Shabir Ally, the Muslim apologist I will be debating at Biola on Sunday evening, May 7th, on the inspiration of the New Testament, has published a little pamphlet containing 101 alleged contradictions in the Bible. He may even give me a copy during the debate (he has done so in previous debates). In any case, he has listed the same material on his website, and as time allows I would like to use this list as an excellent example of the kind of material that we all run into being presented by atheists, Muslims, Mormons, and others who have a vested interest in destroying the internal credibility and coherence of God’s Word. Over and over again we will see the same themes in our replies: the need to examine context, the need to allow ancient writers to speak as ancient writers, etc. and etc. There is not a lot of order to the examples Shabir Ally gives, so I hardly feel any need to go in order. So, let’s look at #36:
Jesus rode into Jerusalem on how many animals?
(a) One – a colt (Mark 11:7; cf. Luke 19:35).
And they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their garments on it; and he sat upon it.”
(b) Two – a colt and an ass (Matthew 21:7).
They brought the ass and the colt and put their garments on them and he sat thereon.”
Now, immediately, most folks cock their head to one side and go, “Uh, wait…you think Jesus was riding on two animals?” Believe it or not, I’ve heard, as I recall, Ahmed Deedat, say exactly that (in a mocking tone no less). But yes, it seems rather obvious to the clear thinking person that Jesus rode on the colt in fulfillment of Zechariah 9:9, which reads, “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout [in triumph], O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you; He is just and endowed with salvation, Humble, and mounted on a donkey, Even on a colt, the foal of a donkey.” The prophetic fulfillment involved riding the colt, the foal of a donkey. Matthew simply informs us of the presence of the colt’s mother, which again, makes perfect sense, since this was the first time the animal had been ridden. Anyone knows the younger animal would be more comfortable (especially in the context of a large and noisy crowd) with its mother going ahead. And so we see a very, very common element of the alleged “contradictions” presented to us by atheists, Muslims, Mormons, and others: assuming the giving of additional information is tantamount to a contradiction. We will see this coming up again and again. “Well, why didn’t writer X tell us what writer Y does?” To which one must respond, “Why does writer X have to do so? Your reasoning would require that every account of any historical event must be 1) exhaustive in all detail, and 2) all accounts would then have to be word-for-word identical to avoid being held to be a contradiction!”