Critiquing Ehrman on the Signs of Jesus

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I would like to deal with another supposed problem with the Bible that Bart Ehrman addresses in his book Jesus Interrupted. Ehrman states, “In John’s gospel, Jesus performs his first miracle in chapter 2, when he turns water into wine…and we’re told that ‘this was the first sign that Jesus did’ (John 2:11). Later in that chapter we’re told that Jesus did ‘many signs’ in Jerusalem (John 2:23). And then, in chapter 4, he heals the son of a centurion and the author says ‘This was the second sign that Jesus did.’ Huh? One sign, many signs and then the second sign?”[1]

Truthfully, what I have a hard time understanding is how a simple problem like this can stump a world class scholar like Bart Ehrman. In any case, let me try to present the solution to the problem as simply as I can. This isn’t something that should cause any of his students that are Christians to lose their faith.

To begin with, as clearly communicated in the Gospel of John, the first miraculous sign that Jesus performed at Cana in Galilee was to change water into wine (John 2:1-11). Once again class, the first miraculous sign, number one in Cana in Galilee was changing water into wine.

Furthermore, in the Gospel of John, the second miraculous sign Jesus performed while at Cana in Galilee was healing the son of a centurion (John 4:26-54). What was the second sign Jesus performed at Cana while in Galilee? All together now class: healing the son of a centurion while at Cana in Galilee.

As should be patently obvious to Ehrman, the fact that Jesus did many signs in Jerusalem is not a problem with the Bible at all. It exposes a problem with Bart. In this case, it appears to be the problem of obfuscation. So if you’re a Bartonian student, if your professor is Bart Ehrman, watch out for the obfuscation!

Theirs nothing wrong whatsoever with what is chronicled here in the Bible. The first miracle was changing water into wine; the second was the son of the centurion. Those two miracles happened in a particular place. So the obfuscation of the many signs shouldn’t be problem particularly when the Bible tells us that those signs occurred in Jerusalem.

To address issues like this and the reliability of the Bible as a whole I’ve developed a new resource called The Bible Under Siege. I encourage you to get a copy. You can do so either by going to our website at www.equip.org or by calling 1-888-700-0274.

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[1] Bart D. Ehrman, Jesus, Interrupted: Revealing the Hidden Contradictions in the Bible (And Why We Don’t Know About Them) (New York, Harper One, 2009), 8-9.

 

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