Some people attribute significance to Peter's speech in Acts 1 as reflecting God's requirements for apostleship. But what are we really to make of the trustworthiness of Peter's speech? At the beginning of the same passage Peter relates a story about the former disciple Judas [Acts 1:16-19] that radically deviates from the details in Matthew's gospel regarding how he died and who bought the "field of blood" [27:5-8]. Peter was mistaken about Judas' death, and that just illustrates how he was not speaking by inspiration of the Holy Spirit in this instance.

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Dr. Luke accurately recorded what Peter said, Brother Watson. That doesn't mean that what Peter said was simularly accurate.

Consider the example of Saul's death. In 2 Samuel 1 there is an incident where an Amalekite testified to David that he knew Saul was dead because he encounted the king dying of his wounds and performed a mercy killing at Saul's request. We know that the Amalekite's story is untrue because 1 Samuel 31:4 tells us that Saul died by his own hand while he was in the presence of his armor-bearer alone. The truth of the two passages are not in question. 1 Samuel 31 describes how the king really died, and 2 Samuel 1 describes what the Amalekite really said.

This is what happened with Judas' death. Matthew 27 accurately describes what happened, Acts 1 accurately describes what Peter said happened.

I think your share the same assumption of others who do backflips to reconcile these two passages about Judas. But I don't think bible narrators have to necessarily affirm everything they record people saying... they can assert that the people said it, without necessarily validating what was said.

 

We know this implicitely when we read certain quotations in the bible narratives. We know that when John records that Pilate questioned "What is truth?" (John 18:38), he is not, as narrator, ratifying or corroborating Pilate's viewpoint. He is just reporting what Pilate actually said. But people get far more querrulous about drawing the same conclusions when the person recorded speaking is otherwise a faith hero. In those instances they often cannot see the obvious.

 

For example, I have been preparing a message on 1 Samuel chapter 20, and in my studies encountered the same phenomenon regarding David. With his mind overcome by fear, David enjoined his friend Jonathan to lie to his father Saul: David asked Jonathan to tell the king that he had returned to Bethlehem to be with his family, while in reality he would be hiding out nearby to hear about how Saul took the news (1 Sam. 20:5-7). I was astounded that classic commentators, like Matthew Henry, actually argued that what David asked Jonathan to tell his father would have been true--this despite David himself clearly delineates in his plan that he will most certainly NOT be in Bethlehem. David enjoined his friend to bear false witness... the narrator of 1 Samuel had to tell the truth about what David did.

 

 

You wrote, "I think that your accusation questions the inerrancy and infallibility of the Bible. Agree?" You couldn't have read my response and not seen that I profoundly disagree with that assumption.

 

Now, you ask did Rahab lie? She hid the men in her house (Jos. 2:4) and then told the king's emissaries that "the men went out: whither the men went I wot not..." {Jos. 2:5). How is that not a lie? Even commentator Matthew Henry, who shocked me with his reading of David and Jonathan's lie in 1 Samuel 20, couldn't escape such a judgment in Rahab's case.

 

As an aside, though, Matthew Henry was quick to show that "case was altogether extraordinary, and therefore cannot be drawn into a precedent," so that a bible reader should not think there is by her example justification for sometimes lying. I think this illustrates the problem with how some commentators (for clarity's sake, I'm not directing this comment to you specifically) read the narrative sections of scripture as if any action or behavior there recorded, that was not explicitely criticized by the narrator, was therefor implicitely endorsed by God. To the contrary, I think, the narrator is simply making a truthful record of what happened.

Is Matthew Henry really considered outdated? That's a shame. He's often my first read when I want to get an understanding of a difficult passage. And I usually find myself agreeing with his hermeneutics (which might prove I'm outdated myself).

Have you completed your study of the Book of Judges?

 

Thanks for asking. I have written a short bible study on the book. I may post some of the lessons in this venue sometime.

IIn a sense he could have purchased it since it was his money that he "sold out" Jesus for, which was his sin..his reward of iniquity and since he did hang himself eventually, his body would possibly fall after rotting and his bowels could have possibly gushed out. I don't think they say anything different, just one gives extra detail or presents it a different way. That's what I see.

Brother Carey, that is the most common attempt that is made to reconcile the passages. Commentators had long claimed that both accounts tell a piece of the story. But I have always thought this is specious. In the reconciled version we have to believe that Judas threw down the blood money at the feet of the chief priests (as flatly stated in Mat. 27:5), and that they then took the money and bought for Judas the field of land. This seems patently ridiculous, and in any case doesn't jibe with the motivation that Matthew gives for their purchase: "And they took counsel, and bought with them the potter's field, to bury strangers in [emphasis mine]" (Mat. 27:7). Moreover, for this reconciled version to be true, we must believe that Judas hanged himself as Matthew narrated, but then that he fell headlong down and was disembowelled as Peter described after an event unmentioned by either of them (e.g., how the hanging rope broke). And all these contortions to preserve the assumption of Peter's "inspiration"?

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