Do You Know These 7 Differences Between the Bible and Quran?

Jeremy Bouma on September 6th, 2016. Tagged under ,,,,.

Jeremy Bouma

Jeremy Bouma (Th.M.) has pastored on Capitol Hill and with the Evangelical Covenant Church in Michigan. He founded THEOKLESIA, which connects the 21st century Church to the vintage Christian faith; holds a Master of Theology in historical theology; and makes the vintage faith relevant at

ngb1While nearly every religion has a text which it considers sacred, not every sacred text is equal in nature, composition, transmission, and use. Nabeel Qureshi reveals this in No God but One: Allah or Jesus?, his investigation of the evidence for Islam and Christianity.

In the book’s thought-provoking, revealing comparison between the Quran and the Bible, Qureshi exposes seven important differences between these texts. “Both scriptures are considered holy to their people, certainly, but their uses are different, their histories are different, and indeed, their very natures are understood differently” (104).

1) The Quran Is the Jewel of Islam

In 2011, the burning of a Quran by a Florida pastor incited violence, even though a few years prior the US Government incinerated a cache of Bibles in Afghanistan without incident. Why the different responses? Qureshi says,

The answer lies, at least partly, in the fact that the Quran has a different place in the hearts and minds of Muslims than the Bible does in the hearts and minds of Christians… The traditional Muslim reverence for the Quran is almost inestimable. (104, 105)

2) The Quran Is Viewed as the Eternal Word of Allah

The reason why a Quran’s destruction may incite violence, in part, is that Muslims understand the Quran’s very nature different from how Christians understand the Bible. As Qureshi explains, “[The Quran] is the closest thing to God incarnate [within Islam]… Its place in Islamic theology is that of Jesus in Christian theology” (269). This is a significant difference between the two religions, for Christians believe the Bible was inspired by God within history; the Bible is not eternal as Jesus is eternal.

3) The Quran Is Understood as God’s Literal Words

“Since Muslims believe the Quran is an eternal expression of Allah, they do not think that the Quran was written by men in any sense. It is the very speech of Allah, inscribed on a heavenly tablet, from which it was read by Gabriel and dictated to Muhammad” (106). Rather than this word being inspired in the Christian sense, Muslims believe the Quran to be revealed:

Allah revealed it piecemeal to Muhammad, dictating it through the angel Gabriel. Muhammad had nothing to do with shaping the text; he only relayed it. (106)

4) The Quran Is One Genre

The literary genres within the Bible and Quran reveal some stark differences. We know the Bible is diverse in its literary genres, in part, because God inspired specific men to write using their own experiences and perspectives under difference circumstances. Not so the Quran:

It contains essentially one genre: Allah speaking to Muhammad. Although there are significant exceptions…the Quran more or less reads in the same manner throughout its text. (108)

5) The Quran’s Compilation Was Fluid 

Given the nature of Arabic during Muhammad’s life, the Quran was not written but orally known, and by memory. Muhammad would recite the same verse multiple ways, and so would his followers. He would also cancel previous texts through so-called abrogation: Muhammad “would tell his followers that certain portions of the Quran he had relayed before were no longer to be recited as part of the Quran.” (110) Therefore, if Muhammad needed part of the text to go away, he would replace it with another and tell his followers to stop reciting the earlier text and forget it. The Bible never underwent this sort of abrogation.

6) The Quran’s Textual Transmission Is Problematic

Did you know that “today’s Quran, which was not put together by one of the teachers Muhammad named, is but one of multiple Quranic canons, the one that received official approval by the caliphate and became the standard text when the rest were burned”? (285–286) That’s right, the first burning of the Quran was actually ordered by Caliph Uthman, who recalled all the variant manuscripts, destroyed them by fire, and issued an official, standardized version according to his reading. Qureshi’s judgment is important:

The Quran’s textual transmission is pockmarked by human artifice and intervention, and none of the other arguments for the Quran’s inspiration bear the weight of scrutiny. (286-287)

7) The Quran Is the Why of Islam

Perhaps the most critical difference between the Quran and the Bible, writes Qureshi, is that the Quran is “the basis of why Muslims believe in Islam” (112). The Quran is Islam’s why in part because of its purported literary excellence, numerous prophecies, scientific knowledge, mathematical marvels, and perfect preservation.

“Unlike the Quran, the primary use of the Bible is to serve as the basis of what Christians believe, not why they believe.” (112) Qureshi reminds us that Christians believe what we believe because of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection; that’s our why.


Read more in Qureshi’s important investigation of the evidence for Islam and Christianity, No God but One: Allah or Jesus? Both religions teach that there is no God but one, but who deserves to be worshiped, Allah or Jesus? Discover Qureshi’s conclusion in No God but One.

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Learn what Muslim life is like

Take a look at this conversation with Nabeel Qureshi:

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  • else hagelin 3 years ago

    i don’t agree with Qureshi. he says that Christians believe that “…the Bible is inspired by God, not eternal.” wrong. The Bible is written in the power of the Holy Spirit by those who were inspired/chosen by God; they were vehicles that God used to bring His Word to the human kind.
    the quran was written by humans, not inspired by the true Living God, but their manipulative desires to control all. per quran’s “teaching”, those who choose not to follow quran/islam need to be oppressed, robbed of all livelihood and killed if other means don’t make person to change his/her mind. mohammed is dead, buried and, alike all flesh, dust of the earth until, at the end of time, called to the presence of the Judge of all the earth. –whereas, Jesus is risen and alive at the right hand of God the Father, and He is coming back again on the clouds of heaven, hallelujah!
    the Word of God, the Bible is the eternal living Word. Jesus is the Living Word of God and He says “…my words will not pass away.” (Matt 24:35; Mark 13:31; Luke 21:33) and in John he speaks about His Word being the Judge at the end of times and giving the true life to those who believe in Him, in His Word. clearly, the inspired Word of the Bible brought to the mankind by God’s chosen authors is the eternal Word of God either for the judgment or for the true life of every human being who has ever lived on this planet. The Word of God is the life giving word; quran spreads hate, anger and murder.

  • else hagelin 3 years ago

    i need to add that as i was reading Qureshi’s writing above, to me it sounds that quran is given subtly greater value than the Bible in his writing.

  • Christian American 2 years ago

    I agree with Else Hagelin. This article appears somewhat slanted toward putting as good a light as possible on the quran, even with telling some truths. If you are a Christian and into telling the truth and into leading people to Jesus Christ for life abundant…. why keep titling paragraphs with “The Quran”, “The Quran”…. when the article supposedly was comparing the quran with the Bible? This is IMPORTANT information. Heaven and Hell are REAL and people need to know God’s great love, His eternal plan and that the quran is violent and a mess.

  • Ronilo Ysmael 1 year ago

    Else Hagelin is quick in saying that “The Word of God (written in the Bible) is the life giving word; quran spreads hate, anger and murder.” I wonder what will be Else’s comments on what is written in Deuteronomy 20:10-17!

  • Dave 1 year ago

    Totally one side article, slamming Christians while boosting the muslims. Article is biased and lame.

  • Tara Kingsley 1 year ago

    Where are the Christian principals and the beliefs that Christians hold toward their Bible?

  • Terri Ely 1 year ago

    There were a few insightful pieces in This article, but I struggled. Having presented an Intro to the Bible class, I found this article unclear, and in some cases, not consistent with my understanding.

    The presentation of the Koran provides insight, but the comparison with Christian understanding of the Bible is not precise, and at times, feels erroneous.

    Also many Christians today are not grounded enough in the Bible to be able to walk away with a strong comparison from this article.

  • Maegan Snider 12 months ago

    The Quran isn’t violent, if you understand it’s context. You can not simply read a book written hundreds of years ago as if it was written today. You need to understand the history, people, and culture of the time. The best translation I have found for English speaking Non Muslims is The Holy Quran: Arabic Text, English Translation and Commentary
    by Maulana Muhammad Ali, Maulana Muhammed Ali
    After reading it and being able to understand what it actually means it helped me to better understand the peace of Islam. You should not ever judge a religion when you are uneducated about it and also in a bias manner. I think because of some people who were extremist which can be applied to both religions Islam and Christianity people automatically are bias whether or not they want to admit it. Although the worst of the extremist of Christian faith is not always happening it still happens and was really bad in the past. So I do not think it is fair how some people get so offended. God made us different and none of us need to believe or be just like the other, I think it is best for us to rejoice in what God has revealed in our lives, and love and respect one another as Jesus would do. I don’t think the person who wrote this article was being mean or bias to Christians, I think he was just wanting people who didn’t grow up in Islam faith to understand how they view the Quran and there is no reason to take offense over that. IT is really hard for an American english speaking person to understand Islam bc there isn’t a lot of really good information out there for people who know nothing about it and when you see things that could be misinformation you do not know how to tell the difference. I know this from personal experience, believe me I have been met with a lot of negative thoughts and peoples personal opinions that are not fact about my marriage to a Muslim. I am an American english speaking person, raised in the deep south in church. There is no reason to get angry over everything and want to argue, be happy that you learned something instead of being so negative. BEST. God Bless. The best thing to do is to befriend someone of different religions and get to know it through your friendships, you do not have to convince each other one is right, the other is wrong, simply observe, learn, and love each other for the unique beautiful miracle God made, YOU. it’s ok to be different.

  • Riasat Mobashar 11 months ago


    It does not matter to me or bother me whether you agree or disagree with what I am going to share below. You have the right to do either.

    I read the above article as you did and read most of your comments. I grew up in the same land and culture where our Dear Brother Nabeel Qureshi’s parents came from (Pakistan) and lived there for the first 27.5 years of my life. It will be a great pleasure and honor for me to meet Nabeel on one glorious day in the presence of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

    In a way, I can say that I do have a background in both the Christian and Muslim cultures. I was born in and grew up in a Christian family but studies and lived among Muslims (Millions)! Up to my high school, I studied mandatory Islamic Studies (Parts of Quran, Islamic History, Mohammed’s Biography, Muslim Viewpoint of Jesus, Bible, Christianity, Christians, etc.). This is when I learned how to read Arabic. Initially, I was unhappy to study all this especially with all that HATRED and LIES against ALL THAT I, MY FAMILY, and MY COMMUNITY BELIEVED AND VALUED and it was not for an hour, day, week, month, or a year but FOR MANY YEARS! Please understand that I am not asking for any sympathy but trying to provide you a truthful background as Ms. Maegan Snider has basically questioned the background of “English Speaking” Americans/Westerners who have a different opinion of the above article than she does. Now back to what I was sharing. But with the time, The Lord helped me and strengthened me such that I took The Islamic Studies as a subject and studied it hard just like other subject. In my high school exams The Lord helped me do so well in The Islamic Studies that I beat all my classmates (approx. 100). Well, I beat them in all subjects and graduated at the top of my class. Throughout my life (I am in my early 60s now and live in the “English Speaking” country called The United States of America..), I have studied Islam and came across (interacted with) many, many more Muslims of a variety of backgrounds. I participate in several discussion groups on the internet and own a copy of the Glorious Quran (Arabic with English Translation and Commentary by a Committee of four Muslim Scholars (all have Ph.Ds. and three are professors) from Turkey) that I read and use in my discussions with Muslims. Again to make it VERY CLEAR: I DO NOT BELIEVE THAT QURAN IS THE INSPIRED AND REVEALED (WAHEE in Arabic) WORD OF THE ALMIGHTY GOD (YAHWEH). So, Ms. Snider, I respectfully state that I DO HAVE THE BACKGROUND IN ISLAM AND THE MUSLIM CULTURE THAT YOU BROUGHT UP AS “LACKING” IN THE “ENGLISH SPEAKING” NON-MUSLIMS! I do speak English (mostly if nor exclusively), have lived in the great country called USA for almost 35 years of adult life, and have three earned degrees in “the hard sciences” (with the 3rd the highest degree in science). Now all this is not for boasting but to address your “objection” that other who commented on the above article lacked “the background” in Islam, Quran, Arabic language, and Muslim culture and thus were “unfit” to comment on the above article and quotations therein from Dr. Nabeel Qureshi’s book. I boast in My Savior and Lord Jesus Christ ONLY! By the way, Dr. Nabeel Quresh was a bold witness and follower of The Lord Jesus Christ before he went to live with The Lord in 2017.

    Now back to the above article and Ms. Snider’s comment on it. The article is slanted to kind of “glorify” the Quran but I don’t know why. Despite my background, as I summarized above, I am disappointed and kind of “confused” with the article or maybe its the way its presented. As I wrote above, Dr. Nabeel Quraishi was a bold and faithful witness and follower of The Lord Jesus Christ but I have not read his book that is quoted in the above article.

    I am not a scholar of the Arabic language but I found almost all 7-8 English translations of the Quran that I accessed online, including the one I own, LACKING, INACCURATE, and “DECEPTIVE” at many significant points. For example, Surah Al-Ikhlas (112) that Muslims frequently quote in discussions with Non-Muslims (Christians) talks of ONENESS of Allah especially the Verses 1 and 4. All English translations say that Allah is “ONE AND ONLY”, “ONLY ONE”, etc. Maybe this is what Muslims believe BUT THIS NOT WHAT’S WRITTEN IN ARABIC IN THE QURAN! There are many other such examples.

    Ms, Snider’s favorite translator Maulana Muhammad Ali was not a native Arabic speaker. He was born and lived his entire life in India. So, his knowledge of Islam, Quran, Mohammed, Arabic language, English language, and the Arabic (Makkan) culture of the late 6th and early 7th Century AD was SECOND HAND AND BOOKISH AT BEST just like most others. In fact most translators of the Quran (we are not talking about The Holy Bible and books of other religions at this time) are NON-NATIVE ARABIC SPEAKERS and MOST NOT EVEN NATIVE ENGLISH SPEAKERS. Most English speaking people like Pickthall’s English translation as he was an English speaking convert to Islam.

    In my discussions with Muslims, I focus on Jesus and Mohammed and The Holy Bible and the Quran. Here is Mohammed’s example:

    “The Messenger of Allah said: I have been commanded to fight against people till they testify that there is no god but Allah. [Muslim, Book 1, Hadith 33].

    Unlike the Quran, there is no interpretation needed here and The Sahih (CORRECT; AUTHENTIC) Al- Muslim Ahadith and Sahih Al-Bukhari Ahadith are the two Collections of Ahadith (Syaings of Mohammed) that are the most trusted and most respected among Muslims.

    Ms, Snider, what is your defense of this example of Mohammed? The Islamic History and literature document that this is how MOHAMMED LIVED HIS LIFE INDEED! This is not a “theoretical”! Can you give us an identical example from Jesus’ life?

    May The Lord Jesus Christ (The Almighty God in Human Body) bless you!

  • Gary Wagner 8 months ago

    2 Timothy 3:16 literally “God breathed” (G2315)

  • tj smith 6 months ago

    This article is a load of crap. And is so skewed toward islam its not funny.

  • Umar abd al-Salam 4 months ago

    Just two quick things:
    Abrogation is overplayed; verses weren’t physically replaced, but superseded, and only exceedingly rarely.
    Also, it’s pretty much a myth that the Qur’an has textual problems. Uthman gathered the Qur’an into one book and standardized it (basically what order verses should be in and how they should be numbered). They were very meticulous with creating the standard version.

  • Esther Chester 3 months ago

    This is not about argument between the two faiths because if you bring in Judaism then you will find that all three faith have have the same background. We all go back to the old testament. We can’t forget that Christians are really not that devoted to their faith compared to Islams. We can’t disregard that. i know I can’t speak for them all. Look at the christian church and how divided it is now with so many different doctrines. So which doctrine teaches the truth?. Do we realize that different denomination have their own idea of who Jesus is. Before we go slamming Islam you have to go back to the old testament( which more Christians don’t read because they are taught we are in the new testament now). Christians we get our roots from Isaac and Islam gets there from Ishmael two sons One father. You can’t also forget that Haggai prayed to The God of Abraham The God that we all believe in. Islam Judaism Christians we all Believe in the same God. God in English Allah in Arabic Elohim in Hebrew. Just because something is not in English it doesn’t make it unreal or false or not true. The problem came from Islam being the promise God gave to Abraham belong to Ishmael and same goes to the jew and Christians the promised belonged to Isaac. Thats where i Believe it all started. I might be wrong. You look deeper Islam recognize Jesus as a good prophet Judaism doesn’t even recognize him as a good prophet not even as a good person. Islam recognize Jesus good deeds the miracles and all Judaism saw it as the work of the devil they wanted to crucify Him. As Christian how can we blame Islam for not understanding the true nature of Christ when christian don’t even understand it. Judaism doesn’t neither. We are so caught up arguing and hating each other instead of seeing where we all are and why we believe the way we believe. We can all believe in God but Jesus is the Key. He said no one comes to the Father but through Him. So we can believe in God but if we don’t believe in Jesus how can we come to the Father. But again its matter of what you believe. Some Christians don’t believe Jesus is the Son of God Some don’t believe in The Holy Spirit. The list goes on and on. My Question for Islam faith why put so much faith on Mohammed compared to Jesus? Jesus demonstrated God’s ( Allah’s Power) and yet you choose Mohammed. That is the hard concept for me even for Judaism Jews. If you take hatred out of the way and stop defending the Koran or the bible and focus On God and seek the truth because They don’t need defending The truth is the truth no matter how many times we don’t want it to be. I don’t know much about Islam but i am trying to not because I want to covet because i want to know where they come from. I grew up being told what and who they are but the more i scratch that and start learning for my self then it is easy to see how things have involved and I ask God to help me see the truth and the Holy Spirit to teach me. This is just my thought and where i am I want to grow but not blindly. Hope you do to.