In his book ‘Misquoting Jesus’ Professor B. Ehrman uses five so-called Bible Contradictions as the starting point for his argument concerning the corruptions in the Bible. But how serious are the Ehrman-Contradictions.

1. What about Abjathar, the high priest?

Jesus said that David “… entered the house of God in the time of Abjathar the high priest, and ate the consecrated bread, …” (Mark 2:26 NASB). However, when we read 1 Samuel 21:1-6, it is the high priest Ahimelech who gave David the consecrated bread. This was the first problem professor Ehrman’s couldn’t solve, and from here his critical attitude towards the Bible arose (Ehrman’s book, p. 9).

But it is not as difficult as it seems. Abjathar was indeed high priest. We know that Abjathar – shortly after David’s visit at the house of God – acted as a high priest for David. Abjathar possessed the efod, the holy clothing of the high priest and inquired God with it for David, when he was on the run for Saul. This shows that Abjathar was already consecrated as a high priest (with all the duties connected with it) by his father Ahimelech, who continued to hold the title of ‘high priest’ (without the duties) as long as he lived. Jesus referred to Abjathar as he was active at that time as high priest. In Jesus’ time it was Cajaphas who acted as high priest, while his father-in-law only had the title of high priest (Luke 3:2, John 18:13).
No Contradiction


2. What about the mustard seed?

Jesus said: “It [the Kingdom of God] is like a mustard seed, which, when sown upon the soil, though it is smaller than all the seeds that are upon the soil, yet when it is sown, it grows up and becomes larger than all the garden plants and forms large branches; …” (Mark 4:31-32 NASB ) Professor Ehrman’s reaction on this is: “… I don’t need to come up with a fancy explanation for how the mustard seed is the smallest of all seeds when I know full well it isn’t.” (Misquoting p. 10)

Of course this is a childish reaction, we all know that there are smaller seeds than mustard seeds. But that’s not the point here; Jesus isn’t speaking here about the smallest seed of all plants that exist, but about the smallest garden plants seeds in use in Galilee, in contrast with wild plants. This is clear from verse 32: “it becomes larger than all the garden plants …” (KJV herbs). Cedars of the Lebanon could grow up to 120 feet (ca. 35 meters), the mustard tree became about 15 feet (ca. 4.5 meters).  The listeners of Jesus didn’t protest in any way against this metaphor, it was true. The words of Jesus don’t need fancy, but correct explanation. That’s all.
No Contradiction


3. Crucifixion after or before the Passover meal (seder)?

“Mark says that Jesus was crucified the day after the Passover meal was eaten (Mark 14:12; 15:25) and John says he [Jesus] did the day before it was eaten (John 19:14), maybe that is a genuine difference.” (Misquoting p.10; a longer treatise in: Jesus, Interrupted p. 23 – 29)

No it is not. In Judaism there have always been two days in succession for Seder meal, i.e. two possibilities to have Seder. After the day of the first Seder and before the second evening of Seder Jesus was crucified.
The first Seder was the evening of the 14th Nisan, when the meat of a lamb was eaten.
Take Note 1: this evening was following after daytime of 13 Nisan, when the lamb was slaughtered. After the first Seder evening came daytime of 14 Nisan, the day of liberation, a festival day but no Sabbath. Then followed the 15th Nisan and this was a Sabbath beginning at the evening after daytime of 14 Nisan. With the 15th Nisan (Festival Sabbath) began the week of Unleavened Bread and this week was also called Pesach in broader sense.
Take Note 2. So there were 2 periods of “Preparation”. (1) Daytime of 13th Nisan, cleaning the house from leavened bread and preparations for the first Seder evening (compare Mark 14:12-16). (2) Daytime of the 14th Nisan for the Sabbath of 15 Nisan (John 19:14, 31; compare also Leviticus 23:4-7).
Take Note 3: Pesach of John 18:28 is the second Seder evening of 15 Nisan.   
(It is quite disturbing that a New Testament professor doesn’t seem to know this. Isn’t it?) 
See SAB 341 and the article: When was Jesus crucified?
No Contradiction


4. Why is there no mentioning in Luke concerning a travel to Egypt before the return to Nazareth?

Luke indicates that Joseph and Mary returned to Nazareth “just over a month after they had come to Bethlehem,” (after the rites of purification Luke 2:39), “whereas Matthew indicates they instead fled to Egypt (Matthew 2:19-22)” (Misquoting p. 10)

Reading and comparing the infancy stories of Jesus in Matthew and Luke it becomes clear that the reports – apart from the birth story – don’t overlap in any way.
Luke: Annunciation, Magnificat, the Census, Birth of Jesus, Visit of the shepherds, Circumcision, Jesus presented in the temple, Prophecy of Simeon, Prophecy of Anna.
Matthew: Birth of Jesus Christ, Joseph called in a dream, Visit of the Magi, Escape to Egypt, Killing in Bethlehem, Return to Nazareth.

Only one thing they have in common: the birth of Jesus.  The conclusion is inevitable: these books are to be read complementarily.

Maybe Luke gives the impression that Joseph and Mary – having presented the child in the temple – went to Nazareth.  However, with the clause: “And when they had performed all things according to the law of the Lord, they returned into Galilee, to their own city Nazareth,” (NASBu)  Luke included the interval of the Egypt period.  There was much flexibility in the use of the term 'Law', not only the Law of Moses, but the entire Old Testament could be meant (compare Luke 16:17, John 10:34).  And so the Law also said about the Messiah: “I called my son out of Egypt.” (Hosea 11:1, Matthew 2:15)  The visit to Egypt is included in the performing of all things of the Law (in the broad sense of the Holy Books). There is nothing artificial in this explanation according to a book of antiquity, that didn’t work with footnotes.
It is important that Luke 2:39 starts with the word 'And' (Greek: Kai). Nearly always in the gospels this refers to an interruption in the course of events (in this case Jesus' stay in Egypt for short time). So this verse 2:39 (the return to Nazareth) is not in the first place a closing remark of the foregoing, it is the beginning of a new part of the story! That is quickly understood as in verse 40 we are told: "The Child continued to grow and become strong, increasing in wisdom and the grace of God was upon Him." We are then in Nazareth and this young boy from Nazareth spoke with the scholars in the temple about the Law. Luke creates a great paradox at the beginning of his gospel: Nazareth was a city unknown and nobody expected something goods from it (John 1:46): "Can any good thing come out of Nazareth?" Later on Jesus was named by his opponents "Jesus the Nazarene", a humiliating name (coming from Nazareth, of Nazareth); a similar humiliating name as "Jesus the Galilean" (Matth. 26:69, 71). Now there is a young boy from Nazareth who from the outset of Luke's gospel surpasses all scholars with regard to insight in the Law. That is the paradox of Luke 2:39-40 (-52). 
No Contradiction


5. When was Paul’s first visit to Jerusalem after his conversion?

“When Paul says that after he converted on the way to Damascus he did not go to Jerusalem to see those who were apostles before him (Gal. 1:16-17), whereas the book of Acts says that that was the first thing he did after leaving Damascus (Acts 9:26).” (Misquoting, p. 11)

The report of Acts 9:26 may suggest at a first glance that there was an immediate sequence of events: “But his disciples took him by night and let him down through an opening in the wall, lowering him in a large basket. When he came to Jerusalem, he was trying to associate with the disciples; …”  However, fair consideration makes clear that there is not necessarily an immediate succession of events.  The basket didn’t carry him to Jerusalem, did it?  After his conversion he left Damascus, visited Arabia and returned to Damascus (Galatians 1:17).  Then he came to Jerusalem and indeed he didn’t try to contact the apostles but only the disciples, Christians, in general. (Acts 9:26).  That’s all.
No Contradiction


All things considered, we come to the enlightened conclusion: the Ehrman-Contradictions are not contradictions at all.