Alleged Bible “Contradictions” & “Difficulties” (Resources)

Alleged Bible “Contradictions” & “Difficulties” (Resources) June 11, 2016

Master List of Christian Internet Resources for Apologists (Links)

(Compiled on 7-19-10; links checked and updated on 9-6-20)


A Christian Thinktank (Glenn Miller; probably the single best resource; very in-depth)

Tekton Education and Apologetics Ministry (J. P. Holding)

Old Testament Issues (J. P. Holding)

The Reliability of the New Testament (J. P. Holding)

Book Recommendations (J. P. Holding)

C. Dennis McKinsey’s Encyclopedia of Biblical Errancy: Critique and Answer Key (J. P. Holding)

Contradicting Bible Contradictions (Ben van Noort)

Bible Difficulties and Bible Contradictions (Matt Slick)

Bible Query (Christian Debater website; includes easy links to answers regarding each biblical book)

Errors and Contradictions in the Bible? (part of the Answering Islam website)

192 Alleged “Contradictions” in the Bible (+ Part Two / Part Three) (Unam Sanctam Catholicam [Catholic] )

Defending the Gospels: Answers to [38] Problems in Reply to “Shredding the Gospels” by Diogenes the Cynic (John McClymont)

Apologetics Press: Alleged Discrepancies (mostly by Eric Lyons)

Resolved Biblical Contradictions (Rational Christianity site)

Dealing With Apparent Contradictions in Scripture (John Kitchen; PDF)

Responses to various alleged contradictions in the Gospel of John (Sam Shamoun)

Why do all four Gospels contain different versions of the inscription on the Cross? (Russell M. Grigg)

A Suggested Harmonization of the Resurrection Narratives (Murray J. Harris)

The Resurrection of Jesus: A harmony of the resurrection accounts (Answering Islam website)

The Problem of Apparent Chronological Contradictions in the Synoptics (Joe Botti, Tom Dixon, and Alex Steinman)

Bible Difficulties (Come Reason Ministries)

What about the Jesus Seminar? (Answering Islam site)

Replies to Various Controversial Issues Regarding the Bible
(Answering Islam site)

The Myth of “Factual” Bible Contradictions (Eric Lyons)

Are There Contradictions in Genesis 1 and 2? (Kenneth J. Howell; This Rock, January 2004 [Catholic] )

Contradictions in Scripture? (Brian W. Harrison [Catholic] )

Skeptic’s Instructions for Reading the Bible:

  • Always read it completely literally in isolation and never take into account the social, historical, literary and cultural context in which it was written.
  • Have a wrong concept of how God should have done things and then throw the rattle out of the pram when he does things differently – this is otherwise known as setting up a straw man and then knocking him down.
  • Assume that God dictated it rather than using men in the social, historical and cultural context of the day.
  • If there is a difficult passage never consult a commentary written by someone who understands the social, historical, literary and cultural context.
  • Never compare scripture with scripture to find the meaning of difficult texts
  • Never use different Bible versions, never check out the Greek or Hebrew.
  • Always assume that if you cannot understand something then it cannot ever be true.
  • Ignore the fact of progressive revelation.
  • Never try to understand difficult doctrines like the Holy Trinity, and never consult a theologian who can better explain these things.

[from Ross A. Taylor’s Bible Difficulties: Resources to Refute the Skeptics and Critics; last item modified a bit presently]

Norman L. Geisler, in his book, When Critics Ask: A Popular Handbook on Bible Difficulties (Baker Books: 1992), made a similar list about the mistakes that atheists make when approaching the Bible and attempting to interpret it (hat tip to Ross Taylor’s site above):

1. Assuming that the unexplained is not explainable.
2. Presuming the Bible guilty until proven innocent.
3. Confusing our fallible interpretations with God’s infallible revelation.
4. Failing to understand the context of the passage.
5. Neglecting to interpret difficult passages in the light of clear ones.
6. Basing a teaching on an obscure passage.
7. Forgetting that the Bible is a human book with human characteristics.
8. Assuming that a partial report is a false report.
9. Demanding that NT citations of the OT always be exact quotations.
10. Assuming that divergent accounts are false ones.
11. Presuming that the Bible approves of all its records.
12. Forgetting that the Bible uses non-technical, everyday language.
13. Assuming that round numbers are false.
14. Neglecting to note that the bible uses different literary devices.
15. Forgetting that only the original text, not every copy of scripture, is without error.
16. Confusing general statements with universal ones.
17. Forgetting that latter revelation supersedes previous revelation.



Gleason L. Archer, Jr., Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties (Zondervan: 1982) [read online for free: PDF format]

Gleason L. Archer, Jr., New International Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties (Zondervan: 2001)

William Arndt, Bible Difficulties: An Examination Of Passages Of The Bible Alleged To Be Irreconcilable With Its Inspiration (Kessinger Pub.: 2008)

William Arndt, Does the Bible Contradict Itself?: A Discussion of Alleged Contradictions in the Bible (Concordia Pub. House: 5th ed., 1976)

William Arndt, Robert G. Hoerber, & Walther R. Roehrs, Bible Difficulties and Seeming Contradictions (Concordia Pub. House: 1987)

Manfred T. Brauch, Hard Sayings of Paul (IVP: 1989)

F. F. Bruce, Hard Sayings of Jesus (IVP: 1983)

Phillip Campbell, The Book of Non-Contradiction: Harmonizing the Scriptures (Grass Lake, Michigan: Cruachan Hill Press: 2017)

Paul Copan, Is God a Moral Monster?: Making Sense of the Old Testament God (Baker: 2011)

Carey L. Daniel, The Bible’s Seeming Contradictions: 101 Paradoxes Harmonized (Zondervan, 1941)

M. R DeHaan, 508 Answers to Bible Questions: With Answers to Seeming Bible Contradictions (Zondervan: 1952)

Daniel Worcester Faunce, A Young Man’s Difficulties With His Bible (American Baptist Pub. Soc.: 1898) [read online for free at Internet Archive: link one / link two]

Daniel Worcester Faunce, The Mature Man’s Difficulties With His Bible (American Baptist Pub. Soc.: 1908) [read online for free at Internet Archive]

Norman L. Geisler, When Critics Ask: A Popular Handbook on Bible Difficulties (Baker Books: 1992)

Norman L. Geisler & Thomas Howe, Big Book of Bible Difficulties: The Clear and Concise Answers from Genesis to Revelation (Baker Books: 2008)

John Haley, Alleged Discrepancies Of The Bible (Whitaker House: 2004; originally 1874) [read online for free at Internet Archive; links to choose from: one / two / three / four]

James Augustus Hessey, Moral Difficulties Connected With the Bible (SPCK: 1871) [read online for free at Internet Archive]

A. F. W. Ingram, New Testament Difficulties (SPCK: 1903) [read online for free at Internet Archive]

Timothy Paul Jones, Misquoting Truth: A Guide to the Fallacies of Bart Ehrman’s Misquoting Jesus (IVP: 2007)

Walter C. Kaiser, Jr., editor, Hard Sayings of the Bible (IVP: 1996)

D. James Kennedy, Solving Bible Mysteries: Unraveling the Perplexing and Troubling Passages of Scripture (Thomas Nelson: 2000)

J. Carl Laney, Answers to Tough Questions: A Survey of Problem Passages and Issues (Kregel: 1997)

Robert Stuart MacArthur, Bible Difficulties and Their Alleviative Interpretation: Old Testament (E. B. Treat: 1899) [read online for free at Internet Archive]

H. L. Mitchell, One Hundred And Seventy-Seven Alleged Bible Contradictions And Discrepancies: A Book For Thinking Christians And Honest Skeptics (Kessinger Pub.: 2007)

David E. O’Brien, Today’s Handbook for Solving Bible Difficulties (Bethany House: 1990)

William L. Pettingill & R. A. Torrey, 1001 Bible Questions Answered (Thomas Nelson: 2001)

Ron Rhodes, The Complete Book of Bible Answers (Harvest House: 1997)

Ron Rhodes, Commonly Misunderstood Bible Verses: Clear Explanations for the Difficult Passages (Harvest House: 2008)

Larry Richards, 735 Baffling Bible Questions Answered (Revell: 1997)

Thomas Spalding, Scripture Difficulties Explained by Scripture References, or, The Bible its Own Interpreter (Daldy, Isbister: 1877) [read online for free at Internet Archive]

Robert H. Stein, Interpreting Puzzling Texts in the New Testament (Baker: 1997)

Robert H. Stein, Difficult Sayings in the Gospels: Jesus’ Use of Overstatement and Hyperbole (Baker: 1986)

John Thein [Catholic], The Bible and Rationalism; or, Answer to Difficulties (Kessinger: one-volume ed.: 2010) [read free online versions at Internet Archive: volumes one / two / three / four]

R. A. Torrey, Difficulties and Alleged Errors and Contradictions in the Bible (Baker Book House: 1964) [read a free online version at Internet Archive]

Robert Tuck, editor, A Handbook of Biblical Difficulties; or, Reasonable Solutions of Perplexing Things in Sacred Scripture (T. Whittaker: 1887) [read online for free at Internet Archive]

Robert Tuck, A Handbook of Scientific and Literary Bible Difficulties (T. Whittaker: 1891) [read free online version at Internet Archive]

Richard Whately, Essays on Some of the difficulties in the Writings of the Apostle Paul, and in Other Parts of the New Testament (Draper: 1865) [read free online version at Internet Archive]


G. K. Beale , editor, The Right Doctrine from the Wrong Texts?: Essays on the Use of the Old Testament in the New (Baker: 1994)

G. K. Beale & D. A. Carson, editors, Commentary on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament (Baker: 2007)

Sandy D. Brent, Cracking Old Testament Codes: A Guide to Interpreting the Literary Genres of the Old Testament (B&H; Academic, 1999)

E. W. Bullinger, Figures of Speech Used in the Bible: Explained and Illustrated (Baker Books: 2003)

D. A. Carson, Exegetical Fallacies (Baker: 2nd ed., 1996)

Jeanie C. Crain, Reading the Bible as Literature (Polity: 2010)

David A. Dorsey, Literary Structure of the Old Testament, A Commentary on Genesis-Malachi (Baker: 2004)

Gordon D. Fee & Douglas Stuart, How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth (Zondervan: 2nd ed.: 1993)

R. T. France, Jesus and the Old Testament (Regent College Pub.: 1992)

Marshall D. Johnson, Making Sense of the Bible: Literary Type As an Approach to Understanding (Eerdmans: 2002)

John R. Maier & Vincent L. Tollers, The Bible in its Literary Milieu: Contemporary Essays (Eerdmans: 1979)

Leland Ryken, How to Read the Bible as Literature (Zondervan, 1985)

Leland Ryken & Tremper Longman III, editors, A Complete Literary Guide to the Bible (Zondervan: 1993)

Robert H. Stein, Basic Guide to Interpreting the Bible: Playing by the Rules (Baker: 1997)

Douglas Stuart, Old Testament Exegesis: A Handbook for Students and Pastors (Westminster John Know Pr: 2009)

John H. Walton, Ancient Near Eastern Thought and the Old Testament: Introducing the Conceptual World of the Hebrew Bible (Baker: 2006)


Cyrus H. Gordon & Gary A. Rendsburg, The Bible and the Ancient Near East (W. W. Norton & Co.: rev. ed.: 1998)

G. Herbert Livingston, The Pentateuch and Its Cultural Environment (Baker: 1987)

Bruce J. Malina & John J. Pilch, Social-Science Commentary on the Letters of Paul (Fortress Press: 2006)

Bruce J. Malina & Richard L Rohrbaugh, Social-Science Commentary on the Synoptic Gospels (Fortress Press: 2nd ed.: 2002)

Bruce J. Malina & Richard L Rohrbaugh, Social-Science Commentary on the Gospel of John (Augsburg Fortress Pub.: 1998)

Bruce J. Malina & John J. Pilch, Social-Science Commentary on the Book of Acts (Fortress Press: 2008)

Bruce J. Malina, The New Testament World: Insights from Cultural Anthropology (Westminster John Knox Press, 3rd ed.: 2001)

John J. Pilch, The Cultural Dictionary of the Bible (Liturgical Press: 1999)

John J. Pilch, Introducing the Cultural Context of the Old Testament (Wipf & Stock: 2007)

John J. Pilch, Introducing the Cultural Context of the New Testament (Wipf & Stock: 2007)

John J. Pilch & Bruce J. Malina, editors, Handbook of Biblical Social Values (Hendrickson Pub., rev. ed.: 1998)

John H. Walton, Ancient Israelite Literature in Its Cultural Context (Zondervan: 1994)

Edwin M. Yamauchi, Gerald L. Mattingly, & Alfred J. Hoerth, editors, Peoples of the Old Testament World (Baker: 1998)


Paul Barnett, Is the New Testament Reliable?: A Look at the Historical Evidence (IVP: 1993)

Richard J. Bauckham, editor, The Book of Acts in Its First Century; Vol. 4: Palestinian Setting (Eerdmans: 1995)

Craig L. Blomberg, The Historical Reliability of the Gospels (IVP: 2nd ed.: 2008)

Craig L. Blomberg, The Historical Reliability of John’s Gospel: Issues & Commentary (IVP: 1998)

F. F. Bruce, The New Testament Documents: Are they Reliable? (Wilder Pub.: 2009)

F. F. Bruce, New Testament History (Doubleday: 1993)

R. T. France & David Wenham, editors, Gospel Perspectives, Volume 1: Studies of History and Tradition in the Four Gospels (Wipf & Stock Pub.: 2003)

R. T. France & David Wenham, editors, Gospel Perspectives, Volume 2: Studies of History and Tradition in the Four Gospels (Wipf & Stock Pub.: 2003)

R. T. France & David Wenham, editors, Gospel Perspectives, Volume 3: Studies in Midrash and Historiography (Wipf & Stock Pub.: 2003)

David W. J. Gill & Conrad Gempf, editors, The Book of Acts in Its First Century; Vol. 2: Graeco-Roman Setting (Eerdmans: 1994)

Colin J. Hemer, Book of Acts in the Setting of Hellenistic History (Eisenbrauns: 1990)

Martin Hengel, Acts and the History of Earliest Christianity (Wipf & Stock Pub.: 2003)

Walter C. Kaiser, Jr., The Old Testament Documents: Are They Reliable & Relevant? (IVP: 2001)

Jodi Magness, The Archaeology of Qumran and the Dead Sea Scrolls (Studies in the Dead Sea Scrolls & Related Literature) (Eerdmans: 2003)

Bruce M. Metzger, The Text of the New Testament: Its Transmission, Corruption, and Restoration (Oxford Univ. Press, 3rd ed.: 1992)

Brian Rapske, The Book of Acts in Its First Century; Vol. 3: Paul in Roman Custody (Eerdmans: 1994)

Graham Stanton, Gospel Truth?: New Light on Jesus and the Gospels (Trinity Pr Intl: 1995)

Emanuel Tov, Textual Criticism of the Hebrew Bible (Augsburg Fortress Pub., rev ed.: 2001)

Eugene Ulrich, The Dead Sea Scrolls and the Origins of the Bible (Studies in the Dead Sea Scrolls and Related Literature) (Eerdmans: 1999)

Bruce W. Winter & Andrew D. Clarke, editors, The Book of Acts in Its First Century; Vol. 1: Ancient Literary Setting (Eerdmans: 1994)


William Foxwell Albright, Archaeology and the Religion of Israel (Westminster John Knox Press: 2006)

William Foxwell Albright, The Archaeology of Palestine and the Bible (Gorgias Press: 2009)

William Foxwell Albright, The Biblical Period from Abraham to Ezra: An Historical Survey (Harper Torchbook: 1963)

John Ashton and David Down, Unwrapping the Pharaohs: How Egyptian Archaeology Confirms the Biblical Timeline (Master Books: 2006)

John D. Currid, Ancient Egypt and the Old Testament (Baker: 1997)

William G. Dever, What Did the Biblical Writers Know and When Did They Know It?: What Archaeology Can Tell Us About the Reality of Ancient Israel (Eerdmans: 2002)

Alfred Hoerth, Archaeology and the Old Testament (Baker: 1998)

Alfred Hoerth & John McRay, Bible Archaeology: An Exploration of the History and Culture of Early Civilizations (Baker: 2006)

James K. Hoffmeier, The Archaeology of the Bible (Lion UK: 2008)

James K. Hoffmeier, Israel in Egypt: The Evidence for the Authenticity of the Exodus Tradition (Oxford Univ. Press: 1999)

James K. Hoffmeier, Ancient Israel in Sinai: The Evidence for the Authenticity of the Wilderness Tradition (Oxford Univ. Press: 2010)

James K. Hoffmeier & Alan Millard, editors, The Future of Biblical Archaeology: Reassessing Methodologies and Assumptions (Eerdmans: 2004)

David M. Howard, Jr. & Michael A. Grisanti, Giving the Sense: Understanding and Using Old Testament Historical Texts (Kregel: 2004)

Walter C. Kaiser, Jr., A History of Israel: From the Bronze Age Through the Jewish Wars (Broadman & Holman Pub.: 1998)

K. A. Kitchen, On the Reliability of the Old Testament (Eerdmans: 2003)

K. A. Kitchen, The Bible in Its World: The Bible and Archaeology Today (Wipf & Stock Pub.: 2004)

James D. Long, Riddle of the Exodus: Startling Parallels Between Ancient Jewish Sources and the Egyptian Archaeological Record (Lightcatcher Books, rev. ed., 2006)

V. Philips Long, editor, Windows into Old Testament History: Evidence, Argument, and the Crisis of Biblical Israel (Eerdmans: 2002)

Eugene H. Merrill, Kingdom of Priests: A History of Old Testament Israel (Baker: 1997)

Randall Price, The Stones Cry Out: What Archaeology Reveals About the Truth of the Bible (Harvest House: 1997)

Iain W. Provan, V. Philips Long, & Tremper Longman, A Biblical History of Israel (Westminster John Knox Press: 2003)

Edwin M. Yamauchi, Persia and the Bible (Baker: 1997)

Edwin M. Yamauchi, Stones and the Scriptures (Baker: 1981)


E. M. Blaiklock, The Archaeology of the New Testament (Thomas Nelson: 2nd ed.: 1984)

James H. Charlesworth, Jesus and Archaeology (Eerdmans: 2006)

John McRay, Archaeology and the New Testament (Baker: 2008)

Merrill Unger, Archaeology and the New Testament (Zondervan: 1984)

Edwin M. Yamauchi, The Archaeology of New Testament Cities in Western Asia Minor (Baker: 1980)


Richard J. Bauckham, Jesus and the Eyewitnesses: The Gospels as Eyewitness Testimony (Eerdmans: 2006)

Darrell L. Bock, Studying the Historical Jesus: A Guide to Sources and Methods (Baker: 2002)

Darrell L. Bock & Daniel B. Wallace, Dethroning Jesus: Exposing Popular Culture’s Quest to Unseat the Biblical Christ (Thomas Nelson: 2007)

Gregory A. Boyd, Cynic Sage Or Son Of God? (Baker: 1995)

James H. Charlesworth, The Historical Jesus: An Essential Guide (Abingdon Press: 2008)

Paul Rhodes Eddy & Gregory A. Boyd, Jesus Legend, The: A Case for the Historical Reliability of the Synoptic Jesus Tradition (Baker: 2007)

Craig A. Evans, Fabricating Jesus: How Modern Scholars Distort the Gospels (IVP: 2008)

Gary R. Habermas, The Historical Jesus: Ancient Evidence for the Life of Christ (College Press Pub. Co.: 1996)

J. Ed Komoszewski, M. James Sawyer, & Daniel Wallace, Reinventing Jesus (Kregel: 2006)

Lee Strobel, The Case for Christ: A Journalist’s Personal Investigation of the Evidence for Jesus (Zondervan: 1998)

Lee Strobel, The Case for the Real Jesus: A Journalist Investigates Current Attacks on the Identity of Christ (Zondervan: 2007)

Robert E. Van Voorst, Jesus Outside the New Testament: An Introduction to the Ancient Evidence (Studying the Historical Jesus) (Eerdmans: 2000)

Michael J. Wilkins & J. P. Moreland, editors, Jesus Under Fire: Modern Scholarship Reinvents the Historical Jesus (Zondervan: 1996)

Ben Witherington III, The Jesus Quest: The Third Search for the Jew of Nazareth (IVP: 2nd ed.: 1997)

N. T. Wright, Who Was Jesus? (Eerdmans: 1993)

N. T. Wright, The New Testament and the People of God (Augsburg Fortress Pub.: 1992)

N. T. Wright, Jesus and the Victory of God (Augsburg Fortress Pub.: 1997)


William Lane Craig, The Son Rises: The Historical Evidence for the Resurrection of Jesus (Moody Press: 1981)

William Lane Craig & Gerd Ludemann; edited by Ronald Tacelli & Paul Copan, Jesus’ Resurrection: Fact or Figment?: A Debate Between William Lane Craig and Gerd Ludemann (IVP: 2000)

Craig A. Evans & N. T. Wright, Jesus, the Final Days: What Really Happened (Westminster John Knox: 2009)

Gary R. Habermas & Michael R. Licona, The Case for the Resurrection of Jesus (Kregel: 2004)

Gary R. Habermas & Antony Flew; edited by David J. Baggett, Did the Resurrection Happen?: A Conversation With Gary Habermas and Antony Flew (IVP: 2009)

Gary R. Habermas, Antony Flew, & Terry L. Miethe, Did Jesus Rise from the Dead?: The Resurrection Debate (Wipf & Stock: 2003)

Josh McDowell & Sean McDowell, Evidence for the Resurrection (Regal: 2009)

Frank Morison, Who Moved the Stone? (Zondervan: 1987)

Lee Strobel, The Case for Easter: Journalist Investigates the Evidence for the Resurrection (Zondervan: 2004)

Lee Strobel, The Case for the Resurrection (Zondervan: 2010)

N. T. Wright, The Resurrection of the Son of God (Augsburg Fortress Pub.: 2003)

N. T. Wright, Surprised by Hope: Rethinking Heaven, the Resurrection, and the Mission of the Church (HarperOne: 2008)

N. T. Wright & John Dominic Crossan; edited by Robert B. Stewart, The Resurrection of Jesus: John Dominic Crossan And N.T. Wright in Dialogue (Fortress Press: 2006)


Photo credit: “geralt” (12-9-14) [Pixabay / CC0 public domain]




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