The Bible and the Quran

The Quran says that Muslims must believe in that which was revealed beforehand to Abraham, Moses, Jesus, and the prophets (2:136). Muslims are those “who believe in that which has been revealed to you and that which was revealed before you” (2:4). Allah has revealed the Torah and Gospel to give guidance (3:3). The Torah and Gospel are revelations from Allah and Christians (the followers of the book) should look to them (5:46-48, 65-66). Muslims are even instructed to ask Christians about “the reminder” or gospel to discern what Allah’s will is (16:43-44; 21:7). Muslims, if they are consistent with the Quran, must believe not only what the Quran says, but also what the Torah and Gospels say too.  Because the Quran contradicts the Bible in numerous places, Muslims must say that those portions of the Scriptures which contradict the Quran are corrupt.

The New Testament, like the Quran, views the Torah as revelation from God. The God of the Old Testament is the same as the God of the New Testament. However, the god of the Quran is the false unitarian deity of the Quraysh tribe. Christians cannot accept the Quran because it is contrary to God’s previous revelation. Muhammad thought that the Bible agreed with what he believed but since he had probably never read it, he did not know that the Gospels teach that Jesus was crucified. He instead relied on poor second-hand information to determine what the Bible says. It is ironic that while he tells Christians they would follow him if they had read the Torah and Gospel, he is the one who is ignorant of Scripture. As a result, he badly misrepresents the teachings of the Bible and Christian doctrine. When Muslims came into contact with Christians who had read the Bible, they had to say that their Bible has been corrupted and that the Quran fixes these corruptions. The later and final revelation of the Quran fixes the corruptions of the earlier revelation. In the same way, Mormons claim that their Scriptures correct the textual corruptions of the Bible by restoring Christianity to its pure unadulterated form.

Both the Bible and Quran claim that they are without error. Surah 4:82 says that if the Quran is not from Allah, then people would have found many errors in it. The Quran claims that the Torah and Gospel are revelations from Allah and therefore they would have to be without error too. This puts Muslims in a difficult position because both the Bible and the Quran cannot be without error. There are dozens of significant differences between the Quran and the Bible that cannot be overlooked. The Quran’s teaching on the Bible can be used in sharing the gospel with Muslims by showing them that the Quran teaches that the Gospels are revelation from Allah and therefore they should read them. I could then ask them why they believe there are differences in the teachings of the Bible and the Quran. I would share with them the Bible’s good news of salvation while reminding them that if they want to be good Muslims they must believe what the Bible says. The Quran fails the test of Surah 16:44 because the Gospels makes it clear that Jesus was truly crucified for sinners.

It seems that Muhammad was influenced by Gnostic teachings that Jesus was not really crucified but only so in appearance. Surah 4:157 says, “They did not kill him nor did they crucify him, but it appeared to them so.” The Quran also refers to apocryphal accounts of Jesus such as when he made clay birds come alive from the Infancy Gospel of Thomas (5:110). The Quran was influenced by pagan practices, portions of the Old and New Testaments, Jewish myths, and other local Arabian myths about jinn and the evil eye. The Quran’s denial of the crucifixion is one of, if not the most obvious differences between the Bible and the Quran. The death and resurrection of Christ is the central theme of the New Testament but is explicitly denied by the Quran.

Muslims must claim that the gospels have been massively corrupted so that there is little resemblance between the New Testament today and the one in the 1st century. However, this argument is deeply flawed because Muhammad did not believe that the Gospels were corrupt in his day because he instructs both Christians and Muslims to look to them (5:68; 16:43-44; 21:7; 41:41). There are copies of the New Testament such as Codex Vaticanus and Codex Sinaiticus which predate the Quran by three hundred years. This is an unanswerable argument against Islam which Muslims cannot answer. Understanding the textual criticism of the Bible is important for witnessing to Muslims because these issues will come up when Christians bring up what the Quran says about the New Testament.

The Quran has many things to say about Jesus that are in agreement with the New Testament. It claims that he was born of a virgin as the Bible does (19:20). He was sent by God and empowered by the Holy Spirit (2:87). He performed miracles (2:253). He ascended into heaven (3:55). He is a prophet from God (3:84). He is the Word of God (4:171). He will die and be raised again which possibly contradicts what the Quran said earlier in 4:157 (19:33). But the Quran’s version of Jesus is also strikingly different from the one in the New Testament. He does not die on a cross because that would be dishonorable for one of God’s prophets (4:157).

He is not God but only a prophet from Allah (5:72-76). To say that Jesus is God for a Muslim would be shirk or associating other partners with Allah. The birth account of Jesus in the Quran describes Mary as giving birth to Jesus under a palm tree in contrast to the Gospels (19:23). Muslims reject the title “Son of God” for Jesus because to say that Jesus is God’s Son would be to say that Allah would need to have a wife (6:101; 19:35; 72:3). Muhammad misunderstood Christianity’s claim that Jesus is God’s Son to be a literal physical relationship instead of an eternal relationship.

Discussing the Quran’s statements on Jesus is a good way to open dialogue with a Muslim and move to a presentation of the gospel. If Muslims can see that the Quran teaches that Jesus is the messenger of Allah, they should be open to reading the New Testament to see what Jesus says. Once they read the New Testament, they will see what a difference there is between his words and the Quran. I need to correct Muslims’ misunderstanding of the sonship of Christ by explaining that Christians do not believe that Mary is God’s wife resulting in the conception of Jesus. Muslims by and large do not understand the differences between Catholics and Protestants so I need to explain to Muslims that I do not pray to Mary or have statues.

There are similarities and major differences between the Quran’s teachings on Allah and the Bible’s teachings on God. Like the Bible, the Quran says that God is “compassionate and merciful” (1:1). These are key attributes of God for Muslims and are mentioned first in the Quran before any other. Islam is monotheistic like Christianity but it is Unitarian instead of Trinitarian. Allah shares in common with the God of the Bible attributes such as eternality, immutability, transcendence, omnipotence, omniscience, and omnipresence. Allah in the Quran is the creator of all things and the sole object of worship (6:102). I would argue that Muhammad’s formulation of Allah in the Quran is an attempt to take the moon god of the Quraysh tribe and morph him into his understanding of what the Bible says about God. The Quran explicitly denies the doctrine of the Trinity as Muhammad understood it. He accuses Christians of worshiping others beside Allah (3:64). He says, “Believe therefore in Allah and His messengers, and say not, Three. Desist, it is better for you; Allah is only one Allah; far be it from His glory that He should have a son” (4:171). Muhammad misunderstands the doctrine of the Trinity as tritheism involving God, Jesus, and Mary. Surah 5:116 describes a conversation between Allah and Jesus which demonstrates this, “And when Allah will say: O Isa son of Marium!  Did you say to men, take me and my mother for two gods besides Allah? He will say: Glory be to Thee, it did not befit me that I should say what I had no right to.” The Quran denies that God is our Father because this would imply that we are then literally his sons and daughters (6:101).

There are many clear differences between the teachings of the Bible and the Quran. Demonstrating these differences to Muslims is what I believe is the key to leading them out of Islam and to knowing the true Jesus of the Bible. While there are many more differences between the Quran and the Bible, I believe that the differences I have just listed are more than sufficient to prove that Islam is a false religion based on a man-centered pursuit to obtain paradise. May God show his people the folly of Islam and pray that Muslims would come to know the true God of Scripture who is the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

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