All scriptural references are from the New International Version unless otherwise noted



Many people are wary of the Bible because they believe it contains many contradictions. Admittedly, the Bible does contain passages that may look contradictory on the surface, but the surface is where the contradictions end. Many times it's a matter of taking a passage out of context. Other times it's a matter of ignorance towards the customs and mores of the times. And yet at other times, especially in the case of numbered items, it's a simple matter of copyists mistakes.

Because everyone has their own version of what a contradiction is and what is not, we will begin this essay with a few well-known allegations. We are open to adding to this essay, simply write to us at if you perceive a contradiction in Scripture, and we will openly address it here. (We do love a challenge!)



The human ancestry of Jesus Christ listed at Matthew 1:1-16 is different than the one listed at Luke 3:23-38. Although this looks like a contradiction on the surface, it helps to know that Luke's list is through the line of Mary, while Matthew's is through the line of Joseph. Note that it is only in Luke's list that it is said: "He was the son, so it was thought, of Joseph, son of Heli...." Since it was Jewish custom that women do not appear in ancestral lists, Joseph was listed in Mary's stead. Therefore, Luke carefully worded his list in this manner to convey that there was no real biological connection between Joseph and Jesus as he listed Mary's line.



Genesis 1:31 states that God saw all that He had made, and it was very good. Later, at Genesis 6:6, Scripture states that The Lord was grieved that He had made man on the earth, and His heart was filled with pain.

This is not contradictory, this simply shows a change in situations over time. The first passage is in reference to the finish of the creative days -- before sin corrupted the earth. The second passage is in reference to events that happened after sin corrupted the earth. This major change in events caused a change in God's assessment of the earth. This is the same as seeing a new house as something good, but changing your mind once that same house had been gutted by a fire.



The passage at Mark 3:29 states "But whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven; he is guilty of an eternal sin". However, Acts 13:39 states "Through him [Jesus Christ] everyone who believes is justified from everything you could not be justified from the Law of Moses".

Although this seems contradictory on the surface, note that the passage in Acts states that only those who believe are justified. Since a true believer would not blaspheme the Holy Spirit, such a one wouldn't be in danger of committing the unforgivable sin.



Exodus 15:3 The LORD is a warrior; the LORD is His name.
Romans 15:33 The God of peace be with you all, Amen .

The problem with this is that the passage at Exodus is taken out of context: It is part of the lyrics from a song the Israelites were singing after God rescued them from the Egyptian army at the Red Sea. If you read the entire chapter here, you can see they are singing the praises of God standing up for them against a very powerful army. God wasn't calling Himself a warrior, the people were calling Him a warrior.

Although God did command war at particular times, it is notable that He only did so to destroy despicable practices such as burnt child sacrifices and perverse sexual practices. Never once in Scripture will you see God destroying those who were repentant, converted, or believing. All throughout Scripture it an be seen that God always preferred the preservation of life instead of destruction and warfare. Only those who were bent on ruining peace were the ones destroyed.



Matthew 28:1 After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb.

Mark 16:1-2 When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome, bought spices so that they might go to anoint Jesus' body. Very early, on the first day of the week, just after sunrise, they were on their way to the tomb.

John 20:1 Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance.

The account in Matthew mentions two women, Mark mentions three women, and John mentions only one woman. Note, however, that none of these accounts state that the number is absolute; in other words, Matthew doesn't say nobody else was there, and neither does John. Remember that each of the Gospels were written by a different man. The information that one man received would be a little different than another one would receive -- especially since none of these gospel writers were present at this particular event. It's entirely possible that Mary the mother of James told Matthew about it, while Salome told Mark about it, while in the meantime Mary Magdalene told John. And yet none of the gospel accounts are wrong, because none of them state their numbers as being the final tally of visitors. It's simply a matter of difference in details, as would happen in any re-telling of an event.



John 10:30 I and the Father are one.
John 14:28 You heard me say "I am going away and I am coming back to you." If you loved me, you would be glad that I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I.

Just as a pilot and co-pilot operate an airplane as one, The Father and His Christ operate God's Kingdom as one. Acting as "one" does not make them both equal in authority: The pilot has greater authority than the co-pilot, but that doesn't make the co-pilot less important. Using this analogy, the Father and Jesus are one, yet at the same time the Father is greater than Christ. There is no contradiction here.



Genesis 1:25-26 God made the wild animals according to their kinds, the livestock according to their kinds, and all the creatures that move along the ground according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good. Then God said: "Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.

Genesis 2:18-19 The LORD God said "It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him. Now the LORD had formed out of the ground all the beasts of the field and all the birds of the air. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name.

Although many consider this to be contradictory, this is because they are reading too much into the second passage. There is nothing here stating that man was created before the animals. In fact, the second sentence has the animals formed in the past tense, supporting the idea of the animals having been already created before Adam was assigned to name them.



Deuteronomy 24:16 Fathers shall not be put to death for their children, nor children put to death for their fathers; each is to die for his own sin.

Isaiah 14:21 Prepare a place to slaughter his sons for the sins of their forefathers; they are not to rise to inherit the land and cover the earth with their cities.

This is another alleged contradiction because something is taken out of context. The passage in Isaiah is well know to be metaphorical, beginning in verse 13 and continuing on to verse 23. The metaphor refers to the kingdom of Babylon as well as Satan's dominion over the earth. The slaughter of the children is simply part of the metaphor.



Matthew 27:5-7: So Judas threw the money into the temple and left. Then he went away and hanged himself.

Acts 1:18: With the reward he got for his wickedness, Judas bought a field; there he fell headlong, his body burst open and all his intestines spilled out. Everyone in Jerusalem heard about this, so they called that field in their language Akeldama, that is, Field of Blood.

Did Judas hang himself, or did he jump to his death? Apparently, he hung himself and the rope broke, causing him to tumble down to his death. Both passages are accurate.



According to the King James Version, here is the contradiction:

2 Samuel 6:23 Therefore Michal the daughter of Saul had no child until the day of her death.

2 Samuel 21:8 But the king took the two sons of Rizpah the daughter of Aiah whom she bare unto Saul, Armoni and Mephibosheth, and the five sons of Michal the daughter of Saul, whom she brought up for Adriel the son of Barzillain the Meholathite.

Although these seem contradictory, they really aren't. If you notice, chapter 21 does not say that Michal "bore" those sons like it says about Rizpah's sons in chapter 6 -- instead it says she "brought up" those sons. In other words, Michal did not give birth to these children even though she did raise them. Interestingly, the same verse at chapter 21 states, in the New International Version, that those five sons were the sons of Saul's other daughter, Merab -- and note that this version actually states that it was Merab who gave birth to these sons:

2 Samuel 21:8 But the king took Armoni and Mephibosheth, the two sons of Aiah's daughter Rizpah, whom she had borne to Saul, together with the five sons of Saul's daughter, Merab, whom she had borne to Adriel son of Barzillai the Meholathite.

In other words, Saul's elder daughter was Merab and his younger daughter was Michal (1 Samuel 14:49). Merab was given to Adriel as wife (1 Samuel 18:19). Apparently something happened to Merab and Adriel, resulting in Michal's guardianship of the five sons. Because of this situation, these sons were known as Merab's children, but also seen as Michal's children. Both versions are accurate.



Matthew 27:28 They stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him.
John19:2 The soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on his head. They clothed him in a purple robe...

It is most likely that this robe was made with Tyrian Purple dye -- a dye also known as Royal Purple, Imperial Purple, and Imperial Dye. It was a very expensive dye that only the rich could afford and a luxury favored by the Romans. This emphasizes the act of the Romans mocking Jesus by adorning him with such a robe. Tyrian Purple was known for being in a color family, not necessarily a singular color of its own. The color of Tyrian Purple ranged from a deep scarlet red, to a rich purple color. Therefore, it is conceivable that the robe was made from purple, though it had a scarlet look to it. In other words, the use of Tyrian Purple Dye would fit both passages.



Genesis 20:11-12, 17:16 Abraham replied: "I said to myself 'There is surely no fear of God in this place, and they will kill me because of my wife'. Besides, she really is my sister, the daughter of my father though not of my mother; and she became my wife"

Note that she had already been blessed by God to be Abraham's wife:
Genesis 17:16 "I will bless her and will surely give you a son by her. I will bless her so that she will be the mother of nations; kings of peoples will come from her".

However, many see a contradiction here because the Bible also states:

Leviticus 20:17 If a man marries his sister, the daughter of either his father or his mother, and they have sexual relations, it is a disgrace. They must be cut off before the eyes of their people. He has dishonored his sister and will be held responsible.
Deuteronomy 27:22
Cursed is the man who sleeps with his sister, the daughter of his father or the daughter of his mother. Then all the people shall say "Amen".

What most people forget is that the ban on sibling marriage wasn't installed until long after God blessed Abraham and Sarah. Because God began humankind with just one husband and just one wife (Genesis 2:22-25), and He commanded them to fill the earth with more people (Genesis 1:28), it was by sheer necessity that people married siblings in the very beginning. If they hadn't, then God's command to fill the earth couldn't be fulfilled. Therefore, God allowed sibling marriage for a certain period of time, and banned such marriages when He deemed them no longer necessary. In other words, these supposedly contradictory Scriptures really aren't contradictory; they simply reveal a necessary change in God's marriage law due to the passage of time.


These are just a scant few of supposed "contradictions" in the Bible. As you can see, it's a matter looking past the surface and learning the background information that makes all the difference. Again, we invite readers to submit other "contradictions" that they find, and we will address them on this essay. May God continue to bless you on your spiritual journey.

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