February 25, 2021 by SLIMJIM
Today’s post will tackle another question that the Skeptic Annotated Bible asked: “How did Peter find out that Jesus was the Messiah?”
Here are the answers which the skeptic believes shows a Bible contradiction:
God revealed it to him; no human told him.
Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” 17 And Jesus said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.. (Matthew 16:16-17)
His brother Andrew told him.
One of the two who heard John speak, and followed Him, was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. 41 He first *found his own brother Simon and *said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which translated means Christ). (John 1:40-41)
(All Scriptural quotation comes from the New American Standard Bible)
Here’s a closer look at whether or not there is a contradiction:
- When dealing with skeptics’ claim of Bible contradictions it seems one can never be reminded enough of what exactly is a contradiction. A contradiction occurs when two or more claims conflict with one another so that they cannot simultaneously be true in the same sense and at the same time. To put it another way, a Bible contradiction exists when there are claims within the Bible that are mutually exclusive in the same sense and at the same time.
- One should be skeptical of whether this is a Bible contradiction given the Skeptic Annotated Bible’s track record of inaccurately handling the Bible. See the many examples of their error which we have responded to in this post: Collection of Posts Responding to Bible Contradictions. Of course that does not take away the need to respond to this claim of a contradiction, which is what the remainder of this post will do. But this observation should caution us to slow down and look more closely at the passages cited by the Skeptic Annotated Bible to see if they interpreted the passages properly to support their conclusion that it is a Bible contradiction.
- The skeptic tries to pit Matthew 16:16-17 as affirming the claim “God revealed to Peter that Jesus was the Messiah; no human told him” against John 1:40-41 as affirming “Peter’s brother Andrew revealed to Peter that Jesus was the Messiah.”
- It is important to ask what is going on in the passages the skeptics cited to see if the passages were properly interpreted to support the skeptics’ claims.
- Matthew 16:16-17 does affirm the claim “God revealed to Peter that Jesus was the Messiah; no human told him.” Verse 16 record Jesus confessing Jesus is the Christ, where “Christ” is the Greek word for “Annointed” which is translating the Hebrew word for Annointed: the “Messiah.” Having himself confessing he knows Jesus is the Messiah in verse 16 in the next verse (verse 17) Jesus discusses the ABILITY of how Peter was able to know this truth: it was the revelation from God the Father revealing this knowledge to Peter.
- While John 1:40-41 does mention Peter’s brother Andrew telling Peter that Jesus was the Messiah the passage doesn’t indicate that at that moment Peter believed Jesus was the Christ like in Matthew 16:16-17.
- That Peter did not yet believed Jesus was the Messiah in John 1:40-41 is important in resolving this alleged Bible contradiction. In terms of chronological order John 1:40-41 takes place before Matthew 16:16-17, since John 1:40-41 recorded Jesus’ earliest disciple Andrew telling his brother that Jesus was the Messiah whereas by the time we get to Matthew 16:16-17 Peter was already following Jesus and Jesus had many more disciples and Jesus.
- I have argued elsewhere that in John 1 Peter’s first encounter with Jesus did not result in Peter believing or following Christ. See How did Peter and Andrew become Jesus’s disciples? and Which came first: the calling of Peter and Andrew or the imprisonment of John the Baptist?.
- If Peter didn’t believe Jesus was the Messiah yet in John 1:40-41 then obviously we can’t say Peter at that time KNEW Jesus was the Messiah, since an important prerequisite of knowing something is believing something. So for the skeptics to assume that Peter already knew Jesus was the Messiah in John 1:40-41 as the result of this being stated by the brother is inaccurate.
- If Peter in John 1:40-41 did not yet believed and knew Jesus was the Messiah then it took God and Jesus further revealing the truth at later moments to Peter. So what Jesus said in Matthew 16:17 to Peter is true, that it wasn’t mere flesh and blood that revealed to Peter that led him to finally know Jesus was the Messiah but it was God.
- There is no contradiction here. Seems the skeptic needs to learn of How to Handle Bible Contradictions.
- We shouldn’t miss that worldviews are at play even with the skeptic’s objection to Christianity. The worldview of the author of the Skeptic Annotated Bible actually doesn’t even allow for such a thing as the law of non-contradiction to be meaningful and intelligible. In other words for him to try to disprove the Bible by pointing out that there’s a Bible contradiction doesn’t even make sense within his own worldview. Check out our post “Skeptic Annotated Bible Author’s Self-Defeating Worldview.”