Doctrinal Discrepancies  of  the  Bible



THE SCRIPTURES—Inspiration

All Scripture inspired


All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable.

2 Timothy 3:16


Some not so

But I speak this by permission, and not of commandment... But to the rest speak I, not the Lord.

1 Corinthians 7:6,12

That which I speak, I speak it not after the Lord, but as it were foolishly, in this confidence of boasting.

2 Corinthians 11:17


Many commentators, Origen, Theodoret, Erasmus, Luther, Grotius, Tyndale, Crammer, Hammond, Adam Clarke, Huther, Ellicott, and Alford, agree substantially with the Syriac Peshito in rendering the first text thus: "Every scripture inspired by God is also profitable." The theory involved in this version is sufficiently elastic to allow Paul, while writing under the guidance of inspiration, to occasionally introduce, upon unimportant points, his own uninspired opinion—that opinion being in harmony with the general scope and design of the book.

If, however, with Chrysostom, Gregory of Nyssa, Calvin, Wolf, Bengel, Owen, De Wette, Olshausen, Barnes, Conybeare, Oosterzee, Wordsworth, Dr. Hodge apparently, and others, we read: "Is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable," the texts still admit of a facile interpretation. The first of these quotations means, according to Alford and Conybeare, "I am not now speaking by way of command, but merely expressing my permission." If we adopt this very natural interpretation, the passage does not touch the question of inspiration.

The meaning of the 12th verse may, perhaps, be thus expressed: "But to the rest speak I," that is, I Paul in my apostolic office, speaking, not now from special revelation, but under the general supervision of the Holy Spirit. "Not the Lord," that is, not Christ by any direct command spoken by him, since the question was, one with which he did not deal in his recorded discourses. Hence, in this case—as in the language of the 25th verse, "I have no commandment of the Lord, yet I give my judgment"—Paul was permitted to express his own judgment as to the case under consideration, giving us, at the same time, suitable notice that he is speaking in his own proper person. Yet there is no reason to doubt that the "judgment" he thus expressed, was in complete harmony with "the mind of the Spirit."


Dr. Arnold,157 referring to a text of similar import, the 40th verse of the chapter, deems it a token of God's "especial mercy to us, that our faith in St. Paul's general declarations of divine truth might not be shaken, because in one particular point he was permitted to speak as a man, giving express notice at the time that he was doing so."

"I speak it not after the Lord," 2 Corinthians 11, probably means "not after the example of the Lord." That is, I am constrained to an apparent departure from that example. In vindication of myself from the unjust aspersions of my enemies, I am compelled to speak with seeming boastfulness, as it were, "foolishly." This "glorying after the flesh" was not, however, really contrary to our Lord's example, because it originated, not in love of boasting, but in the necessities of the case.

We thus see that the above texts may be reconciled upon the basis of an intelligent and comprehensive theory of Inspiration.

(PAUL  WOULD  BACK  HIS  POSITION  BY  DIRECT  COMMAND  FROM  THE  LORD;  THEN  WHERE  THERE  WAS  NO  DIRECT  "THUS  SAYS  THE  LORD"  HE  WOULD  GIVE   HIS  JUDGMENT.  BUT  WE  MUST  REMEMBER  AS  HE  ONCE  SAID, "AND  I  HAVE  THE  SPIRIT"  [WORDS  LIKE  THAT].  WHAT  PAUL  WAS  NOW  JUDGING  ON  AND  GIVING  HIS  ANSWER,  BECAME  INSPIRED  SCRIPTURE.  SO  HOW  HE  ANSWERED  UNDER  THAT  SITUATION  IS  NOW  GOD'S  ANSWER  -  Keith Hunt)


Moral Purity


Purity enjoined

Impure ideas suggested


It must be conceded by all candid persons that the general tenor of the Bible is decidedly in favor of purity. Yet, it is objected that certain passages, particularly in the earlier books and in Canticles, are calculated to excite impure thoughts and feelings.


To this we reply:


Many of the expressions which are deemed objectionable are found in the Mosaic Law. Every intelligent person is aware that law books must be very specific and explicit in their phraseology. An examination of any compilation of statutes, or of any standard work on medical jurisprudence, will be conclusive on this point. It is not surprising, then, that the Jewish code of laws contains some expressions that seem coarse. Without great minuteness and perspicuity these statutes would have failed to answer the designed end.

We must bear in mind the great freedom of Oriental speech and manners. In the impassioned style of thought and expression prevalent in the East, there is a license, a warmth, a voluptuousness even, which would shock the fastidious ears of Occidentals. Ideas and objects of which they of the Orient would speak with the utmost freedom, we should indicate, if at all, by euphemism and circumlocution. The Bible was written by Eastern authors, and bears traces of its origin among a people whose customs and habits of thought were widely different from ours. Upon this radical divergence are founded many of the so-called "indelicate" expressions of scripture—-expressions which would strike an

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157 Miscellaneous Works, p. 287 (Appleton's edition).

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Oriental ear as perfectly chaste and proper. Prof. Stuart,158 speaking of certain expressions in Canticles, observes, "It is clear that no indecency is intended, and equally clear, as it seems to me, that no improper feelings were excited, by the language in question, in the minds of those who were originally addressed." He also calls attention to the fact that women are excluded, in the East, from public association with men, being kept in seclusion. Hence greater freedom of speech was allowable than in our mixed society. Besides, as Prof. Cowles 159 suggests, the mode of dress in the East being different from ours, certain parts of the body are there exposed which would not be among us. Rev. W. M. Thomson 160 says: "While the face is veiled, the bosom is exposed in a way not at all in accordance with our ideas of propriety."

An Oriental would, as appears, deem it no more indelicate to praise the breasts, than the hair or eyes or hands of a female. Many expressions which are said to offend the taste are due to the baldness and other infelicities of the English version. The Hebrew is far less objectionable on this score. Prof. Stuart161 observes: "The perusal of the original makes much less impression on me of an exceptionable kind than the perusal of our version. It is far more delicate, at least to my apprehension. It were easy to exhibit particulars which would justify this statement."

Isaac Taylor:162 "If a half-dozen heedlessly rendered passages of our English version were amended, as easily they might be, then the Canticle would well consist, throughout, with the purest utterances of conjugal fondness."

Prof. W. H. Green163 says: "There is not the slightest taint of impurity or immodesty to be found in any portion of this elegant lyric." And we think that no one who carefully reads the elegant translations of Zockler, Worthington, Cowles, or Ginsburg, will dissent from this opinion.

Predictions

Privately interpreted

And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world? 

Matthew 24:3


Not privately interpreted

Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.

2 Peter 1:20-21

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158 Hist, of Old Testament Canon, pp. 377-378 (Revised edition, p. 353).

159 Introd. to Com. on Canticles.

160 Land and Book, i. 174. Hist, of Old Testament Canon, p. 382 (Revised edition, p. 357).

162 Spirit of Hebrew Poetry, pp. 184-185 (London edition).

163 Translation of Zockler, in Lange, p. 102, note.

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The Greek corresponding to "of any private interpretation" is confessedly obscure. The word "epilusis" occurs in no other passage of the New Testament. Hence the difficulty in determining its precise signification here. That, however, it has any reference to attempts to explain the scriptures in private is maintained by no scholar.

We subjoin various renderings of this passage. The Syriac Peshito: "No prophecy is an exposition of its own text."

Bishop Horsley: "Not any prophecy of scripture is of self-interpretation, or is its own interpreter; because the scripture prophecies are not detached predictions of separate, independent events, but are united in a regular and entire system, all terminating in one grand object—the promulgation of the gospel and the complete establishment of the Messiah's kingdom."

Dr. John Owen: "Not an issue of men's fancied enthusiasms, not a product of their own minds and conceptions, not an interpretation of the will of God by the understanding of man, that is, of the prophets themselves."

Dr. Adam Clarke: "'Of any private interpretation-—-proceeds from the prophet's own knowledge or invention, or was the offspring of calculation or conjecture. Far from inventing the subject of their own predictions, the ancient prophets did not even know the meaning of what they themselves wrote."

Archbishop Whately: "Prophecy is not to be its own interpreter, that is, is not to have its full sense made out (like that of any other kind of composition) by the study of the very words of each prophecy itself, but it is to be interpreted by the event that fulfils it."

Dr. Edward Robinson: '"No prophecy of scripture cometh of private interpretation,' i.e. is not an interpretation of the will of God by the prophets themselves."

Dr. Samuel Davidson: "No prophecy admits of a solution proper to its utterer."

Dr. Charles Hodge: "What a prophet said was not human, but divine. It was not the prophet's own interpretation of the mind and will of God. He spoke as the organ of the Holy Ghost."

Alford, Tholuck, De Wette, and Huther: '"Prophecy springs not out of human interpretation,' i.e. is not a prognostication made by a man knowing what he means when he utters it."

Upon any reasonable interpretation, the passage no more precludes explanations of prophecy given in private than those made in public.

(PROPHECY  IS  NOT  FROM  THE  IMAGINATION  OF  THE  HUMAN  MIND.  MUCH  CAN  BE  SEEN  ON  THAT,  ON  YOUTUBE  TODAY.  PROPHECY  IS  FROM  GOD,  AND  SO  IF  WRITTEN  IN  HIS  WORD,  MUST  BE  INTERPRETED  BY  HIS  WORD;  THE  BIBLE  INTERPRETS  THE  BIBLE  -  Keith HNunt)


Prophecy sure

And if thou say in thy heart, How shall we know the word which the Lord hath not spoken? When a prophet speaketh in the name of the Lord, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which the Lord hath not spoken, but the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously: thou shalt not be afraid of him.

Deuteronomy 18:21-22

We have also a more sure word of prophecy: whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place.

2 Peter 1:19


Not always fulfilled

And Jonah began to enter into the city a day's journey, and he cried, and said, Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown. So the people of Nineveh believed God, and proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them even to the least of them.... And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil, that he had said that he would do unto them; and he did it not.

Jonah 3:4-5,10


A passage previously cited (Jeremiah 18:7-10)164 has a bearing upon this point. That passage, however, refers to promises and threatenings, which are, of course, conditional. The text from Deuteronomy seems, on the contrary, to refer to absolute predictions, which are in no way contingent upon human conduct.

Peter terms prophecy "more sure" than the mere "voice" which the apostles heard in the mount, as "being of wider and larger reference, and as presenting a broader basis for the Christian's trust, and not only one fact, however important."

As to the threat uttered by Jonah, it turned upon a condition, either expressed or implied. As Henderson observes, "However absolute the right of God to deal with mankind agreeably to his own good pleasure, his conduct is always in strict accordance with the manner in which they behave toward him. Neither his promises nor his threatenings are unconditional."


Divine promise absolute

In that same day the Lord made a covenant with Abram, saying, Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates.

Genesis 15:18

And I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee.

Genesis 17:7


It was conditional

And the Lord said unto Moses, Behold, thou shalt sleep with thy fathers, and this people will rise up, and go a whoring after the gods of the strangers of the land, whither they go to be among them, and will forsake me, and break my covenant which I have made with them. Then my anger shall be kindled against them in that day, and I will forsake them, and I will hide my face from them, and they shall be devoured.

Deuteronomy 31:16-17

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164 See pp. 64-65, of present work.

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When ye have transgressed the covenant of the Lord your God, which he commanded you, and have gone and served other gods, and bowed yourselves to them; then shall the anger of the Lord be kindled against you, and ye shall perish quickly from off the good land which he hath given unto you.

Joshua 23:16


The covenant with Abraham has a twofold fulfilment: a partial one to his literal posterity—partial, on account of their nonfulfillment of the conditions; also, a grand and glorious fulfillment to Abraham's spiritual seed, in bestowing upon them the heavenly Canaan.155 The "covenant," though not fulfilled in the primary, will be so in the secondary and higher sense.


Judah to reign till Messiah

The  sceptre  shall  not  depart  from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be.

Genesis 49:10


Israel's first king a Benjamite

And afterward they desired a king: and God gave unto them Saul the son of Cis, a man of the tribe of Benjamin.

Acts 13:21


First. It is very far from being certain that the term "Shiloh" has any reference to the Messiah. Many critics interpret it as "the Ephraimite city where the tabernacle was erected, after the Israelites had entered the promised land." Here, during the judges' rule, the sanctuary remained, God revealed himself, the yearly feasts were kept, and the pious assembled as at their religious center. On this hypothesis, the sense is, "Till he, or one, come to Shiloh." That is, Judah should be the leader of the tribes during their march through the wilderness, till they arrived at Shiloh, the center of the promised inheritance. In this view concur Bleek, Bunsen, Davidson, Delitzsch, Eichhorn, Ewald, Fuerst, Hitzig, Kalisch, Lipmann, Luzzatto, Palfrey, Rodiger, Teller, and Tuch, with others.166 Another ancient interpretation is: "Judah shall possess the sceptre till he comes to whom it belongs." So, in substance, the Septuagint (according to one reading), Aquila, Symmachus, the Peshito, Onkelos, one Arabic, and most of the ancient versions, the Jerusalem Targum, Jahn, Von Bohlen, De Wette. Krummacher, etc.

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165 Compare Galatians 3:29; 4:28; Hebrews 11:16, 39-40.

166 See Article "Shiloh," in Smith's Bib. Diet., Vol. iv. pp. 2997-2999.

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Others render the word variously, "Rest-bringer," "Tranquilizer," "Rest," "Peace," "Peacemaker," "Prince of Peace." To this class may be referred Bush, Deutsch, Gesenius finally, Hengstenberg, Hofmann, Keil, Knobel, Kurtz, Lange, Luther, Rosenmuller, Schroder, Vater, and the Grand Rabbi Wogue. These all, with slight differences, agree in the above interpretation of the term Shiloh."

It is to be added that nearly all the ancient Jewish commentators, with the early Christian writers, and several modern critics, agree in referring the term to the Messiah.

Secondly. Admitting the Messianic reference, the passage still furnishes little difficulty. "Judah," says Keil, "was, to bear the sceptre with victorious, Bon-like courage, until, in the future Shiloh, the obedience of the nations came to him, and his rule over the tribes was widened into the peaceful government of the world." In the camp and on the march, Judah took the first place among the tribes.167 After the death of Joshua, Judah by divine direction opened the war upon the Canaanites;168 and the first judge, Othniel, came of that tribe.169 Then, in David and Solomon, the same tribe gained undisputed pre-eminence. In further proof, it may be added that, later, this tribe gave the name "Jews" to the whole people; "Jehudim" from "Jehudah," Judah.170 Moreover, our Lord himself-—the Shiloh, upon this interpretation-—-came as a man of the tribe of Judah.171 So that unto Jesus, and in him as Shiloh, that tribe maintained an easy preeminence.

Any one of the foregoing interpretations obviates the alleged discrepancy.

(WHEN  THE  THRONE  OF  DAVID  WAS  GIVEN  TO  DAVID,  JUDAH  WOULD  CONTINUE  THE  DESCENT  OF  THE  THRONE  UNTIL  THE  MESSIAH,  WHOSE  TRUE  RIGHT  IT  WAS,  WOULD  COME  TO  CLAIM  IT.  ALL  STILL  BEING  FULFILLED  AS  THE  THRONE  OF  DAVID  WAS  MOVED  TO  BRITAIN.  THE  BRITISH  THRONE  IS  INDEED  THE  THRONE  OF  DAVID,  AS  PROVED  ON  THIS  WEBSITE  -  Keith Hunt)


Quotations


Original passages

The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God. Isaiah 61:1-2


Quoted incorrectly

The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord.

Luke 4:18-19

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167 Numbers 2:2-3; 7:12; 10:14.

168 Judges 1:1-19.

165 Joshua 15:13; Judges 3:9.

170 Compare Turner's Companion to the Book of Genesis, pp. 371-388. Also, Speaker's (or
Bible) Commentary, i. 282, 233 (English edition).

171 Hebrews 7:14.

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Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me.

Malachi 3:1


Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee.

Mark 1:2


It will be seen that, in both these cases, the original sense is substantially preserved in the citation. We have elsewhere172 remarked upon the relation which the inspired authors sustain to one another; and especially, with reference to their use of similar phraseology. A thorough investigation of the subject will show conclusively that the sacred writers, in quoting from one another, quote according to the sense, and not according to the letter. They seldom, almost never, quote verbatim.


Original passage

Nevertheless the dimness shall not be such as was in her vexation, when at the first he lightly afflicted the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, and afterward did more  grievously afflict her by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, in Galilee of the nations. The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined.

Isaiah 9:1-2


Condensed

That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, The land of Zabulon, and the land of Nephthalim, by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles; the people which sat in darkness saw great light; and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death light is sprung up.

Matthew 4:14-16


Here is no contradiction, but a condensation. The fifteenth verse of Matthew is not so much a quotation, as an allusion, designed to arrest the attention of the reader, and prepare the way for the quotation proper.

The following is an example of substantial agreement amid slight circumstantial variations.


Forms of statement

And he said, Go into the city to such a man, and say unto him, The Master saith, My time is at hand; I will keep the passover at thy house with my disciples.

Matthew 26:18 

And he sendeth forth two of his disciples, and saith unto them, Go ye into the city, and there shall meet yon a man bearing a pitcher of water: follow him. And wheresoever he shall go in, say ye to the goodman of the house, The Master saith, Where is the guest-chamber, where I shall eat the passover with my disciples?

Mark 14:13-14


Expanded.

And he sent Peter and John, saying, Go and prepare us the passover, that we may eat …. Behold, when ye are entered into the city, there shall a man meet you, bearing a pitcher of water; follow him into the house where he entereth in. And ye shall say unto the goodman of the house, The Master saith unto thee, Where is the guest-chamber, where I shall eat the passover with my disciples?

Luke 22:8,10-11

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172 See pp. 6-7, of present work.

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A case of this kind can, we think, furnish difficulty to the advocates of verbal inspiration only.


Original passage

Sacrifice and offering thou didst not desire; mine ears hast thou opened: burnt offering and sin offering hast thou not required.

Psalm 40:6


Inexact version

Wherefore, when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me: In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin thou hast had no pleasure.

Hebrews 10:5-6


The difficulty, in this case, is that the apostle follows the Septuagint, "A body hast thou prepared me," instead of the Hebrew, "Mine ears hast thou opened."

We may first ask: Why did the Septuagint translators commit such an error in rendering the Hebrew into Greek? Usher, Semler, Ernesti, Michaelis, Bleek, and Lunemann offer the very plausible suggestion that the translators misread the Hebrew, and show how this might readily take place in this particular instance.173 Cappell, Carpzov, Wolf, Ebrard, Tholuck, and Delitzsch think that the translators deliberately chose this phraseology by which to render the Hebrew, as being more intelligible to the reader.

The second question is: Why did the apostle employ this loose rendering, instead of a literal one? In reply, it may be shown that the fundamental idea is retained, even in the inexact phraseology. The expression, "Mine ears hast thou opened," is, according to Hengstenberg,174 another way of saying, "Thou hast made me hearing, obedient"; while the corresponding words, "A body hast thou prepared me," are equivalent to, "Thou hast fitted me for willing service in the execution of thy designs." We thus see that in both cases the fundamental idea, the obedience of the Messiah, is preserved. Therefore, in this deeper view, there is no dissonance between these passages. Such being the case, Paul was at liberty

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173 See Alford, on Hebrews 10:5.

174 Com. on Psalm 40:6.

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to employ the paraphrastic rendering; especially since this seemed more appropriate to his purpose,175 as setting forth more fitly than did the original utterance the incarnation of the Lord Jesus and his obedience unto death.176

(THE  READER  SHOULD  STUDY  THE  STUDY  ON  MY  WEBSITE  CALLED  "HOW  PAUL  USED  THE  OLD  TESTAMENT"  AND  IT  IS  VERY  REVEALING  AND  MAYBE  A  SHOCK  TO  SOME,  BUT  IT  GIVES  GREAT  INSIGHT  INTO  THE  USE  OF  SCRIPTURE  -  Keith Hunt)


Original

And I said unto them, If ye think good, give me my price: and if not, forbear. So they weighed for my price thirty pieces of silver. And the Lord said unto me, Cast it unto the potter: a goodly price that I was prized at of them. And I took the thirty pieces of silver, and cast them to the potter in the house of the Lord. Zechariah 11:12-13


Wrongly referred

Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremy the prophet, saying, And they took the thirty pieces of silver, the price of him that was valued, whom they of the children of Israel did value; and gave them for the potter's field, as the Lord appointed me.

Matthew 27:9-10


Here is obviously a mistake, either made by Matthew or by subsequent transcribers. The prophecy was uttered by Zechariah, not Jeremiah.

Alford thinks that Matthew quoted from memory and unprecisely. Barnes suggests two explanations. According to the Jewish writers, Jeremiah was reckoned the first of the prophets, and was placed first in the book of the prophets; thus, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Isaiah, etc. Matthew, in quoting this book, may have quoted it under the name which stood first in it; that is, instead of saying, "by the Prophets," he may have said, "by Jeremy the prophet," since he headed the list.

Or, the difficulty may have arisen from abridgment of the names. In the Greek, Jeremiah, instead of being written in full, might stand thus, "Iriou"; Zechariah thus, "Zriou." By the mere change of Z into I, the mistake would be made. The Syriac Peshito and several mss. have simply, "by the prophet." In Henderson's 177 opinion, the Greek text of the above passage has been corrupted.

(SIMPLE  ANSWER  IS  THAT  JEREMIAH  SPOKE  IT.  WHAT  JEREMIAH  ONCE  SAID  HAD  BEEN  HANDED  DOWN;  THAT  IS  PROBABLY  THE  TRUTH  OF  IT,  FOR  THE  OLD  TESTAMENT  WAS  COPIED  IN  VERY  STRICT  WAYS,  MINUTELY  STRICT  WAYS,  AS  SHOWN  UNDER  "HOW  WE  GOT  THE  BIBLE"  -  THE  COPY  OF  ISAIAH  FROM  THE  "DEAD  SEA  SCROLLS"  WRITTEN  AT  THE  TIME  OF  CHRIST,  IS  PRACTICALLY  WORD  FOR  WORD  AS  WE  HAVE  TODAY  IN  THE  BOOK  OF  ISAIAH  -  Keith Hunt)


Forms of report

This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.

Matthew 3:17

Why are ye fearful,  O ye  of little faith?

Matthew 8:26

Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith?

Mark 4:40

Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee.

Matthew 9:2


Different

Thou art my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.

Mark 1:11

Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased.

Luke 3:22

Where is your faith?

Luke 8:25

Son, thy sins be forgiven thee.

Mark 2:5

Man, thy sins are forgiven thee.

Luke 5:20

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175 Warington on Inspiration, p. 95.

176 See Bib. Sacra, Vol. xxx. p. 309.

177 Minor Prophets, pp. 418-419.

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This is Jesus the King of the Jews. 

Matthew 27:37

The King of the Jews.

Mark 15:26


This is the King of the Jews.

Luke 23:38

Jesus of Nazareth the King of the Jews.

John 19:19


Taking these several cases into consideration, it is beyond question that in each the fundamental idea is preserved under all the various forms. And this, we think, is all, and precisely what, the sacred writers intended. One might, indeed, say of the last instance that John's report includes the other three; so that, if he is correct, the others of course are so. Or, that, since the superscription was written in Hebrew, Greek, and Latin, Matthew gives a translation of the Hebrew; Mark, a condensed one of the Latin; Luke follows Mark, adding, "This is"; while John gives a summary of the whole. But we see no necessity for such explanations. It is altogether improbable that three inscriptions, in three different languages, should correspond word for word.

The following cases furnish a slightly augmented difficulty.


Provide neither gold, nor silver, nor brass in your purses, nor scrip for your journey, neither two coats, neither shoes, nor yet staves: for the workman is worthy of his meat.

Matthew 10:9-10

And commanded them that they should take nothing for their journey, save a staff only; no scrip, no bread, no money in their purse: but be shod with sandals; and not put on two coats.

Mark 6:8-9


Take nothing for your journey, neither staves nor scrip, neither bread, neither money; neither have two coats apiece.

Luke 9:3


In this case the trivial differences do not affect the substantial agreement. When we observe that Matthew uses the term "provide,"178 it is clear that his meaning is: "Do not procure any in addition to what you now have. Go, just as you are."

As to the fact that Matthew forbids "shoes" to be procured, while Mark allows "sandals" to be worn, it may be remarked that "shoes," as the original implies, may have been of a kind such as to cover the whole foot, while the "sandal" was merely a sole of wood or hide, covering the bottom of the foot and bound on with thongs.179 Thus the supposed discrepancy utterly falls away.

(COULD  BE  AS  NO  TWO  COATS,  FOOTWEAR  WAS  ALSO  NOT  TO  BE  "PLURAL"  -  TWO  SETS  OF  FOOTWEAR.  THEY  WERE  TO  HAVE  FAITH  THAT  IMPORTANT  ITEMS  LIKE  A  COAT [FOR  COLD  WEATHER]  AND  FOOTWEAR  [WALKING  ALL  THE  TIME, NO HORSES, BIKES,  BUSES,  CARS,  OR  TRAINS  AND  PLANES]   FOR  WALKING  WOULD  BE  ALWAYS  SUPPLIED,  AS  A  WORKMAN  IS  WORTHY  OF  HIS  HIRE;  PEOPLE  WOULD  SEE  THEY  HAD  THE  BASIC  NEEDS  OF  LIFE  TO  DO  THE  GOSPEL  WORK -  Keith Hunt)

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178 Greek Kxaopm, to get for oneself, to acquire, to procure, by purchase or otherwise. Robinson, Lexicon to New Testament.

175 So Robinson's New Testament Lexicon.

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Go into the village over against you, and straightway ye shall find an ass tied, and a colt with her: loose them, and bring them unto me. And if any man say aught unto you, ye shall say, The Lord hath need of them; and straightway he will send them.

Matthew 21:2-3


Go your way into the village over against you: and as soon as ye be entered into it, ye shall find a colt tied, whereon never man sat; loose him, and bring him. And if any man say unto you, Why do ye this? say ye that the Lord hath need of him; and straightway he will send him hither.

Mark 11:2-3

Go ye into the village over against you; in the which at your entering ye shall find a colt tied, whereon yet never man sat: loose him and bring him hither. And if any man ask you, Why do ye loose him, thus shall ye say unto him, Because the Lord hath need of him.

Luke 19:30-31


This is simply an example of three independent veracious witnesses, each telling his story in his own way. And we cannot feel the least respect for that infinitessimal criticism which cavils and demurs at a case of this kind.


A wicked and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given unto it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas.

Matthew 16:4


Why doth this generation seek after a sign? verily, I say unto you, There shall no sign be given to this generation.

Mark 8:12


May not Mark mean, there shall no future sign be given? The "sign of the prophet Jonas" was taken from the records of the past. At all events, that kind of sign sought for by the Jews was peremptorily refused.

Other interesting examples of variant quotations are the following:


Till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom.

Matthew 16:28

Till they have seen the kingdom of God come with power.

Mark 9:1

Let no fruit grow on thee henceforward for ever.

Matthew 21:19

For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven.

Matthew 22:30

For when they shall rise from the dead, they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels which are in heaven.

Mark 12:25


Till they see the kingdom of God.

Luke 9:27

No man eat fruit of thee hereafter for ever.

Mark 11:14

But they which shall be accounted worthy to obtain that world, and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry, nor are given in marriage: neither can they die any more: for they are equal unto the angels; and are the children of God, being the children of the resurrection.

Luke 20:35-36


But as touching the resurrection of the dead, have ye not read that which was spoken unto you by God, saying, I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living. Matthew 22:31-32

And as touching the dead, that they rise: have ye not read in the book of Moses, how in the bush God spake unto him, saying, I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? He is not the God of the dead, but the God of the living.

Mark 12:26-27

But Jesus perceived their wickedness, and said, Why tempt ye me, ye hypocrites? Show me the tribute money.

Matthew 22:18-19

But he, knowing their hypocrisy, said unto them, Why tempt ye me? bring me a penny, that I may see it.

Mark 12:15

Jesus saith unto him, Thou hast said. 

Matthew 26:64

When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:) Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains.

Matthew 24:15,16


Now that the dead are raised, even Moses showed at the bush, when he calleth the Lord the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. For he is not a God of the dead, but of the living: for all live unto him. 

Luke 20:37-38

But he perceived their craftiness, and said unto them, Why tempt ye me? Show me a penny.

Luke 20:23-24

And Jesus said, I am.

Mark 14:62

But when ye shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing where it ought not, (let him that readeth understand,) then let them that be in Judaea flee to the mountains.

Mark 13:14

And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh. Then let them which are in Judaea flee to the mountains.

Luke 21:20-21


Another striking case is that relative to the instituting of the Lord's Super. The passages are too long to be quoted here, but may be found in Matthew 26:21-29, Mark 14:18-24, Luke 22:14-20, 1 Corinthians 11:23-26. A no less famous instance is that of Peter's denials of Christ, which is discussed else-where. 180


When we take into consideration the fact that inspiration has reference primarily to ideas rather than to words; and that, in each of the above cases

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180  See under Historical Discrepancies—Persons.

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respectively, the fundamental idea is, notwithstanding the variations of phraseology, carefully and distinctly preserved, these and similar instances furnish no real difficulty whatever.181. In view of these and similar cases, certain eminent critics have felt warranted in deducing two inferences:


1. That the sacred writers, in their citations from one another, provided the fundamental idea were retained, were suffered to expand, abridge, or paraphrase the original language, and adapt it to the object which they respectively contemplated. As is observed by Prof. Barrows,182 "It is manifest that the writers of the New Testament are not anxious about the verbal accuracy of the words cited. The spirit and scope of a passage, which constitute its true life and meaning, are what they have in view, not the exact rendering of the words from the Hebrew into the Greek."

2. That these writers, while divinely guarded against any error in communicating religious truth, and against any material error in narrating matters of fact, were yet not preserved from trivial errors, defects of memory, and the like,
which occasionally appear in their writings. In other words, they were neither rendered omniscient, nor infallible in all respects, but were unerringly guided in the communication of religious truth.

Archbishop Whately, 183 speaking of certain cases in the New Testament, says, "We may plainly perceive that, in point of fact, the sacred writers were not supernaturally guarded against trifling inaccuracies in the detail of unimportant circumstances." Again, he speaks of those "trifling inaccuracies as to an insignificant circumstance which occur in the gospel history, and which it was not thought needful to guard against by a special inspiration." Nearly the same view is taken by Mr. Warington 184 who, however, concedes much more than is necessary.

Dean Alford 185 says, "There are certain minor points of accuracy or inaccuracy of which human research suffices to inform men, and on which, from want of that research, it is often the practice to speak vaguely and inexactly. Such are sometimes the conventionally received distances from place to place; such are the common accounts of phenomena in natural history, etc. Now, in matters of this kind, the evangelists and apostles were not supernaturally informed, but left, in common with others, to the guidance of their natural faculties. The same

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181 Compare Journal of Sacred Literature (April, 1854), pp. 71-110.

182 Bibliotheca Sacra, Vol. xxx. p. 306.

183 Future State, appendix to Lecture xi.

184 On Inspiration, pp. 72-75 and 238-239.

185 Prolegomena to Gospels, chap, i., sect, vi., par 14-15.

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may be said of citations and dates from history. In the last apology of Stephen, which he spoke being full of the Holy Ghost, and with divine influence beaming from his countenance, we have at least two demonstrable historical inaccuracies. And the occurrence of similar ones in the Gospels does not in anyway affect the inspiration or the veracity of the evangelists."


The above theory of inspiration seems very well set forth in the following citation from the late Mr. Parry:186 "Everything which the apostles have written or taught concerning Christianity—everything which teaches a religious sentiment or duty-—-must be considered as divinely true, as the mind and will of God, recorded under the direction and guidance of his Spirit. But there is no need to ask whether everything contained in their writings was immediately suggested by the Spirit or not; whether Luke was inspired to say that the ship in which he sailed with Paul was wrecked on the island of Melita, or whether Paul was under the guidance of the Spirit in directing Timothy to bring him the cloak which he had left at Troas; for these things were not of a religous nature, and no inspiration was necessary concerning them." We will simply add that the view of inspiration exhibited in the foregoing extracts, while it very well meets certain exigencies of the case, seems, nevertheless, peculiarly liable to be misunderstood and abused. There is ever far greater danger to be apprehended from a lax than from a strict theory of inspiration.

(AGAIN  THE  READER  NEEDS  TO  STUDY  "HOW  PAUL  USED  THE  OLD  TESTAMENT"  ON  THIS WEBSITE,  AND  COME  TO  UNDERSTAND  THAT  MOVING  INSPIRATION  BY  THE  SPIRIT  OF  GOD,  ALLOWS  FOR  MOVEMENT  IN  WRITING  WHEN  THE  MAIN  SENSE  AND  TEACHING  IS  THE  IMPORTANT  THING,  NOT  THE  PHYSICAL  WORDS  IN  "MUST  BE  EXACTLY  THE  SAME."  MOVING  FROM  ONE  LANGUAGE  TO  ANOTHER  MUST  OFTEN   BE  DONE  WITH  THE  "SENSE"  AND  NOT  THE  PHYSICAL  FORMATION  OF  WORDS.  SOME  LANGUAGES  HAVE  THE  LITERAL  WORDS  BACKWARDS  TO  THE  ENGLISH  WORDS  OF  SAYING  THE  BASIC  SAME  THING.  GOD  IS  NOT  BOUND  BY  SAY  JUST  THE  "OXFORD  DICTIONARY  OF  THE  ENGLISH  LANGUAGE."  GOD  IS  NOT  BOUND  BY  REPEATING  THE  SAME  OUTLINED  THRUTH,  FROM  ONE  MAN  TO  ANOTHER  MAN,  OR  ONE  AGE  TO  ANOTHER  AGE,  IN  EXACTLY  THE  SAME  LITERAL  WORDS;  THE  TRUTH  AND  MEANING  IS  THE  MOST  IMPORTANT  THING  TO  HAND  DOWN.  AND  THE  FULL  CIRCUMSTANCES  DOES  NOT  HAVE  TO  BE  GIVEN  BY  ALL  PERSONS.  EXAMPLE,  THE  MOTHER  OF  THE  DONKEY  JESUS  RODE  UPON,  DOES  NOT  HAVE  TO  BE  MENTIONED  BY  EVERYONE  RELATING  THE  STORY.  NOT  ALL  JOURNALISTS  GIVE  ALL  DETAILS  ON  REPORTING  AN  INCIDENT;  THE  BASIC  TRUTH  IS  GIVEN,  WHILE  DIFFERENT  SIDE  DETAILS  ARE  GIVEN,  SOME  OF  THIS…  BY  SOME,  SOME  OF  THE  OTHER…  BY  OTHERS  ETC.  Keith Hunt)

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TO  BE  CONTINUED