Larry Sechrest
Larry Sechrest

Thirty Questions About the Bible

1. Out of the 27 books of the New Testament, why do only Matthew and Luke mention the alleged virgin birth of Jesus?

2. Why is the "Slaughter of the Innocents" by Herod not mentioned by any ancient historian — not even by Flavius Josephus who recorded the history of Herod and his family with stress upon the crimes they had committed?

3. And why would Herod think he needed to commit such a heinous act, when both the star and the magi clearly pointed the way to the place of Jesus' birth?

4. Why is there no independent record of this star the magi are said to have followed? Astronomers know that Halley's comet appeared in 11 BC; there was a conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn in 7 BC; and Mars passed close to Earth in 6 BC.

5. According to Matthew, this star turned south to go to Bethlehem upon reaching Jerusalem. How is this possible when all stars "move" from east to west?

6. Why do Matthew and Luke give different genealogical trees for Jesus? And why do they trace his ancestry through Joseph when God — not Joseph — was his father?

7. Matthew and Luke both portray the temptation in the wilderness as a dialogue between Jesus and Satan. Since there were no witnesses, who recorded this dialogue?

8. In Mark (8:31; 9:31; 10:32-34) Jesus thrice tells his disciples that he is going to be killed and then rise again. Yet, later they are shocked and bewildered by his arrest and execution. Did they not believe his prediction?

9. In Gethsemane, why do the disciples keep falling asleep each time Jesus asks them to wait a moment while he goes on ahead? This seems more like a theatrical play (in which the device of time-compression is often used) than a record of an actual event.

10. Since there were no Christians present at Jesus' trial before the Sanhedrin, who recorded the event?

11. If Pontius Pilate was made to judge Jesus guilty of anti-Roman political unrest, why weren't his followers also arrested — or at least questioned?

12. And why does Pilate — according to the gospel of John — run back and forth like an errand boy between the Jews outside his palace and Jesus inside? This would appear to be utterly inexplicable behaviour for the imperious ruler of a Roman province.

13. When Pilate and Jesus were alone, who recorded their conversations?

14. Why do Mark, Matthew, and Luke say that Simon of Cyrene carried Jesus' cross for him, but John says he carried it himself?

15. Mark, Matthew, and Luke claim the sun went dark for three hours upon the death of Jesus. Why does no non-Christian writer of the time mention such a remarkable and readily observable event? Astronomers do acknowledge that there was an eclipse of the sun on 24 November in 29 AD — during Tiberius' reign. But if this is the darkening the gospels refer to, then they are wrong about the crucifixion occurring during the time of Passover.

16. Why, in all the writings of Paul, does he (1) describe Christ as the Messiah who died and was resurrected at some unspecified time and place in the past but does not connect him with Nazareth, Jerusalem, or Bethlehem; (2) never cite the authority of Jesus for any of his (Paul's) ethical pronouncements; (3) never describe any of the miracles allegedly worked by Jesus; and (4) never mention the trial before Pilate? In short, does Paul know anything concrete about the "historical Jesus" of whom the evangelists wrote?

17. How could the Shroud of Turin be that of Jesus when it bears an "imprint" that could only be made from a body if the body was sandwiched between two layers of the linen cloth ? Jesus was supposedly "wrapped" in cloth after his death (Mark 15:46).

18. Was man created before other animals or after other animals? The first book of the Bible claims both are true (Genesis 1: 25-27, 2: 18-19).

19. Was Joseph's father Jacob or Heli (Matthew 1:16; Luke 3:23)?

20. How many women went to Jesus' sepulchre — one, two, or three (John 20:1; Matthew 28:1; Mark 16:1)?

21. If Moses is the author of the Pentateuch, how is it that he wrote of his own death and burial?

22. In Mark 10:12 Jesus declares that if a woman divorces her husband and then remarries, she commits adultery. This is peculiar to say the least, since in Palestine at that time only men could obtain a divorce. It suggests that the author of Mark was not in Palestine during Jesus' lifetime. That is, it suggests that the author of Mark was not an eyewitness to the events he recounts.

23. During the "seven days" God gave Noah to collect examples of each species, did Noah voyage to Australia, South America, the Arctic, etc.? If not, how is it that today we have animals such as the koala, the kangaroo, the yak, the llama, etc.?

24. Genesis 7:20 states that the flood consisted of a "fifteen cubit" increase in the water level. Considering that a cubit represented 18-22 inches, that means that the water rose a maximum of 27.5 feet. How did such a small rise succeed in covering all the "high hills" and "mountains" with water?

25. Genesis 11:1 claims that some generations after Noah "the whole earth was of one language, and of one speech". Where is the evidence for this?

26. Where did Cain's wife come from?

27. Raising Lazarus from the dead (indeed, dead for four days) was perhaps Jesus' most impressive miracle. Why is such a notable event recorded nowhere other than in the gospel of John?

28. Flavius Josephus makes note of John the Baptist but does not suggest any connection he might have had with Jesus. Paul does not even mention John the Baptist, even though Paul accepts baptism as part of Christian doctrine. Why not?

29. Why do the "apostolic fathers" — Clement, Ignatius, and Polycarp — seem to know nothing of Jesus as an historic figure who worked miracles?

30. Is not the cosmological argument for God — that there must exist some causeless "first cause" and that must be God since all other entities have an identifiable cause — clearly fallacious? That is, it assumes as a premise that "God" is a meaningful concept that includes the attribute of being "causeless"? The very issue is whether or not such a "causeless" creator exists.

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