The Bible: An Accurate Historical Guide to Ancient Occurrences

  Why do the stories about Judas Iscariot’s suicide differ so much from Matthew 27 to Acts 1? Matthew shows Judas returning the silver coins and then hanging himself. The authorities will not reclaim the money but do use it to buy the Potter’s Field to bury the indigent (Matthew). Luke quotes Peter in Acts 1 as saying Judas used the money to buy the field himself, rather than return it and then going to throw himself down, obviously off something tall, so hard his intestines burst out and he died, after which someone buried him in the Potter’s Field.

   Matthew and Peter do not agree on details. Which one is right? I don’t know.

   Does the Bible contain errors? Yes, it does. One of these fellows has it wrong, either Matthew or Peter or Luke who writes down Peter’s sermon.

   Catch your breath.

   In fact, the Bible contains historically accurate information on the occurrences, as Matthew remembers them and as Luke hears that Peter tells them. The information Matthew has is correct as he knows it. The information Peter has and Luke gets from him is correct, as they know it. The presentation of two sets of "facts" does not lessen the historical authority of the Scripture. It does say we have to be open to study, new finds and the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

   Iscariot fell to a violent, self-inflicted death after his betrayal of the Christ. He was buried in an abandoned day laborers pit bought with the proceeds of his betrayal. On these statements, the two agree.

   Consider it the seriousness with which Holy Writ is recorded that the writers, separated by great distances of space and time, did not not try to rewrite their history. They went with what they heard, thought, knew.

7 thoughts on “The Bible: An Accurate Historical Guide to Ancient Occurrences”

  1. Nice going, Rick.
    Seriously, I’m giving you an “A” for your postmodern/emergent/non-traditionalism, and I mean that as a high complement.

  2. Rick, in a sense, by throwing the money back, Judas did buy the field himself, by providing the money for it. I don’t necessarily feel that is a contradiction. I have always presumed that when he hung himself, no one would take him down and he stayed there until decomposition eventually caused him to fall and his flesh easily gave up his innards, because it was too decayed to hold it. I do not feel this violates the scripture, but who am I to say?

  3. There is a delicate tension between the human authors and the inspiration of the Holy Spirit in their lives as they wrote the Word of God. The accounts are the same but the details are different. Does that negate that it actually happened? Not for me, but it would give rise for the adament skeptic to continue to question the validity of the Christian faith. One thing is for sure, we cannot hide from the facts before us. The true seeker will have questions and we must be ready to give them an answer, or else we leave questions in their mind and thus possibly lose them for the Kingdom.
    God’s goal, I believe, for the Bible is to tell the story of His redemptive plan for man. Judas’s story is a part of the Passion Narrative. He betrayed Jesus, and then died his horrible death due to his guilt of betrayal. The accounts of the details may be different but the event happened. That event is part of the whole story of redemption.
    I remember several of my professors say that the Bible is an historical book (the people, places, and events actually happened) but not a book of history (i.e. the writers were not interested in the details of the events). We must help people keep this in mind and they examine the Bible. What was its purpose? To tell God’s plan for redeeming man. It either leads up to the Passion or looks back at the Passion and how it all affects man in his daily life.
    Hopefully this makes some kind of sense on a Monday morning. If not, Rick, feel free to delete it. My mind is on the borderline of deep thinking and mush. Not a good combo.

  4. Ken,
    This going totally against what I was trying to write in my last response, but I’m willing to play the line.
    Matthew 27
    1. Judas gives back the money.
    2. The priests and Jewish leaders buy the
    field with the money that Judas gave.
    Acts 1
    1. Peter says basically that Judas died on the field that he bought with the “blood money”.
    Let’s say that the priests and Jewish leaders did buy the field and Judas did die on the field that they bought (Matthew 27 and Acts 1). Based on your interpretation how did Judas know that was the field they bought? Or did He know? Could it have been coincidence? Or was this part of God’s plan and He brought it all together? Not only would it be ironic, but it would definately be the talk of the town which Luke records in Acts 1. Interesting to think about.

  5. Last time I checked, people were saved by Grace thru Faith in Christ…not by propositional truths. In the end, we all share our Faith based upon our experience in/with our Faith. In that regard, we are thoroughly modern in our mindset. That we rely upon our experience with God, and are asked by others about it in the same vein, I’m not sure that we’ll ever move beyond it. Even with the value being placed on the “Story,” or Meta-Narrative, people are still asking about our experience with God.
    The Bible records people’s experiences with God. It shows God’s actions in redemptive history. But, it is still all experienced based. Once they find Jesus, I’m not sure if the particulars of any minor account really matters any more.

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