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Old 07-21-2001, 09:14 PM   #1
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Lightbulb interesting site, but biblical "constradictions" article is weak

I admit, I am an evangelical Christian. However, I find this site very informative and hope to continue using it as a tool for researching secular thinking. I also like to read what skeptics have to say about what I believe. Though I do not profess to be a scholar, I would suggest you find someone a little more informed about biblical literature (ex. genre, Hebrew writing, the difference between commissive and referential language, historical context etc.). We do not consider the scripture to be some sort of a magic book. It must be read like other literature. Until the people that you have on here posting "contradiction" articles (like the Burr article and some of Martin's attempts in his debates to bring up "contradictions") and the like get a better grip on these type of things, even folks with a limited understanding of literary analysis will not take you seriously. Just to give one example, Burr tries to show that the bible contridicts by saying wisdom is good in one place and bad in the other. If Burr would check the context of Proverbs when it talks about wisdom, he would recognize that this wisdom is wisdom that comes from God or is centered on God. Naturally this is good (that is what the context suggests). The "wisdom" in first Corinthians that is considered bad is that which supposes itself to be wise while in reality is not because it is antithetical to the cross of Christ (true wisdom). I am sure you folks want to be accurate when you set out to prove (or disprove) something. When one misrepresents what he sets out to rebut or disprove, he only puts his own integrity on trial. I hope this suggestion is helpful. Blessings
Old 07-21-2001, 10:56 PM   #2
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Thank you for your feedback. We're glad that you find this site informative; that is, after all, one of our goals.

When you say, "We do not consider the scripture to be some sort of a magic book" and "It must be read like other literature" you need to keep in mind:
1.) that you essentially agree with the position of the Bible-skeptic, but
2.) you certainly do not speak for all Bible-believers or for all Christians.

The Bible is considered by some believers to be "the veritable Word of God" and by others to be at least inspired (to at least some degree) by "God." Certainly most Christians and Bible-believers would consider the Bible more than just literature. If the Bible were actually inspired by "God," then there would be good reason to read it as other than just literature. It is this inspired view of the Bible, of course, which those who compile lists of contradictions (or "inconsistencies" as I prefer to call them) intend to argue against.

With regard to specific "contradiction articles," I am not aware of any such article on our site by an author named "Burr." There is an article entitled A List of Biblical Contradictions by Jim Meritt which cites Burr as a reference. If this is the article that you have in mind, the only reference to wisdom is this:

Is it folly to be wise or not?
PRO 4:7 Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding.
ECC 1:18 For in much wisdom is much grief: and he that in- creaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow.
1 Cor.1:19: "For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent."
I disagree that the context in PR 4.7 is necessarily "wisdom that comes from God or is centered on God." 4.1 makes it rather clear that this is a father's instruction to a child. Young's Literal Translation translates 4.1 as follows: "Hear, ye sons, the instruction of a father, And give attention to know understanding."

As The New Oxford Annotated Bible puts it: "The purpose of the book (1.1-6) is to transmit the insights whereby a youth might learns to cope with life. Theses were gathered from the traditions of the elders (e.g. 4.1-4) and from experience and observation (e.g., 6.6-11). ... The teaching of the sages is marked by an optimistic view of retribution. Wisdom (generally equated with righteousness) brings success; folly (or wickedness) brings destruction. This is also the teaching of Deuteronomy and other biblical words. The sages were not, however, unaware of the limitations of wisdom, and of the ambiguities and mysteries of life (3.11-12). There was no wisdom that could prevail against the Lord (21.30) ...." [emphasis mine]

As Matthew Henry's Commentary puts it: "Here we have, The invitation which Solomon gives to his children to come and receive instruction from him (v. 1, 2): Hear, you children, the instruction of a father." [emphasis mine]

As Adam Clarke's Commentary puts it: "Proverbs 4:1
Hear, ye children--Come, my pupils, and hear how a father instructed his child. Such as I received from my father I give to you, and they were the teachings of a wise and affectionate parent to his only son, a peculiar object of his regards, and also those of a fond mother."


The wisdom which Paul talks about in 1 CO 1.19-20 is the wisdom of the wise, the wisdom of this world. This is not significantly different than the wisdom, learned through experience, the wisdom that a father would want to pass on to a son, the wisdom of PR 4.7.

As The New Commentary on the Whole Bible puts it: "This verse is a slightly altered rendition of the prophecy in Isaiah 29:14 (LXX). The Hebrew text reads: 'The wisdom of the wise shall perish, and the understanding of their prudent men shall be hid.' Paul by inspiration gives the spiritual sense by making God the subject of the sentence."


Yes, we want to be accurate. And no, we are not infallible. But there is a good deal of inaccuracy in the attempts of Christian apologists to explain away obvious inconsistencies between one Bible verse and another.


Note: Anyone interested in exploring biblical inconsistencies further should seemy material on the Bible.

And:Biblical Criticism page.

As well as:Biblical Errancy page.

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Old 07-25-2001, 01:20 PM   #3
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