Bible Contradictions and False Prophecies
compiled by Michael R. Burch
Is the Bible the infallible, inerrant word of God, of does the Bible contradict
itself? It is quite clear that the Bible contradicts itself. Here are some
rather obvious examples ...
For example, the evangelist Paul gave a clear teaching about women being able to
speak in church, but another Bible writer (pretending to be Paul) completely
contradicted him by saying women could not speak in church, in the same book, 1
It is clear that Paul considered himself to be a prophet:
"For I [Paul] would have you know, brethren, that the gospel which was preached
by me is not according to man. For I neither received it from man, nor was I
taught it, but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ."
Furthermore, Paul said: "If anyone thinks he is a prophet or spiritual, let him
recognize that the things which I write to you are the Lord's commandment. But
if anyone does not recognize this, he is not recognized." (1 Corinthians
4:37-38 ) So Paul clearly described
himself as a prophet and said that anyone who contradicted him was not to be
recognized as a prophet.
In 1 Corinthians 11, Paul clearly
says that women are allowed to pray and prophesy in church. In this passage,
Paul is speaking about proper behavior in church: how to dress, how to take
communion properly, how to pray and prophesy, etc., and he says: "But every woman who prays or prophesies with her head
uncovered dishonors her head—it is the same as having her head shaved. For if a
woman does not cover her head, she might as well have her hair cut off; but if
it is a disgrace for a woman to have her hair cut off or her head shaved, then
she should cover her head." (1 Corinthians 11:5-6)
Here, Paul is saying that women can be prophets, and pray publicly, as long
as they cover their heads. But in the same book a few chapters later, someone
pretending to be Paul contradicts him, saying: "Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it
is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under
obedience, as also saith the law. And if they will learn any thing, let them ask
their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church." (1
How can women prophesy if they are not allowed to speak? There are other Bible verses attributed to Paul in which he clearly saw women
as being leaders of the church. For instance, he called Junia one of the
foremost apostles, and Junia is a female name. But there are other verses
attributed to Paul in which he also clearly said that women should not speak in
church, or teach. So clearly there are contradictions.
Another example of one prophet contradicting
another in the Bible has to do with hair length. In the NT, Paul (or someone
pretending to speak for Paul), says that it is a shame for a man to have long
But in the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament), the men consecrated to God, the Nazirites, never cut their
hair. Judges like Samson and prophets like Samuel never cut their hair. It seems
likely that John the Baptist was a Nazirite, because he didn't drink wine, and
that was another Nazirite vow.
It seems unlikely that the writer of the "no long hair" verse was actually
Paul, because Paul was trained as a Rabbi and would have known about the
Nazirites. In fact, Paul even took a Nazirite vow when he returned to the
Jerusalem temple. As long as the vow was in effect, he would not have drunk wine
or cut his hair.
But there is a clear contradiction, with most of the Bible teaching that men
can have long hair, and never cut it, and that this is not shameful, but a sign
of consecration to God.
A third example of one prophet refuting another prophet is
rather ironic. The prophet Ezekiel (or a Levite scribe pretending to be Ezekiel)
predicted that Nebuchadnezzar would sack Tyre and leave it uninhabited forever.
But he was later refuted by another prophet, himself! He admitted that his
prediction was false, since after many years of trying, Nebuchadnezzar was
unable to sack Tyre, because it was an island fortress with a formidable navy. So the
prophet (or Levite scribe) predicted that Nebuchadnezzar would defeat Egypt and
leave it an uninhabited waste for 40 years. But that never happened either, as
Egypt has been continuously populated for thousands of years. The prophet was
also refuted by two other prophets, as both Jesus and Paul visited Tyre, which
remains populated to this day.
Perhaps the most obvious refutation of one prophet by
another occurs between the Levites, who prophesied that they would always make
sacrifices in the temple, and prophets like Jeremiah, who said that God did want
sacrifices, but compassion and justice, predicting that the Israelites would
lose the land and go into captivity if they kept up their evil ways.
The prophecies of the Levites that they would always offer sacrifices in the
temple, and that an heir of David would always occupy the throne of Israel, were
soon refuted. The temple was destroyed. The Levites went into captivity. Ten of
the tribes of Israel were lost forever. For hundreds of years there were no
sacrifices in the temple because the temple did not exist. Then Herod rebuilt
the temple and the sacrifices resumed. But almost immediately the temple
became corrupt, and it was destroyed again, never to be rebuilt. So once again
the prophets of the Bible disagreed with each other.