JohnSWilson3 Blog

Response to “Problems With Biblical Inerrancy” by Thomas Jay Oord
August 13, 2010, 3:08 am
Filed under: 1A - Spiritual Notes

This is a post of my comments to the blog (with some editing): Problems With Biblical Inerrancy by Thomas Jay Oord at

The errors that Oord speaks of specifically have all been proven as not being inconsistent for various reasons. (I am using the NIV Bible study and “The New Testament” by Thomas D. Lea to assist in answering his errors below.) In fact if this… list is the main list of errors then by and large the Bible is one of the most exact documents of the ancient world! Which I ascribe!

The authors under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit used men and women to write specific things for a specific purpose, to record spiritual truths. If we think there is an inconsistency then the problem is our being unable to discern it spiritually. Not everything in the Bible was meant to be understood completely by everyone. There is much wealth in the Scriptures which cannot be known completely until the day we are physically resurrected with our Lord in eternity.

For Oord to half-haphazardly speak of these as errors without giving the scholarly research for the reasons that the authors wrote the way they did is somewhat deceptive of him.

Here is the list of errors or inconsistencies Oord mentions along with the answers I found:

1. Jesus curses fig tree and it withers immediately (Matthew 21:18-20). Jesus curses this same fig tree and it does not wither immediately. The disciples observe it withered the next morning (Mark 11:12-14; 20-21). ANSWER: Mark provides the chronological order for the event, Matthew did not, Matthew included the events into a single story. Is everyone okay with Matthew doing that? Not all of the gospel writers wrote the stories of Jesus in complete chronological order.

2. Mark records Jesus as quoting from Isaiah (Mk. 1:2), when the words are actually from Malachi (3:1). ANSWER: Mark quotes actually from both Isaiah and Malachi but only mentioned Isaiah. Is everyone okay with that? Does the author of 2000 years ago have to explicitly say every person he quotes?

3. Matthew records a quote and credits it to Jeremiah (Mt. 27:9), when the majority of the quote is actually found in Zechariah (11:12, 13) not Jeremiah. ANSWER: Matthew quotes actually from both Jeremiah and Zechariah but only mentioned Jeremiah. Same reason as number 2 above.

4. Jesus heals one demon-possessed man (at Gerasenes/Gergesenes/Gadarenes) and sends the demon into the pigs (Mark 5:1-20). But in Matthew’s story of the same event, Jesus heals two demon-possessed men (at Gerasenes/Gergesenes/Gadarenes) and sends the demons into the pigs (Matthew 8:28-34). ANSWER: Matthew mentions two because there were two demoniacs. Mark mentions only one because Mark focuses on the one demoniac that begged to go with Jesus and Jesus conversation with him. Is everyone okay with that?

5. Most Bibles have no verse 24 of Romans chapter sixteen. The text skips from verse 23 to verse 25. Some kind of error occurs here. (I find it odd that Oord mentions this but gives not explanation for what the “some kind of error” is, incredulous!) ANSWER: Based on textual criticism it appears that 16:24 was not originally part of the letter as most manuscripts do not have the verse. And verse 24 from NASB is really just another closing statement: “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.” So if we leave it in or leave it out does that change anything doctrinally? Is everyone okay with that?

6. Those that died in Numbers 25:9 are 24,000; whereas 1 Corinthians lists 23,000 for the same event. ANSWER: is it possible that Paul was giving an approximation? Can an author approximate a number? Is everyone okay with the author approximating a number?

7. Jesus tells the disciples to take a staff on their journey as recorded in Mark 6:8, but Matthew records Jesus as telling the disciples not to take a staff on that journey (10:9-10). ANSWER: Matthew says that Jesus said don’t take an “extra tunic, or sandals or a staff” while Mark says that Jesus said to take a staff. So Matthew describes Jesus stating not taking excess while Mark describes taking just a one staff. Does everyone see this? If we want to argue something as an error lets make sure we take some time to read the passage and see what it says first!

8. 2 Samuel says that God incited David to take a census (24:1-2); 1 Chronicles says that Satan induced David to take that census (21:1-2). ANSWER: it is commonly understood that 1/2 Kings, and 1/2 Samuel describes the general history of Israel which includes both the northern and southern kingdoms and that 1/2 Chronicles describes the southern kingdom only, the kingdom that followed the line of the Messiah and the legitimate line of the kings, and describes the spiritual sense of the history. 2 Samuel looks at it from a historical perspective, 1 Chronicles looks at from the spiritual perspective. God allowed Satan to incite David because God was angry with Israel. Is everyone okay with this interpretation? Makes sense to me.

9. Matthew quotes Jesus as saying that the mustard seed is the smallest of all seeds (13:31-32). However, the mustard seed is not the smallest of all seeds. ANSWER: Jesus said “the smallest of all YOUR seeds” can that mean that they just didn’t have the smallest seeds yet or knew what the smallest seeds were at that time? I have to say this is pretty petty on Oord’s part.

10. Matthew says that Judas hanged himself (27:5), while the writer of Acts says that Judas died after falling headlong and bursting open (1:18). ANSWER: Okay so could Judas after hanging himself had fallen down from where he had been hung and burst open? Again this is pretty sloppy argument on Oord’s part.

This list is not sufficient to make his point. And to say that there are a significant number of errors in the Bible is treading on a slippery slope, especially with all of the evidence available. The other points that Oord makes about some of the passages being out of order in some of the manuscripts is a reason to mistrust the Bible is completely misleading. Then Oord concludes his comments by pointing to some his Weslayan traditions as if they have preeminence over Scripture seems to advocate tradition over Scripture. Those like Oord who make these kinds of statements are attempting to subvert the Bible and instead make human traditions preeminent to the Bible. Pretty sad argument if you ask me.

The bottomline is that while there may be some errors in Scripture due to recopying them over a few thousand years, it has been proven time and again that what we have in the Bible is fully trustworthy. And in almost every case what we believe is an error has often been proven to be not an error at all. Some problems can occur in the translations, for example some persons can be biased in the area of institutionalism and so we may have some words translated inaccurately, but that doesn’t mean that the Bible is inaccurate. It just means we need to understand what type of translation we have and understand the purpose of that particular translation.

I pray the Lord will use the Scripture as they were intended to lead us to the Savior, to know Him better, and to know how to live by His life together in our gatherings.

Lastly: As a non-scholar myself I used a few references and checked my resources and found what Oord was saying to be completely inconsistent. Let us be careful of those who make tremendously damaging statements that lack any careful analysis and obviously are doing so for a devilish purpose.


2 Comments so far
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I enjoyed this article immensely. I do believe we sometimes seem to forget is the Spirit of our Lord who gives us any wisdom of Truth in the scriptures. How dangerous it is to seek wisdom by in other source as we read the scriptures or anything else. There is one Spirit of Truth, He is our Teacher of Truth. Can we read the scriptures and truly gain any truthful wisdom of Him on our own? Did not Jesus say something like, You can do nothing without me? It is my given understanding that nothing means nothing. Simple sister bro, making a simple statement of the heart. May we all rely only on Him. Thank You for this article, much appreciated!


Comment by Kathy

Thanks Kathy! You are absolutely right!

Comment by John Wilson

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