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The Scripture Project

Browse the Bible, Qur’an or Book of Mormon for scriptural criticism, insights and careful annotation.

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Contradictions in the Bible

Contradictions in the Bible poster (detail 2)

By . 2009. Photos.

Visualization of the contradictions in the Bible taken from The Scripture Project by Steve Wells (see the Projects section of http://www.reasonproject.org).

The bars that run along the bottom of the visualization represent the 1189 chapters in The Bible, with the length of each bar corresponding to the number of verses in each chapter. White bars represent the Old Testament and grey bars represent The New Testament. Each arc indicates a contradiction.

Graphic design: Andy Marlow
Inspiration: Chris Harrison

Print your own poster:
22” x 33” or 33” x 44”
RGB, 3mm bleed
printing: recommended to print digitally on matte photographic paper

Comments (40)

great

posted on September 24, 2009

What a brilliant way to illustrate the inconsistency.

posted on October 8, 2009

I LOVE this poster! I want to hang it in every room in my home but I’ve downloaded both sizes and cannot read any of the text as it is in a low resolution.  Is there any way to download a copy with readable text?

posted on February 5, 2010
4. ACS

The poster is very creative and has a nice artistic quality to it.  I’m also intrigued by The Reason Project’s goals.  Given the attention to detail and intellectual rigor used on this site, I’m wondering why the original biblical languages (Hebrew, Greek, Aramaic) were not used as the basis for the contradictions study?  Claims as significant as the ones made on this poster should be developed and tested using the most accurate information possible.  Nevertheless, it’s a well executed graphic!

posted on April 9, 2010
5. Lee

Neither file will download, page not found.

posted on April 26, 2010
6. Beth

Same here.  Page not found.

posted on April 26, 2010
7. Carl Nelson

How about making is an interactive web page where if you hover over the arch the summarized contradiction appears and if you click the corresponding biblical text is brought up?  Similarly when hovering over the text at the botom the arc is hi-lighted? and again clicking on the ‘contradiction description’ brings up the source texts for comparison.

Just a thought.

posted on May 2, 2010
8. crash

I have to agree with ACS. Being a graphic designer I love the concept and design. Being a Christian I wonder why anyone is surprised that there are contradictions after translation.

posted on November 12, 2010
9. Resolution issue?

Is there a vector version of this?  Even the bigger one I can’t read the text.  Or is the text not intended to be read?

posted on November 12, 2010
10. emote_control

Why should the original biblical languages be used when people are perfectly willing to kill and persecute each other over more modern translations, and actually claim that certain modern translations are the true, inerrant word of god?  The “oh, but that’s not the original” argument magically appears as soon as it’s pointed out that the modern translations that are good enough for all other purposes, good and ill, are a complete mess, make no sense, and contradict themselves.  It’s just a dodge.  If anyone actually used the original language versions, then it might be relevant.  But they don’t, so it isn’t.

posted on November 13, 2010
11. Ron Chu

LIES! LIES!! ALL THE LIES!!!

posted on November 13, 2010
12. brett

contradictions in “contradictions in the bible” would be a neat mess of a graphic too ;-0

posted on November 15, 2010
13. gwyneth findlow

The posters are very nice [if you like that sort of thing!] but the underlying concept is rubbish.
You cant measure the bible with a graph, as though it was something to do with the financial report on the news. The ‘inconsistencies’ you are talking about are your own imagined ones.  You have no concept of spirituality - it’s nothing to do with maths.  [Other than it has its own rules, and is consistent - like maths.]
I feel sorry for you guys - half your brain -function is missing [or maybe just under-used?]

posted on November 16, 2010
14. John Boardley

@gwyneth

‘Imagined‘?
—But it’s there before your eyes.
‘...the underlying concept is rubbish.’
— And the underlying concept is?
‘it’s nothing to do with maths.’
— No-one said it was.
‘Other than it has its own rules.’
— Like a dictator…?
‘I feel sorry for you guys.’
— No need to feel sorry. Perhaps you could enlighten ‘us’ by explaining where it is we went wrong, and why those contradictions and inconsistencies aren’t as they appear — obvious.

posted on November 16, 2010
15. Robert

One of the things that is interesting about this graphic is that there are significantly more lines than there are Scriptures or contradictions.

In fact if you can trace the arc of several passages to their referent you find there is nothing in common between the starting point and ending point. If you take a starting point, say Genesis and follow the terminus to a suggested contradiction as Revelation and then look to the chart below you find no correlation.

So essentially the chart is nonsense and is just eye candy to the enumerated objections.

Is this authentic scholarship? If you’re going to consistently criticize the Christian community for being both disingenuous and intellectually weak wouldn’t one expect to see a model of rigor in your presentations?

I can’t help to see this graphic as nothing more than a scandalous graft from another work into this one. It is also known a plagiarism.

posted on November 18, 2010
16. Joseph

I know what you are trying to demonstrate, but I am questioning as to why.  What affect—if any—do you actually believe this will have on a sincere an ardent Christian?  If anything, you are giving them one more reason to “hold to the rod, the iron rod” (as the church hymn goes).  What do you propose to exchange in an effort to replace anything you may subtract from their lives if they were to accept it?  Yanking the carpet—the symbolic foundation—from underneath any existing monument to stability and peace is a reckless endeavor. 

This is an egregious error of undertaking.  It has been said that Jesus himself, refused to tear down the erroneous ideas existing during his time as a mortal…rather, he would expand largely upon the truths of their beliefs so that the erros would naturally give way to better ways.

posted on December 9, 2010
17. jim

Promotion of reason, is great. Trying to belittle or dishearten people of faith is not. My faith tells me that the Bible, as any other publication written over an extended period of time, has contradictions of course; It was written by men. Taken as a whole, God’s attitude and voice is clear. I see it like reading a series of books all by one author; the books may be very different, but the character of the author and his/her intent is often undeniable.
That said, I encourage continued investigation and argument over the validity/accuracy of the Bible. It serves to promote critical thinking and may, as in my case, strengthen and encourage the resolve of those of the faith.
Reason and faith are not mutually exclusive.

posted on January 14, 2011
18. vox

nice pic I wonder where all these contradictions are send me an example please

posted on January 24, 2011
19. mq

great content, terrible design layout.  Too bad that this will rarely (if ever) get printed.  Why not increase its usability by simply using a nice style for the actual contradictions?  Leave the arcs out.  I’d like to see this printed and posted on walls everywhere, but it’s useless in its current format.

posted on April 26, 2011
20. Robert

Can this graphed be purchased anywhere? I would certainly pay good money for this.

posted on July 8, 2011

This is beautiful in more ways than one smile

posted on August 22, 2011
22. Mr. Flibble

I just ordered one of these, I googled “print poster from pdf” and found a printer out of Boston that will print and ship this poster for about $45.

I am really hoping that this becomes available for sale through this website however.

posted on August 30, 2011
23. Nemo

why the hell do people take the time out to make fatuous pointless pseudo critiques like ‘great content, terrible design layout’.

I could say the same about your DNA, but you’re still here - and we still have to look at you.

If u dont like it - move on.

posted on December 13, 2011
24. nemo

oh and really nice work andy. beautiful. utterly impractical as a reference tool - but Im guessing thats not what u were aiming for…

posted on December 13, 2011
25. Nemo

“You have no concept of spirituality - it’s nothing to do with maths.  [Other than it has its own rules, and is consistent - like maths.]
I feel sorry for you guys - half your brain -function is missing [or maybe just under-used?]”

Dont feel sorry for us - we are fine as we are, alone and vulnerable in the universe with no magic special daddy or bronze age dogma to assuage us.

aaaah! i was determined NOT to get sucked into a stupid argument :(

posted on December 13, 2011
26. Jeff

Great work, would be graet to have dimensions in cm for people living where imperial units are not in use.
What would be great I think would be to make a Tshirt collection with a text such as “contradiction in the bible # **: book XX, line XX, (citation) is uncompatible with book YY, line YY, (citation)”. Would be great to wear in the city, showing the obscurancy spreading people in the streets on saturdays what I think of their bullshits.

posted on March 31, 2012
27. Duff

What about contradictions in materialism and the implications of deterministic behavior as well as the concept of beings arising from nothingness?
Or is it heresy to criticize science?

posted on April 25, 2012

This is my favorite smile

posted on May 2, 2012
29. or

this is amazing, but how can i contact the designer for making one only from the old testement, for use with jewish believers? as an israeli, this isn’t very practical for me, even if it looks good.

posted on December 29, 2012
30. JMorika

@5 @6 @9 the biggest version is to be found here : http://www.project-reason.org/bibleContra_big.pdf

posted on March 29, 2013
31. Pete Chapman

A cathedral of error (okay…it’s a basilica of contradiction but you get the point).

posted on March 29, 2013
32. RohypGnosis

All I can say is I can now plainly see the extent to which I underestimated just HOW mysterious ‘his/her’ ways really are!! :D

posted on March 29, 2013
33. Brad Turner

Do this first…

Open the poster in one window. Open an online bible in the other window. Compare some verses. Use what you learned about comprehension in grade school… you will soon see this poster is not very accurate in its assumptions.

Bummer.

posted on April 1, 2013
34. Temetus

FIX THE URL!!
http://www.project-reason.org/
And all the images has the http://www.reasonproject.org, WHICH IS reason.tv (home of The Drew Carey Project) web pages!?!!
FIX THE URL IN THE IMAGES and description!!

posted on April 1, 2013
35. Richard

No wonder so many people are confused by the Bible.

posted on April 10, 2013
36. sarah

wow. here is another link to look at
http://www.chrisharrison.net/index.php/Visualizations/BibleViz

posted on April 19, 2013

ABSOLUTELY EXCELLENT!

Now I’d like to see a graphic showing where in the Bible God takes sides in political battles or directs the slaughter of innocents (e.g. Sodom and Gomorrah) or threatens non-believers with Hell and compare it to the places where He actually tells people to treat one another with kindness.

And how about a graphic identifying all the stories that are based on similar stories from prior religions?

posted on June 3, 2013

Bible was written by approximately 40 different authors over a period of around 1500 years. Each writer wrote with a different style, from a different perspective, to a different audience, for a different purpose. We should expect some minor differences. How-ever, you’ve decided to slap the “Error” label on the differences and then make a graph and blow it up on a poster depicting all the so-called “Errors” ? Seriously? Where was wisdom in the process? Paper is being wasted here people..

posted on November 25, 2013
39. Jack

These are ridiculous supposed contradictions and have no bearing on the validity nor continuity of the message of the Bible. Nice try…...NOT!

posted on January 14, 2014
40. nis

One good way to not waste paper is to print this but I cant see the text under the curves,

posted on May 3, 2014