If there is any area in which the Bible’s imperfections and errancy is most apparent, it is that of inconsistencies and contradictions…. As incredible as it may seem, there are some individuals who still say, “The Bible is perfect and inerrant. There are no inaccuracies.” So, for the benefit of these holdouts, I am going to provide a list of some simple, straight-forward problems that even some well-known spokesmen for the fundamentalist position grudgingly concede (1983, emp. added)
One of the “contradictions” McKinsey lists is that of Lot being described as both Abram’s nephew and his brother. As he and numerous other skeptics (whose writings can be accessed easily on the Internet) see it, these verses represent a “simple, straight-forward problem” for the apologist who seeks to defend the inerrancy of the Bible.
The truth is, however, there is a “simple, straightforward” solution to the problem. In Genesis 14:12, the Hebrew terms ben ‘achi are used to indicate that Lot literally was Abraham’s “brother’s son.” Lot was Haran’s son, and thus Abraham’s nephew (Genesis 11:27; 12:5). At the same time, Lot was also Abraham’s brother (Hebrew ‘achiw). He was not Abraham’s brother in the literal sense we so often use this word today, but he was Abraham’s brother in the sense that they were family. For the skeptic’s argument to hold any weight, he first must prove that the term for brother (‘ach) was used in the Bible only when speaking of a male sibling. Unfortunately, for them, they cannot prove that point. Although its basic meaning is male sibling (cf. Genesis 4:2), the Hebrew term for brother(s) appears about 629 times throughout the Old Testament in a variety of ways.
Dennis McKinsey and other skeptics who parade Genesis 14:12 and 14:14 in front of the world as a “simple, straight-forward problem” that allegedly has no solution are (as usual) guilty of misrepresenting the biblical writers. Every indication in Scripture leads the unbiased person to conclude that the term “brother” has a wide variety of semantic shadings to it.
Considering the many ways in which the term “brother” was used in ancient times, and even the variety of ways it is used in twenty-first-century America, any sincere truth-seeker should be appalled at the blatantly false accusations made by McKinsey and others regarding Genesis 14 and the use of the term “brother.”
Fausset, A.R. (1998), Bible Dictionary (Electronic Database: Biblesoft).
McKinsey, C. Dennis (1983), “Contradictions,” Biblical Errancy, [On-line], URL: http://members.aol.com/ckbloomfld/bepart12.html#issref121.
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