Instigator / Pro

The Bible is God's Word


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With 7 votes and 29 points ahead, the winner is ...

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Round 1
The Bible is God's Word because it is written with authority as no other book is written. It is also a miracle that it is around to this day considering many attempts to destroy it. It's unity of message is astounding considering there is no other book that has been written over thousands of years by different writers with different backgrounds and still maintain its unity in the message it gives without any contradiction to that message. It is also accurate on every subject it touches whether it is historical or scientific. Theologically it does not contradict itself. Please let me know of another book like it if you can.
Thank you, GeneralGrant, for this debate I am looking forward to it. Because this topic is important to me, this is going to get a bit lengthy. 

Contention 1: Biblical Defects

My contention in this debate will be the argument from Biblical defects formulated by Theodore Drange. [1] From this logically valid syllogism, we will see that the Bible is certainly NOT God’s word. 

  1. If the God of of the Bible were to exist, then the Bible would be God’s only written revelation (a premise my opponent would certainly accept. The Qur’an and other scriptures are irrelevant to this argument). 
  2. Thus, if that deity were to exist, then he would probably see to it that the Bible is perfectly clear and authoritative, and lack the appearance of merely human authorship.
  3. Some facts about the Bible are the following:

    1. It contradicts itself or is very unclear in many places;
    2. It contains factual errors, including unfulfilled prophecies;
    3. It contains interpolations (later insertions to the text);
    4. Different copies of the manuscripts say conflicting things;
  4. Therefore [from C], the Bible is not perfectly clear and authoritative, and has the appearance of merely human authorship.
  5. Hence [from B & D], probably the God of evangelical Christianity does not exist (Thus negating the resolution that the Bible is God’s word). 

I am going to begin with Premise C, the facts about the Bible. I won’t go through and prove all 7 facts as that would make this debate far too long and cumbersome for Pro, but rather I will point out some of the most significant issues within that list.


A contradiction is “a combination of statements, ideas, or features of a situation that are opposed to one another.” If two statements are contradictory, then one or both statements in the Bible have to be false.

Contradiction 1: Where was Jacob Buried

Before being stoned by the Sanhedrian, Stephen gives a speech recorded in the Book of Acts (ch 7). This is not only a contradiction, but a factual error as well. This one is significant because Stephen was supposed to be “full of the holy spirit,” yet got a basic fact wrong. 

For his sons carried him into the land of Canaan, and buried him [Jacob] in the cave of the field of Machpelah. Genesis 50:13

So Jacob went down into Egypt, and died, he, and our fathers, and were carried over into Shechem, and laid in the sepulchre. Acts 7:15-16

Either the Hebrew Bible is wrong of Stephen is wrong. It’s clear that Stephen is wrong because you can visit the site of Machpelah and find Jacob’s tomb there [2]. 

Contradiction 2 & 3 What day & time did Jesus die?

Was Jesus killed before or after the Passover sacrifice? Depends on which Gospel you read. Was Jesus crucified at the 3rd hour or at the 6th hour? Depends on which gospel you read. There is a significant theological impact here. John is portraying Jesus as the Passover lamb. In order to do this, John is having Jesus killed at the exact day and time that the Pascal lamb was sacrificed.

“It was nine in the morning when they crucified him..” (Mark 15:25)

12 On the first day of the Festival of Unleavened Bread, when it was customary to sacrifice the Passover lamb, Jesus’ disciples asked him, “Where do you want us to go and make preparations for you to eat the Passover?”

16 The disciples left, went into the city and found things just as Jesus had told them. So they prepared the Passover. (Mark 15:12-16)

“It was the day of Preparation of the Passover; it was about noon.” (John 19:14)

If you compare the events of the last supper, Matthew, Mark, and Luke all clearly state it was the Passover meal. Indeed, we see that Jesus ate the matzah, the cups of wine, and recited Hallel (the hymns that are sung at the Passover seder). John, on the other hand, leaves all of this out. Instead Jesus has an “evening meal” and washes the disciples feet, and eats leavened bread with his disciples. There’s no cups of wine, no hallel, and no "institution of the New Testament claim.” 


An interpolation is in addition to the original text. Immediately we run into an obvious problem, one cannot ‘add” to God’s word; thus if something was interpolated into the text, it cannot be God’s word. Let’s list two of these. 

Ending of Mark

All scholars agree that the ending of Mark (16:9-20) is not original. We have numerous manuscripts of the Gospel of Mark and various endings of this gospel. Some manuscripts read:

"And they promptly reported all these instructions to Peter and his companions. And after that, Jesus Himself sent out through them from east to west the sacred and imperishable proclamation of eternal salvation.”

Christian apologist Matt Slick notes that there are some significant theological implications here [3]: 

Some scholars have asserted that the ending is in a different style than the rest of the gospel and that it contains 16-22 "non-marcan" words used in a "non-marcan" sense. It seems to suggest that Jesus appeared in a different form (v. 12) which could be problematic since Jesus rose in the same body He died in (John 2:19-21). Also, Mark 16:16 can be interpreted to mean that baptism is part of salvation. It isn't, as is testified by verses that teach justification by faith Rom. 5:1; 6:23; Eph. 2:8-9, etc.). Whichever the case, the dispute is not settled and may never be.

I am not here trying to undermine the authority of God's word nor state that Mark 16:9-20 is not authentic. But, the fact remains that these 12 verses are under dispute and it is necessary to spotlight this issue when dealing with the historic reliability and inspiration of the New Testament manuscripts

The Adulterous Woman

“Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.” It is one of the most loved stories in the New Testament, but sadly it did not happen and is not original. The Christian Apologetics site Got Questions notes [4]:

The Greek manuscripts show fairly clear evidence that John 7:53—8:11 was not originally part of John’s Gospel. Among the manuscripts that do contain the section, either wholly or in part, there are variations of placement. Some manuscripts put the pericope adulterae after John 7:36, others after John 21:25, and some even place it in the Gospel of Luke (after Luke 21:38 or 24:53).

Conflicting Manuscripts 

It is estimated that there are 400,000 textual variations [5] within the New Testament. To put that into perspective, there are more variations than there are words. While most of them are insignificant and some can’t even be translated into English, there are a few variations that matter a lot such as the ones above. 

Contention 2: Forgeries in the Bible 

As the story of Jesus evolved, details were added and changed. There’s a huge body of apocryphal literature that shows how wildly different these teachings were. In the Gospel of Peter, there is a vivid account of the resurrection:

“When therefore those soldiers saw it, they awakened the centurion and the elders, for they too were close by keeping guard. And as they declared what things they had seen, again they saw three men come forth from the tomb, and two of them supporting one, and a cross following them. And the heads of the two reached to heaven, but the head of him who was led by them overpassed the heavens. And they heard a voice from the heavens, saying, You have preached to them that sleep. And a response was heard from the cross, Yes.” [6] 

Clearly forgeries were being made in the name of various disciples and apostles. Whoever made these forgeries to make a theological point. There are strong reasons to believe that various forgeries were included in the New Testament. For one, many stories were added that were not original (as I already proved; second, the supposed writers of New Testament books simply could not have done so. Lets’s prove this.


Acts states that John was illiterate (Acts 4:13) yet both books ascribed to them are composed in a highly skilled form of Greek. It’s interesting that Aramaic speaking Jews would write in complex Greek. On John 3:16, Ehrman notes in his book Misquoting Jesus [7]:

Since Jesus was a Jew who lived in first century Palestine, any tradition about him has to fit in his own his- Liar, Lunatic, or Lord? Finding the Historical Jesus context to be plausible. Lots of our later Gospels—written in the third or fourth century, in other parts of the world—say things about Jesus that do not make sense in his own context. These things can be eliminated as historically implausible. But there are implausibilities even in our four canonical Gospels. In the Gospel of John, chapter 3, Jesus has a famous conversation with Nicodemus in which he says, “You must be born again.” The Greek word translated “again” actually has two meanings: it can mean not only “a second time” but also “from above.” Whenever it is used elsewhere in John, it means “from above” (John 19:11, 23). That is what Jesus appears to mean in John 3 when he speaks with Nicodemus: a person must be born from above in order to have eternal life in heaven above. Nicodemus misunderstands, though, and thinks Jesus intends the other meaning of the word, that he has to be born a second time. “How can I crawl back into my mother’s womb?” he asks, out of some frustration. Jesus corrects him: he is not talking about a second physical birth, but a heavenly birth, from above.

This conversation with Nicodemus is predicated on the circumstance that a certain Greek word has two meanings (a double entendre). Absent the double entendre, the conversation makes little sense. The problem is this: Jesus and this Jewish leader in Jerusalem would not have been speaking Greek, but Aramaic. But the Aramaic word for “from above” does not also mean “second time.” This is a double entendre that works only in Greek. So it looks as though this conversation could not have happened—at least not as it is described in the Gospel of John

Thus we are reasonable to conclude that John did not write the Gospel of John. Peter also has some significant issues. 


The debate asks us whether or not the Bible is God’s word. From the criteria set forth, the answer is clearly no. Even Christian apologist admit that the Bible has dubious passages that are not original to the text. Further, there are contradictions that have significant theological implications. 


7. Ehrman, B. Misquoting Jesus p. 154-155

Round 2
Thank you for taking me on in this debate and for being civil.

Contradiction 1: Where was Jacob Buried

There is no contradiction here. Jacob was definitely buried in Machpelah, but Stephen never says that Jacob was buried in Shechem. "14 Then sent Joseph, and called his father Jacob to him, and all his kindred, threescore and fifteen souls. 15 So Jacob went down into Egypt, and died, he, and our fathers, 16 And were carried over into Sychem, and laid in the sepulchre that Abraham bought for a sum of money of the sons of Emmor the father of Sychem." (KJV) Stephen says that Jacob died and our fathers died and they (meaning the fathers Reuben, Judah, Zebulun ect.) were buried in Shechem.

Contradiction 2 & 3 What day & time did Jesus die?

I will go to Barnes' Notes on the Bible: "And it was the third hour ... - In John 19:14 it is said, "And it was the preparation of the passover, and about the sixth hour, etc. Much difficulty has been felt in reconciling these passages, and infidels have usually adduced them to prove that the evangelists have contradicted themselves. In reconciling them the following remarks may perhaps make the matter clear:
(1) The Jews divided both the night and the day into four equal parts of three hours each. See the notes at Matthew 14:25. The first division of the day commenced at six o'clock in the morning, and ended at nine; the second commenced at nine and ended at twelve, etc. "The third" hour mentioned by Mark would therefore correspond with our nine o'clock; the "sixth" hour mentioned by John would correspond with our twelve, or noon.
(2) mark professes to give the time accurately; John does not. He says "it was about the sixth hour," without affirming that this was exactly the time.
(3) a mistake in "numbers" is easily made; and if it should he admitted that such an error had crept into the text here, it would be nothing more than has occurred in many ancient writings. It has been proved, moreover, that it was common not to write the "words" indicating numbers at "length," but to use "letters." The Greeks designated numbers by the letters of the alphabet, and this mode of computation is found in ancient manuscripts. For example, the Cambridge manuscript of the New Testament has in this very place in Mark, not the word "third" written at length, but the Greek letter gamma (γ), the usual notation for third. Now it is well known that it would be easy to mistake this for the Greek letter sigma (ς), the mark denoting "six." An error of this kind in an early manuscript might be extensively propagated, and might have led to the present reading of the text. Such an error is actually known to exist in the "Chronicon" of Paschal, where Otho is said to have reigned ς, (six) months, whereas it is known that he reigned but three, and in this place, therefore, the γ, three, was mistaken for ς, six.
(4) there is some external authority for reading "third" in John 19:14. The Cambridge manuscript has this reading. Nonnus, who lived in the fifth century, says that this was the true reading (Wetstein). Peter of Alexandria, in a fragment concerning the Passover, as quoted by Usher, says, "It was the preparation of the Passover, and about the "third" hour, as," he adds, "the most accurate copies of the Bible have it; and this was the handwriting of the evangelist (John), which is kept, by the grace of God, in his most holy church at Ephesus" (Mill). It is to be admitted, however, that no great reliance is to be placed on this account. That a mistake "might" have occurred in the early manuscripts is not improbable. No man can "prove" that it did "not" so occur, and so long as this cannot be proved, the passages should not be adduced as conclusive proof of contradiction.
After all, perhaps, without the supposition that there is any error in the text, the whole difficulty may be removed by the following statements:
(1) Calvary was "without" the walls of Jerusalem. It was a considerable distance from the place where Jesus was tried and condemned. Some time, more or less, would be occupied in going there, and in the preparatory measures for crucifying him.
(2) it is not necessary to understand "Mark" as saying that it was precisely nine o'clock, according to our expression. With the Jews it was six until seven; it was the third hour until the fourth commenced; it was the ninth until it was the tenth. They "included" in the "third" hour the whole time from the third to the fourth. The same mode they adopted in regard to their days. See the notes at Matthew 12:40.
(3) it is not unduly pressing the matter to suppose that Mark spoke of the time when the process for crucifixion commenced - that is, when he was condemned - when they entered upon it - when they made the preparation. Between that and the time when he was taken "out" of Jerusalem to Mount Calvary, and when he was actually nailed to the tree, there is no improbability in supposing that there might have been an interval of more than an hour. Indeed, the presumption is that considerably more time than that would elapse.
(4) John does not profess, as has been remarked, to be strictly accurate. He says "it was about the sixth hour," etc.
(5) now suppose that John meant to indicate the time when he was "actually" suspended on the cross - that he spoke of the "crucifixion" denoting the "act of suspension," as it struck "him" - and there is no difficulty. Any other two men - any witnesses - might give just such an account now. One man would speak of the time when the process for an execution commenced; another, perhaps, of the very "act" of the execution and would "both" speak of it in general terms, and say that a man was executed at such a time; and the circumstantial variation would "prove" that there was no collusion, no agreement to "impose" on a court - that they were honest witnesses. That is "proved" here.
(6) that this is the true account of the matter is clear from the evangelists themselves, and "especially from Mark." The three first evangelists concur in stating that there was a remarkable "darkness" over the whole land from the "sixth" to the "ninth" hour, Matthew 27:45; "Mar 15:33;" Luke 23:44. This fact - in which Mark concurs - would seem to indicate that "the actual crucifixion" continued only during that time - that he was, in fact, suspended at about the sixth hour, though the preparations for crucifying him had been going on (Mark) for two hours before. The fact that Mark Mar 15:33 mentions this darkness as commencing at the "sixth" and not at the "third" hour, is one of the circumstances undesignedly occurring that seems to signify that the crucifixion then had "actually" taken place, though the various arrangements for it Mark 15:25had been going on from the "third" hour.
One thing is conclusively proved by this - that the evangelists did not "conspire together" to impose on the world. They are independent witnesses, and they were honest men; and the circumstance adverted to here is one that is allowed to be of great value in testimony in courts of justice - "circumstantial variation with essential agreement."

"John, on the other hand, leaves all of this out. Instead Jesus has an “evening meal” and washes the disciples feet, and eats leavened bread with his disciples. There’s no cups of wine, no hallel, and no "institution of the New Testament claim.” 
Just because John left this out does not mean that it didn't happen. Actually John mentions many things not found in the other Testament such as the conversation with Nicodemus, Jesus' full discourse at the Last Supper and other details and he leaves out things mentioned in the other Testaments.

Ending of Mark

I am sorry, I am not capable to answer myself again since the details for the response are very long, but I will send you the link where I found a good response to this problem you have presented. I read it and agree with it. It is very long though.

The Adulterous Woman

Acts 4:13
This passage is saying how the Pharisees viewed the apostles. They Pharisees saw that these men had not gone to a higher school to learn the Scriptures, but Israel had a high literary rate at the time thanks to the education taught in the local synagogue.

Thank you for a speedy and civil response! I will now address Pro's opening case. My opponent has a very high burden of proof. My opponent has to prove that the Bible is God's word. Even if my opponent successfully refutes all my arguments, it still is not enough for my opponent's burden to be upheld. My opponent argues the following to prove that the Bible is God's word:

(1) Written with authority;
(2) Miraculous that it is still around;
(3) Unity of message
(4) No theological contradictions. 

Let's start with the obvious issue. These are all assertions, not facts. My opponent fails to provide any evidence for these statements. The Qur'an is also written with authority and it is still around. Why should we believe the Bible is miraculous bu the Qur'an isn't? It is obvious that no. 3 and 4 are incorrect as my opening statement shows that there are significant theological issues. With that, let's look at my case. 

Contention 1: Biblical Defects

I laid out a syllogism that is logically valid. Since my opponent drops the issue of its validity, we can assume that if my arguments hold any weight, then the argument is sound and the conclusions follow. 


My opponent drops the following:

(1) The contradiction regarding the day of Jesus' death
(2) That there are significant conflicting manuscripts
(3) That there are forgeries in the Bible
(4) The conversation with Nicodemus could not have happened

I apologize if my opening argument was a bit too detailed and long. Since this is a 5-round debate, I certainly hope my opponent would acknowledge this in the next round. 


A. Where was Jacob Buried

My opponent shoots himself in the foot. He writes, "Stephen says that Jacob died and our fathers died and they (meaning the fathers Reuben, Judah, Zebulun ect.) were buried in Shechem." Therein lies the problem. The cave of Machpelah is located in Hebron which is almost 50 miles away from Shechem. It's clear that Stephen is saying that all of them were buried in Shechem. The next verse reads:

"Their bodies were brought back to Shechem and placed in the tomb that Abraham had bought from the sons of Hamor at Shechem for a certain sum of money." 

So it appears that Stephen thinks this place is in Shechem when it is really in Hebron. Further, Abraham purchased the field from Ephron the Hittite, not the sons of Hamor. 

B. Time and Date of Jesus' Death

My opponent drops the issue of the day that Jesus died. Pro never seems to acknowledge the issue. Further, it seems that he admits that this is problematic and that the text is wrong. I proved that there was a theological impact that John was making regarding Jesus as the Passover lamb. Again my opponent drops this. 

I should also note that this is the source of a huge dispute as to whether Christians should use levened or unleavened bread in the Lord's Supper. The Orthodox Wiki notes [1]:

The Orthodox Church uses leavened bread for, according to the Gospel of Saint John, Last Supper and Passion, took place during the evening, night and day time of Passover Day, therefore leavened bread was eaten in Last Supper. According to the synoptic Gospels, last Supper, Lord's trial and crucifixion took place during next day, the first Day of Unleavened Bread feast, but according to Lev 23:7, any work on that Day was forbidden. Clearly, the synoptic Gospels are in error on the day of Last Supper and Passion.



First I am debating you, not your sources. This is a 30,000 character debate and my arguments were just over 10,000 characters. Again, I apologize if I presented to many arguments. If you want to focus on this issue in the next round, then I'm all for it.

A. Ending of Mark

This article is way too long to give a proper detailed response to. 

B. Adulterous Woman

My opponent's source shoots himself in the foot again. 

The earliest Greek texts we have that include the Gospel of John do not include John 7:53—8:11. Church fathers and others make no mention of it until the twelfth century. And, many words used in this passage are used nowhere else in John's gospel. For these reasons and more, many theologians believe this passage does not belong in Scripture.

Now, those who do believe this story is part of inspired Scripture make the argument that so many Greek manuscripts included it that it cannot be ignored. As for why it doesn't appear earlier, some say it was removed by those who feared women would feel freedom to commit adultery since Jesus forgave the adulteress in this story. Later, scribes who knew the story essentially overruled that decision and reinserted it.

These are really nothing more than ad hoc arguments. 

Contention 2: Forgeries

Arguments dropped. Extend across the board.


Let's review my syllogism

1. If the God of the Bible were to exist, then the Bible would be God’s only written revelation (a premise my opponent would certainly accept. The Qur’an and other scriptures are irrelevant to this argument)
2. Thus, if that deity were to exist, then he would probably see to it that the Bible is perfectly clear and authoritative, and lack the appearance of merely human authorship
3. Some facts about the Bible are the following:
  1. It contradicts itself or is very unclear in many places;
  2. It contains factual errors, including unfulfilled prophecies;
  3. It contains interpolations (later insertions to the text);
  4. Different copies of the manuscripts say conflicting things
4; Therefore [from C], the Bible is not perfectly clear and authoritative and has the appearance of merely human authorship.
5. Hence [from B & D], probably the God of evangelical Christianity does not exist (Thus negating the resolution that the Bible is God’s word).

It's clear that the Bible is not perfectly clear and authoritative. It has the appearance of changing over time and purely human authorship. Thus I negate the resolution. 


Round 3
Extend all arguments 
Round 4
The problem I am having with your points is that you are using the Codex Sinaiticus and Codex Vaticanus, one of which was found in a trash can. The Textus Receptus is the oldest. Textus Receptus always has included the story in Mark and the story of the adulterous woman.
You provided absolutely no evidence for your assertions. As of now, my arguments have gone entirely unrefuted. My opponent further has failed to uphold his burden of proof. 

Round 5
I know, I think I will have to redo this debate starting with the premise of using the Textus Receptus. Sorry, mate.
Not a problem. If you want to redo this with only looking at the Textus Receptus, that’s fine with me. I can certainly find more than enough evidence to negate it. 

That said vote con