll us away the stone from the door of the sepulchre?
    Mar 16:4 And when they looked, they saw that the stone was rolled away: for it was very great.
    Mar 16:5 And entering into the sepulchre, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, clothed in a long white garment; and they were affrighted.
    Mar 16:6 And he saith unto them, Be not affrighted: Ye seek Jesus of Nazareth, which was crucified: he is risen; he is not here: behold the place where they laid him.
    Mar 16:7 But go your way, tell his disciples and Peter that he goeth before you into Galilee: there shall ye see him, as he said unto you.
    Mar 16:8 And they went out quickly, and fled from the sepulchre; for they trembled and were amazed: neither said they any thing to any man; for they were afraid.
    Mark 16:9 Now when Jesus was risen early the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had cast seven devils.
    Mar 16:10 And she went and told them that had been with him, as they mourned and wept.
    Mar 16:11 And they, when they had heard that he was alive, and had been seen of her, believed not.
    Mar 16:12 After that he appeared in another form unto two of them, as they walked, and went into the country.

    Mat 28:1 In the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre.
    Mat 28:2 And, behold, there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it.
    Mat 28:3 His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow:
    Mat 28:4 And for fear of him the keepers did shake, and became as dead men.
    Mat 28:5 And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified.
    Mat 28:6 He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.
    Mat 28:7 And go quickly, and tell his disciples that he is risen from the dead; and, behold, he goeth before you into Galilee; there shall ye see him: lo, I have told you.
    Mat 28:8 And they departed quickly from the sepulchre with fear and great joy; and did run to bring his disciples word.
    Mat 28:9 And as they went to tell his disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, All hail. And they came and held him by the feet, and worshipped him
    Mat 28:10 Then said Jesus unto them, Be not afraid: go tell my brethren that they go into Galilee, and there shall they see me.


    Joh 20:1 The first day of the week cometh Mary Magdalene early, when it was yet dark, unto the sepulchre, and seeth the stone taken away from the sepulchre.
    Joh 20:2 Then she runneth, and cometh to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple, whom Jesus loved, and saith unto them, They have taken away the Lord out of the sepulchre, and we know not where they have laid him.
    Joh 20:3 Peter therefore went forth, and that other disciple, and came to the sepulchre.
    Joh 20:4 So they ran both together: and the other disciple did outrun Peter, and came first to the sepulchre.
    Joh 20:5 And he stooping down, and looking in, saw the linen clothes lying; yet went he not in.
    Joh 20:6 Then cometh Simon Peter following him, and went into the sepulchre, and seeth the linen clothes lie.
    Joh 20:7 And the napkin, that was about his head, not lying with the linen clothes, but wrapped together in a place by itself.
    Joh 20:8 Then went in also that other disciple, which came first to the sepulchre, and he saw, and believed.
    Joh 20:9 For as yet they knew not the scripture, that he must rise again from the dead.
    Joh 20:10 Then the disciples went away again unto their own home.
    Joh 20:11 But Mary stood without at the sepulchre weeping: and as she wept, she stooped down, and looked into the sepulchre,
    Joh 20:12 And seeth two angels in white sitting, the one at the head, and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain.
    Joh 20:13 And they say unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? She saith unto them, Because they have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid him.
    Joh 20:14 And when she had thus said, she turned herself back, and saw Jesus standing, and knew not that it was Jesus.
    Joh 20:15 Jesus saith unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? whom seekest thou? She, supposing him to be the gardener, saith unto him, Sir, if thou have borne him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away.
    Joh 20:16 Jesus saith unto her, Mary. She turned herself, and saith unto him, Rabboni; which is to say, Master.

    In every gospel it's different. In one gospel Mary sees Jesus when she is alone with him and in another gospel Mary is together with others and they only see angels. This doesn't seem to fit together at all, why is this so confusing? :confused:

    [ April 20, 2006, 11:10 AM: Message edited by: xdisciplex ]
     
  2. neal4christ

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    What verses in particular are concerning you? I don't see it from all the ones you quote. I think I know what you are referring to, but could you clarify, please?

    EDIT: Nevermind, I see now. You were editing it when I posted.
     
  3. Eric B

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    Here is a Harmony of the Resurrection Accounts where I explain and put it all in order. One thing we don't realize is that each Gospel was not designed to be compared with the others, as they have their own storylines. So what one gospel calls "the women", or "the disciples", may be slightly different groups than what another one is referring to. Sometimes "the women" might be the Mary's, and sometimes it might be the rest of the women they left behind. Then, for the disciples you have "the eleven", "the twelve" and individuals like John and Peter.
    And there are more appearances of Jesus than we realized.
     
  4. xdisciplex

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    Hi Eric,
    but the gospels all have to be right. I mean it cannot be that some gospels are not accurate. Everything has to be correct but when you read it it seems like contradictions. If you imagine this scene in a court and the judge asks 4 witnesses and everyone tells a different story then it would seem like they cannot all be right.

    And it's the same problem with the "how often did the cock crow" question. I mean CARM offers an answer but it doesn't sound really convincing it rather sounds like an excuse. I mean it could have been this way, but it could also have been different.

    http://www.carm.org/diff/Matt26_33.htm

    If a cock crows a second time, then it has crowed once before. The problem is that in Mark, after Peter denies the Lord for the third time (Mark 14:71), immediately a cock crows a second time (v. 72). The other gospels tell us that after Peter's third denial a cock then crows. How do we reconcile this difficulty?
    Mark does not mention when the cock crowed the first time. Therefore, it is possible that after Peter's third denial, the cock then crowed twice; that is, two times in a row. This is logically possible.

    :(

    How shall people trust the bible when it seems so wishy washy? I mean imagine you're a new believer and think everything is fine and then suddenly you come across all these things and have no answers, wouldn't this totally blow you away? :confused:
    How are people supposed to deal with this? Why isn't the bible clearer?
    There are many scenes such as this one. I think another scene is where Jesus and the disciples are in a boat. In one gospel it says that in an instant they reached the shore and another one said that they had to row to the shore.

    [ April 20, 2006, 11:29 AM: Message edited by: xdisciplex ]
     
  5. Eric B

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    I didn't say "not accurate". They are all accurate, but they tell different details than the others may. That is still accurate, because accuracy does not lie in every single detail being told. That is what many do not realize. So they were not designed to be witnesses in a court, as to each of those details. They were to testify to the fact the Christ was risen; the rest of those details are secondary.

    As for the cock crowing; I also have a Harmony of the entire Gospels (also linked from the Resurrection page) which blends the different accounts. You have to go to the page to see the different fonts used for each gospel, but here is the excerpt dealing with that event:

    18:16 But Peter stood at the door outside. Then went out that other disciple, which was known unto the high priest, and spoke unto her that kept the door, and brought in Peter.
    18:18 And the servants and officers stood there, who had made a fire of coals; for it was cold: and they warmed themselves: and Peter stood with them, and warmed himself.
    22:56 But a certain maid (the damsel that kept the door unto Peter —one of the maids of the high priest), beheld him as he sat by the fire, and earnestly looked upon him, and said, This man was also with him.
    18:17 Then says And you also were with Jesus of Nazareth. Are not you also one of this man's disciples?
    14:68 But he denied, before them all saying, I do not know, neither understand I what you say. [I am not]. And he went out into the porch; and the cock crowed.
    14:69 And a maid saw him again, and began to say to them that stood by, This is one of them. This fellow was also with Jesus of Nazareth.
    26:72 And again he denied with an oath, I do not know the man.
    22:59 And about the space of one hour after, came unto him they that stood by, [and] another confidently affirmed, Of a truth this fellow also was with him: and said to Peter, Surely you also are one of them; for you are a Galilaean, and your speech betrays you. [agrees to that].
    18:26 One of the servants of the high priest, being his kinsman whose ear Peter cut off, says, Did not I see you in the garden with him?
    14:71 But he began to curse and to swear, saying, Man, I do not know what you say. I do not know this man of whom you speak.
    14:72 And immediately, the second time the cock crowed. And Peter called to mind the word that Jesus said unto him, Before the cock crows twice, you shall deny me three times. And when he thought on this, he went out, and wept bitterly.
     
  6. xdisciplex

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    Wow! This is great.
    How did you put all of this together? Wasn't this a whole lotta work and did it even always fit together? I mean not all gospels mention the same things. I think there are also differences with the demonized man so that it's not clear wether there is 1 demonized man in Gergesenes or more than one. But I'm not sure wether I remember it correctly I only remember that there was also something unclear.

    But I don't understand something.

    # 13:38 Jesus answered him,
    Will you lay down your life for my sake? I tell you, Peter, the cock shall not crow this day, before that you shall three times deny that you know me. [That this day, even in this night, before the cock crow twice, you shall deny me three times].

    Jesus says before the cock crows he'll have denied him three times, he does not say before the cock crows 2 times. Why does Jesus once say "2 times" and then he says "before the cock crows"?
    Does this have something to do with "this day".
    Could it be that Peter was sitting there and it was almost midnight and the first time when the cock crowed and Peter denied him it was still before midnight and then after midnight, when the new day had began the cock crowd again, this would be the first crow in the new day but the second crow in total? :confused:
    Somehow this stuff is totally confusing. I feel almost like I'm watching Matlock. [​IMG]
     
  7. tragic_pizza

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    xdisciplex, I think we've talked before about how the Gospels, though inspired, weren't written at the time the events therein occurred. Nor was God standing over the writers' shoulder, dictating the account word-for-word.

    Rather, the earliest Gospel, Mark, was written a minimum of 15 years after the Resurrection (some say - though I disagree - about 35 yesrs after). In this span of time, details of even the most important events become a little clouded.

    I would argue that it is, in fact, the "disagreements" in fine detail which lend the accounts credence. In a court of law, witnesses to an event should remember major details, but if testimony on even minutae agree lockstep, it means they've consulted with one another to "get their story right."
     
  8. xdisciplex

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    @ pizza

    Don't be too quick.
    I think Eric's stuff could explain it all.
    I'm just trying to understand the cock problem right now. The problem is that the jews have a different opinion about night and day. I think for jews a day goes from sunset til sunset not from midnight til midnight. So if the cock crowed 2 times BEFORE midnight, let's say at 11 PM and then the cock crows the third time AFTER midnight at 0:30 AM would this even be a new day for a jew or would this be the SAME day for a jew?
     
  9. Eric B

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    Yes, it was a lot of work. I did the resurrection part last year sometime, after reading someone else' harmony, and the apparent contrdictions stood out. It then dawned on me that there were different groups seeing different appearances of Christ at different times. Each gospel writer has his own style of writing, and thus different ways of denoting the different people or groups involved.
    The entire harmony I did over one week during my vacation in January. I did find the demoniac in Gergesenes particularly hard to figure out. IIRC, that may also have been two accounts. The cock incident was also difficult.
    I admit I could have made mistakes. In fact, I was even considering somehow putting up a Wiki version, so others could edit and correct things as they see fit.
     
  10. Eric B

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    [Double post]
     
  11. xdisciplex

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    Hi Eric!
    I discussed this with a friend and we came to the conclusion that matthew and mark have a different focus. in matthew it's all about the new day and that the cock will crow one time on this new day after Peter had denied him 3 times.
    Mark on the other hand does not put the focus on the new day but on the total number of cock crows.
    Does this fit together with your reasoning? I hope it does.

    But if it does I still have a question. Does this mean Jesus gave 2 different statements? Or does it mean Jesus only gave 1 statement when he was together with the disciples and Mark and Matthew simply wrote it down differently with a different focus?
    But somehow this makes no sense because how should Mark have known that the cock would crow 2 times in total? I mean he wasn't there.
     
  12. tragic_pizza

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    Unless he was.
     
  13. Living_stone

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    I think it's a mistake to approach texts from 2000 years ago with a modern historical mindset.

    I think it's probably Matthew who especially tells the story somewhat anachronistic.

    Does the fig tree wither immediately, or the next day when the apostels return to it? To the gospel writers, grouping things together sometimes makes more sense than telling the story ver batim as it happened...
     
  14. BobRyan

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    Actually it does fit chronologically - you have different groups of women (two in this case) leaving at slightly different times and coming from different directions. You have the story told in one case from the POV of one group - and in the other case from the POV of the other.

    But here is the real question - why keep lighting all these little fires? Why not set all the clammoring nay-sayers aside for a bit and just begin to build on what you do know - build up a sound understanding of the text and a good doctrinal foundation. Once you HAVE a house and a fence you can then test it to see how well it stands up to criticism.

    But you have to come to not only "accept one" you must fully understand it. Outside the context of the naysaying outside world. There is a proverb that says " A fool can tie more knots and ask more questions in a day than a wise man can unnravel in a life time."

    Those outside questions may get "a little time" just to show that they are truly frivolous - but then you need to get to the meat of understanding what the text says after placing faith fully in Christ and embracing the Gospel.

    In Christ,

    Bob
     
  15. xdisciplex

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    The problem is that it's always concerning when you come across something which looks like a contradiction. I mean there cannot and there must not be any contradictions in the bible. Some christians would not even care about such details, it wouldn't impress them but I think these details are important, too. Because if the bible it inspired it has to be 100% correct. There is no other possibility.
     
  16. tragic_pizza

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    No, for the Bible to be dictated it must agree on every point. For it to be inspired it must agree on points of doctrine and spiritual truth -- which it does.
     
  17. rbell

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    OK...analogy here:

    You and I are looking at a stop sign. We are asked to describe it. I say, "It's red, with white letters, and eight-sided."

    You say, "It is eight sided, but it has no letters, and is silver, with a post running through the middle of the sign."

    We contradict, right?

    Nope. We're looking at the sign from two different angles...one in front, the other behind.

    Four gospels...four different views of the same event...no gospel writer was wrong. Just different perspectives of an actual, historical event.
     
  18. Jarthur001

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    Actually it does fit chronologically - you have different groups of women (two in this case) leaving at slightly different times and coming from different directions. You have the story told in one case from the POV of one group - and in the other case from the POV of the other.

    But here is the real question - why keep lighting all these little fires? Why not set all the clammoring nay-sayers aside for a bit and just begin to build on what you do know - build up a sound understanding of the text and a good doctrinal foundation. Once you HAVE a house and a fence you can then test it to see how well it stands up to criticism.

    But you have to come to not only "accept one" you must fully understand it. Outside the context of the naysaying outside world. There is a proverb that says " A fool can tie more knots and ask more questions in a day than a wise man can unnravel in a life time."

    Those outside questions may get "a little time" just to show that they are truly frivolous - but then you need to get to the meat of understanding what the text says after placing faith fully in Christ and embracing the Gospel.

    In Christ,

    Bob
    </font>[/QUOTE]Well, I'm with Bob on this one. I have seen many threads started by 2 or 3 of these guys just with criticism and never a point of agreement with the Bible. Its as if they have no doctrine other then to attach the Bible. I'm not saying you cannot have criticism, for the Bible will hold its own. Yet this is all I see from some.

    Now bare in mind this. There are groups setup just like this all over the net. Their goal is to only attach the truth and the Bible. Some of the very points posted can be seen on humanism sites.

    http://www.bibleorigins.net/Methodologies.html

    The link above is a good site to see this. Below you will see a clip from this site that attachs the Bible.

    "My interest at this website is in tracing the "pre-biblical origins" of the concepts and motifs that appear in the Old and New Testaments, back to Sumerian and Mesopotamian beliefs of the 4th-2d millenniums BCE. I understand that the Bible is not "revealed holy writ" from a God, but a long tortutured evolutionary text, consisting of repeatedly recast mythological tales, designed to take power over the credulous."

    This is much the same talk we see on here as of late. Below another clip from another site..

    "Emperor Constantine, who was Roman Emperor from 306 CE until his death in 337 CE, used what motivates many to action - MONEY! He offered the various Church leaders money to agree upon a single canon that would be used by all Christians as the word of God. The Church leaders gathered together at the Council of Nicaea and voted the "word of God" into existence."

    All of this is nothing short of attachs on Christ and His gospel. If they think this weakens my faith they are sadly wrong. The truth can be found by any one that wants to know. I will fight with the best of them on good points, but little is done in the heart that does not believe in the 1st place, therefore much of this is only a waste of time.

    To show you truly have faith in God, post a few thongs that lift up Gods name for a change.

    In Christ..James
     
  19. Eric B

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    Just to point out (especially to xdisciple) that this past weekend; I finally got a chance to sit down and proofread a printed version of my Harmony of the Gospels. I caught a lot of mistakes (mostly formatting; some sequencing; easier to do in print than on the computer), even had to rearrange a couple of things, and also added event headers (like many Bible have). Took me all day yesterday (which is why I wasn't even on the board at all).

    http://members.aol.com/etb700/monoevangelion.html
     
  20. Vasco

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    there is also a discrepancy with the death of judas in the gospel when compared to acts.. i dont have my bible with me right here, but if someone knows, they can mention it, or if not i will post tommorrow
     

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