Fallacy of Exact Words

Abdullah: Hey buddy, are you married?

Joe: Yeah, that’s my wife over there, with my kids.

Abdullah: Are you married?

Joe: Errr…I just told you.

Abdullah: No. You didn’t say, “I AM MARRIED” in those exact unequivocal unambiguous words.


Mr. Abdullah typifies the majority of Muslims today who are taught to demand exact words, especially in the context of the divinity of Jesus.

Here is the challenge that all Muslim apologists are trained to recite: “Show me a single unequivocal, unambiguous statement in the complete Bible where Jesus himself said, ‘I am God’ or ‘Worship Me.'”

I call it The Fallacy of Exact Words.

There is nowhere in the Bible where Jesus said unequivocally and unambiguously, “Hi. My name is Jesus.” Can we conclude that this means his name is not Jesus?

He also never said, “I am the Messiah.” Again, does this mean he is not the Messiah since he did not say it in those exact words?

This is how weak and shallow this faulty challenge is.

There are many things that must be understood by necessary inference. Since Jesus didn’t say, “I am the Messiah” in those exact words, then how do we infer that he is the Messiah? By what he did say, of course!

For example, when Peter declared, “You are the Messiah…” (Matthew 16:16), Jesus’ response was to commend him and say that this revelation was given to him (Peter) from heaven. Jesus did not say, “I am the Messiah” in those exact words but by reading the text and the context, we learn of Jesus’ identity as the Messiah, in this and many other verses of Scripture.

Similarly, Thomas declared to Jesus, “My Lord and My God!” (John 20:28). In the original Greek text, it is emphatic, Ὁ Κύριός μου καὶ ὁ Θεός μου. or literally “The Lord of me and the God of me!” He addressed Jesus with titles of deity, calling Him Lord (kyrios) and God (theos). How did Jesus respond? It is very significant that Jesus accepted these titles, and did not rebuke Thomas for blasphemy! Jesus did not say, “I am God” in those exact words but by reading the text and the context, we learn of Jesus’ identity as God, in this and many other verses of Scripture.

Instead of looking for exact words of what he did not say, Muslims and skeptics should examine what he DID say. There is a ton of evidence showing Jesus said and did what only God can say and do.

I have covered this in several articles on this site. For example: What Did Jesus Say About Himself?

In John 5:23, Jesus said, “That all may honor the Son, just as they honor the Father.”
Jesus didn’t say the exact words, “Worship me” but he said that he expected the same honor as the Father! Honoring the Father obviously includes worshiping, praising and praying to him!

Jesus received and accepted worship!

And those in the boat worshiped Him, saying, “Truly You are the Son of God.” Matthew 14:33

And they worshiped Him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy, Luke 24:52

And as they went to tell His disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, “Rejoice!” So they came and held Him by the feet and worshiped Him. Matthew 28:9

Jesus didn’t have to say the exact words. His followers eventually understood what He was teaching them. Look at what they wrote.

Peter:
The justice and fairness of Jesus Christ, our God and Savior. (2 Peter 1:1)

John:
The Word (Jesus) was God….and became flesh (human). (John 1:1, 14)

Matthew:
They will call Him Immanuel” (which means “God with us“). (Matthew 1:23)

Luke:
Be shepherds of the church of God, which He bought with His own blood. (Acts 20:28)

Paul:
As we await the blessed hope and glorious appearance of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ. (Titus 2:13)

Even the enemies of Christ during the time of Jesus recognized that he was claiming to be God and for that, they wanted him killed.

“We are not stoning You for any good work,” said the Jews, “but for blasphemy, because You, who are a man, declare Yourself to be God.” (John 10:33)

Because of this, the Jews tried all the harder to kill Him. Not only was He breaking the Sabbath, but He was even calling God His own Father, making Himself equal with God. (John 5:19)

In fact, the reason why Jesus was crucified was for the charge of blasphemy. Read Mark 14:62-63. The high priest tore his clothes in mock grief because Jesus claimed to be the One prophesied in Daniel 7:13 i.e. the One who will receive the worship of all mankind for all eternity!

Muslims are guilty of dishonesty and hypocrisy when they demand for exact words of Jesus yet ignore exact words in explicit statements of Jesus.

For example, Jesus predicted his death and resurrection many times:  “See, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and the scribes, and they will condemn him to death and deliver him over to the Gentiles. And they will mock him and spit on him, and flog him and kill him. And after three days he will rise.” (Mark 10:33-34)

Do Muslims believe what Jesus said here? No.
Then why ask for where Jesus said this or that in exact words, when you’re not going to accept it anyway? This is just a deceptive game played by devious Muslim hypocrites.


Commentary Notes on John 20:28-29 – David Guzik

And Thomas answered and said to Him, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus said to him, “Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

a. My Lord and my God: Thomas made an immediate transition from declared unbelief (John 20:25) to radical belief. He addressed Jesus with titles of deity, calling Him Lord and God. It is also significant that Jesus accepted these titles, and did not tell Thomas, “Don’t call Me that.”

i. “Sight may have made Thomas believe that Jesus was risen, but it was something other and more inward than sight that opened his lips to cry, ‘My Lord and my God!’” (Maclaren)

ii. “Thomas now avows the faith which a foretime he had disclaimed. ‘I will not believe,’ said he, ‘except-except- except.’ Now he believes a great deal more than some of the other Apostles did; so he openly avows it. He was the first divine who ever taught the Deity of Christ from his wounds.” (Spurgeon)

iii. “The words are not a mere exclamation of surprise. That is forbidden by [greek text]; they mean, ‘Thou are my Lord and my God’. The repeated pronoun lends emphasis.” (Dods)

iv. “For a Jew to call another human associate ‘my Lord and my God’ would be almost incredible….Thomas, in the light of the Resurrection, applied to Jesus the titles of Lord (kyrios) and God (theos), both of which were titles of deity.” (Tenney)

v. “In Pliny’s letter to Trajan (112 a.d.) he describes the Christians as singing hymns to Christ as God.” (Dods)

vi. Thomas was honest enough to say when he didn’t believe (John 20:25), but also honest enough to follow the evidence to its full meaning. Thomas wasn’t given to half-unbelief or half-faith.

vii. Spurgeon considered many aspects of Thomas’ declaration.· It was a devout expression of holy wonder· It was an expression of immeasurable delight· It indicates a complete change of mind· It was an enthusiastic profession of allegiance to Christ· It was a distinct and direct act of adoration, worship

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