ABC:Matthew 5

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Verse 1[edit | hide | hide all]'s Meritt claims a contradiction exists here.[1]

Luke 6:17 appears to be separate from 6:20, in other words, Jesus was on a plain healing the sick, the multitude thronged Him, and then He went up into a mountain to teach. This entire sequence is related in order in Mark 3:7-14, including the exact location of Tyre and Sidon's sea coast:

The Sermon on the Mount appears to have occurred here in the Gospel of Mark, which relates the entire story. First Jesus withdrew with His disciples to the sea coast of Tyre and Sidon and was followed by a great multitude from Galilee, Judea, Jerusalem, Idumaea, Jordan, Tyre, and Sidon. (Luke 6:17, Mark 3:7-8) Jesus went into a ship with His disciples so He wouldn't get crowded by the multitude. (Mark 3:9-12) Jesus then went up to a mountain and taught. (Matthew 5:12, Mark 3:13-35) After all of this Jesus "began again to teach by the sea side" and again entered into a ship, teaching the multitude through parables from the ship. (Mark 4:1-34)

At any rate, both are true, Jesus was at a plain near the sea coast and then went up into a mountain. Mark appears to be the most detailed account of what happened with regards to location and detail. Luke 6:20 then skips all of the information about him moving from the plain to the sea to the mountain back to the sea and just starts the new paragraph talking about his famous sermon. Luke then probably focuses on what the writer considers most relevant, the huge multitude, the miracles, and the sermon, largely bypassing the specific details of the location changes that Mark delves into in detail.

Additionally, see John 6:1-3 for more confirmation that this sequence occurred:

Again, same sequence as before. Jesus crosses over the sea. He is followed by a huge multitude because of His miracles. Jesus then goes up into a mountain with His disciples. There is a transition back and forth from the plain to the sea to the mountain and back to the sea again, but without comparing all accounts this isn't as obvious.

Verse 3[edit | hide]'s Meritt claims a contradiction exists here and asks, "How many beatitudes in the Sermon on the Mount" before providing the following list:[1]

Obviously it's not a 'contradiction' for one account to give more detail than another since neither passage states "there are X amount of beatitudes." The pattern of the Bible is that some accounts give more detail than others, complementing one another to form a cohesive whole and filling in spots left unexplained elsewhere.

Verse 16: Should Good Works Be Seen? (FFRF)[edit | hide]

Dan Barker of FFRF claims there is a contradiction here and makes the following comments (italicized).[2] Jim Meritt of also claims the Bible contradicts itself on good deeds.[1]

Jesus when doing miracles took this a step further, strictly telling those He healed not to tell anyone about what He'd done. (Mt. 8:4; 9:30; 12:16; Mk. 5:43; 7:36; Lk. 5:14; 8:56) As should be readily apparent, there is no contradiction here. Matthew 5:16 does not say to do good works before all - obviously those receiving alms will "see your good works and glorify your Father which is in Heaven." Matthew 5:16 is not a commandment to do alms openly in contradiction of 6:3, but to do them at all.

Verse 17 (Changing Rules)[edit | hide]

Patheos' Bob Seidensticker claims there is a contradiction here and makes the following comments (italicized):[3]

First of all, God never nullified His covenant with Abraham when making a covenant with Moses, that is a blatant mischaracterization by the critic. God's covenant with Abraham was that Abraham's descendants would have the land of Israel, while circumcising their male children and worshiping God. (Genesis 17:7-21; 15:17-21) This commandment was continued under Moses. (Leviticus 12:3). It was certainly not inconsistent or discontinued under the Mosaic Law, indeed Jews today continue to practice circumcision.

Secondly, the new covenant under Jesus that the critic refers to in Hebrews 8 was foretold centuries earlier by the prophet Jeremiah; indeed Hebrews 8 is quoting exactly what Jeremiah said. (Jeremiah 31:31-34) Moses himself told the Israelites that God would raise them up a Prophet to bring them new commandments, and that the Israelites would be punished if not listening to that Prophet. (Deuteronomy 18:15-19) The New Testament repeatedly states that Jesus is that Prophet. (John 1:45; Acts 3:22-23; 7:37)

Thirdly, nothing in the New Testament requires that Christians meet on Sunday rather than Saturday. According to John Calvin in 'Instruction in Faith' the change from Saturday to Sunday was made to avoid legalism by Jewish Christians. To quote Calvin, "As our human weakness does not allow such assemblies to meet every day, the day observed by the Jews has been taken away (as a good device for eliminating superstition) and another day has been destined to this use. This was necessary for securing order and peace in the Church."[4] However, such a practice is not based upon any explicit New Testament teaching.

Fourthly, Israel has long since stopped the sacrifices regardless. This occurred, as prophesied in Daniel 9:25-27, following the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem in A.D. 70 by Nero.[5] God said, long before Jesus arrived, that He disapproved of the Jewish sacrifices and sabbaths, taking no pleasure in them. (Isaiah 1:11-15; 66:3; Hosea 6:6; Jeremiah 7:22-23; Psalms 51:16-19; 40:6; 50:8-15; 1 Samuel 15:22) Daniel's prophecy, by the way, perfectly predicted that the Messiah would arrive 483 years (69 weeks of years) after the rebuilding of Jerusalem (444/445 B.C.; cp. Nehemiah 2:1) so the Messiah should have arrived around 38/39 A.D. For more on this, see Scientific Evidence.

Fifthly, the one the Israelites were worshiping was always Jesus. What many people don't realize is that when God spoke to Moses originally in the burning bush, to Abraham even earlier, and to Jacob, it was not God the Father speaking, but the 'Angel of the Lord' who spoke. (Exodus 3:2-4; Genesis 22:15-18; 31:11-13; 32:28-30; 48:16) Jesus Himself said He was the original God of the Israelites. (John 8:56-58) For that reason it is written that Jesus came to His own and they did not receive Him. (John 1:11; cp. Isaiah 53:3-4) For more on Jesus as the Angel of the Lord, see Christophanies.

Verse 39[edit | hide]

American Atheist's list at American Atheists claims this is a contradiction.[6]

The Old Testament commandment of "eye for an eye" did not justify taking vengeance for wrongs done to oneself. The Israelites even then were commanded not to harm others out of vengeance (Lev. 19:18; Prov. 20:22). The commandment of "eye for an eye" allowed governmental execution of justice for the sake of order in society; not out of vengeance but to promote good in the world and stop those who harm others from overrunning society given a lack of consequences. That same principle is repeated in the New Testament, that governments "bear the sword" under God's authority to punish those who do evil. (Rom. 13:4)

Sources[edit | hide]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Meritt, Jim (1992). A list of Biblical contradictions. Retrieved from
  2. Barker, D. (2019). "Bible Contradictions." FFRF.
  3. Seidensticker, P. (2018, October 20). "Top 20 Most Damning Bible Contradictions." Patheos.
  4. Calvin, J. (1537). "Instruction in Faith." pp. 31-32. Westminster/John Knox Press.
  5. Lohnes, K. (2018, August 29). "Siege of Jerusalem." Encyclopedia Britannica.
  6. N.a. (2019). "Biblical Contradictions? American Atheists and makes the following comments (italicized):