Resolved: The Bible as we have it today contains no errors of consequence
The Bible - The 66 books of the established cannon recognized by the Christian Church.
Contains - Contradictions that are WITHIN the text. It is not a viable argument to present the Old Testament as contradicting with anything outside of the text, including Science, the Church, Other Religions, Other Documents from the Ancient World, etc.
Genuine Contradiction - An actual contradiction. An example of two texts that cannot both be true.
Consequence - A contradiction that poses actual threat to the meaning of Christian doctrine. The converse would be trivial contradictions, such as slight variations in dates or counting. Such trivial contradictions are typically easily explained, or pose no challenge to the truth being taught or the accuracy of the historical retelling.
Rules and Debating Procedure
Con must present any contradictions they believe are insurmountable. Please label them for clarity of response (Contradiction A, B, C, etc).
I will respond to the contradictions and attempt to explain how they are either A) Not Genuine Contradictions, or B) Not Contradictions of Consequence.
Con may respond in round 2 either with challenging my response, or presenting new contradiction (or both).
I will respond to his challenges or new contradictions.
Con may only respond to my answers.
I will respond to his challenges.
In the close of round 4 Con may not present new arguments or responses to my challenge (that gives us each 3 rounds since my first round is being used only to describe rules). In Round 4 Con will enter "Closing Round" or something similar. If Con presents new arguments or rebuttals in Round 4, they are in violation of the terms of this debate and forfeit all 7 points to Pro for the debate.
A note about Burden of Proof
This debate does not have burden of proof in the way normal debates do. My burden of proof will be to reasonably explain any apparent contradictions that Con identifies. Con's burden of proof is to provide adequate biblical citations so that I may find the passages he is referencing. In addition, please use the ESV as the translation (It can be found at ESVonline.org) as it is both accurate and readable, and using only one translation prevents us from slipping into confusion over variant readings in different translations. If space is a premium, ESVonline provides a link shortening service to link to verses. Simply type esv.to/verse reference and you will get a link. For example. esv.to/john3:16 will link to John 3:16. This stipulation does not cast the original Greek texts out of bounds, and is simply to avoid falling into conspiracy over varient modern translations.
Limitation of Space
Since it takes more space to answer an apparent contradiction than it does to claim one, My opponent will be limited to 5 active contradictions. If he wishes to add a new contradiction, he will be required to drop a prior contradiction. Dropping a contradiction equates to acknowledging that contradiction as invalid.
If there are any questions, please pose them in comments prior to accepting the debate. By accepting you agree to all the stipulations and rules that have been given above.
(This is a copy of another debate's format)
Thank you for challenging me to this debate. I agree to the rules and the terms of this debate and look forward to an excellent debate.
Because all three synoptic Gospels insist that the Last Supper was a Passover Seder, they must therefore maintain that the crucifixion occurred on the first day of Passover, rather than the eve of Passover as the Book of John claims. This table  outlines the general gist of the contradictory chronologies:
My apologies, in light of a busy schedule, I find that I will very possibly not have time to post my arguments. As is, it is almost hours away.
Rebuttal 1: Genealogies of Jesus
So, the first objection is due to seeming inconsistencies between the lists. 
Matthew’s list is actually a selection of names, as evidenced by his use of “begat.” It is intended to be incomplete. This is the complete opposite of Luke’s “son of.” Matthew traced the paternal line through Solomon, Luke, the maternal line. The two chronologies intersect at Shealtiel and Zerubbabel, but separate after. Joseph was at the end of the paternal, and Mary, the maternal, lines.
Joseph is the direct descendant of David. So is Mary. This establishes that Joseph, and as such Jesus, is heir to the throne. (For an explanation of Joseph son of Heli, see ref. 1. I’m not going into it.)
We will not care about genealogical contradictions, of which there is none. They are of no consequence as my opponent has pointed out. So, what does 2 Sam. 7:12 say?
“When your days are fulfilled and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring after you, who shall come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom.” (ESV)
Who was this addressed to? David. Did it mention Solomon in any way? No. This means that all the Messiah has to be is to be a descendant of David. Which Jesus is.
Conclusion: The main crux of Con’s argument is that Jesus is not the Messiah because he is not from Solomon. As the verse shows, the promise was not to Solomon, but to David. This is thus not a contradiction of any kind, either minor or of consequence. It is, rather, a misconception due to a misunderstanding on the part of the reader.
Rebuttal 2-3: The Last Supper and the Cruxifiction Date
There are two interesting ways to consider this. I will expound on both.
1st: It is not a contradiction!
 This argument basically harmonizes the four gospels and takes into account the fact that no lamb was present at the meal described by the three gospel writers. As it is integral to the meal, they most certainly would have mentioned it.
“The simplest solution, and the one assumed in this commentary, is that Jesus, knowing that he would be dead before the regular time for the meal, deliberately held it in secret one day early....Of course it was strictly incorrect to hold a "Passover" at any time other than the evening of Nisan 14/15 [that is, at the end of the 14th and beginning of the 15th], but Jesus was not one to be bound by formal regulations in an emergency situation!....It was therefore a Passover meal in intention, but without a lamb [page 365].” (Commentary of Matthew in the Tyndale New Testament series, by R. T. France as quoted in )
This shows that strictly speaking, the Last Supper was not a passover meal. It would also mean that He was crucified at the same time as the slaughter of the lambs.
2nd: If it is a contradiction, it is of no consequence.
This is of no consequence because no command was given to hold the Last Supper. It is merely tradition held by the Church. Is this a shocker? To some, maybe. So we can see from this, easily, that the commands given by Christ is not put into any doubt by this. Why? This is because the commands given there is to serve one another, and to love one another. The other command is to keep the Lord’s Supper, which is different from the Last Supper.
Conclusion: It can be quite clearly seen from this that the contradiction is both not a contradiction or of consequence.
Rebuttal 4: The Triumphal Entry
I need not quote the Scriptures for this. This is not even a contradiction.
It is not a contradiction:
Technically, Jesus did find the donkey. He did it through His disciples by tasking them with getting it for Him. It is evident from all versions that the disciples got both the mother and the colt. It is also evident that Jesus sat on the colt only.
This is an example of the many times that the Gospel writers emphasized different parts of the story, giving us a most detailed account of the life of the Messiah, which would not have happened if there was only one mutually inclusive account.
In general conclusion
The first contradiction is a result of shallow scholarship. (No offence)
The second and third contradiction is the result of a lack of harmonization.
The fourth contradiction is not even a contradiction.
Please bring up actual contradictions in the next round.
I would like to thank you for your rebuttal. Needless to say, I do not find your arguments to be satisfactory. I will explain why in this round.
I. The Genealogies of Jesus
I would like to respond in two parts. First, I would like to respond to the attempt to reconcile these verses via the lineages of Joseph (Matthew) and Mary (Luke). Secondly, I will refute the attempt at reconciling the consequence of this contradiction.
A. Reconciling the Contradictions
Reconciling the contradictions in the genealogies is not as easy as saying that Matthew is giving Joseph’s and Luke is giving Mary’s genealogy. This explanation is not without its problems. As D. A. Carson notes:
"The theory that Luke really gives us the family tree of Mary rather than of Joseph is improbable. The theory with least difficulties is that Matthew gives the descendants of David down the royal line (i.e. who was heir to the throne at any given time), but Luke gives the particular line to which Joseph belonged.” 
Indeed, because Jews do not admit to transmission of genealogy by the mother, St. Jerome rightfully stated, “It is not the custom of the scriptures to count women in their genealogies.” The reason is because it is the male that is the legal lineage of the child – once again, we see that Mary’s lineage is completely irrelevant.
Finally, Mary was supposedly a relative of Elizabeth (Luke 1:36), whom he gave as a descendant of priestly family of Aaron (Luke 1:5). This makes Mary a member of that family – not a direct descendant of David and Solomon.
B. What’s the Consequence?
In addition to the contradiction, I pointed out several consequences that should be made apparent because of this contradiction: Whichever horn of the contradiction my opponent chooses to take, Jesus is not the Messiah. My opponent attempted to explain these difficulties.
First, let’s unwrap the fact that the Messiah must be a descendant of Solomon. I will present several verses below that prove this point :
1 Chronicles 29:1, “And David the king said to the entire congregation: Solomon my son, who alone God has chosen...’”
God also declared that He will not take the throne away from Solomon as He took it from Saul:
2 Samuel 7:14-15, “If he [Solomon] commits iniquity I will chasten him with the rod of men, and with the stripes of the children of men, but My mercy shall not depart from him, as I took it from Saul . . .”
So yes, the Messiah must be a descendant from David – but it goes one step further as well with Solomon.
My opponent dropped the consequence of Jesus having Jehoiachin in Matthew’s lineage. Please answer that problem in the next round.
II. The Last Supper and Crucifixion Date
Once again, I’ll break this rebuttal into two parts: I will refute my opponent’s explanation and then I will explain how this is a contradiction of consequence.
The problem with the explanation is that the synoptics clearly tell us that this was the 14th day of Nisan:
Mark 14:12-17 (Matthew 26:17-20; Luke 22:7-14), “And on the first day of the unleavened bread, when they sacrificed the Passover lamb, his disciples...went to the city...and they prepared the Passover. And when it was evening he came with the twelve and they were at the table eating.”
So, the synoptic gospels clearly state that: 1) This was on the first day of unleavened bread; and 2) This was when they sacrificed the Passover lamb. Emphasis in the verses are mine.
John clearly states that this was before this event:
John 13:1-2, “It was just before Passover feast...the evening meal was served.”
So, how is this of consequence? Remember how we defined what a consequence was. In our opening round, we defined it as a contradiction that poses an actual threat to the meaning of Christian doctrine. As such, it is unnecessary for there to be a command within the passage in order for it to be of consequence. In order to understand how this is a threat to the meaning of Christian doctrine, we need to understand the theology of what is going on within the passages.
For John, Jesus was the new Paschal lamb (the Lamb of God). Therefore, it would make sense that Jesus would be crucified at the precise moment of the slaughter of the Passover lamb  (which John specifically states that he is). The synoptics’ theology, however, was to connect the Passover meal to the institution of the Eucharist. So the consequence is not necessarily one of command per se, rather it is a consequence of theology.
I will respond to the final contradiction in the next round as I am out of space. In conclusion, I feel that the contradictions that I have presented still stand.
 Carson, D. A. (1994). New Bible commentary : 21st century edition (4th ed.) (Lk 3:23–38). Leicester, England; Downers Grove, Ill., USA: Inter-Varsity Press. Quoted on http://carm.org...
 Sigal, G. (n.d.). “Must the Messiah be a descendent of Solomon?” http://www.jewsforjudaism.org...
 Tovia, S. (n.d.). “Did the Passover Lamb Foreshadow the Crucifixion of Jesus?” http://www.outreachjudaism.org...;
I agree that my answers were less than satisfactory. However, I will defend them further in this round.
1. Genealogies of Jesus
Is the genealogies really Mary’s?
To quote a problem given in that article but fail to provide the solution given is odd, at most generous. I will quote from the same article as my opponent, to show that there is an explanation.
“...Notice that Luke starts with Mary and goes backwards to Adam. Matthew starts with Abraham and goes forward to Joseph. The intents of the genealogies were obviously different which is clearly seen in their styles. Luke was not written to the Jews, Matthew was. Therefore, Matthew would carry the legal line (from Abraham through David) and Luke the biological one (from Adam through David). Also, notice that Luke's first three chapters mention Mary eleven times; hence, the genealogy from her. Fourth, notice Luke 3:23, "And when He began His ministry, Jesus Himself was about thirty years of age, being supposedly the son of Joseph, the son of Eli," This designation "supposedly" seems to signify the Marian genealogy since it seems to indicate that Jesus is not the biological son of Joseph.
Finally, in the Joseph genealogy is a man named Jeconiah. God cursed Jeconiah (also called Coniah), stating that no descendant of his would ever sit on the throne of David, "For no man of his descendants will prosper sitting on the throne of David or ruling again in Judah," (Jer. 22:30). But Jesus, of course, will sit on the throne in the heavenly kingdom. The point is that Jesus is not a biological descendant of Jeconiah, but through the other lineage -- that of Mary. Hence, the prophetic curse upon Jeconiah stands inviolate. But, the legal adoption of Jesus by Joseph reckoned the legal rights of Joseph to Jesus as a son, not the biological curse. This is why we need two genealogies: one of Mary (the actually biological line according to prophecy), and the legal line through Joseph.”
And viola! It answers both contradictions and consequences at once! Fascinatingly, Solomon is mentioned in the genealogies, this means that Jesus is a descendant of David twice over. Or even maybe more.
2. The Last Supper and the Cruxifiction Date
Let us now assume that this is a contradiction. So now, I must explain why it is of no consequence. I will leave off the previous explanation. It is not good. Instead, I will be using Prof. Humphrey’s explanation. This explanation is actually quite brilliant in that it is fact based. Or rather, based on facts known outside the Scriptures.
“...The Dead Sea Scrolls reveal that there were a number of different Jewish calendars in use in Israel in the first century AD, and so different Jewish groups celebrated Passover on different days. We have a similar situation today with the date of Easter: Catholics and Protestants celebrate Easter on a different date from Greek and Russian Orthodox Christians, because they calculate the date of Easter using different calendars (Gregorian and Julian, respectively). In his description of the Last Supper, John uses the official Jewish calendar, in which the Last Supper was before the date of the official Passover....”
“...The official Jewish calendar at the time of Jesus’ death was that still used by Jews today; a lunar system in which days run from sunset to sunset. This was developed during the Jewish exile in Babylon in the sixth century BC. Before that, however, the Jews had a different system. This is referred to in the Book of Exodus, which describes God instructing Moses and Aaron to start their year at the time of the Exodus from Egypt... this pre-exilic Jewish calendar was based on the Egyptian lunar calendar (their calendar used for religious feasts and festivals, as distinct from the Egyptian solar calendar used for civil purposes)...”
“...There is extensive evidence that this original Jewish calendar survived to Jesus’ time. Not all Jews were exiled to Babylon. Those who remained retained the pre-exilic calendar and by the first century AD groups such as the Samaritans, Zealots, some Galileans and some Essenes were still using the original Jewish calendar. Under this pre-exilic calendar, Passover always fell a few days earlier than in the official Jewish calendar, and the days were marked from sunrise to sunrise, not sunset to sunset...”
“...From the clues they give, it’s clear that Matthew, Mark and Luke all used the pre-exilic calendar in their description of the Last Supper as a Passover meal, whereas John uses the official calendar in which the Last Supper was before the Passover...” 
I find these explanation enough to make my point. See also my previous points regarding commands. It also applies to doctrines. I do not feel the need to phrase all of these in my own words simply because this is a fact based theory, and if I were to phrase it in my own words, there would be almost no change. I could then be accused of plagiarism, which I will scrupulously avoid. To summarize into a few words, Jesus was not using the exile calendar, but the Moses’ calendar, which would have fit well with His agenda of a “new Moses” with “new covenants”
I realize this is not the best I have given or can give, but I have a rather tight schedule this week. My apologies.
Thank you for challenging me to this debate. It certainly has been a fun debate and I have learned from it. I wish you the best of luck as we enter into the final rounds.
Contradiction 1: Jesus’ Genealogies
My opponent has not only contradicted himself, but has proved my whole point in this contradiction.
My opponent has failed to answer the problem of the legal lineage. According to Jewish law, the mother’s lineage is totally irrelevant in selecting the legal lineage for the son. It is the male that selects the legal lineage:
Numbers 1:18, “And on the first day of the second month, they assembled the whole congregation together, who registered themselves by families, by their fathers’ houses, according to the number of names from twenty years old and upward, head by head.” (Emphasis mine)
Until my opponent answers this question, the argument from genealogies does not stand. As a result, there is only one genealogy per child – the father’s genealogy. Contrary to what my opponent stated, it is absolutely impossible for Jesus to be a descendant of David twice over.
Next, my opponent failed to respond to the fact that Luke makes Mary a descendant of Aaron – not David, by having her a cousin of Elizabeth who was a descendant of Aaron on both her father’s side (which would be Mary’s father) and Elizabeth’s mother. Therefore, Mary too is a descendant of Aaron.
What about adoption? Does adoption solve the problem? My opponent stated, “But, the legal adoption of Jesus by Joseph reckoned the legal rights of Joseph to Jesus as a son.” No, in fact it only adds to it. In Jewish law, adoption is irrelevant in determining legal genealogy. It is only by the biological father.. As Penina Taylor notes :
“If Jesus was not a product of Joseph's seed, then Messiah could not be of the Royal House of David, since in Judaism the mother gives one the "Jewish soul" and the father the "tribal lineage." If Jesus was the product of the seed of another being, then according to Jewish Halacha (law, literally “the way to walk”), Joseph could be a caretaker father, even if he could "adopt" Jesus, that would not give him tribal lineage, and so he could not be an heir to the throne of David. Unless Joseph is physically the father of Jesus, he (Jesus) cannot inherit the genealogical line of Joseph. Adoption, which is a legal procedure, does not allow one to inherit genealogical birthrights.”
Finally, there are Scriptural verses to prove this:
Numbers 36:7, “The hereditary property of the Israelites will thus not be transferred from one tribe to another, and each person among the Israelites will remain attached to the hereditary property of his father's tribe.”
So, adoption does nothing to change the status of a child. For example, if a child from the tribe of Judah is adopted by a Cohen, he is not a Cohen, he is still from Judah and a descendant of David.
Solomon’s lineage is forever promised:
1Chronicles 22:9-10 – (9) Behold a son will be born to you; he will be a man of peace, and I shall give him peace from all his enemies around about, for Solomon will be his name, and I shall give peace and quiet to Israel in his days. (10) He shall build a House in My Name, and he shall be to Me as a son, and I to him as a Father, and I shall prepare the throne of his kingdom forever.
This proves beyond all doubt that the Messiah must be a descendant of Solomon. Emphasis is mine in that verse. My opponent has completely ignored those points.
Conclusion: My opponent’s attempt at reconciling the verses have failed for several reasons:
1) Because Mary is a cousin of Elizabeth, who is of the tribe of Aaron, she too is from the tribe of Levi – not Judah;
2) Adoption does not change the status of a person’s lineage;
3) If the curse of Jeconiah is invalid by the adoption, then so is the legal right to the throne (you can’t have it both ways);
4) Mary’s lineage is invalid via Nathan and not Solomon.
My contradiction still stands.
Contradiction 2: The Last Supper and Crucifixion Dates
My opponent dropped his explanation and has conceded to my rebuttal and admitted that his explanation failed. He then quoted Dr. Humphrey for an explanation which, unfortunately also, begs the question; namely, why would Matthew, Mark, and Luke use the pre-exilic calendar if it was no longer in use - especially because Matthew was writing to the Jews, it stands to reason that Matthew would use the official Jewish calendar at that time.
If it were true that there were multiple calendars at Jesus’ time, the Jews were unified in selecting the date of the holiday. 
Numbers 28:16-17 (Exodus 12:18) On the fourteenth day of the first month is the Lord's Passover. And on the fifteenth day of this month is a feast, seven days shall unleavened days be eaten.
So, no matter what calendar you are using, the 14th day of the 1st month is Passover.
1) The Jewish holiday date stays the same from year to year;
2) There is no evidence for multiple calendars – and my opponent’s quoting a scholar’s text is an appeal to authority. Nowhere in his argument does he prove that there are multiple calendars; and
3) It stands to reason that Matthew would be using the official Jewish calendar at the time of the event because he was writing to Jewish people.
I will like to thank Microsuck for this debate. I will note that he has dropped one contradiction already. He promised, “I will respond to the final contradiction in the next round as I am out of space...” Still no response.
In seeking to prove his point, my opponent has unfortunately dropped on his own sword. Let me explain. I will quote two of his statements side by side to show that while he is trying to prove a contradiction, he makes a contradiction.
“...According to Jewish law, the mother’s lineage is totally irrelevant in selecting the legal lineage for the son...”
“...Mary a descendant of Aaron – not David, by having her a cousin of Elizabeth who was a descendant of Aaron on both her father’s side (which would be Mary’s father) and Elizabeth’s mother. Therefore, Mary too is a descendant of Aaron...” (Emphasis mine. There is a non sequitur in that Mary is not the descendant of Aaron. Even if it were so, Aaron would not have been the sole ancestor.)
I had to control myself not to burst out laughing when I spotted this. Besides which, I will address the actual arguments even though his arguments commit suicide.
I have quoted in the previous round that Matthew makes Jesus the legal heir and Luke makes Jesus the biological heir. It appears that my opponent has ignored this. He answers slightly my answer to adoption, but as I will now show, it is a suicidal argument as well.
Firstly, by Con’s own admission, “...the mother gives one the "Jewish soul”...” In other words, the mother gives the biological lineage, or “Jewishness.” From this we can see already that Con’s earlier statements are blatantly false and contradictory. It means that I need not reply further. However, that will not prove my point sufficiently for the average reader, and I want to prove it. To do so, I will have to answer the header point of adoption.
“Strictly speaking,... any descendent of David would be considered of the 'royal' family, because it was defined by the ancestor--not the current holder (or non-holder) of the throne. So, for example, in the case in 2 Sam 21, the children of Saul and his concubine Rizpah were of 'Saul and his bloody house', but--as children of a concubine--they would never be in the line of succession.” (Emphasis original)
So it is clear from this that not only is your quote wrong on this point, it is also wrong on every other point as well.
b. Mary’s tribe
I will, even though I have clearly debunked all my opponent’s seeming contradiction, make a point about Mary’s tribe.
“The Jewish folk had numerous provisions for cases of inheritance-transfer in extreme cases. One of the more frequent situations that had to be covered (in a land-based, clan-ownership system) was that of childless marriages, or in some cases, of son-less marriages.
One of the more concise statements of how this would apply here, is by J. Stafford Wright in Dict. of New Test. Theol., III. 662:
"Mary's father (Heli?) had two daughters, Mary and the unnamed wife of Zebedee (John 19:25; Matt 27:56). If there were no sons, Joseph would become son of Heli on his marriage, to preserve the family name and inheritance (cf. Num 27:1-11; 36:1-12, esp. v. 8, which accounts for Mary marrying a man of the family of David.)"” (Ibid) (Emphasis original)
"According to the later law, where there were no sons, daughters inherited, and with the express purpose of preventing a man’s name from being lost to his family (Nu. 27:4), but such daughters must marry only into the family of the tribe of their father (Nu. 36:6). In v. 22 it is stated that these conditions were fulfilled in the case of Eleazar and doubtless the verse was added to show why Eleazar was also counted among the fathers’ houses though he was known to have had no sons.— Curtis, E. L., & Madsen, A. A. (1910). A critical and exegetical commentary on the books of Chronicles. Series title in part also at head of t.-p. (265). New York: C. Scribner's Sons.” (Ibid) (Emphasis original)
So it can be clearly seen from this, that in addition to the blatantly false claims you quoted, there is actually Biblical as well as historical support for the fact that Mary was of the seed of David.
It is also very clear that the promise to Solomon was a conditional promise, as 1 Ch. 28:7 shows. “I will establish his kingdom forever if he continues strong in keeping my commandments and my rules, as he is today.” Solomon did not continue strong. (Emphasis mine)
It is also apparent that the Scriptures never refer to the return of “The house of Solomon” but “The House of David.”
Jesus is the descendent of David twice over as the evidence shows and as Con has actually helped my case very much. The Messiah need not be a descendant of Solomon, which Jesus was, according to the evidence.
I will only briefly respond to this as I am running out of space. Con has only affirmed my statements about different calendars. He has resorted to arguing with a source, which, however, does not even prove his point. As I will show, Con has only reaffirmed my statements. To see why, we will ask one question. The 14th day of the month of which calender? The Scriptures have no answer to this, so we must use other historical evidence.
What does the evidence tell us?
Well, the evidence is unanimously in favor of Humphrey’s solution. To dismiss it in spite of the evidence is not being skeptical at all, but thick-headed (No offence). Con has provided no explanation of how dates must be exilic in origin. He has only asserted that point. He has provided no counter to Humphrey's explanation of the dates.
Con dropped an argument of his own but innocently accuses me of changing my explanation. He provided no explanation for why he dropped the argument, while I provided explanation for my behaviour. The Jewish holidays are always the same for a certain calendar. Changing calendars would change dates. Con does not seem to notice this.
In general conclusion, no contradiction has ever withstood the evidence I have presented. One was dropped, one was suicidal, and one sidetracked everything.
All being said, I am thankful that this debate happened. If it had not, I would probably have not had gone much into historical details surrounding the Scriptures as I much prefer science.
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