This is a response, and subsequent questioning of a response that I just read at your website on "prophetic misinterpretations in Matthew."  I believe that in the last 6 cited scriptures, you missed, or addressed the wrong aspect of the issue in question.  If you could clarify your response to these I would be grateful, because I think there are legitimate concerns raised. Matthew 8:16-17  : What is translated as "diseases" in Matthew is rendered "sorrows" in Isaiah. Quite different at a glance.Matthew 12:18-21 : Matthew shortens and changes four lines of text in Isaiah into 2 lines of this quote. Why should he have changed it?Matthew 12:40    : Jesus claims that Jonah was three night and three days in the fish (correctly) and so he will also be three nights and three days in the earth. My understanding was that he was only in the grave 2 nights and 3 days.Matthew 16:4     : I also have no disagreement hereMatthew 24:44    : Perhaps this is a misquote attempting to question Mt. 24:29. This reference is quoted as if it was one source, but is footnoted as two distinct sources, which in context appear to be referring to separate events. Are we to understand this as a paraphrase more than a direct quotation? Is it even referring to prophecy?Matthew 27:9     : The question here is why the author cites Jeremiah for a prophecy which is (as you pointed out) much more aptly attributed to Zechariah. Thank you for the work you do, many people appreciate the time and effort you put. I look forward to your response. Answer: I just finished teaching a class on Biblical inspiration and inerrancy.   I am quite confident that the doctrine of Biblical inspiration is well established by the evidence and can be defended both from scriptural and from evidential basis.  The question if inerrancy is more nuanced.  For example, I do not believe that when Jesus or anyone else for that matter is quoted in the Bible, that it is necessarily an exact transcript, but that it is at times the hearer’s best recollection and reconstruction of what Jesus said.  Often the sermons presented in the gospels will be a reconstructed version of sermons and lessons he gave innumerable times.  The question is not whether the quotes are an exact transcript, but whether the author is speaking under the influence of the Holy Spirit.  The same can be said for New Testament quotations from the Old Testament.  For example, quite often New Testament authors quote from the Septuagint translation rather than from the Hebrew original.  Does this mean their letters are not inspired?  Also, I believe that occasionally New Testament writers paraphrase and do not give exact quotes. This does not imply that what they wrote is a "mistake" or evidence that the Bible is not inspired. I would apply this principle to Matthew 8:16-17, Matthewe 12:18-21 and Matthew 24:44.  Now, if we look into the subtleties of the Greek word for diseases and the Hebrew word for sorrows, we might find that the apparent distinction when rendered in English is not as large as we think.  Nevertheless, we should allow Matthew, or perhaps Jesus, some latitude in translating and interpreting the original and not apply a Western-style analytical approach, which is out of character to a Near Eastern mentality. Matthew 12:40.  Jews used "three days and three nights" as an idiom to stand for any part of three days and three nights.  This is a well-founded discovery of scholars.  As to whether Jonah was literally in the fish for 72 hours, I personally doubt this, as the Jewish author was most likely working within the same idiomatic framework.  I think there is no contradiction here.  Jesus certainly did not see one, and he was the one who was in a position to know. Matthew 24 deserves a bit more comment.  The entire section of Matthew 24 and 25 is an extended prophecy which is rather difficult to break down analytically.  This is, in part, because it is both a prophecy about the "coming" of the kingdom when Jerusalem was destroyed by the Romans (esp 24:9-21, and Daniel 9) and the coming of the kingdom when Jesus comes back at the end of time.  Biblical prophecy can be a bit more complex than we would prefer as the coming of the kingdom has occurred and will still occur in various ways.  The biblical prophets tend to comingle such comings in their prophecies.  There are many examples of this. Matthew 27:9.  I will admit that I do not have a ready and convenient answer to this question.  It represents one of only about three or four apparent "contradictions" in the entire Bible for which I do not have a ready and rather obvious answer.   Did Jeremiah also prophecy this, but we do not have it recorded in our book of Jeremiah?  This is possible but it is also speculation. In fact, to the skeptic it will appear to be a rather convenient and perhaps even suspicious speculation. I would like to say that there are literally zero unresolved examples, but the fact is that there are a small number of cases for which I must resort to some sort of speculation.  In fact, t
he only two which I know of are this one and the Matt 10:10, Luke 9:8  vs  Mk 6:8  example which brings up the question of whether Jesus said to bring a staff or not.  That’s it.  End of story.  Such examples, which can be resolved, but which require relatively unfounded speculation to resolve, are so rare that the paucity of examples is good evidence of the inspiration of the Bible.
 John Oakes

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