Can I trust my Bible?: Pitting Genesis 10-11 against Luke 3:36

Have you ever heard someone say there are errors in the Bible and so that’s why it should not be trusted? And have you ever heard someone give one of those alleged errors and not know how to respond to it? Well, we can trust the Bible we have. For that matter, we must trust the Bible we have because it is indeed the inspired, inerrant, authoritative, and sufficient word of God. But at the same time we need to know how to answer the objections of unbelievers and biblical skeptics. The text of Genesis 10 and 11 opens the door to one such objection. This article addresses how believers should deal with it.

This is what Genesis 10:24 says in the New American Standard Bible – 1995 Update (hereafter NASB):

Arpachshad became the father of Shelah; and Shelah became the father of Eber.

And this is what Genesis 11:12-13 says in the NASB:

Arpachshad lived thirty-five years, and became the father of Shelah; and Arpachshad lived four hundred and three years after he became the father of Shelah, and he had other sons and daughters.

That seems straightforward enough… until you compare it with Luke 3:36. In the third chapter of Luke we read a lengthy genealogy which traces Jesus’ lineage as the Son of David all the way back past Abraham to Adam. And this is what Luke 3:35-36 says in the NASB — where we pick up the genealogy in progress:

the son of Serug, the son of Reu, the son of Peleg, the son of Heber, the son of Shelah, the son of Cainan, the son of Arphaxad, the son of Shem, the son of Noah, the son of Lamech, (bold emphasis added)

Our Luke texts add a name between Arpachshad and Shelah — Cainan — which is missing from Genesis 10 and 11. So why is that? And does it mean there is a mistake in the Bible? Continue reading “Can I trust my Bible?: Pitting Genesis 10-11 against Luke 3:36”