Can We Trust the Gospels? – Ch 7: What about Contradictions?

This is a chapter summary of Peter J Williams, “Can We Trust the Gospels?”.  For the book overview and chapter summary links, click here.

When one reads the Gospels for the first time, some contradictions seem to appear. In this short chapter, Williams briefly goes into the ‘deliberate formal contradictions’ in the Gospel of John.

Below is a non-exhaustive list of examples of contradictions in John:

1. John 2:23 and John 12:37 (Did people believe?)

2. John 7:28 and John 8:14 & 8:19 (Did they know Jesus and where he came from)

3. John 8:15 and John 8:26 (Does Jesus judge?)

Essentially, Williams argues that these contradictions were intentional in order to get the readers to think more deeply on the issue.

In John 13:36 and 14:5, Peter and Thomas ask Jesus where he is going. Yet in John 16:5, Jesus claims that none asked where he is going. 

While Jesus was going to the cross then to God the Father, his disciples were more concerned of the next place Jesus was going physically. 

Williams explains that the contradictions in the Gospel of John are on the superficial level of language.

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