The New Testament and its Inconsistencies

What Are They?

The New Testament, which contains 27 books, can be best described as a document dedicated to spreading stories about Jesus and his mission. Sometimes referred to as The Letters of Paul, he was responsible for 17 of the 27 books. What are the inconsistencies of the New Testament? Let’s find out in this post. 

The NT also attempts to “prove” that the Hebrew Scriptures (Tanach) actually predict Jesus’ coming, messiahship, and yes, even divinity. Written mostly in the late 1st Century, they speak in a language from a world that has hardly anything in common with our own world. It is for that reason, among others, that a true picture of the personality of Jesus is very hard to come by. Additionally, as Paul was trying to curry favor with the Roman Empire, the NT in many places seem hyper-critical of the Jewish people while treating the Romans with “kid gloves.”

The first printing of the New Testament was in 1456 by Johannes Gutenberg when he published Jerome’s Latin Vulgate at Maypence (Mainz). Since that time there have been dozens, if not hundreds of versions of the NT translated and printed in the English Language. Some of the more modern editions are New International Version (NIV), Revised Standard Version, New American Standard Bible, Darby, and Ryrie Editions.

The NT contains four major Gospels. Gospel is a translation of the Greek word “euangelion” which means “good news.” About 50 gospels were written in the first and second century CE; each was believed to be accurate by various groups within the early Christian movement. Four of them (Mark, Matthew, Luke and John) were accepted by the early Christian movement as inspired by God. They were approved for inclusion in the official canon during the 4th century CE, and are found today in every Bible. They are also compounded by many contradictory passages concerning exactly what happened in the life of Jesus and what he actually said. According to one in-depth study there are no less than 30,000 variant readings and contradictory statements found in the NT! We will share some examples in the next section.

Inconsistencies

The four gospel authors are generally identified as disciples of Jesus and serve as narrators of the deeds and teachings of their mentor. An interesting phenomenon concerning these gospels is that they contain 4 different accounts of the 2 major events in Christianity; 1) The Crucifixion of Jesus, and 2) his alleged Resurrection three days later. These central themes form the foundation of Christianity. Ironically these disciples, who were not eyewitnesses to these events, contradict each other in telling the account of these events. It is for this reason, among others, that Judaism does not look upon the so-called New Testament as the inerrant word of God and that its writers were inspired with holy inspiration to actually pen these words.

The writers of all four canonical Gospels described the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus, as they understood it had happened. Paul also mentions these events in some of his Epistles. Liberal, mainline, and conservative Christians generally differ over the accounts of the resurrection in the Christian Scriptures (New Testament):

• Fundamentalist, other Evangelical and some mainline theologians, clergy and laity generally believe that:
o Matthew, Mark, Luke and John were the actual authors of the Gospels.
o As a minimum, at least John was a disciple of Jesus who traveled with him and was present as a witness at his crucifixion.
o The Gospels record the authors’ direct and indirect memories of real events.
• Further, they believe that:
o The Holy Spirit inspired the authors of the Bible in their writing.
o The text Bible is inerrant — free errors.
o Biblical passages are generally to be interpreted literally.

Thus, when the gospels describe how Jesus was executed, laid in a tomb, and was bodily resurrected on the third day, there is no room for further debate about the basic facts. Jesus’ bodily resurrection must have happened in precisely that way. Internal biblical conflicts over the details of the events of Easter morning — e.g. exactly who visited the tomb, who did they see there, when did they arrive, etc. — are simply details to be harmonized.

Here are some of those inconsistencies:

Among the many other inconsistencies of the NT, we share three examples:
1. In three separate places in the Torah (Genesis 46:27, Exodus 1:5, and Deuteronomy 10:22) it is stated that the patriarch Jacob came to Egypt with a total of 70 persons. The NT Book of Acts, 7:14, incorrectly gives the number as 75.
2. Hebrews 10:5 of the New Testament, quoting Psalm 40, claims that God replaced animal sacrifices with the death of the Messiah, by stating, “Sacrifices and offerings You have not desired, but a body you have prepared for me.” However, the original text from Psalm 40 actually reads much differently, “Sacrifices and meal offerings You have not desired; My ears You have opened.”
3. In the Book of Genesis, after his death in Egypt, the sons of Jacob, took him and buried him “In the cave in the field of Machpela (Hebron) which Abraham bought the field as a burial place from Ephron the Hittite opposite to Mamre” (50:13). However, in the book “The Acts of the Apostles” in the speech of Stephen, one of the earliest Christians, who surveys the history of Israel from its inception. He says: “So Jacob went down into Egypt, and died, he, and our fathers, and were carried over into Shechem, and laid in the burial place that Abraham bought for a sum of money of the sons of Chamor the father of Shechem” (7:15-16).

It is truly surprising how many people there are who confess a belief in Jesus as the Messiah, without having first obtained an adequate knowledge and understanding of the New Testament, the main source of information about him. When a person is calmly shown the factual mistakes and absurdities that are in the New Testament, and sees where it misinterpreted and mistranslated the Tanach, it awakens the realization that they were misled by people whom they thought were friends. Students should now be made aware of the motives, rationale, and tactics used to deceive Jewish people.

Highlights of this section:

• The Christian Scriptures or so-called New Testament was written in the late 1st and 2nd Centuries by followers of Jesus.
• The New Testament also known as the Christian Greek Scriptures, were written to document the life and teachings of Jesus.
• 17 of the 27 books that comprise the NT are attributed to Paul.
• There are four major Gospels that were officially included by the Church in it’s official canon in the 4th Century
• Believing Christians consider it the “inerrant word of God,” yet there are many inconsistencies with the Tanach, and even self-contradictory.