Saturday, October 01, 2005

Contradiction, or Paradox?

I have a booklet a Muslim friend gave me which puts forth supposed "errors" in the Bible. So I find myself unable to explain all of these. I may have an idea on one or two of them. I would invite scholars to explain these. I should mention that none of these shake my belief in the inerrancy of the Scriptures in the slightest.

1. II Sam. 8:4 vs. I Chron. 18:4.

7 hundred or 7 thousand?

2. II Sam. 8:9-10 vs. I Chron. 18:9-10.

Toi or Tou, Joram or Hadoram, Hadadezer or Hadarezer?

3. II Sam. 10:18 vs. I Chron. 19:18.

7 hundred chariots or 7 thousand men? 40,000 horsemen or footmen? Shobach or Shophach?

4. II Kings 8:26 vs. II Chron. 22:2.

22 or 42 years old?

5. II Kings 24:8 vs. II Chron. 36:9.

18 or 8 years old? 3 months or 3 months and 10 days?

6. II Sam. 23:8 vs. I Chron. 11:11.

Tachmonite or Hachmonite? 800 or 300?

7. II Sam. 24:1 vs. I Chron. 21:1.

Is the Lord of David then Satan? God forbid!

8. II Sam. 6:23 vs. II Sam. 21:8.

Did Michal have children or not?

9. Gen. 6:3 vs. Noah's age when he dies.

10. Gen. 1:26 vs. Is. 40:18 and 25, Ps. 89:6, and Jer. 10:6,7.

Is there something (man) made in the image of God or not?

11. John 5:37 vs. John 14:9.

12. John 5:31 vs. John 8:14.

13. Matt. 15:24 vs. Mark 16:15 and Matt. 28:18-20.

14. Inclusion or exclusion of Mark 16:9-20.

I'm sure there are more, but these are a start. Thanks for your help, in advance!

In Christ.

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At 10/01/2005 05:10:00 PM , Blogger Mr. Baggins said...

I can't do all of them at once, but I will do one or two at a time. So keep on coming back to this post!

Number 1 has to do most likely with a transcriptional error. There are manuscripts out there of 2 Sam that agree with Chronicles. We affirm that the *original* autograph was without error. This difference would hardly shock our faith. But there are manuscripts that agree, anyway.

On number two, names can change over time (Samuel was written long before Chronicles). There are many people in the Bible with more than one name. Nebuchadnezzar is often called Nebuchadrezzar. The difference between "r" and "d" is extremely small in the Hebrew. In the first and third cases, it is most likely a variant spelling of the same name, while the middle one is an alternate name.

At 10/03/2005 07:23:00 AM , Anonymous Chris Hutchinson said...

These are precisely the kind of smokescreens I mentioned in the sermon yesterday which are meant to distract us from the larger question: did God so love the world that He gave His only begotten Son, or are we on our own to earn our favor with an arbitrary and distant God, cf. Islam?

A quick survey says that all of these are likely ms errors. The difference is that we believe in scholarship and do not fear these minor little errors which have crept in to our translations -- does a single one affect any doctrine? -- no, not even Mark 16.

Our focus is Jesus, not a "perfect" ms today, like the Muslims claim to have in their Arabic Quran (thought perfect only because they burned all the variant ms several centuries after Muhammad).

If you have dialog with this fellow, ignore these and press him on Jesus. Let Jesus be the Stumbling Stone.

Chris H.

At 10/03/2005 09:10:00 AM , Blogger Adrian C. Keister said...

Reply to Chris,

Good stuff, and I agree. I do, however, have two questions.

1. What is the exact position on the inerrancy of the Scriptures? We believe that the originals were inerrant. Well, even the Muslims claim to believe that. At least, they do in this little booklet. But is it true that we believe our current manuscripts are without error?

2. What does FWIW stand for?

In Christ.

At 10/03/2005 09:55:00 AM , Blogger Mr. Baggins said...

FWIW stands for "For what it's worth." I echo Chris' position, of course. Our position on inerrancy has always been that the original autographs are without error. Manuscripts have small errors (sometimes large ones). But with the science of textual criticism, we can get back to the original manuscript with 99.999% accuracy. That can hardly be said for *any* other piece of lit from that time period.

At 10/03/2005 01:58:00 PM , Anonymous Chris said...

What Lane said. What we have now are "pure" and "authentical" (WCF 1.8). I surmise that God did not allow all the ms to remain absolutely uncorrupted for two reasons: 1) Redemption comes to a real, messy world, even as the Incarnation. So the original ms have been lost but their message remains pure and authentic. 2) So that our faith would be in Jesus and not a book. The Bible does not save. Jesus does. Hence the WCF makes clear that for the Bible to do us any good, we need the HS to show us it's truth (WCF 1.5).

Muslims, however, put their faith in a book, which they learn to recite in Arabic, even though they can't understand it. And in a God of power who demands everything be perfect in THIS world, hence their confusion of mosque and state.


At 10/03/2005 02:23:00 PM , Blogger Mr. Baggins said...

Yes, if we were to have the original manuscripts, we would be tempted to worship those pieces of paper rather than the One to whom they point.

Here are a couple more answer, though. 3 is a copyist's error.
The name is alternate names. 4 in my translation (ESV), they are the same. On number 5, I will just quote Selman's commentary on the Chronicles passage: Most Heb mss of Chr. give his age on accession as 'eight', but since it is known from Babylonian sources that five years later he had five children, the reading 'eighteen' is definitely preferable. On number 6, the names are probably alternate spellings, while the number is a copyist error, most likely.

At 10/03/2005 03:16:00 PM , Blogger Mr. Baggins said...

Hey, Chris! Do you happen to have a blog of your own? I see a link on your name, but can't seem to get to where the link is supposed to go.

At 10/05/2005 07:07:00 AM , Anonymous Chris said...

Nah, no blog. Under website, I put "yeah, right." I'm not that computer savvy, nor have the time....


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