The Real Cause of Criticism 1 Cor. 15: 5 CLICK TITLE FOR AUDIO
A person posed a question, citing the following references, to point out an inaccuracy in the words of God. The question was from 1 Cor 15:5, “How could Jesus have appeared unto the twelve?” The “error” is that Jesus could not have appeared to “the twelve,” since Judas Iscariot hung himself before Jesus’ resurrection and Matthias wasn’t chosen to replace him until after Jesus’ ascension. There weren’t twelve apostles to whom he could have appeared, according to this skeptic. Here are the references:
- 1 Corinthians 15:5 – the Lord appeared to “the twelve” apostles.
- Matthew 27:3-5 – Judas hung himself
- Matt 28:16-17 – the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, where they saw Jesus.
- Lk 24:33-36 – the Lord appeared to “the eleven gathered together.”
- Acts 1:21-26 – Matthias replaced Judas but was not selected until after the ascension.
The obvious discrepancy that this person sees is that Jesus could not have appeared to “the twelve” in 1 Cor 15:5 if Judas was already dead and Matthias had not yet been chosen to fill his spot. He is implying that God made a mistake when he said that Jesus appeared to the twelve. He thinks God should have said that Jesus appeared to “the eleven” like he said about “the eleven” going into Galilee.
Well, Jesus did appear to the twelve. That’s why Paul wrote it that way. In Lk 24:33-36, Jesus appeared to the disciples in Jerusalem, not in Galilee (Matt 28:16-17 was a different instance). He had already appeared to Simon Peter (Lk 24:34), just like Paul said in 1 Cor 15:5. When he appeared, “the eleven” were “gathered together, and them that were with them,” (Lk 24:33). So, the eleven were not alone. You can be sure that Matthias was one of those that were gathered with them. Matthias had to be one of the witnesses to his resurrection in order to even qualify to be an apostle (Acts 1:22). By the time that Paul wrote 1 Corinthians, Matthias was one of the twelve.
When this person brought an accusation about the accuracy of God’s words, he failed to recognize that, when Jesus appeared to the disciples, the eleven weren’t alone. There were others gathered with them that Paul didn’t mention. The only one Paul added to the eleven was Matthias, who had not yet been chosen by the others, but who was the twelfth by the time Paul wrote about this appearance.
This is what is typically referred to as destructive criticism. It is designed to destroy your faith in the words of God. The men who perpetrate this kind of criticism work for the devil.
This underlying cause of their criticism is usually pride, laziness, maliciousness, foolishness, a lack of faith or a lack of the fear of God or some combination of these. The causes are:
Pride – they think they know more than God and that they can pass judgment on God’s words. They think they are smart or scholarly when they can find an “error” in the Bible. They want the sheep to be impressed with them.
Laziness – they are lazy when they won’t look for the answer to their supposed contradiction. They are content to report another man’s skeptical view of the “error” in the Bible rather than find out how the skeptic may be wrong.
Maliciousness – they are malicious because they are not concerned about destroying the faith of the simple. They are more interested in promoting their scholarship than they are in protecting God’s lambs (Jn 21:15).
Foolishness – they are foolish because the truth may be discerned and revealed by God through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit (2 Tim 3:16; Job 32:8). Yet they stop short of learning the truth. They take their lie for the truth and the truth of God’s words for a lie. That’s foolishness.
A lack of faith – they don’t believe the word of God. They don’t believe the words you have in your King James Bible are the words of God. If they don’t believe them, then they don’t have any problem with the idea that there are errors in your Bible.
A lack of the fear of God – people who believe the Bible fear God. We tremble at his words (Is 66:5). The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. A person who is not afraid to mess with God’s words is a person who lacks wisdom. A person who lacks wisdom will never know what God said because the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge.
Conclusion: The real cause of criticism is not an error in the Bible. Don’t be suckered into falling for the trap these guys lay when they suggest that there is something wrong with God’s book. There is nothing wrong with the book; just with the skeptics, critics and unbelievers.