Chronicles vs. the Rest of the Bible - Inerrancy is Impossible

Continuing the discussion from Science vs. Flood Geology: Not Just a Difference in Worldview:

@Chris_Falter, per your encouragement, I have started a separate thread on the problems that Chronicles poses to the position of Biblical inerrancy.

When we compare Genesis to Chronicles, or Kings to Chronicles, there are literally hundreds of points of differences … some just in spelling, but many more in terms of Quantities, Genealogies, and historical detail!

There are several fine articles in the journals on just this problem. I will attach one as soon as I can locate my personal favorite. Feel free to load links to other journal articles as you find them. If mine is a duplicate, I will mention it and refrain from duplicating the link.

Interesting stuff, thanks for posting. However, having just read “Five Views on Inerrancy” I would say, depends on your definition of inerrancy. It does make it a harder to reconcile that the first 11 chapters of Genesis however, as it is not much of a stretch to say a story about a talking snake who was “the craftiest animal in the garden” is allegoric, symbolic and so forth. You really can’t say that about Chronicles and Kings.

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Roger that! But which kind of inerrancy do you think Chronicles allows?

We will all learn something from this new phase of the discussion!

Even though I’ve signed off on statements that include some form of the word “inerrant” I nevertheless feel no great compulsion to invest much effort into defending it. It was your word, not mine. Yet even so --I’ll just give this brief reply: I like what I heard from others recently about the bible being true in all that it affirms. So that leaves us to determine what all we should be expected to learn from the Chronicles. Apparently all the nitpicky factoids to cross-check against other books did not make the cut. Sorry. It is very illustrative, however, about how the divine perspective can overlay some of the less charitable accounts of the same things seen in less flattering ways – a contrast that surely would not have been lost on the original Hebrew authors even if it is now lost on you. It could be very instructive for us today to about what we should or should not be trying to get out of O.T. works.

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@gbrooks9 and @Mervin_Bitikofer - This interesting exchange would fit well in the new thread that George created. :slight_smile:


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I actually like your definition. I think if YEC’s started with your definition, we would have fewer disputes. Because implicit in your definition is the acceptance that the Bible is not a book of science or book of historical facts!

What do you mean exactly by ‘all that it affirms?’

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That’s the million dollar question! Fundamentalists of both atheist and Christian stripe will say that’s just a loophole to dance around inerrancy. But I call it the necessary sweat-investment of study and discernment to find out what the authors (not to mention God!) are teaching us through it.

So when we take a verse, say, that mentions the smallest of seeds (a mustard seed) as a way to give us a lesson about faith … I would say it is the lesson about faith that the Bible is affirming here. Some want to draw into this that the Bible teaches that the mustard seed is the smallest of all seeds. But that isn’t what the Bible is teaching at all. It has nothing to do with seeds – it’s about faith. The mention of seeds is just drawing on an incidental presupposition shared by enough of the audience at the time to make it a useful illustration. So I would say the gospels in that instance are affirming something about faith, but nothing at all about seeds.

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If we can show that “conventional inerrancy” is impossible (perhaps thru a plain reading of Chronicles?), then Fundamentalists can learn to treat “inerrancy in affirmation” more seriously!

Are these the types of articles you are referring to or more scholarly ones (note: that website is really bizarre so I might try to find something a little more sane):


There are journal articles out there … you know… the ones with strong footnotes!

But I’m certainly find with any valid material produced less formally on the internet… they become a baseline … where we decide if they have some good information or not - - and then follow-on investigations can be triggered by the conclusions.

Ah! I found the article I knew I had … and was surprised that I had forgotten that it was focused on Ezra vs. Nehemia!

And yet, oddly, my vague recollection of the topic was what led me to name this thread after Chronicles!

The PDF is available at Acadamia.Edu

“How Corrupt is the Text of the Hebrew Bible? An Empirical Approach from Ezra 2 || Nehemiah 7” by David Clines, University of Sheffield

Here is a sample from the article - - comparing Ezra to Nehemia:
[Be sure to click on image to enlarge text to maximum size!]

Lots of additional tables, in the appendices as well!

I need to look more in depth, but in my fundamentalist days, I was satisfied with the following explanation for at least part of the discrepancies. In some sense, I still am but haven’t looked at the papers you cited in more detail yet…

Ezra writes in Ezra 2:1 clearly ‘these are the people.’ Now Nehemiah’s begins the same way but the verse before it actually is more important. Nehemiah 7:5 says ‘I found the genealogical record of those who came back first, and I found the following written in it.’ In other words, Nehemiah isn’t claiming his list to be accurate, he is just simply recording what he found. In other words, it’s not a big deal that the two disagree. Ezra’s account is accurate and Nehemiah’s is the one in error since he’s copying from whatever he found. And since he writes that, it doesn’t mean his list is inerrant.


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That’s sounds like a very reasonable explanation for the discrepancies between the two accounts. Obviously, you are very familiar with some of the arguments for and against claims of inerrancy. What did you find as compelling reasons to move beyond those “fundamentalist days”?

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