"...but try the spirits whether they are of God..." (1 Jno. 4:1)


Volume One, Number Two Spring 1991


Alleged Bible Contradictions - Explained (2)

Jerry Moffitt

How Many Animals Used By Christ ?

"And they bring the colt unto Jesus, and cast on him their garments." (Mark 11:1) "And brought the ass, and the colt, and put on them their garments; and sat thereon." (Matthew 21:7) Mark 11:7 mentions only the colt, for that is the one Jesus rode on. The ass, its mother, was also brought (Matthew 21.7), for it would be inclined to go where its colt was led. Mark omits the ass as it was incidental in his mind, and he wrote using an economy of speech. There is no contradiction. Mark says they brought a colt. He does not say they brought the colt only.

However, Matthew 21:7 does seem to say Jesus rode on both! To this, it is replied, that a "vague idiom" called "the plural of class" is employed. Haley uses an example where a man riding one of a team of horses Jumps off. It might be stated this way: "He sprang from the horses," though he was really riding the one. In like manner, though the plural was used in Jesus' case, he was really riding only one -- the colt.

How Long Was Jesus Entombed ?

Matthew says Christ entombment was three days and three nights. (Matthew 12:40) But when you look at it, he was buried late Friday, and arose early Sunday. That would not be three days and three nights. However the expression "three days and three nights" was an expression used to stand for a time which included only portions of the three. Orientals reckon any part of a day as a whole day. To their standard way of reckoning, any part of a day was counted as a whole day and night. Haley says: "This Oriental manner of designating intervals of time is found in other portions of scripture, and obtains in modern times. Dr. Robinson found, in his own case, that 'five days' of quarantine really meant 'only three whole days and small portions of two others.'"

The Blind Men At Jerico

Compare Matthew 20:29-34 with Mark 10:46-52 and Luke 18:35-43. Matthew says the Lord healed two blind men as he left Jerico. The other accounts say one blind man (Bartimaeus) was healed as they entered Jerico.

"There," some would say, "is a bare contradiction." But we would reply, "Not at all!" When two people describe the same event, one my include details the other would not. Matthew mentions two, while Mark and Luke only speak of the more prominent one. Mark and Luke go into more detail on the name.

Too, there were two Jerico's -- the old city and the new. The healing very well may have taken place after they left the old city, and as they were entering the new. So there is no contradiction there, and those who would attack the Bible cannot possibly remove these simple plausible explanations.

I believe that we have seen that seemingly foolproof contradictions have simple solutions. One need not doubt unless he wants too.


CHALLENGE is published quarterly by Challenge Publications.
Jerry D. McDonald, Editor; Michael P. Hughes, Associate Editor.


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