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Q. How Does 1 Kings 15:33 And 2 Chronicles 16:1 Fit Together With The Inerrancy Of The Word Of God?

Dear brother Bob,

1 Kings 15:33 records that Baasha, king of Israel began his reign in the third year of King Asa of Judah. The verse also records that Baasha reigned for twenty-four years. Which means, Baasha died in the 27th year of Asa's reign. Yet, 2 Chronicles 16:1 records that Baasha went up against Judah in the thirty-sixth year of Asa's reign; that's a good 9 years after Baasha's death!

I believe in the inerrancy of the Word of God and yet I am not able to resolve this. Please help me understand when you find the time.

Warm regards,

*****

Answer

In the third year of Asa's reign over Judah, Baasha son of Ahijah became king over all Israel in Tirzah; he ruled for twenty-four years. (1 Ki. 15:33 NET)

In the thirty-sixth year of Asa's reign, King Baasha of Israel attacked Judah, and he established Ramah as a military outpost to prevent anyone from leaving or entering the land of King Asa of Judah. (2 Chr. 16:1 NET)

Brother *****,

The apparent contradiction you call attention to has been noted by many trustworthy Bible students (as well as some not so trustworthy, who are looking for an excuse to disregard the Scriptures). I’ll give you several links to see their responses:

What is important to keep in mind is that a copyist’s error is not proof that the Bible is therefore untrustworthy. The doctrine of inerrancy is that in the original manuscripts the Bible was without error. We don’t have the original manuscripts, and in the process of being hand copied, errors did take place. Many of these errors are obvious and explainable. Some are not. This is what the process of textual criticism is all about—seeking to discern, if possible, what the reading of the original manuscript was. No two hand written manuscripts are identical with each other. The belief that the Bible is inspired and inerrant in the original manuscripts is what encourages us to study textual variations in an effort to discern what the reading of the original text is. The fact that copyists made a few mistakes should not shake our faith in the inerrancy of the original texts.

In this particular case you brought up, one explanation does not see this as a copyists error, but as a failure to discern what the beginnings of the kingdom referred to (when the united kingdom was divided).

For me, it is important (vital) to believe in the inerrancy of the original manuscripts, but it is not essential to have a perfect original copy in my hands in order to discern the meaning and application of the text.

And, by the way, my interpretations of Bible texts are not infallible. I have to trust that the Spirit of God will reinforce those things which are true, and expose those things which are not.

I hope this helps,

Bob

Related Topics: Bibliology (The Written Word), Inerrancy

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