An important first step in biblical studies is the establishment of a purpose: the Bible is often purported to give truth in the realm of history (as well as in science and/or theology). But an approach to the Bible that has integrity will not shy away from recognition that the Bible as a witness to history is not completely reliable. Take the following examples, for instance:
God says, “You shall not utter a false report.”
God instructs Moses to lie to Pharoah (see also 1 Kings 22:23 [“God will be a lying spirit.”] and 2 Thess. 2:11 [“God sends upon them a strong delusion, to make them believe what is false.”]
No man hath seen God at anytime.
For I have seen god face to face.
Sisera was lying down when killed.
Sisera was not lying down when killed.
2 Sa 6:23
Therefore Michal the daughter of Saul had no child unto the day of her death.
2 Sa 21:8
… and the five sons of Michal the daughter of Saul… (changed to Merab in NIV)
2 Sa 8:4
David took 700 horsemen
1 Chr 18:4
David took 7000 horsemen
2 Sa 21:19
Elhanan son of Jaare-Oregim the Bethlehemite killed Goliath
1 Sa 17:23, 50
David killed Goliath
2 Sa 24:1
God incites David to a census
1 Chr. 21:1
Satan incites David to a census
2 Sa 24:13
So Gad came to David, and told him, and said unto him, Shall seven years of famine come unto thee in thy land? or Wilt thou flee three months before thine enemies, while they pursue thee?
1 Chr 21:11
So Gad came to David, and told him, and said unto him�Choose thee either three years’ famine; or three months to be destroyed before thy foes…
God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent.
And the Lord repented of the evil which he had thought to do unto his people.
Joseph the son of Jacob
Joseph the son of Heli
The devil took Jesus to the pinnacle of the temple, then to a high mountain
The devil took Jesus up into a high mountain, then to the pinnacle of the temple
In the days of Herod, king of Judea (died 4 B.C.E.)
… when Quirinius was governor of Syria (appointed 6 C.E.)
Judas throws silver away
Judas buys a field
In addition, there are issues presented by the order of events in the Gospels:
Matthew 21:12-13., Mark 11:11, 15-19., and Luke 19:45-48 present the cleansing of the Temple as an event in the final week of Jesus’ life, but John 2:113-17 places at the beginning of Jesus’ ministry;
Matthew 27:62, Mark 15:42, and Luke 23:54 all explicitly state that the crucifixion occurred on the day of Preparation (the day preceding the Passover when the lambs were slaughtered in the Temple)–but Mark 14:12, 17, Matthew 26:17, 20, and Luke22:7ff. also state that the Last Supper was the Passover meal. John 13:1-2, however, explicitly places the meal on the day before the Passover.
Other problems in the gospels include:
Mark locates a quote from Malachi 3:1 “in the prophet Isaiah” in Mark 1:2 (later manuscripts will revise the phrase to “in the prophets”).
In Mark 3:23-28, Jesus locates the story of David eating the show-bread of the Temple in the days of Abiathar the high priest. In the original story in 1 Samuel 15:35, the high priest is Ahimelech (Abiathar’s father).