Religious books or sacred texts, unlike other books, are always under scrutiny. This is understandable since sacred texts make big claims and demand their readers to make some drastic adjustments to their lives. Even the word ‘adjustments’ is an understatement in some religions. Therefore, the readers would want to make sure that what they read is believable before they decide to change; and in order to do that, they want to establish whether what they read is credible, or at least, plausible.
The Bible is not immune to this. Just because Christians claim that it is the Word of God, it does not automatically make it so nor does it automatically make people believe. Furthermore, Christianity is a historical faith, which means that God acted in history through the lives of Patriarchs and finally through the life of Jesus Christ.Therefore, the historical reliability is very crucial. If the historical accuracy of the events in the Bible cannot be established, then we must question its credibility, and consequently, its truth claims.
This post will discuss narrowly about the seeming discrepancies that one may find while reading the gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John). The four evangelists wrote about the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. However, at some points, what they wrote differ from one another. Sceptics are quick to point out that the gospels therefore are not reliable. However, is that the case? How would we respond to this issue? The following is adapted from the last RoundTable talk titled: “Dealing with Discrepancies in the Gospels”
The apparent discrepancies or differences when the Gospels are compared can be explained in a number of ways: