Response to section 2.2

[This response does not directly answer the alleged contradictions in the Bible which Mr. Al-Kadhi raises in section 2.2. There are many good sites on the 'web answering Bible contradictions.]

Although this section title refers to contradictions in the Bible, the main thrust of the chapter seems to be to establish that the errors in transmission in the Bible (which Mr. Al-Kadhi discusses in section 2.1) were the result of the Christian church deliberately altering the text of the Bible. Mr. Al-Kadhi's reasons (summarising the contents of this section (2.2)) are:

  1. Contradictions in the Bible indicate that the church altered the Bible.
  2. "the church demand(s) "blind faith" from the masses".
  3. The apostle Paul's teaching of salvation by faith contradicts Jesus, indicating that Paul's letters are a distortion of the gospel.
  4. " the transmitters of even the Old Testament claim that every word and every letter was faithfully counted and recorded and thus, it would be impossible for unintentional errors to creep in."
  5. Numerical miracles have been used to justify a certain text of the Bible.
  6. The Bible fails its own test of authenticity.
  7. How could the church be so careless as to accidentally introduce errors into the text of the Bible?

I hope the reader will judge that to be a fair summary of Mr. Al-Kadhi's arguments.

But before I begin, I must dispute the claim made several times that,

"some Christian scholars estimate the errors in the Bible to be in the range of 14,800-50,000"

Because such a claim misinterprets the evidence he presented in section 2.1. The 50000 number comes from the heretical sect 'The Jehovah's Witnesses' and need not be taken seriously. The 14800 number refers to the number of corrections in one particular manuscript. However, in the vast number of cases, the true text can be resolved with absolute certainty by checking other manuscripts. In fact, to even quote Al-Kadhi in section 2.1.13, "there are not more than fifteen hundred to two thousand places in which there is any uncertainty whatever as to the true text" While this may still sound a lot, remember that most of these are little details like whether a "the" is present, or small details of word order. I have already shown in section 2.1 how no uncertainty in the text affects any doctrine.

1. Contradictions in the Bible indicate that the church altered the Bible.

I believe the reasoning in this argument goes as follows:

  1. The original gospel was from God, so must have contained no contradictions.
  2. The Bible contains contradictions.
  3. Therefore there have been changes in the Bible.
  4. Therefore these changes must have been introduced deliberately.

I hope the fallacy of the argument is obvious. Even if one is to accept the first three premises (and I do not, not as Mr. Al-Kadhi seems to understand them), the fourth step does NOT automatically follow. The changes may have been accidental, or they may have been deliberate. The very presence of contradictions does not answer this question either way.

In fact, I would argue that the apparent contradictions speak AGAINST deliberate systematic alteration of the Bible. because it means that if the church systematically revised the Bible to eliminate apparent discrepancies, it did a terrible job of it! The four gospels, for instance, often describe the same event in different ways. Why did the church not revise them to be identical? Because it was committed to faithfully preserving the record of the apostles, even when there were discrepancies the church could not understand.

And if the church amended the Bible to create clear doctrine, it also did a bad job that. Why is it that we see none of heresies of the later church. For instance, the early church unfortunately developed a strong veneration of the virgin Mary. We see nothing of this in the New Testament.

No, the evidence is overwhelming that the errors in transmission in the Bible were random, not systematic.

2. "the church demand(s) "blind faith" from the masses"

The church does NOT demand "blind faith" and I challenge Mr. Al-Kadhi to support that claim with a reference.

Such an allegation does no justice to Mr. Al-Kadhi's arguments and is not worthy of a serious response.

3. The apostle Paul's teaching of salvation by faith contradicts Jesus, indicating that Paul's letters are a distortion of the gospel.

With the Bible containing so much teaching of both Jesus and Paul, a detailed comparison of their teachings is beyond the scope of this essay. However I am firmly convinced that Jesus and Paul are not in contradiction.

What is much easier to answer, however, is that they are not in contradiction in the way that Mr. Mr. Al-Kadhi presents his case. Because, unfortunately, he presents a distorted picture of the teaching of both.

For instance, he writes: Paul has made salvation a very easy commodity to come by in Christianity. They only have to "believe." No actual work is required. No one has to work for their salvation (Romans 3:28, etc.). Paul has brought for them the "sure thing" and the short cut to salvation.

Mr. Al-Kadhi is correct to say that we do not need to work for our salvation and only need to "believe" - but we must be careful not to impose the wrong ideas on the word "believe". For while we cannot work for our salvation, Paul did teach that good works FOLLOW FROM our salvation. Why else did Paul say 'we received grace and apostleship to call people from among all the Gentiles to THE OBEDIENCE WHICH COMES FROM FAITH' (Rom 1:5), or 'The only things which counts is FAITH EXPRESSING ITSELF THROUGH LOVE' (Gal 5:6)? [Capitals added by me]

Mr. Al-Kadhi also misinterprets Jesus' words. It is true that Jesus told a man to sell his riches in order to be perfect (Matthew 19:16-21). However it is a pity that he did not keep reading after verse 21:

When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth. Then Jesus said to his disciples, " I tell you the truth, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven..." When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished and asked, "Who then can be saved?" Jesus looked at them and said, "With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible." [Matthew 19:22-23, 25-26, NIV]

Do you see what Jesus was saying? "With man this is impossible" - he was pointing out that it is IMPOSSIBLE for people to saved without God's help! (Which was also what Paul said). And how did Jesus teach salvation would come?

"I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life. [John 5:24]

There is no contradiction between Jesus and Paul.

4. " the transmitters of even the Old Testament claim that every word and every letter was faithfully counted and recorded and thus, it would be impossible for unintentional errors to creep in."

Well, the transmitters might CLAIM that, but they would be wrong!

Without the aid of computers, such checking is impossible. The New Testament has close to a million letters - the Old Testament has more than twice that. So if they counted them all, it was very easy to get it wrong. In fact, it would have been almost impossible to get it right. (If you don't believe me, try counting the words and letters in this article you are reading).

Even WITH the aid of computers, errors are hard to avoid. I have found two copies of the Greek New Testament online on the World Wide Web. They differ in about 30 places. When I compare those differences with my personal printed copy, I find that both of them differ from that as well. Copying a document exactly is just incredibly hard to get right!

So, contrary to what Mr. Al-Kadhi claims, it is very easy for unintentional errors to creep in.

(I will say more on this in point 7, below).

5. Numerical miracles have been used to justify a certain text of the Bible.

Ivan Panin and 'Theomatics' make extreme claims which are shared by very few Christians. Similar claims have been made about the Qur'an based upon the number 19. If I refute these claims, have I refuted Islam? Of course not! So why does Mr. Al-Kadhi bother mentioning such Christian 'fringe writings'?

6. The Bible's test for authenticity

Mr. Al-Kadhi produces several Bible verses which he claims prove that the Bible cannot be the Word of God. I will respond to each of these in turn.

Even the Bible itself gives the same criteria for discovering such modifications,

"For many bare false witness against him (Jesus), but their witness agreed not together." Mark 14:56

But this passage was to do with false witnesses at the trial of Jesus. It has nothing to do with a criterion for the validity of Scripture.

"The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever." Isaiah 40:8.

So if 14,800-50,000 errors have crept into the Bible then where is the unerring word of God which we have been promised? The answer is that God has sent it to us in His last Scripture, the Noble Qur'an.

RESPONSE: Who says that the word of God is restricted to words in a book? I repeat: the Bible does NOT claim to be the literal words of God. Rather, it is inspired by God. This is discussed in my response to section 2.1.1,

We are told in Luke 16:10 that Jesus (pbuh) said:

"He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much."

So, according to Jesus (pbuh) himself, there is no such thing as an "insignificant" error or an "insignificant" "slip of the pen." This is especially the case with regard to the "Word of God,"

RESPONSE: The quote from Luke 16:10 is to do with human behaviour. There is no such thing as insignificant sin. But it is invalid to extend that to mean that the Bible is invalidated by errors in transmission. The message of the Bible is no less significant due to errors in transmission. See in particular my repsonse in section 2.1.13.

"How can you say we (the Jews) are wise and the law of the Lord is with us, when in fact the false pen of the scribes has made it into a lie?" Jeremiah 8:8 (RSV).

RESPONSE: This speaks to a particular situation in Jeremiah's time. 600 years later, Jesus affirmed the Jewish Scriptures (that is, the Old Testament), as inspired by God. If Jesus accepted it, that's good enough for me. [There is a more detailed response to Jer 8:8 at ...]

7. How could the church be so careless as to accidentally introduce errors into the text of the Bible?

Thirdly: If one of us were to be charged with the task of preserving our chosen and cherished ancient scripture by transcribing a fresh copy of it for future generations, could we imagine, even in our wildest fantasies that we would be so lax and totally careless in our duties that we would allow ourselves to introduce not one or two, but many thousands upon thousands of errors into the new copy? Is it possible that no one felt the need to review these scribe's work? Did they have no superiors to double and triple check their work? Did the scribes not review it themselves? To believe such claims is to assign to these scribes and their churches accusations of ineptitude and indifference of monumental proportions. There is no two ways about it. If we are not able to explain each and every one of the 14,800-50,000 errors, no matter how "trivial" they may be, one at a time and within the context of the Biblical text alone, then either the errors were introduced intentionally, or else they were introduced through ineptitude and indifference towards their most holy scripture that truly defies imagination.

RESPONSE: There are a number of logical errors here:

(1) No matter how careful human copiers are, errors will be introduced from time to time. I explained this under point number 4.

(2) Many if not most of the errors occured when Christianity was a small and persecuted sect. The scribes were not in universities where they had the leisure of continually checking and rechecking. There was not the luxury of keeping the standard manuscript in one place. In fact, in numerous persecutions (notably under the Roman emperors Decius in 249-251 and Diocletian in 303-305) Christian Scriptures were burnt.

(3) The copies had to be used and read - not kept in Universities. Copies were made and then sent to churches. As new churches sprung up (and the church did grow rapidly, remember), new copies had to be made - often comparatively quickly, compared to other documents.

In sections section 2.1.6, section 2.1.10 and section 2.1.14 I systematically went through all the examples Mr. Al-Kadhi offered, and showed how none of the errors in transmission affected Christian doctrine. Through all the human error of the copiers and the persecution of the early church, God preserved the message of the Bible.


In the response to section 2.1 I showed how the textual variations in the Bible are insignficant. In this section, I have shown how the variations were not deliberate. In short, the Bible has been faithfully preserved throughout the generations.

But you may still ask, as Mr. Al-Kadhi does: "has the Bible been exposed to "slips of the pen" such that our current Bibles are not 100% completely and fully the absolute unfailing and unerrant word of God?"

My response is to point the reader at the web page The Textual Corruption of the Qur'an and ask the same question of the Qur'an. The bottom line is this: both the Bible and the Qur'an have been changed through errors in transmission Such changes are inevitable when large documents are repeatedly copied by hand. The difference is that (most) Muslims try to deny this claim, while (most) Christians do not.

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