Good Question...


...on a contradiction between Acts 1 and I Cor 15?


I recently got this unusual question...

I'm not usually one to care too much about contradictions in the Bible - as I figure most of them can be resolved with a realistic consideration of literary and linguistic theory, but I have finally found one which has me rather stumped. It doesn't seem that the normal considerations of semantic range or genre or such like resolve the dilemma, which is as follows; In Acts 1:15 we are told that there were 150 disciples in the days between Jesus ascension and the day of Pentecost. But Paul, in 1 Corinthians 15:6, speaks of over 500. So there appears to be a real problem with matching up the numbers.
I replied:
Actually, these two events are not generally considered the same at all...

The 500 was probably the appearance in Galilee of Mt 28:10 (notice 'the brethren') and Mt 28.16-20 (the Eleven would have had many, more 'brethren' with them--esp. among the Galileans, Jesus most numerous followers)...

The 150 of Acts was probably refered to by Paul as 'and then to all the apostles" (since 'apostle' was a larger group than just the Eleven/Twelve)--ASSUMING that Paul mentioned it at all (we have no reason to believe he was giving an exhaustive list; he didn't mention Stephen, at whose stoning he was present, for example)...

I might also mention that I have never run across an author/commentator that argued that Paul was referring to the Acts event, with the reference of the 500...

They simply were two different events and hence, the number difference has no implication at all (relative to trustworthiness, for example)...

hope this helps, friend...


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