Before we seek to reconcile these accounts that seem to contradict each other, it is good to remind ourselves that God’s Word, like Himself, is PERFECT. We often say that the Word of God is “infallible” or “inerrant,” which means it is “incapable of being wrong.” In Jesus’ prayer to His Father in John 17 He said, in verse 17, “Thy word is truth.” Every word was inspired by God Himself, as we see in 2 Timothy 3:16, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God…” Because God Himself inspired men to write the Bible, we can trust each and every word that was written and be confident that it will NEVER contradict itself.

Let’s read Matthew 27:3-8, “Then Judas, His betrayer, seeing that He had been condemned, was remorseful and brought back the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, saying, ‘I have sinned by betraying innocent blood.’ And they said, ‘What is that to us? You see to it!’ Then he threw down the pieces of silver in the temple and departed, and went and hanged himself. But the chief priests took the silver pieces and said, ‘It is not lawful to put them into the treasury, because they are the price of blood.’ And they consulted together and bought with them the potter’s field, to bury strangers in. Therefore that field has been called the Field of Blood to this day” (NKJV). How utterly tragic! Here was a man who accompanied the Lord for at least three years, beholding His miracles and hearing His marvelous teachings, and yet instead of believing on Christ as his Lord and Savior he betrayed Him for the measly sum of 30 pieces of silver. When he realized this act led to Jesus being condemned, he was filled with remorse and hanged himself.

Now let’s read Acts 1:18-19, “Now this man purchased a field with the reward of iniquity; and falling headlong, he burst asunder in the midst, and all his bowels gushed out. And it was known unto all the dwellers at Jerusalem; insomuch as that is called in their proper tongue, Aceldama, that is to say, The field of blood.” Peter’s account of Judas goes further than that of Matthew. It doesn’t contradict Matthew, for Judas did hang himself, but it is obvious that at some point after the hanging Judas fell from the tree he hanged himself on, resulting in his stomach bursting and his intestines gushing out. More than likely the rope or the branch of the tree he was using broke causing the fall and his swollen and distended bowels to gush out.

Critics have also pointed to the purchase of the land and say, “Matthew says the chief priests bought the potter’s field and Peter tells us Judas purchased it.” This, too, in their mind, presents a contradiction. But this is easily reconciled, for though Judas didn’t buy the field personally, it was his money that was used to buy it and so he did so indirectly.

Again, God Word is PERFECT and it will NEVER contradict itself. We need to trust it implicitly and if it seems to contradict itself at times let us ask God to give us light so we can understand it. And if He chooses not to, let’s thank Him for what He does reveal to us and trust Him for what He doesn’t. Moses had this in mind when he was inspired to write Deuteronomy 29:29, which says “The secret things belong unto the LORD our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law.” (170.4) (DO)