Was Jesus Hangry When He Cursed the Fig Tree?

Jesus said that he was gentle and lowly of heart. But elsewhere in the gospels, we see Jesus doing some pretty non-gentle things, like supposedly killing fig trees in a rage fit. (Mark 11:12-14) Some skeptics have said this makes Jesus look like a petty punk. For example, here’s atheist Marshall Brain: “The son of God is hungry. He approaches a fig tree. The tree is out of season and has no fruit. Jesus wants fruit. So he kills the tree. What a total jerk! Why didn’t he wave his all-powerful hand and cause figs to appear? Or how about borrowing a raisin from someone and turning it into 5,000 baskets of figs? Only a true … Read more

Was the tomb opened or closed when the women arrived?

Was the tomb opened or closed when the women arrived?

The Apostle Paul says that Christianity’s truth stands or falls on the resurrection. (1 Cor. 15:17) But skeptics point out that the resurrection narratives in the Gospels have more holes than swiss cheese. Why are they riddled with contradictions? One of their go-to contradictions is this: Was the tomb empty or closed when the women arrived? New Testament scholar Bart Ehrman asks: “Was the stone already rolled away when they arrived at the tomb (Mark, Luke, and John), or explicitly not (Matthew)?”  (How Jesus Became God) Before we take the scholar’s word for it, let’s look at the texts ourselves And they were saying to one another, “Who will roll away the stone for us … Read more

The Death of Judas: A Hopeless Bible Contradiction?

Skeptics accuse Christians of not paying attention while they’re reading their Bible. If they didn’t rush through their daily devotional, they’d catch some obvious contradictions. One of the more famous of these contradictions is the two accounts of the death of Judas. Here’s Biblical scholar and critic Bart Ehrman: “The two reports give different accounts of how Judas died. However mysterious it may be to say he fell headlong and burst open, at least that is not “hanging” oneself. And they are flat out contradictory on two other points: who purchased the field (the priests, as per Matthew, or Judas, as per Acts?) and why the field was called the field of blood (because it … Read more

Video: The Names of the 12: Evidence That the Gospel Writers Knew Their Stuff

Do Matthew and Luke contradict each other when it comes to the names of the Twelve Apostles? Some skeptics say yes, but there’s actually a very plausible solution that’s rooted in the historical data we have about what people were named during Jesus’ time. And as it turns out, the names actually provide good evidence that the Gospels were based on eyewitness testimony. If you’re more of a podcast person, You can listen and Subscribe here: References: Can We Trust the Gospels?, Peter J Williams, https://amzn.to/2QHP8s5 Jesus and the Eyewitnesses, Richard Bauckham https://amzn.to/3a2J4Cr Erik ManningErik is a Reasonable Faith Chapter Director located in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. He’s a former freelance baseball writer and the co-owner … Read more

Is There a Contradiction in the Lists of Jesus’ Twelve Disciples? No, The Names Provide Surprising Evidence for the Gospels

The late Christopher Hitchens said, “The New Testament is a work of crude carpentry, hammered together long after its purported events, and full of improvised attempts to make things come out right.” One example of this alleged makeshift handiwork is the names of the Twelve. If the gospel writers can’t get the names of Jesus’ disciples straight, how can we trust them with other details?  On the face of it, it looks like Matthew and Luke contradict: Matthew 10:2-4: “The names of the twelve apostles are these: first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother; Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James the son of Alphaeus, … Read more

Did Jesus cleanse the temple twice? Was he throwing a temper tantrum?

Noted biblical scholar and critic Bart Ehrman says that the gospels have hopelessly irreconcilable differences. Therefore they can’t be trusted as reliable documents. One big difference would be the story of the cleansing of the Temple when you compare John and Mark (and the other synoptic gospels). Here’s Bart:  The Gospel of Mark indicates that it was in the last week of his life that Jesus “cleansed the Temple” by overturning the tables of the money changers and saying, “This is to be a house of prayer…but you have made it a den of thieves” (Mark 11), whereas according to John this happened at the very beginning of Jesus’ ministry (John 2). Some readers have … Read more

Did Jesus Ride Two Donkeys at the Same Time During the 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 a donkey out of himself. 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 story that’s told in thousands of churches today. Matthew, on the other hand, has Jesus riding two beasts at the … 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

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