"...but try the spirits whether they are of God..." (1 Jno. 4:1)
|Volume One, Number Two||Spring 1991|
In this editorial we will be addressing objections to the harmony of the Bible which appeared in the Autumn 1990 issue of The Skeptical Review, edited by Farrell Till, and in the February 1983 issue of Biblical Errancy, edited by Dennis McKinsey. We will look at Mr. Till's objections first.
(1) I Kings 6:1 & Acts 13:17-22: The problem that Mr. Till finds is that I Kings 6:1 gives a different amount of years than Paul did in Acts 13:17-22.
I Kings 6:1 says that the work on the temple began 480 years after the Israelites came out of Egyptian bondage. This happened in the 4th year of Solomon's reign. Paul states that they were in the wilderness for 40 years and then God divided their inheritance between them. Then God gave them a king. From the time they went out of the wilderness until they received a king was 450 years. Saul reigned for 40 years and David reigned another 40 years. It was in the 4th year of Solomonís reign that the building of the temple began. 40 + 450 + 40 + 40 + 4 = 574 years, 93 to 94 years (depending on the method of calculation) longer than what the writer of I Kings 6:1 allowed.
The difference between the two accounts is accounted for by the fact that 93 years must be subtracted because there are 93 years recorded in the book of Judges that Israel was ruled by a foreign nation. Judges 38 says Israel was in bondage to Chushanrishathaim for 8 years. Judges 3:14 tells us that Israel served Eglon the king of Moab for 18 years. Judges 4:2,3 tells us that Israel served Jabin, the king of Canaan for 20 years. Judges 6:1 says that Israel served Midian for 7 Years. Finally Judges 13:1 says that Israel was ruled by the Philistines for 40 years. Now when one adds 8 + 18 + 20 + 7 + 40 together one comes up with 93 years, which is the difference between I Kings 6:1 and Acts 13:17-22. The writer of I Kings 6:1 apparently used this method of calculating Israel's time while Paul mentioned all the years without any reference to the lost time that Israel was in bondage under the period of the Judges. This will account beautifully for the difference between the two accounts. Therefore, there is no contradiction.
(2) I Kings 2:15 & I Samuel 16:10-11: One passage says that David was Jesse's seventh son while the other says that he was the eighth son. The difficulty is resolved in the possibility that Jesse had a son who died before marriage, leaving no posperity. Having died at this stage of his life, it would not be impossible that his name would be left off of the list in I Chronicles. Gleason Archer said: "The writer of this article had an older brother who died quite young, which would bring up the count of the children to four. Yet after the death of the earlier son, the three surviving children always spoke of themselves as a family of three siblings. Perhaps a similar event happened in Jesse's family as well." (Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties, p.l75)
(3) Joshua 17:17 & Judges 1:19: Mr. Till thinks that one account promises Israel that she will be able to drive out those who had chariots of iron, while another account says that Judah could not drive out some because they had chariots of iron.
Israel was never promised that she would be able to drive out those with chariots of iron. This promise was made only to the houses of Joseph, Ephraim, and Menasseh. Therefore, there is no inconsistency. Judges 1:19 did say that God was with Judah, but this does not mean that God was going to win the battle for him. God was with him in the same way he is with us today.
(4) Numbers 3 & 4 & Deuteronomy 10:7,8 and Numbers 33:38: Numbers chapters 3 & 4 describe the separation of the Levites for the priesthood and temple service. Deuteronomy 10:7,8 and Numbers 33:38 show that this separation took place around 38 years after the accounts mentioned in Numbers chapters 3 and 4. The answer to this difficulty is that Numbers chapters 3 and 4 are not accounts of the actual separation, but were merely instructions for when the separation would take place.
An example of this type thing is found in Matthew 18:17 where Jesus said: "...take it to the church." At the time Jesus made this statement the church had not yet come into its established state. We understand, however, that Jesus was merely giving instructions as to how they were to handle a certain matter after the church came into its established state. This is much like a mother telling her daughter before she gets married: "Now honey, you be sure and be obedient to your husband. Would we expect the daughter to say: "...but Mamma, I don't even have a husband!"? No, the daughter would understand that her mother was giving her advice as to how she was to conduct herself after she married.
Now to deal with some of the objections raised by Mr. McKinsey in his publication Biblical Errancy.
(1) The Resurrection: On page one Mr. McKinsey points out that many people were raised from the dead, both before and after Christ was. He wanted to know why Christ's resurrection meant more than these other resurrections. One answer is that Jesus was the only one who was raised to die no more. All of these others died again after they were raised.
(2) Jesus the Imperfect Beacon: On page three Mr. McKinsey tries to show that Jesus was not perfect because of (what Mr. McKinsey calls) false statements and inaccurate prophecies he made.  John 7:8-10: "Go ye up to this feast: I go not up yet (emp. added) unto this feast; for my time is not Yet full come." (KJV) Mr. McKinsey used the RSV which left the word yet out of the phrase: "...I am not going up to this feast... However, even the RSV has the phrase: ..., for my time is not yet come. to show that he was not going at that time, but that he would go later.  Jesus instructed men not to call others "fools" (Matthew 5:22) only to turn around and call the Pharisees "fools." (Matthew 23:17,19; Luke 11:40) Matthew 5:22 deals with anger which leads to murder in the heart. In Matthew chapter 23 and Luke 11:20 he was merely showing them how foolish they were for following their traditions and practices.  Jesus could not save himself, how could he be our saviour? This is the same charge the Jews threw at him. (Matthew 27:42) Did it ever occur to Mr. McKinsey that Jesus' purpose was not to save himself, but to die?
(3) The Mountains of Ararat: On page four Mr. McKinsey wanted to know how the ark could have rested on more than one mountain at the same time. The mountains of Ararat are a range of mountains like the Rocky mountains. If a person drives up one of the Rocky mountains, that person is said to have driven up the Rocky mountains.
Neither Mr. Till, nor Mr. McKinsey have brought up anything that poses any real problem to the Bible inerrancy doctrine. If they care to defend their arguments Challenge is now open for them to do so.
CHALLENGE is published quarterly by Challenge Publications.
Jerry D. McDonald, Editor; Michael P. Hughes, Associate Editor.