Versión en Español


Alleged Discrepancies

Article Reprints

Audio Resources

Bible Bullets

Darwin Day Debate

Decisive Designs


“In the News”

Reason & Revelation

Research Articles

Scripturally Speaking

Sensible Science


Discovery for Kids

Examine the Evidence

Home Study Courses



A.P. Information

About AP

Contact AP

Copyright Statement

Help AP

Privacy Statement

Speaking Schedules

A.P. Scientists and
Auxiliary Writers

Usage Guidelines

Apologetics Press :: Alleged Discrepancies

Epimenides' Paradox: A Logical Discrepancy In Titus 1:12?
by A.P. Staff
Printer version | Email this article

Paul was a well-educated man. He was trained by the highly respected Jewish teacher, Gamaliel (Acts 22:3; 5:34), and was knowledgeable not only in Jewish Scripture and literature, but also in classical Greek literature. While lecturing a group of Epicurean and Stoic philosophers in Acts 17:22-34, Paul, in verse 28, quoted from Epimenides’ Cretica (“For in him we live and move and have our being”) and Aratus’ Phaenomena (“For we are also his offspring”), using these two pagan poets to make a point. In 1 Corinthians 15:33, Paul quoted from Menander’s comedy Thais (“Evil company corrupts good habits”). However, when Paul spoke to Titus concerning his mission on the island of Crete, some critics have suggested that the apostle committed a logical fallacy by quoting the Cretan poet Epimenides: “One of them, a prophet of their own, said, ‘Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons.’ This testimony is true” (Titus 1:12-13a).

This is a form of the logical paradox commonly known as Epimenides’ Paradox: “A Cretan said, ‘All Cretans are liars.’ ” If, as Paul affirms, this statement is true, then the statement is false because a Cretan, who is a liar, made it. These affirmations—that the statement is true and the statement is false—contradict each other and violate the Law of Non-Contradiction, because a statement cannot be both true and false at the same time. The Islamic apologist M.S.M. Saifullah stated concerning Titus 1:12, “The writer Paul at least on this occasion, was without Divine Guidance for he did not discern the subtlety” (Saifullah, 1999). What is a Christian’s response to this attack upon the infallibility of the inspired Word?

The first step in understanding this alleged contradiction is to realize that Epimenides was a poet. Poets, playwrights, and other writers sometimes use a literary technique known as hyperbole, which is a deliberate exaggeration used to make a point. To say that “Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons,” is to say that the Cretan society as a whole was immoral and decadent, not necessarily that every single individual in that society was a liar, evil beast, or lazy glutton. When viewed in the light of hyperbole, there is no logical paradox found in Titus 1:12. Epimenides had made a hyperbolic statement regarding the conduct of the people of Crete, and Paul was agreeing with him in order to point out to Titus the difficulty facing the Cretan elders. Paul was not affirming a contradiction, but following a common literary convention. Once again, our Bible shines through as an inerrant book that allowed the authors’ writing styles to remain intact while maintaining the integrity of the inspired Word.


Saifullah, M. S. M. (1999), “Epimenides’ Paradox: Was Paul Inspired?,” Islamic Awareness [On-line], URL:

Copyright © 2003 Apologetics Press, Inc. All rights reserved.

We are happy to grant permission for items in the "Alleged Discrepancies" section to be reproduced in their entirety, as long as the following stipulations are observed: (1) Apologetics Press must be designated as the original publisher; (2) the specific Apologetics Press Web site URL must be noted; (3) the author’s name must remain attached to the materials; (4) any references, footnotes, or endnotes that accompany the article must be included with any written reproduction of the article; (5) alterations of any kind are strictly forbidden (e.g., photographs, charts, graphics, quotations, etc. must be reproduced exactly as they appear in the original); (6) serialization of written material (e.g., running an article in several parts) is permitted, as long as the whole of the material is made available, without editing, in a reasonable length of time; (7) articles, in whole or in part, may not be offered for sale or included in items offered for sale; and (8) articles may be reproduced in electronic form for posting on Web sites pending they are not edited or altered from their original content and that credit is given to Apologetics Press, including the web location from which the articles were taken.

For catalog, samples, or further information, contact:

Apologetics Press
230 Landmark Drive
Montgomery, Alabama 36117
Phone (334) 272-8558

Web site engine code is Copyright © 2003 by PHP-Nuke. All Rights Reserved. PHP-Nuke is Free Software released under the GNU/GPL license.
Page Generation: 0.109 Seconds