Did the author of Luke make a geographical blunder in Luke 4:29?

Let’s just say that Jesus’ first sermon in his home city of Nazareth did not go over big. Reading out of Isaiah 61, Jesus announces that he’s the long-awaited Messiah that the prophet predicted. Rather than becoming a hometown hero, this offended the people who watched Jesus grow up to no end. Jesus then irritated them further, pointing to two different scenarios in the Books of Kings where rejected prophets healed and helped Gentile sinners before helping their fellow Israelites. (Luke 4:16-31) Luke tells us that this was the result: “And they rose up and drove him out of the town and brought him to the brow of the hill on which their town was built so … Read more

The Man Who Carried Jesus’ Cross: The Hidden Significance of Simon of Cyrene’s Sons

Simon of Cyrene met Jesus in the most unusual way. Mark and Luke tell us he was coming back from the country. Whether out of curiosity or just being stuck in foot traffic, Simon ends up being a bystander to Jesus making his way to Golgotha. Weakened from the flogging, Jesus could no longer carry his cross by himself. Whether Simon felt any sympathy for Jesus or not, Roman soldiers forced him to help Jesus bear the weight of the cross the rest of the way. Coming face to face with the Man from Galilee in such a fashion would likely leave a lasting impression, and so his inclusion in the gospels makes sense. But what … Read more

Did the author of Matthew’s Gospel make an ass out of himself when telling the story of Jesus’ Triumphal Entry?

The writer of Matthew is quick to connect Jesus to the Old Testament. You can’t read Matthew for long before he drops a reference from the prophets. But some critics say that’s he’s too quick to connect the dots, to the point where he makes himself out to be a dumb…well, I made the pun once as click-bait and this isn’t a Shrek movie, so we’ll leave it at that. One way Matthew allegedly parades his ignorance of the Old Testament texts in his version of the Triumphal Entry. To help me state this objection here’s Kristin Swenson of The Huffington Post: Mark and Luke agree that Jesus rode on a donkey, and that’s the … Read more

Does Mark make a historical blunder regarding the ritual of Jewish handwashing?

Critics love to say the gospels aren’t trustworthy because they’re full of historical blunders. One such alleged error that often gets brought up is that Mark goofs regarding ritual purification, namely the Jewish custom of handwashing. Here’s biblical critic Bart Ehrman: “Their ignorance of Palestinian geography and Jewish customs suggests they composed their works somewhere else in the empire…Mark 7:3 indicates that the Pharisees ‘and all the Jews’ washed their hands before eating, so as to observe ‘the tradition of the elders.’ This is not true: most Jews did not engage in this ritual.” Jesus, Interrupted p 287 Bart has a point. If you read the Mosaic law, this was to be practiced by the … Read more

84 reasons why we know Luke was a traveling companion and eyewitness of the miraculous life of the Apostle Paul

Bart Ehrman claims that Luke wasn’t really a traveling companion of Paul. In his book Forged, Bart writes: “(The author of Acts) is simply claiming to be a traveling companion of Paul’s and therefore unusually well suited to give a “true” account of Paul’s message and mission. But he almost certainly was not a companion of Paul’s. On the one hand, he was writing long after Paul and his companions were dead. Scholars usually date Acts to around 85 CE or so, over two decades after Paul’s death. On the other hand, he seems to be far too poorly informed about Paul’s theology and missionary activities to have been someone with firsthand knowledge.”  (Forged: Writing in … Read more

A hopeless Bible contradiction? Why do Matthew and Luke give us two different genealogies for Jesus?

Early in their respective Gospels, Matthew and Luke both present to us Jesus’ genealogy. But there’s a rather glaring problem between the two records. They are irreconcilably different. Popular skeptical blogger Bob Seidensticker calls this one of the most damning Bible contradictions, a discrepancy that strikes at the foundation of Christian claims. To help me state the objection in more detail, I’ll let Bob do the talking: “The Messiah had to be of the line of David (Jeremiah 33:15–17; Isaiah 9:7), so two gospels provide genealogies of Jesus to validate this requirement. The problem is that we only need to go back one generation, to Joseph’s father, to find a problem. Jacob [was] the father … Read more

How many signs did Jesus perform in Galilee? How Bart Ehrman turns passages into contradictions by taking verses out of context

Bart Ehrman says that the gospels are “hopelessly contradictory” and therefore we can’t trust them. But should we really have blind faith in Bart? I’m going to provide you with a sampling of why we shouldn’t. Some of Bart’s tactics are just downright snake-oily. (Is snake-oily a word?) Check out these shenanigans: DOES JOHN NOT KNOW HOW TO COUNT? “There are lots of other discrepancies in the New Testament, some of them far more difficult to reconcile (virtually impossible, I would say) than these simple examples. Not only are there discrepancies among different books of the Bible, but there are also inconsistencies within some of the books, a problem that historical critics have long ascribed … Read more

6 strong reasons why Isaiah 53 describes Jesus alone

Here’s a spiritual conversation starter for you. Print off Isaiah 53 on a piece of paper. Take out the headings and verse numbers. Then grab a non-Christian friend and have them read it with you. 99 times out of a hundred, they’ll identify the Suffering Servant described in the passage as Jesus. That would be a great time to let them know that the chapter comes is out of the Jewish Bible and was written 700 years before the time of Christ!   The Bible says that one of the things that separate Yahweh from the nation’s idols is his ability to tell us the end from the beginning. (Isaiah 46:10) But not everyone is … Read more

How could an all-loving God command Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac?

is god into child sacrifice?

In 2003, Deanna Laney stoned two of her young children to death. She tried to kill her third child, who was only 14 months old, but the child survived his injuries. During the police investigation, Laney claimed God ordered her to kill her sons. Horror stories like this often get co-opted by anti-religionists. The question posed to the believer goes like this: If God told you to kill your children, would you do it? If you say yes, you’re deranged and insane. If you say no, then you’re not as faithful as God’s man Abraham. According to the critics, the story of Abraham and Isaac shows that God is not above child-sacrifice. How could an … Read more