Some argue that the Bible is contradictory concerning whether the mustard seed is the smallest seed. Matthew 13:31 says that it is, which seems incorrect. However, there is a simple answer to this alleged contradiction in the Bible.
Scriptures – Is the Mustard Seed the Smallest Seed?
He put another parable before them, saying, “The kingdom of heaven is like a grain of mustard seed that a man took and sowed in his field.Matthew 13:31
And he said, “With what can we compare the kingdom of God, or what parable shall we use for it?Mark 4:30
It is like a grain of mustard seed that a man took and sowed in his garden, and it grew and became a tree, and the birds of the air made nests in its branches.”Luke 13:19
The Answer – Is the Mustard Seed the Smallest Seed?
The Purpose Was to Teach a Lesson, Not to Make a Technical Statement
The purpose of Matthew 13:31, Mark 4:30, and Luke 13:19 was to teach a lesson using an analogy, not to make a technical statement concerning the size of a mustard seed. If Jesus’ purpose in saying that the mustard seed is the smallest of all seeds was to state a scientific, technical fact, then the Bible would indeed contain an error.
However, if Jesus’ purpose was to speak proverbially and to teach a lesson using an analogy, then there is simply nothing wrong with these passages. Jesus’ intention was to speak in a generic sense to convey a particular message.
Foundational Principles Regarding Bible Difficulties
There are some foundational principles that apply to all alleged and apparent contradictions in the Bible. To read more, see Bible Difficulties: Foundational Principles.
Related to “Is the Mustard Seed the Smallest Seed?”
To read more answers to alleged and apparent contradictions in the Bible, see “Contradictions” in the Bible Answered.
These books are also excellent resources: